El Paseo in Palm Desert, California gets high marks from well-heeled fashionistas for its array of retail stores. Like “sister” streets around the world iconic, exclusive, name-brand boutiques grace the roadway where gleaming automobiles some more expensive than the average house, are parked close by. It is so customary to see fancy cars that a roaring motor is hardly extraordinary – until there are 300 of them!
Since mid-January, fuzzy dice and fancy shopping bags unite every second Friday night on El Paseo. This is now a place where high school evenings are revisited with a bit of harmless fun, cruising the boulevard.
El Paseo Cruise Night (click link for more info) is new to the Coachella Valley; the first Friday evening car parade was on January 18, 2013. Jerry Martin and Judy Lockwood are the organizers for an event that they hope will become repeatable for years to come.
Nutmeg talked to Jerry on his way to work one day to find out just a little more about this fun evening, the following is a summary of their discussion:
Where did you get the idea for the concept?
It is hardly a new idea. Who does not remember their teenage days and nights of driving around with no purpose other than being seen? Jerry is a full-time golf professional and long-term car buff. Distant days of cruising Van Nuys Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley during the 1960s may have been his original inspiration for these organized events. Finally, a year ago with encouragement from his wife and others the project came together.
They proudly drive a Woodie Wagon.
How many cars participate?
On the first El Paseo Cruise Night, there were about 300 cars the exact numbers change a little each time. Word-of-mouth marketing is working to spread the news to car buffs in the Coachella Valley.
Are the merchants seeing the benefits?
The El Paseo Merchant’s Board unanimously approved the concept on September 20th, 2012. They must be thrilled as already after only a few nights, the restaurants are seeing their happy-hour business booming.
What is the oldest Car?
It is a tie between Graham Mace’s 1923 Ford Pick Up and Buzz Waltz’s 1923 Ford Roadster.
What is the most common make of car?
The 1950s and 1960s models are extremely popular. There are several beautiful Thunderbirds, Corvettes, Chevrolets and Fords from those years. Probably the most common make are the Chevrolets.
Is this event just for old cars?
No, anyone with a car that has a car that they feel fits the criteria of “classic, custom or a head-turner” can and should participate in the cruise night. Some of the more contemporary but no less striking cars include Ferraris and even a Lamborghini.
Will the last night in April be a special event?
Yes, but the details are still being worked out. Check out the website for details or sign-up for their newsletter.
Do you have a cruising story?
What is your favourite hot-rod?