At least it didn’t rain. Rain might be an annoyance for everyday drivers, but when your priceless (or technically, very expensive) convertible classic car is sitting exposed in a parking lot, the stakes much higher.

Fortunately, Sunday, October 3rd stayed dry, and the Sausalito Classic Car show was able to go on as planned—although the overcast skies, cool temperatures and high wind undoubtedly kept the turnout lower than it could have been.

It would have been too cold to follow this advice

The yearly car show is held by the ferry landing in downtown Sausalito, and is sponsored by–no surprise here–Sausalito Classic Car Storage.

Luckily, for those who don’t own a classic car and just wanted to wander around, the show was free–car shows are just cool cars parked in a parking lot, when it comes down to it, so it’s hard to charge admission. Anything free and fun in Sausalito is off to a good start. If you wanted beer it was $5, as were hot dogs. Sodas and other snacks were also available. In fact, the food and beverage setup was exactly the same as last weekend’s Chili Cook-Off, right down to the same tents and signs.

As far as car shows go, this one wasn’t the biggest. It was small, in fact. San Rafael’s annual May Madness show is easily five times as big, if not more. But in true Sausalito fashion, what the show lacked in quantity, it made up for in quality and elitism.

There are bigger car shows, but there are smaller ones too.

There were no project cars or rat rods here. The majority of the cars had been beautifully restored to near-original condition, although there was the usual contingency of hot rods as well. (For non-car geeks, hot rods are NOT in original condition, usually they’ve been “resto-modded,” a combination of restored and modified.)

Theoretically, it was fun for the whole family. In reality, it was much more fun if you're a car geek.

As usual, classic American cars were well-represented, including Lyle and Georgia Shiffer’s amazingly clean 1960 Chevrolet Impala. The Schiffers are the car’s original owners, and still had the original license plates and window sticker from the dealership.

Original owners, and an amazingly original car.

By far the most radical car in the show was the Swig family’s 1968 Toyota Corona–although there wasn’t much original Corona left. The car featured a fully tubed race chassis, chopped top and highly modified body and an enormous Lexus v8 engine for power. The car’s top speed has yet to be tested, but it cruises easily at 130mph, according to the information on a handwritten piece of paper stuck on the windshield. The car appeared to be built for top-speed racing events, such as Bonneville Speed Week. With all the fancy, polished show cars, it was refreshing to see a car that was really built to drive–and drive fast.

There's not much original Toyota Corona left here...this car is not grandma's grocery-getter anymore.

In addition to the usual American classics, there was a large contingent of vintage sports cars–dominated by Jaguars and Mercedes–and obscure supercars. There was a BMW M1, the only mid-engine BMW to ever be mass-produced. There was also a Jaguar XJ220–of which only 281 were ever sold. The car–which was a huge commerrcial failure for Jaguar–came from the factory with a twin-turbocharged v6 engine putting out 542 hp. At almost seven feet wide, it’s also the widest Jaguar ever made.

BMW M1--BMW has built some concepts cars that look like a new M1. Here's to hoping it gets built.

It was a commercial failure for Jaguar, but the XJ220 still has to be one of the most stunning supercars ever built. And with only 281 road-legal cars produced, it's also one of the rarest.

In truth, if wandering around and learning geeky facts about obscure automobiles isn’t for you–and let’s face it, it’s not for most people–then there really wasn’t much to do. There was a band, but no one seemed to pay much attention to them. There were a couple of stands, one selling models of cars, and another selling funny signs, but that was it.

The booth selling funny signs provided about two minutes of juvenile entertainment.


Unless you’re a serious car fanatic, then, the Sausalito Classic Car Show is a nice place to stroll around for 15 mintues, but it’s certainly not something to fill your whole day with. Go inside, get some coffee, and get warm.