Motor City

Some 200 cars, and hundreds more car enthusiasts, line Mission Street this past Sunday for the 15th annual Cruz’n For Roses Hot Rod & Classic Car Show — with proceeds going to the South Pas Tournament of Roses float. Photo by Henk Friezer

From a 1957 Porsche Speedster to a 1962 Mini Austin pickup and just about everything in between, cars of all sizes, shapes and colors lined Mission Street from Meridian to Fair Oaks Avenue on Sunday for the 15th Annual South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Cruz’n For Roses Hot Rod & Classic Car Show.

For the first time in the event’s history, motorcycles were also allowed in the show, which added to the fun and festivities.

“I’ve participated in the show for eight or nine years now,” said Sandy Norris, owner of a custom peach-colored 1951 Ford Convertible outfitted with a matching interior and fuzzy dice. “This was my late husband’s car, which is highly customized. It’s lowered, has a louvered hood and has the original flathead engine. It’s won ‘Best in Show’ before. Everyone that comes out to the event is so friendly, which I like.”

Close to 200 cars were entered in this year’s show, which raises money for the city’s Tournament of Roses Parade float.

Families and car enthusiasts walked around and admired the vehicles that were on display, with many stopping to watch a K-9 police dog demonstration that was presented by the South Pasadena Police Department. 

Burbank resident Steve Purcell, the proud owner of a 1923 Fiberglass T Body, has been in the show for four years.

“It’s called the ‘T Bucket’ because the car is like a bucket on the inside,” he explained. “They were very popular in the late ’50s and early ’60s. I’ve owned it for 16 years and it’s different than most cars. It’s fun to show up and see the people’s reactions, especially the kids.”

The event was emceed by Rob Williams, who has been helping out at the show since its inception.

“I’m here supporting Ted Shaw, or ‘Uncle Ted’ as we call him, who started this whole thing,” Williams said.

“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be standing here talking. I just love the cars and community. One thing that’s new this year is the virtual reality booth, where you can see what the float will look like when it’s finished. It’s cool to be able to combine the old with the new, because we want to bring in the kids and show how technology can be involved with all of this.”

For event-goers who worked up an appetite, there were various snack booths and concession stands selling everything from kettle corn to snow cones. The South Pasadena DUDES (Dads Uniting Dads in Education and Service) also had a booth, where they served up breakfast burritos, hot dogs and burgers.

“We’re helping to fund and support the Tournament of Roses float initiatives,” said Jeff Rosenberg, president of DUDES.

“We like to get together to help the community and schools in whatever way we can. This is our fourth year participating, and it’s a great partnership. We’ve been here since 6 a.m. today and our popular breakfast burrito sold out in half an hour. It’s great to see people appreciate the old classic cars while mingling on a Sunday. It’s a nice way to get to know one another in the community and we enjoy taking part in that.”

South Pasadena resident Eric Schrager has attended the show for the past five years. A longtime Tournament of Roses member, he said one of his favorite parts of the show is seeing the float on display.

“I love attending every year because it brings so many families and community members together to celebrate our community,” Schrager said. “For me, it’s all about the muscle cars, but I really enjoyed the artistry of the folks displaying the freestanding engines. The show gets cooler every year.”

Typically, the Cruz’n For Roses show raises between $15,000 and $20,000 for the float. Next year’s event will take place on Sept. 20, and the show’s coordinator, Janet Benjamin, is looking forward to another great turnout.

“This year’s event was fabulous, and everything that my team and I worked for it to be,” Benjamin said.

“I’ve already gotten emails from people asking to help out next year. I go to a lot of car shows, and this one is very different from the others. It’s not just about cars — it’s about what’s going on, and it has that small-town feeling, which is so exciting.

“The diversity of the cars makes it so interesting, and it’s about getting together and being proud of what you’ve done. In addition to raising money for the Tournament of Roses, we also want to cultivate the next generation of attendees and participants. We’ll keep doing this for as long as we can.”