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.
Nice car show and an interesting venue! Hopefully all who attended were Chevy fans—that seems to be the dominant make, anyway.
I can’t think of a nicer place for an old car show! Fantastic. Great looking cars.
This car show and museum look like a lot of fun! Love the mixing of cars and planes. I could spend hours here.
I have been to a smaller show of theirs. They have a vibrant club!
The Hornet is a treasure and best wishes on the new administration! Nonprofit oversight can often be a difficult problem, boards often do not have the time or expertise to really keep on eye on things and nothing is noticed until something has gone significantly awry.
Never heard of this club, but then I technically left Berkeley in 1978. At the time my automotive interest were also pretty diametrically opposite to what I suspect is the core of this club. In fact a car club in Berkeley was pretty unlikely in the Seventies, although as I recall the Alfa and Capri clubs were pretty active in the area. I do remember seeing a lot of “low rider” style pre-1953 Chevies starting around the early Seventies, but mostly further north in Richmond, Pinole, Martinez. Might even have been some of the cars at this show. I’ll try to keep this in mind for next year, especially as I’ve never been to the NAS and in fact have only been in Alameda a handful of times despite being born and raised and living in Oakland/Berkeley and later Piedmont for 25 years.
Thanks for taking all of the pictures and making time to do the write-up.
There were certainly more Chevrolets there than you could shake a stick at! My personal favorite, though, was the green Plymouth GTX. Back in the late 70s, a friend’s sister had the Satellite version of that in the same green color. She let my friend borrow it on occasion, so I got to rack up some shotgun time in the passenger seat.
I also enjoyed all of the 30’s cars, even though I couldn’t place the make for most of them.
What a fantastic collection of cars for a great cause 😀 👍. 🇺🇸. Left my heart ❤ in 🎵 San Francisco 🎶many years 🎵ago. Never made it to Berkeley! Please keep those great posts coming!
What a great turnout .
I too love the Chevies but the two toned Plymouth on the flight deck grabs me most .
Nice Car Show! – Thanks for Sharing.
Hard to pick a favorite here, so I’ll pick one from each of the Big Three.
The ’64 T-Bird with the F-14 Tomcat makes for a nice shot.
The red ’66 Impala convertible grabs my attention.
And as for an absolute favorite? – Again, hard to say, but I really like the Plum Crazy Charger R/T, even though 1970 wasn’t my favorite model year of that generation.
NICE SHOW! Of course, seeing a handsome SCB 27x ESSEX class carrier is very nice, too. 🙂 They and their air groups helped control the Pacific in 1943-45, then continued to serve the USA for decades more. The picture shows a sister ESSEX class as built in her WW2 camo.
Isn’t the now all but extinct world of COLOR that used to be available on cars from the least to most expen$ive much more eye pleasing than the BORING W-G-B “palette” of today? Thank you so much Color Marketing Group…….NOT! 🙁 DFO
I highly approve this beautifully modified dream machine and I bet Bill Mitchell would be flattered.
I recognize a lot of these cars from shows around the Bay Area. Let me say, the lowrider crowd (well represented here), without question, have some of the nicest cars around, and they drive them.
On a bittersweet note at one time the Navy used to launch old cars off the deck of carriers using the catapults just to get rid of old cars. They did this to create fish habitats. No idea what carrier they used or where they “launched” them, but this was done at lease 40 years ago before the environmentalists were paying attention. So only the Navy would know what was sent into the deep 6 and how many and where they shot them off. I remember seeing this in the theaters and on TV news shows. I can only think of all those beautiful un-restored cars that now are “Sleeping with the fishes”.