Monday, September 26, 2022

MotorCars on MainStreet Vrooms Back into Coronado

Kids from the Hernandez-Pons and De Haro families enjoyed climbing in Charlie Plavi’s 1970 restored Dodge van.

Nostalgic, colorful, and shiny are just a few adjectives to describe the more than 300 classic and some new cars that graced this year’s 30th annual MotorCars on MainStreet, which was back better than ever, after a hiatus during the pandemic. Last year’s event was fun, but different than usual as more than 50 cars were showcased at 22 stops throughout the village, with caravans of classics cruising around the island.

From early 1900 vehicles, all through the decades from Chevy Bel Airs to Ford Mustangs, to woodies, and so many more cool classics, it was a joy to see car aficionados, from young to old, enjoying the restored vintage, rod, and custom cars and trucks. New this year was the exotic car exhibition, including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maybach, and others.

Co-sponsors Cumming Chevrolet and the City of Coronado helped make this free event possible, with drawings for 50 raffle prizes throughout the day.  Everyone enjoyed Tommy Price and the Stilettos rocking Rotary Plaza and Jumpin’ Jack Flash spinning Solid Gold tunes at Star Park. Every year, a unique t-shirt featuring a Coronado landmark is created and available for sale at the event.

Classic car owners are a devoted group of people who know the distinctive details about their beloved vehicles. My husband and I are partial to Ford Mustangs, dating back to our first cars, and we were amazed to find three original Shelby Cobra Roadsters on display.

Charlie Plavi, from Santee, has owned his 1970 Dodge Sportsman Van for 40 years. He commented that it still had the original yellow shag carpet until he restored it seven years ago. He takes it to shows and lets the kids climb around in it. He plans to pass it on his son who lives in Hawaii to use for surfing.

When Bob Bardin from Coronado revved up the motor on his 1909 Harvester, people in the vicinity took notice. He has been restoring it over the past 15 years and shared that he “wants to keep it as original as possible so people can see what it was like back in the day.”

Martin Clarke from Point Loma bought this rare 1937 Canopy Van at an auction three years ago. It was originally designed for delivering flowers or fruits.

Bob and Cathy Richardson from San Diego have had their 1953 Chevrolet Woodie Wagon for 38 years and restored it nine years ago to surfer status.

Michael Alves from the Coronado Cays entered his 2008 Backdraft Racing AC Cobra. He got a special SB-100 registration for smog exemption, and he drives it weekly. It is decked out with all the bells and whistles like heated seats, touch screen stereo and more.

David Toth from Rancho Bernardo inherited this classic Ford Ranchero in 2016 from his father and restored it with a Texaco motif of which he is a big fan. He has been a professional car restorer for thirty years, but this was a heartfelt labor of love.

This car begs the questions “How low can you go?”

This is the first car show for Coronado MainStreet’s Executive Director Karla Robles-Puig, who joined the MainStreet team last October, and she shared the award winners:


This colorful car captured attention!

And if you want to see more cars….

Jennifer Velez
Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: