Thursday, January 19, 2012

California Cruisin': Woodies by the beach!

It's winter time and the air is chilly and the days are short, so why not warm up with some thoughts of spring and summer?  Sunshine, barbeques, and surfing come to mind for those of us out here in California.  It's also a time when many auto enthusiasts go cruising: Meeting up with people who have similar interests and going for a drive.  California has a large number of auto clubs with thousands of motoring fans who cruise every year and hold meetings at various locations throughout the state.  By pure chance, I stumbled across one that was taking place the same day after a national Datsun Z car meet in Orange County last year.  I had decided to take the scenic route home and was driving down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).  It was near Dana Point, at the Doheny state beach that the rumble of V8 engines caught my attention.  Here's what I came across:
One of many Woodies on display at the Doheny State Beach meet.

Woodies are a type of vehicle with as you guessed it, are partly constructed with hardwood, generally the doors.  These vehicles were very popular during the 1930s-50s before safety standards rendered them obsolete.  There were cars produced during the 60s with graphics imitating the look of the actual woodies.  However, even cars as recent as the PT Cruiser had simulated graphics on the side of the car emulating Woodies which shows how they still influence the style of contemporary cars. 

There is a club called the Southern California Woodie Club, who hold a meet at the Doheny State Beach each year.  According to the groups website, they have over 300 members.  At the meet I attended, there were at least 100 Woodies gathered in the parking lot mirroring the shoreline.  The atmosphere made me imagine of the Beach Boys for some reason, but it was probably due in part to one of the attendees playing their music through the stereo of his Woodie.  =) 
Surfs up indeed, these examples of Woodies were very nice!
Many of the vehicles feel at home in any hot rod and vintage car meet.  Some of the details in the cars were so subtle, it took a 2nd or 3rd look to notice how nicely executed they were.  Several of the vehicles had a neat display or theme, and it seemed as if surfing was the most common.  The owners were all very pleasant and many took the time to talk about their Woodie.  The club members made the meet feel more like a family gathering rather than an ordinary car show. 
The interior of some of the cars' craftsmanship was impressive!

A very California themed display.

The paint was absolutely stunning in person!

For being a show I did not have any prior knowledge about, it was a great find to stumble across!  I would love to attend the next meet.  The next scheduled meet is at Doheny State Beach again this year.  Mark your calendars for April 14th!

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