Cajon Classic Cruise season opener: gallery of show cars

Welcome to the renovated downtown El Cajon.

Welcome to the renovated downtown El Cajon.

The 2013 Cajon Classic Cruise had its season opener April 24 along the broad Main Street and promenade of El Cajon. The cruise nights will run from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sept. 25 and each has a theme and a club highlighted in the Car Corral.

Opening night had a good turnout of around 300 cars and a well-populated Bike Row. Main Street was closed for the occasion and people strolled freely among cars on either side and along the center strip. The renovated downtown area never looked better or more inviting.

The evening fired up at 5 p.m. with the national anthem and a flyover by a World War II era Navy SNJ trainer. “Little Effort and the McCoys” rocked the promenade area and DJ Jumpin’ Jack Flash filled Main Street with tunes and announcements. De La Fuente Cadillac had a prominent display of the new 2013 ATS compact sport sedan and a midsize CTS.

“Little Effort and the McCoys” rock out in the promenade.

“Little Effort and the McCoys” rock out in the promenade.

The restaurants, several with sidewalk dining, were doing a brisk business. The red sauce at Nicolosi’s is worth the trip, but their specialties include lasagna and a rich mac ‘n cheese that can be loaded with accessories, such as bacon and sausage.

The annual cruise has been organized by “Charger Steve” Lordigyan since 2006. He is the current president of the San Diego Association of Car Clubs (recently reorganized from the San Diego Car Club Council). He’s also active in the East County Cruisers club, has a collection of movie cars and a website for his “star” cars (ChargerSteve.com). He also stages a few other car shows through the year, including the big Wild Rides show in Pacific Beach (Aug. 18), for which Catherine “Daisy Duke” Bach will attend.

The Downtown El Cajon business partners put on the Cajon Classic with the support of sponsors, including Sycuan Casino, El Cajon Harley-Davidson, Law Tigers, SDG&E and De la Fuente Cadillac. It is free to view and show a car. Volunteers from the East County Cruisers help with traffic flow (people and cars) and just about anything else that is needed.

Upcoming theme nights include the May 1 Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Topless Night (convertibles) May 22, Charger Steve’s Starz Carz June 12. Off-Road Madness on July 17 and Thunder on Main Sept. 25 will again have full street closures.

The season opener was the best attended in three years, said Charger Steve, but attendance was held back by the cool and rain-threatening weather. In the pre-recession years, the opener could have been brought in as many as 5,000 visitors and 450 cars.

Details at DowntownElCajon.com. And follow the car-club news at www.carclubcouncilofsandiego.com/

See what was on the Promenade this week:

2. Butch Calkins (red jacket) with his stompin’ ’40 Willys pickup. It’s a daily driver.

2. Butch Calkins (red jacket) with his stompin’ ’40 Willys pickup. It’s a daily driver.

Rolling into the show.

Rolling into the show.

Nice pipes.

Nice pipes.

Tres Vegas.

Tres Vegas.

Sittin’ low.

Sittin’ low.

Right hand drive?

Right hand drive?

A ’64 for show and go.

A ’64 for show and go.

Cars on the side and down the middle of Main Street.

Cars on the side and down the middle of Main Street.

A Merc in those good-times ’50s colors.

A Merc in those good-times ’50s colors.

Gauges, tach on the steering column and a built floor shifter, just as it was done in the ’60s.

Gauges, tach on the steering column and a built floor shifter, just as it was done in the ’60s.

Centerline view.

Centerline view.

It’s patina.

It’s patina.

Rods and dogs.

Rods and dogs.

Clean design and a unique cutout.

Clean design and a unique cutout.

Straight six.

Straight six.

Shelby cleared for takeoff.

Shelby cleared for takeoff.

Built for speed

Built for speed

Rod for sale.

Rod for sale.

'66 SS.

’66 SS.

427 SS!

427 SS!

Big block.

Big block.

23_RedChevelleSS-FrontClip_CajonCruise

Honesty, the best policy.

Honesty, the best policy.

Monte lowrider.

Monte lowrider.

Right-hand-driver for sale.

Right-hand-driver for sale.

Firebird with the Navy SNJ trainer during the opening ceremony.

Firebird with the Navy SNJ trainer during the opening ceremony.

I always wanted one of these with the Hurst T shifter.

I always wanted one of these with the Hurst T shifter.

With attitude.

With attitude.

Anglia?

Anglia?

35_Streetside_CajonCruise

Holly's '56.

Holly’s ’56.

No shortage of Chevys.

No shortage of Chevys.

DeLorean’s legacy.

DeLorean’s legacy.

Ford powered.

Ford powered.

A good year for the Falcon.

A good year for the Falcon.

Dana Hinkle’s award-winning “Gold Rush.”

Dana Hinkle’s award-winning “Gold Rush.”

43_DanaHinkle2_CajonCruise

How is that a ’40 Ford is such a perfect design – and in any body style?

How is that a ’40 Ford is such a perfect design – and in any body style?

Good balance of wide-whites and red wheels.

Good balance of wide-whites and red wheels.

An El Camino with a message.

An El Camino with a message.

Just enough mods with the stock parts.

Just enough mods with the stock parts.

Levi on the prowl.

Levi on the prowl.

One owner’s message.

One owner’s message.

Breathe deep.

Breathe deep.

Old Skool T-bucket.

Old Skool T-bucket.

Factory fresh '56.

Factory fresh ’56.

Good example of an overnourished rod.

Good example of an overnourished rod.

Nice fender treatment to cover the wide rear rubber.

Nice fender treatment to cover the wide rear rubber.

Crusty’s diecasts.

Crusty’s diecasts.

And a vintage model.

And a vintage model.

Riv revival.

Riv revival.

Lowrider

Lowrider

Good blue!

Good blue!

59_CleanRodInterior_CajonCruise

60_CleanRodCowl

Simple and enduring. In what looked like unrestored condition.

Simple and enduring. In what looked like unrestored condition.

62_Crosleynose_CajonCruise

Toothy Merc.

Toothy Merc.

Speed run rod.

Speed run rod.

65_70ChevyPkp_CajonCruise

66_70ChevyPkp-engine_CajonCruise

67_DonahuzZ28_CajonCruise

Oh yeah, it's loud.

Oh yeah, it’s loud.

Military tribute.

Military tribute.

Bonne wagon.

Bonne wagon.

'Vette.

‘Vette.

First gen.

First gen.

Always something to see.

Always something to see.

Way to roll!

Way to roll!

Gourmet dogs.

Gourmet dogs.

Offie.

Offie.

78_BelAir_CajonCruise

79_DeLaFuente_CajonCruise

Trap door to the air ride.

Trap door to the air ride.

John Kowalski’s ’53 GMC flatbed.

John Kowalski’s ’53 GMC flatbed.

A tailgate cleans up the rear end.

A tailgate cleans up the rear end.

Flag waving Chevy.

Flag waving Chevy.

80_ElCajonGirls_CajonCruise

The El Cajon Cruise girls.

The El Cajon Cruise girls.

82_ElCajonShowGirl-3_CajonCruise

90_PackardPoweredRodGettingAard1_EntrySign_CajonCruise

Charger Steve on the awards stage.

Charger Steve on the awards stage.

About Mark Maynard

Mark Maynard has been the automotive editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune since 1992.

He drives nearly 200 vehicles a year for review, has attended several high-performance driving schools and a few off-road driving courses.

He attends many new-vehicle press introductions and schmoozes with auto-industry execs.

Mark Maynard