Car Show: USS Hornet

Yes, there are car shows at the USS Hornet. Most times on the pier but also sometimes both pier and our hanger deck. West Side de Berkeley organized this car show to benefit the USS Hornet Air and Space Museum.

Now the pandemic shutdown was very hard on ship museums across the country especially for large ships like BBs and CVs. Most let go paid staff to a bare minimum. On the Hornet volunteers for plane and ship restoration could still show up and usually ten did while others stayed home. It isn’t very hard to social distance on an aircraft carrier. For example I was the only person higher than the Hanger Deck from pretty much April 2020 to May 2021. However, our finances were taking a huge hit as we are a huge ship. Rent based on visitors fortunately but our power bill will make your eyes tear. Our pier side feed is 440V.

So a car club founded in 1978, called West Side de Berkeley, put on a fund raising benefit for the museum. They have done benefits in the past for other causes. From what I could tell cars showed up from as far south as Bakersfield and as far east as Idaho. All the cars are vintage representing different restoration visions. I can say that if you sold your Chevy, decades ago, then it is here because the show was crawling with Chevorlets. Fords way down the list with Mopar and Mercury even farther down the list. So views from the ship looking out over the crowd before I took a walk down. Starting at the end of the pier and winding around. While it was 103 degrees at my house 27 miles away it was 70 degrees in Alameda.

Now for what was on the Hanger Deck. I will admit I am not a fan of small skinny tires at all. Nonetheless, the attention to detail, workmanship, and paint are amazing. Oh, and if a fan of chrome, bright shiny chrome, then this was the place to be dazzled.

Time to walk off the ship into the crowd and there were people all over. This presented an interesting show later as some jackass had to pull the fire alarm in Sick Bay on the 2nd Deck. Standard procedure is to check the status board for the location of the alarm and evacuate the ship. Oh, and the Alameda Fire Department gets the alarm and rolls their units. Fortunately one of the head Security guys is a retire S.F.P.D inspector and kept things in perspective. There was no evacuation but he wondered what happened to the alarm to A.F.D. Well they showed up 45 minutes later trying to roll down the pier with one fire truck and a hook and ladder. Rolling down was the easy part. I was already back in the Island superstructure when I heard them.

What I liked most of all were the colors. The world wasn’t just a B&W image of white, grays, and blacks as seen today. We had a color pallet that would do Mother Nature proud.

Ah, the only Mercury 🙁


I talked to the older gentleman in this beautiful 64 Riviera which had a For Sale sign on it for awhile. Then heard the fire alarm go off on the ship. Before heading back I saw a 65 Mustang GT 4 speed owned by another older gentleman who lived in Alameda. No picture as we know what a white Mustang convertible looks like and it was buried in the back. Husband and wife big supporters of the Hornet as the man is ex-Navy.

My favorite picture before the Thunderbird next to the Tomcat. Naturally I’m biased and I was working under the 1 in 12.


Now visitors leave the ship via the second brow where Security is stationed. Security left at 1730 hours but I stayed till 1830 hours to let traffic in the Posey Tube, off the Island, to die down. Can’t recall how many people thanked me on the way out. Many carrying trophies and there were tons given out. Who doesn’t like trophies as even I have two for my Cougar and Parklane.

As for cars they leave in another way. When I left I saw a beautiful pastel blue 1959 Mark V convertible but my battery was drained in my Canon S95. Wasn’t smart enough to remember that my cell phone would work as a camera. Still a photographer as cameras are for pictures and phones for calling. I know, dinosaur.

All in all a good day. There were 1500 visitors on board. Ships store did well. The 1500 rivaled the 1500 on July 4th as well as the ships store revenue. A July 2nd corporate party netted $60,000 in rent for the night to the Hornet. Haven’t yet had our bread and butter back which is the overnights by Scouting organizations on the weekends. Now I get to see if the admin can be smart about our money as two previous Executive Directors ( out of six) drained us boarding on malfeasance.