Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Coronado Speed Festival, a Gathering of Vintage Cars from All Makes Part 1

The Coronado Speed Festival allows attendees a chance to view many vintage vehicles from pony cars to exotic speedsters.

Squeak, squeak.... Vroooom!  Braap, braap braap, braap.  The priming of carburetors followed by the lumpy idle of a high lift camshaft actuating valves breaks the early morning silence.  It is a soundtrack you will become familiar with as you walk the aisles past the various types of vintage cars lining the paddocks at Naval Base Coronado.  As part of its Fleet Week program in appreciation to the troops serving our country, the military holds an annual "Race at the Base" aka Coronado Speed Festival which takes place over an entire weekend.  The race course is setup at the airfield on the base, and this year marked the 15th time the event has been held. 

The races were categorized into 10 different groups, depending on the year, type of vehicle and in some cases the engine displacement or equipment.  This year's event was unique due to the Playboy sponsored Mazda MX-5 Cup racing series taking place as well.  The drifting exhibition was also lengthened to allow the drifters to participate in full laps of the course.  The Coronado Speed Festival also hosts a car show on both days of the event, but different cars show up each day and there are different winners each day as well. The winners of the day take a parade lap around the road course before returning back to the car show parking lot. 

Aside from viewing the show cars and the numerous vendors on site, attendees can also meet the drivers of the vintage cars and inspect the vehicles up close.  Some of the drivers even allow you to sit inside their car or will discuss their car's specifications.  A few celebrities race at the event too, such as Adam Carolla, a Datsun aficionado, and Vic Edelbrock Jr., owner of the company in the same name which has powered many street hot rods. 

BMW, Chevrolet, Mazda and VW had vehicles on hand which people could test drive.  It was an excellent opportunity to appreciate the differences of each maker's cars compared to the others.  There was a pit crew challenge where teams from the different military branches competed to see who could perform a full pit stop on a NASCAR vehicle in the shortest amount of time. 

All in all, the Coronado Speed Festival is a great way for car enthusiasts from any background to appreciate the progress of race cars from the early 1900s to the present NASCAR V8 behemoths.  The event is very family friendly, just remember to bring some ear plugs along as some of the cars are a bit loud!

Stay tuned as this is only part 1 of the photos!  We have plenty of photos to show you!  Part 2 will focus on the race cars that competed and were on display in the paddocks. 

Teams prep for the "Pit Crew Challenge" of servicing a NASCAR race car.

A plethora of De Tomaso Panteras came to the show.

A former Hertz rental car!  The GT350H was exclusively available only through the Hertz car rental company.

There were many examples of the Shelby Cobra on display.

The projector head light conversion looked really good on this Pantera, as did its wheels!

The sole Viper that represented the club on Saturday.  Plenty more came out on Sunday!

Ford's GT is one of the few retro-inspired cars that stay extremely close to the original's design and pull it off well.

5.4 liters of supercharged fury!

The original GT40.  Only 40" high! 

We like how the whitewall tires contrast with the red paint on this T-Bird.

The C1 Corvettes are timeless classics indeed. 

This 60s Camaro was one of the nicest examples we've seen in awhile.

Mazda Miatas and MX-5s had a huge turnout on Saturday.  Every generation was represented.

The addition of teeth made this Miata look similar to the face of a Ninja Turtle toy from the 90s. 

Contemporary machines such as the Subaru BRZ and Nissan GT-R were present.

This Infiniti had a massive front mount intercooler, which if painted black, would be nearly invisible behind a proper front bumper.

Nothing like a classic Pontiac GTO on rally wheels.

Can we join this club too? =)

Range Rover's current design hasn't strayed too far from their roots right?

We have a soft spot for the early VW Scirocco.

One of the rarest cars we've seen stateside.  An early Saab wagon!

Even more cool is the V4 (that's right, it's not inline!) engine mounted so far up in front of the axles!  You would never see this design on a modern car due to the weight distribution. 

Someone's Rabbit isn't very happy!  =P

Perhaps one of the nicest examples of the Datsun Roadster we have come across.

A classic Dodge from what we believe is sometime in the mid 1930s. 

This Infiniti G37 sported a host of bolt on modifications, but they all meshed well with the car.

Both body styles of the NSX were on hand too. (NA1 and NA2 respectively)

For some odd reason we like the early pop up lamp style better than the later flush lamp front fascia of the Acura NSX.

A few Volvo 1800ESs were came to the car show. 

The Ferrari 430 Scuderia is a beautiful machine.

The front brake rotors are as large as a pizza!

Jensen Healeys always look like they are smiling.

A nicely restored Ford Mustang with a 289 engine.

If ever a modern car were to be described as go-kart like, hands down it would be the Lotus Elise.

A rare look at the transmission mated up to the engine in the back of  a Pantera.

The original that started BMW's dominance in the luxury sport coupe market:  E30 M3. 

A somewhat different version of BMW's 2002.  This is the 2000 tilux.

One of the wildest creations from BMW was their 3.0 CSL.  The front winglets on the hood and the large rear spoiler make this Bimmer distinctive from its more common brethren. 

The Alpina B7 turbo was capable of producing 300+ hp.

Here's a rare treat to see.  An Alpina B7 turbo.  Very few of these cars still exist! 

The pin striping was nice.

An Oldsmobile powered by the legendary 442 engine.  Love the SDSU parking permit too!

Fans of the show Family Matters will remember Steve Irkel driving a variation of the BMW Isetta.

One of the most popular cars at the car show was this heavily modified VW Bus.

We would hate to have to try to access the engine of a Lotus Espirit!

This shade of metallic brown looked even better in person! 

The flower and bird graphics were expertly done and looked great!

With a work truck as cool as this, we'd have nothing to complain about on Monday mornings!  =)

Audi's V10 R8 is one of the nicest modern roadsters.

Maybe someday we will be able to buy cars as stylish as this 1940s Mercury.

The green hue was simply awesome.  We tip our hats to the owner.

We are curious if the upcoming Barracuda will look anything like this late 60s version.

Whenever we see old coupes like this, we want to grab a fedora and a suit.

One of the most powerful cars at the show, this Ford Ranchero boasted 900 horsepower!

Love the license plate.

We wonder if accessories like the FoMoCo reservoir above are still available for purchase, or if they are discontinued.

This concludes our 1st part of the coverage of the Coronado Speed Festival.  Stay tuned, we'll have part 2 up shortly!  We would also like to personally thank our troops for keeping our freedom and country safe! 

Part 2 can be viewed here! Coronado Speed Festival Part 2

Part 3 can be viewed here!  Coronado Speed Festival Part 3


  1. Awesome pics, thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow! If you’re indeed a vintage car enthusiast, you should definitely attend events like this! Here, you can see almost all what a classic car can offer. Owners of these cars really spend a lot of time, effort (and cash :D) to retain and/or restore its great looks and performance.

  3. That Miata is for the win! Kudos to the guys behind this successful addition! I can only imagine the feeling of driving in this beauty around the town. This ride will surely make people’s heads turn, especially 90’s kids! :]