Walk Past the Ferraris and Packards to Check Out the American Big-Blocks and Ponycars at the 2019 San Marino Motor Classic

Two words describe the reason why I like to go to Southern California’s annual San Marino Motor Classic: muscle cars.

OK, there are other reasons. The SMMC is held on the grounds of gorgeous Lacy Park in beautiful San Marino, a tony community adjacent to Pasadena. It has one of the most diverse fields of interesting cars you’ll find at a “local” car show, from prewar American Classics to vintage VWs, brass-era horseless carriages to late-model Lamborghinis. It’s all for a good cause, as the show’s proceeds become hefty donations to such local charities as the Cancer Support Center Pasadena, the San Marino Rotary, and the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA. And you can count on a different gathering of “special guest” cars every year. Last year is was a collection of Paul Newman’s race cars; this year some 100 Ferraris turned the park’s central lawn area into a shining (mostly) red sea.

For me, though, it’s all about the muscle. Class Manager Joe Salvo and Assistant Class Manager Paul Ginsburg know so many people in the area’s collector car scene that they can pull from a deep pool of quality vehicles to fill not just one class, but four: GM and non-GM big-block cars, and Mustang and non-Mustang ponycars. Taking a page from Bob Ashton’s MCACN playbook, they strive to keep repeat participants to a minimum so the muscle collection will be fresh year-to-year.

As it turned out, the 2019 SMMC fell on the first truly hot day of the summer after a drenching winter followed by weeks of overcast skies that we call May Gray and June Gloom. But temperatures hovering around 100 didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. We were just glad for Lacy Park’s abundant shade.

If you live in Southern California or are thinking of a visit next year, the 2020 San Marino Motor Classic takes place June 14. Visit sanmarinomotorclassic.com for all the details.

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