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Crystal Cove Concours Kaput – Goodbye Croissant Derelicts!

Today marks the final Saturday morning Crystal Cove mini concours in Newport Beach. Starting at 0700 each Saturday morning for years, Crystal Cove has become the spot for car owners and enthusiasts to gather over coffee and donuts on Saturdays. Unlike Donut Derelicts up Pacific Coast Highway that has a hot rod flavor, Crystal Cove had a exotic car flavor even though there were a few hot rods and classics thrown in. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents and many local auto industry folks were on hand to bid farewell.

Irvine Company Crushes Crystal Cove Car Event

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Seen here is Barry Meguiar of Meguiar Waxes and Freeman Thomas of Ford. Meguiar is explaining what has gone on concerning the weekly Crystal Cove event. He describes typical Irvine Company “gestapo tactics” in shutting down the event. An approach to local upscale mall – Fashion Island – led Irvine Company to warn the retailers there not to discuss holding the event at Fashion Island.
What were the reasons for kicking the event out? Apparently there was too much traffic congestion. The Newport Beach Police said traffic was not a particular problem. The cars were too high performance and unsafe at speed. Newport Beach Police said that they had not given out an extraordinary number of tickets before, during or after the event for the years it has been held. And finally, the local residents complained of noise and congestion. Heck, the local residents were some of primary participants.
The event was over each Saturday at 9AM a full hour before the retail stores in the upscale Crystal Cove strip mall where there is a Starbucks, nice pastry shop and Trader Joes. The Starbucks and pastry shop will sorely miss the Saturday morning crowds – business they wouldn’t get otherwise.
Ford to the Rescue
Ford circulated flyers at the final Crystal Cove event and opened their Premier Automotive Group and Mazda Campus to the Crystal Cove enthusiasts. PAG and Mazda is adjacent to the Irvine Spectrum – another upscale shopping area, but without the oceanside ambiance of Crystal Cove. The Ford venue promises to be more spacious and more inviting… but I think it is on Irvine land as well.

Just to show the broad appeal of the event, here are some images taken on the last day…

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  • Bryan Hauser| October 31, 2008 at 9:12 am

    How do I get to the event? Thanks, Bryan

  • Frank Mickadeit| October 18, 2006 at 11:12 am

    This column by Frank Mickadeit ran in the Tuesday, October 17, 2006 Orange County Register

    Saturday a sad day for O.C. car guys


    Welcome to the funeral,” Devin Dwyer pronounced dryly just after dawn Saturday as we surveyed the parking lot at Crystal Cove Promenade, the PCH shopping plaza that for three years has been taken over every Saturday morning by a loose federation of car guys.

    The Irvine Co., owners of the plaza, two weeks ago announced it was shutting down the impromptu car show, citing noise complaints from nearby residents and the security needed for an unregulated event that typically gets 600 visitors and 200 cars.

    Sometimes, one of those cars is my old green 911, and being Saturday was the last day for a gathering known in car circles around the globe simply as “Crystal Cove,” I made sure I was in line just outside the Promenade at 6:30 a.m. Waiting in front of me in the drizzle was a guy in a new Maserati Quattroporte while behind me was a guy in a ’66 Austin Healey with the top down, which gives you a sense of the eclectic nature of this “show.”

    But really, this is no “show,” as the Irvine Co. calls it. For most of us, it’s just the Friday nights of our youths pushed back eight hours and tamed. Instead of cruising Harbor or Ventura boulevards (or my case, Ocean Ave.) pulling into parking lots to bench race (and keeping our beers hidden from cops), we’re now walking around with open containers of Starbucks in broad daylight and drooling. And not (just) because we’re all getting up in years.

    If it were a “show,” there’d be some organization, and if there’s one thing Crystal Cove was not, it was organized. When I finally parked, I was flanked by a Viper and a new M6. Nearby were Dwyer’s vintage Mercedes 250 SL, a 383 Roadrunner, an Amphibi-car (drives on the street; plows through the water) a dinky Smart Car and, most significantly, a candy apple red ’32 Ford roadster replica.

    The roadster belonged to Bob Cheatley of Laguna Beach, who “co-founded” the gatherings in 2003. It was driven by his wife, Linda, because Bob died in July. He was remembered Saturday on a black baseball cap that “co-founder” Marc Greeley had made for the occasion and was giving to the regulars. On the front, “Crystal Cove Saturday Mornings,” and on the back, “Bob Cheatley 9-26-1935 to 7-5-2006” and “Crystal Cove 2-2003 to 10-2006.” Cheatley and Greeley just wanted a place to have coffee and look at their cars. Word of mouth made it take off.

    New venues have been floated. I heard mentioned Balboa Pier, Chanteclair and Panini restaurants and the state beach. But designer Freeman Thomas (New Beetle, Audi TT), now of FoMoCo, stepped up along with other execs at Ford’s Premier Auto Group and offered its lot at the Irvine Spectrum. That’s where we’ll be Saturday.

    But many of the regulars believe the perfect location is the Fashion Island parking lot near the food court. No residents to complain, and vendors who open early would do serious business. It would be like having 7½ days of revenue. Not to mention you’d be bringing to the center a fairly well-off demographic that right now doesn’t exactly wake up Saturday and think, “Let’s go to the mall!”

    Uh-oh. The Irvine Co. owns Fashion Island. Its initial reaction? Not so welcoming.

    Why? I asked my former Register buddy, Billy Rams, who now works for the Irvine Co. and showed up Saturday. (Fearing he’d be lynched, I kept his presence secret.)

    The company simply can’t have huge (1,200 folks turned out for the farewell), unregulated gatherings at its properties, he said. It already has 20 events a year at Fashion Island, like Race for the Cure, and those have permits to deal with security, insurance and trash. They’d consider an annual car event, he says. Let’s face it, though, that’s not what this crowd wants.

    “The real victims are the retailers at Fashion Island,” says Barry Meguiar, the car-wax magnate and Crystal Cove regular. “Can you imagine the average income of the guys who come to this?”

    To the rescue? John Campbell, the car guy’s No. 1 friend in the House. He heard of the crisis and drove his ’63 split-window ‘Vette over Saturday. He plans to meet with Irvine Co. execs to push Fashion Island.

    “This could be the most important thing you’ll ever do in Congress,” I told him.

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