Driven

Famous cars of San Diego and their owners

Mechanic’s warnings, Morris the car, 120mph in the 1930s, Benz hater, VW bus and Porsche lovers, South Bay Mexican dragsters, and why we aren’t driving Santees today

Pop the Hood and Open Your Wallet Drive in at midday. See the gas attendants, red rags dangling limply from their grease-stained back pockets, leaning against pumps, waiting. But after a Padres or Chargers game ...

Mary Jackson's Faith

Mary Jackson founded a ministry in Barrio Logan. She helps women learn job skills. Mary drives a new Honda Element. “Do you want to hear how I got such a nice car?” she asks. I ...

Minimalist on a Motorcycle

Michael Emerson, the optician at Hart Optical, rides a big Suzuki. He tells me, “It’s a Cavalcade 1400 cc. Suzuki gave up on them in ’88 and built the last generation in ’89 from parts ...

Paul and His Dueling Mufflers

Paul Koch spent six years as road manager for the San Diego Chicken. Now that he’s in real estate, you might see his Cadillac around town. “I drive a big car with a big name,” ...

Bean Bandits

San Diego's Mexicans who dragged at Paradise Valley Road and went on to Bonneville

Along the south side of Paradise Valley Road, from the mesatop by Bell Junior High School, waves of rooftops undulate down to the shore of the hazy blue bay. The area is graded, developed, and ...

Why aren't we driving Santees today?

The Santee and the Dolphin — cars engineered in San Diego

You can take the boy out of the car, but sometimes you just can’t get the car out of the boy. Especially if he grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, the hot rod and ...

Go, speed racer! Go, speed racer!

Corvette owners are into them for show, so are Ferrari owners. But Porsche owners are purposeful people.

You have seen them, these Porsches — on highways, on city streets, in parking lots — and you have coveted. You have gazed at them as they passed you, stopped and walked around them when ...

Do you ever get called filthy, hippy swine?

San Diego proud VW bus owners — and the story of the Nazi mechanic

The year is 1949, Volkswagen is up and running, building Beetles for the amusement of the four people in America who know about them. Nineteen forty-nine was also the year Volkswagen began commercial production of ...

Overdrive

San Diego was a smaller town then, and the Road Ramblers used it as a racecourse.

"A lot of us guys had an interest in hopping up cars, and I finally said, 'Let’s get a little organization together.’ So we met in one of the guys’ garage. Armistice Day, the 11th ...

Training Wheels

San Diegans' first cars: Susan Golding, Nick Reynolds, Sandy Dijkstra, Bob Dale, and others

For me, first car was my parents’ car, a 1958 Hilman Lynx. This thing was a squat, 35-horsepower English import the size of a VW bug, except square. It had the aerodynamics of a grocery ...

Saturday Night Is for Sleepers

Drag-racing from Vons at Balboa and Genesee

From the freeway a half-mile across on the other side of Rose Canyon, it must look like a muscle car convention in the glare of the floodlit parking lot. Someone says that the security cops have blinders on.

Pop the Hood and Open Your Wallet

North County car repair horror stories - from a mechanic himself

Smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, auto mechanic Alec Smith sits at a booth inside a surfers' dive on First Street, Encinitas. Five months earlier, he had quit a North County service station, where he’d worked ...

Morris the Car

I knew all the hulks at San Diego Foreign and Elmer’s wrecking yards.

I didn’t buy the car just because it was cute. These are the best cars the English ever made, no matter what anyone may say about how much that is saying. (Some would have you ...

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