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THE “OC” ORIGINAL COOL: The Gasoline Alley Car Show

MICHAEL ECKERSON March 09, 2023 Events


Imagine it’s the year 1919. Nearly 100 years ago. In downtown Santa Ana, California at 100 Main Street stands a brick building on the southwest corner of Main and First.  The location was the Buick “horseless-carriage” Auto Dealership when the building was originally built. The city was very different then.

Fast forward: present day. This brick building still stands, and the city has grown up around it. Santa Ana is the county seat and second most populous city in Orange County. The city is very different now.

This informal car show offers a good selection of unique vehicles

This convertible ‘70s Ghia calls for sun
1959 Impala: Chevrolet bids farewell to the Fifties
Ready for show… and go!
The understated lines of this Ford Courier are complimented by its great paint job

Developer, Mike Harrah has completely restored this historic brick building which had been abandoned for over twenty years. Bricks from the adjacent building, dating back to the 1920’s, had been recycled to create the outdoor patio now named the Palm Court Oasis. The 15,000 square foot building currently houses several rare antique cars, including the original Santa Ana fire truck No. 1. Original Mike’s now features three bars, three live entertainment stages and three dance floors. The main dining room displays vintage photographs of the historical downtown Santa Ana area. The Antique Bar Room has 24 massive flat-screen TVs and Original Mike’s is the only bar in Orange County with a 15 foot wide “JumboTron”.

The participants arrive and the event begins to fill out.

The Studebaker Avante is a standout
The Buick Paulson-Gibson gasser out of Glendale California

Original Mike’s has a lot to offer patrons but our reason for visiting today is their Gasoline Alley Car Show which happens Sundays in the parking lot adjacent to the Palm Court Oasis. This informal car show offers a good selection of unique vehicles and the variety changes so it’s always different. Today’s selections included an early 70s Karmann Ghia, several nicely restored muscle cars and even a rare Holden. The car owners are happy to chat about their cars and their car’s history. Several of the car owners seemed like old friends collectively sharing in the car show experience. What a fun way to spend a Sunday.

A stylish lineup and a Goat with some serious intakes in place of headlights

A father and son team up to moor this spectacular land yacht

This intimate car show starts later than many other car shows so it offers you the chance to rise later, do your Sunday morning activities and still get your car show fix. The cars begin to arrive starting at 11. In the Palm Court Oasis, food service begins and the live band begins to set up and starts around noon. Find a table outside under the shade of the many palm trees, order a beverage, chill to the live band and order something tasty. Original Mike’s is a great spot to spend your time. The Gasoline Alley Car Show is a very easy-going event.

This ‘55 shows well with its clean interior and exterior
You may never see one in person: The ultra-rare Holden



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