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MICHAEL ECKERSON March 11, 2023 Events

24 Years of style and shine

Old Towne Orange, CALIFORNIA is a UNIQUE historical location, and yet is a VERY progressive and updated city. It honors its past in its architecture, and also equally embraces the hipster, gastropub culture. The Orange Plaza Annual Car Show is an urbane example of this unity. 

The Annual Orange Plaza Car Show, now in its 24th year, is one of the best annual car show events in Orange County. The Orange Plaza Car Show is the Rotary Club’s biggest fundraiser event which brings in $30,000 (+) each year to support the “Mentor Meals” program as well as home improvement assistance for local residents with disabilities, and senior citizens.

 …one of the best annual car show events in Orange County

The annual event lines the Circle’s streets with all styles of cars and trucks
The charm of Old Towne Orange is present in its architecture and culture
A very clean Impala  shines brightly in the afternoon sun
This perfect, drop-top ‘64 faces the tree-lined Circle and its famous fountain

The event takes place in the famous Orange Circle, which dates back to 1871 when it was literally a stake in the ground. That stake was at the center of an oval, 170 feet by 200 feet, called Plaza Park, the heart of the Plaza Historic District. Many of the tall trees in the area date back over a hundred years. The Circle is recognized as the oldest dedicated parkland in Orange County and the park itself was placed on the National Register in 1978. The Plaza Historic District is at the center of the original one square mile area where the City of Orange began. The huge fountain in the center harkens back to the early days of Old Towne Orange, where the surrounding buildings share the unique style of that bygone era. It feels a bit like time travel.

The Circle is recognized as the oldest dedicated parkland in Orange County

GM on display in red, white and blue

Slammed and bagged Ford Econoline truck in perfect purple paint
A group of  Nash Metropolitans

The town is always pleasantly welcoming and vibrant so this event takes place in a perfect setting. On display are hundreds and hundreds of polished automotive examples which include American classics, European classics, restomods, barn finds, hot rods, rat rods and much more. There were small  groupings of the same models set side-by-side giving you get a real good look at style changes between model years. Since all entries are tagged, it is a great way to test your classic car knowledge.

The streets that lead to the Circle and its famous fountain are Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street. Both of these main thoroughfares are cordoned off for the event, as well as several adjacent streets that intersect so there is only foot traffic. This makes for a rather large car show that winds through the quaint center of town past the variety of antique stores, pubs, furniture and record stores, diners, restaurants and shops. Plenty of distractions and welcome additions to a wonderful day spent outdoors enjoying all the chrome eye-candy.

A rare Lancia Flavia Vignale
Rat Rod truck, Frenched and modded with cool pin striping makes a bold statement
Blown T-Bucket with subtle flame-work
1965 Chevrolet El Camino in sweet lime green

It’s hard to beat this exceptional event. It’s family and dog friendly, with lots of tasty food offerings lining the streets at any of the unique restaurants like Provisions, the Blue Frog, Gabbi’s and Citrus City Grill to name a very few. Plenty of shopping options, including lots of sponsors, local businesses and vendors that line the sidewalk around the Circle’s famous fountain.

If you missed this year, put this one in your car show calendar for next year. Some of the cars on display I have not seen anywhere else.

It feels a bit like time travel

The exciting orange paint on this‘58 Corvette fits in just right at this event
You wish your mom drove this badass grocery-getter way back when
The turnout was great for this annual event
“Flat Rat”
Super-clean 1957 Buick Century Caballero Estate Wagon
Iconic classics were everywhere
This Blazer with a 454 is serious hardware
The Buick Skylarks were well represented here with several models on display
The iconic Ford Five-Window Coupe
This VW Bug had some beautiful appointments

It’s hard to beat this exceptional event

The understated style of the 1965 Buick Riviera Grand Sport
This Woody was the “Bomb”
1962 Chevrolet Impala had lots of attention to detail

This blown beast of a Monte Carlo was complete with registered license plates
This tough and stylish 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle alongside a few earlier versions gave a good look at changes in the marque


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