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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on March 6th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 52

Concours de donut

Orcutt's weekly car enthusiast gathering is a celebration of automobiles of all makes and models

BY FRANK GONZALES

Cars and coffee. The pairing has been sweeping the nation, the world, and the Internet over the last few years.


Driving force:
Fast cars, sweet donuts, strong coffee, and knowledgeable car guys blend for a robust mix on a Sunday morning.
PHOTO BY FRANK GONZALES

The idea is simple: Step one is to find a parking lot that goes unused over the weekend and whose owners are open to impromptu gatherings on their property. Step two is to get the word out about the meeting to all gearheads, petrolheads, or whatever people who like cars are called in your area. Step three is to gather said people and their cars and then to turbocharge them with coffee, donuts, bagels, racing fuel, and possibly a giant breakfast burrito.

If all goes well, the result is an informal car show where people passionate about their choice of transportation and locals looking for a spectacle have a great time chatting and getting to know each other and their dreams of storming Laguna Seca or the Autobahn. It’s also one of the few car shows where it’s possible to see a Porsche 911 Carrera, a hotrod, a low-rider, and a 1,000-horsepower Honda Civic peacefully coexisting in the same place.

One of the car-and-coffee movement’s largest and most famous meetings takes place every Saturday in Irvine, while the Central Coast’s offerings used to be limited to Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach. That was until about two years ago, when John Mahoney and a group of likeminded individuals decided to initiate an event of their own in Orcutt. Instead of calling it Cars and Coffee they have chosen Orcutt Derelicts as the meeting name, given that many of the cars are vintage.

You can find the event online as the Orcutt Donut Run.

Just as with the meetings taking place around the nation, the crowd on a recent Sunday Donut Run was full of car nuts and an assortment of their amazing rides. Of note was an immaculate 1969 C3 Corvette, a Chevrolet Bel Air as tidy as a Bel Air mansion’s garden, and the prettiest mutt of the litter: a Porvette. The latter is a 1966 Porsche 911 slantnose with a 355 Corvette V8 stuffed in the back in place of the normal Porsche inline-6 cylinder engine. While that engine makes the rearward bias of the car’s weight even more pronounced, its acceleration must be mind-bending.


Get in gear
Orcutt Derelicts takes place every Sunday from 8:30 to 11 a.m. in front of the Golden Donut in Orcutt’s Oak Knolls shopping center at 4850F S. Bradley Road. The event is open to all types of car enthusiasts and their cars. For more information, go to their Facebook group: Orcutt Derelicts.

The icing on the cake donut is the end of the show, when all of the cars power up and leave the lot in a thunderous symphony or cacophony, depending on the octane rating of your blood. In Irvine, the police have strategically placed themselves to discourage burnout exits for the crowds of youth making YouTube videos with their iPhones, but this isn’t yet a problem in Orcutt. Despite this, the thunder coming from one Camaro SS in attendance could have come from Thor himself.

And loud noises aren’t the only thing that might keep someone away from the event. There’s also the start time. The Donut Run starts around 8:30 a.m. and only goes until 11 a.m. at the latest—and this is on the weekend, remember—but Mahoney thinks that the timeframe is also an advantage.

“The thing that people like about coming here early in the morning is that they can come here, they can talk cars, and then they’re not stuck here all day long like you are at a car show,” he said.

As much as any enthusiast would like to live for cars, there are other priorities in life, and Mahoney’s thinking makes sense.

Another problem the Donut Run has had is competition with other events like theirs, ironically due to the success of the idea.

“We used to do [the Derelicts] on Saturdays, but we were at the same time as [the] Pismo [show], which is a real big one,” he said. “We moved it to Sunday mornings so that people could come either before church or after church, and that’s why we started a little later.”


In spite or because of the growth of similar events, the Derelicts continue to grow in popularity, with Mahoney reckoning that they’ve had as many as 35 cars show up on one Sunday.

“We’re still trying to get it bigger,” he said.

Mahoney stressed that any car event enthusiasts can enjoy that promotes their passion for all things automotive responsibly is a good one. And the Golden Donut is also a fan.

“[The event] helps the business, and [the owner] expects us every Sunday, so that’s a good thing,” Mahoney said.

Having access to a donut shop onsite is another good reason to come out, since the Golden Donut serves up a huge assortment of extremely tasty treats. It’s the sort of old-fashioned donut shop that some of the cars in attendance have frequented for more than half a century. With events like this and a little luck, those cars will continue to frequent donut shops for another half century.

Intern Frank Gonzales lives on the road. Send comments to ideas to intern@santamariasun.com.