Holiday Motor Excursion, Put on by the Horseless Carriage Club of So Cal was held on the 27th of December at Irwindale raceway. It has changed a bit from its beginnings , but still holds dear what it started as. Early iron and families enjoying the company of friends. This was my first year going to this event , I can’t believe I haven’t been before , its absolutely perfect. A small donation at th gate gets you, your family, and your car in . Its no longer restricted to pre 1933 vehicles , yet they are the main attraction. I was able to drive the 47 right on in and park in the year of manufacturer isle of my caroling with many more. Its a great event for the entire family right around the holidays in SoCal. Pleanty of friends all around and cars you will almost never see on the streets until next year. I highly suggest going . Give the pics a look and heres a History Doc from the Horseless Carriage club site.
December 25th in Southern California is, more often than not, sunny and clear. It was on one of those Christmas days back in the early 1950’s when the seed was planted that eventually grew into the Holiday Motor Excursion.
In Pasadena that Christmas morning, Doug and June Eastwood suggested to their five children, after opening their presents, “Let’s go to Uncle Warwick and Aunt Millie’s to see what (cousins) Joyce and Elaine got.”
It did not take long for Richard, Sharon, Jean, Peter, and David to squeeze into Dad’s Model T Ford for the ride over there. After the cousins compared gifts, Warwick’s 1905 Buick was cranked up and a short trip around the corner took the families to Bill and Lola Collier’s house for a look at Nancy’s presents. This prompted Bill to take out his 1910 Maxwell and the three families went for a short ride.
It only took a year or two for the spontaneous Christmas Day itinerary to expand and visits were made to the homes of John Walgamott, Bob Coombes, Louis Cook, Dick Mendelson, and other Pasadena area Horseless Carriage Club friends.
The sight of a small caravan of antique cars crisscrossing Pasadena only hours after Santa had been there was always greeted with cheers from the neighborhood residents.
Before long, club members from outside the area were feeling left out. The explanation that the Eastwoods were just out having some fun and that it really wasn’t an organized club event was not what they wanted to hear.
It was at this time in the mid 1950’s when families in their antique cars started showing up at Doug or Warwick’s house on Christmas morning, not wanting to miss out on “the fun.” Over the years, homemade cookies had to be supplemented with store bought doughnuts and the first of several 100-cup coffee pots were put into service.
Sometime in the late 60’s the event date was changed to the weekend between the holidays and the departure point was moved to the Pancake House located between Doug’s and Warwick’s homes. As the event grew in popularity, the Model T Club and other clubs with newer cars joined in. In the late 80‘s, to maintain the flavor of early day motoring and to keep the event to a manageable size, participants were invited to bring vehicles built before 1933.
Over the years the H.M.E. has been fortunate to be invited to visit many wonderful family homes, collections, and business in the area. Many visits have been made to the Dean Hensley, Burton Burton, and Don Ricardo Collections, just to name a few.
Somewhere along the line the H.M.E. was adopted as a Horseless Carriage Club of Southern California event but the Eastwood family still handles all the event planning. For over 30 years Warwick and Millie hosted the desert stop at their home at the events conclusion. In 1994 they decided to take it easy and Gary and Sheryl Hunter eagerly volunteered to take over and host the party at their home in nearby Arcadia.
The popularity of the event can be gauged by the 450 nametags and 150 copies of driving instructions given out last year—not to mention 30 dozen doughnuts, 400 cups of coffee and 200 cups of orange juice.
We hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do. Happy Holidays and Happy Motoring!
Peter Eastwood for:
Douglas and Doris Eastwood
Warwick and Millie Eastwood and
the entire Eastwood Family