Tiburon Annual Classic Car Show
Twenty-one years ago, the Town of Tiburon finished a major update of Main Street – wider sidewalks with red bricks interspersed, fresh flower planters and new street signs. For the Grand Opening celebration, Council member Tom Gram invited two local residents, Tom O’Neill and Bruce Ross, to showcase their vintage cars on the closed street as part of the festivities. The two enticed other classic car owners to join them in displaying their “garage treasures.” During the day, crowds of onlookers swarmed around the 32 vintage cars, asking questions of their owners and gawking at the their beauty. The next year, Ross and O’Neill partnered to organize a second show with 60 cars parked along a closed-off Paradise Drive. Spectators marveled at such special cars as a restored 1950s VW Bug sitting next to Hermann Goring’s personal Mercedes-Benz open touring car from 1940’s infamy. Because of the great enthusiasm over this display, the pair decided Tiburon would be a perfect location for an annual classic car show. Over the next several years, the number of cars in the show kept rising, finally reaching 109. The organizers decided that was too many for the allotted space. “Now I try not to register any more than 90 cars,” O’Neill says. “Once we go over that number, they start to be parked past the Donohue Depot, and no one wants to be that far out.” Among the cars registered to be in this year[s show are a 1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud limousine, a 1959 Oldsmobile in its original condition (meaning nothing has been done to it), and an original Shelby-Cobra. This year’s featured marque is Rolls-Royce. The major sponsors are The Luxury Collection of Price-Simms Family Dealership, Main Street Research, Hi-Tec Auto, Hadley Construction, Belvedere Land Company, Peterson Construction, Zelinsky Properties and Salt & Pepper. In addition, The Lodge is giving visitors special room rates that weekend. Along with the great scenery and impeccable autos, Kevin and Gail’s Chili Palace will sell their three choices of chili, the noon Rotary Club will offer a BBQ along with beer and wine, and both the Tiburon Police Department and the California Highway Patrol will have a booth. This year, for the first time, The Ranch will help with parking and traffic control. “Our goal was never to build a big show,” O’Neill says. “We wanted it to be high-quality, with limited numbers, aimed at providing an experience for our local community.” Bruce Ross passed away in 2009, but O’Neill continues to run the show with the help of fellow board members, Gary Lukas and Michael Heckmann. Proceeds from the shows go to charities and, since its beginning, Tiburon’s Classic Car Show has donated well over $100,000 to many local and Marin County charities. This year, the proceeds will be given to the Green Team, Tiburon-Belvedere Rotary Club, The Ranch and Shifting Gears (a Marin County program for high schools to offer courses in auto appreciation and preservation). Known far and wide to be an exceptionally well-run, free-to-the-public event, the Tiburon Classic Car Show brings in some 2,000 automobile aficionados on event day. This year’s show is set for June 18, running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.