Photos by Howard Koby
This is a tale of nature, classic cars and the ghosts of Hollywood…
Highway Earth Car show was the brainchild of automotive photographer Evan Kline, a car lover who always had this “dream of bringing our community together in a magazine,” so he started a publication named Highway Earth and organized a first Highway Earth Car Show, held in late June, 2014 at beautiful Franklin Canyon Lake, which is semi-hidden deep in Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains.
The grounds are a wilderness-hiking trail resting on 605 acres near the center of Los Angeles between San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills. The lake is three acres and has over five miles of fantastic hiking trails with picnic grounds surrounded by natural grasslands and oak woodlands.
Back in the day, the lake and areas were used as TV and movie location sets which included the opening sequence of The Any Griffith Show (1960), Bonanza, Lassie, episodes of Star Trek, NCIS, the cult classic Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), On Golden Pond (1981), Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Rambo (1985), and music cover backgrounds for The Rolling Stones and Simon & Garfunkel.
Kline literally transformed the trails around the lake to a one-mile nature walk dotted with spectacular classic car groups along the leisurely stroll.
Hollywood legend and “the King of Cool” Steve McQueen was represented with the cars he owned including the 1956 Jaguar XKSS (driven over from the Petersen Automotive Museum), a ’76 Porsche 930 Turbo, which was one of the last cars McQueen owned, and a neat ’68 Bullitt Mustang GT 390 Replica displayed by Mustang lover Dave Kunz, ABC automotive specialist and reporter.
A scenery of towering pine trees, ponds and fauna was the setting for a varied temporary museum of classic cars, sports and muscle cars nestled among the shaded natural environment and was a welcomed sight and a cool relief from a well manicured hot sunny lawn of a concours.
Sitting proudly among the tall pines, Tom Peluso’s gorgeous black 1955 Ford Thunderbird is the car commissioned in 2005 by the US Postal Service to be the model for one of the Sports Car Series postal stamps. The series included a ’53 Corvette, a ’54 Kaiser Darrin, a ’52 Nash-Healey, and a ’53 Studebaker Starliner.
The postmaster at the time said, “These cars are a perfect reminder of the 1950s and American optimism that the nation’s future was looking bright.”
At every turn along the nature walk was another cluster of iconic classics. A sharp ’62 Thunderbird Sports Roadster know as the Bullet-Birds, a ’60 Facel-Vega Excellence, one of only 60 handcrafted and was the world’s fastest 1960 4-door powered by a Chrysler 383 V8 engine, a very cool DeLorean DMC12, a rare black rear engine 1941 Tatra T87 (3023 built), a stunning ’30 Cadillac V16 Roadster Convertible, a superb ’54 Hudson Hornet Convertible, a very rare crème yellow ’55 Hudson Italia, a 51 Kaiser Traveler Deluxe (designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin and made by Kaiser-Frazer Corp.) , a wonderful family of Volvos which included “my dream car” a white ’64 Volvo 1800S that was driven by Simon Templar, The Saint played by Roger Moore in the fictional detective TV show produced in the UK, a good showing of impressive muscle cars along the lake’s edge and many more that brought a coined phrase to surface.
“Highway Earth Car Show was at one with nature,” and best of all, admission and parking were free.
Visit www.highwayearth.com for more info.