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Car Show Draws Thousands to Downtown Manhattan Beach

Oct 02, 2023 06:14PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The 5th Annual Downtown Manhattan Beach Car Show, benefiting the Manhattan Beach Police Canine Foundation, drew its biggest crowd to date on Sunday.

A total of 240 cars registered for the show, which took over the downtown area between Ardmore and Ocean Ave., and from 9th to 12th Street. On display were vintage automobiles, fancy new sports cars, current and older police vehicles, and novelty rides. Thousands showed up during the course of the day to admire the cars and enjoy food, drink, a raffle, and other activities.


The car show was presented by the Manhattan Beach Police Department K-9 Unit, the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business & Professional Association, and Skechers Bobs for Dogs. All proceeds from the event went directly to the Manhattan Beach Police Canine Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

"It was probably the biggest show we've had -- and the weather fully cooperated," said K-9 Office David Gibbons. Although the totals have not been finalized, Gibbons estimated that the event raised somewhere around $20,000. 

One goal for the funding is to add a third police dog to join Manhattan Beach's other two police canines (Koa and Troy), said Gibbons. Manhattan Beach has not had a third police dog in two or three decades, he said, and this new dog would be paid for by the police officers' association. Officers hope to have the new canine officer, who will be trained in explosives detection, fully trained by the end of the year.

Best in Show: A 1964 Jaguar

Winning cars at the event included: 

Best in Show: 1964 Jaguar E-Type – Ronald Hamilton
Best Classic Police Car: 1988 CHP Dodge Diplomat – Brian Iriana

Best Antique: 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS – Arl Waggoner
Best Classic: 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 – Bill Kidman
Best Exotic: 2023 Lamborghini Huracan STO – Albert Soof
Best Muscle Car: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda – Bernice Tynall
Best Truck: 1968 Chevrolet C10 – Ryan Duncan


Best Interior: 1970 Chevrolet Camaro – Brett Ryan
Best Paint: 1971 Chevrolet Blazer – John Ord
Best Engine: 1967 Ford Mustang – Gabe Gonzalez
Best Foreign Car: 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder – Michael Amar
MBPD Favorite: 1960 Pontiac Catalina – Timothy Millek
Fan Favorite: 1996 Chevrolet Blazer (Ghost Busters) – Ernesto Gonzalez

Ghostbusters Car is "Crowd Favorite"

One of the most popular cars in the lineup was Ernie Gonzalez's Ghost Busters-mobile, which won the "Crowd Favorite" award.


Gonzalez told MB News he had been working on the 1996 Chevrolet Blazer ("named 'BOO'") since January, and this was its first appearance at a car show. Throughout the wildly decorated car are multiple wink-and-nod references to each of the Ghostbusters movies and other horror films.

It's just beautiful," Gonzalez said of the car show. "It's insane - everyone's so friendly, and you've got five generations of fans here. Every other thing people said to me was a compliment - from me, to the car - not one negative comment. [The car] made a lot of people smile. And if it even made one person smile, then I did my job."

Sentimental Favorites

Two of the biggest vehicles at the show, displayed at the corner of Ardmore and Manhattan Beach Blvd., were tow trucks from Van Lingen Towing, one bearing a massive American flag.

"The first tow truck is one that my father, Clarence, built back in 1948 when my parents started our family business," Robert Van Lingen told MB News. "It is a 1946 Chevrolet with a Holmes wrecker and handmade wrecker body by my father."

(Photo courtesy of the Van Lingen family)

Van Lingen continued: "It had sat in storage for some years, and I restored it to a condition that now allows us to use for shows, promotions etc. It does not retain the original power train; however the body and wrecker - the towing parts - remain original as my father had built back then."

The Van Lingen towing company is now in its 75th year and its third generation in Torrance. Robert took over the business from his father, and it is now run by his sons Robert and Sean (the third generation).

Another sentimental favorite at the car show was Mayor Pro Tem Joe Franklin and his robin's egg blue 1955 Ford Thunderbird. Franklin's wife Nancy, who came dressed in a 1950s-style outfit to match the car, quickly became a popular photo subject.

Franklin, who can often be seen cruising around town and appearing in parades with his T-bird, offered up the car to a local couple for their wedding photos last month. (The Franklins also drove off from their wedding in the T-bird.)

P.S.: If you want to see even more cars, check out our reel on the MBNews Instagram feed.

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