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  • Chuck Marra

Car Classic by the Sea

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Cars and hats were the order of the day, so we brought both.

Megan and I have never had a car in a car show, but the Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Central California was going to the Montecito Classic Motor Classic, and now that we are members of that club, we were excited about going.

We woke up early, had breakfast, and had to be there by 7:30. Santa Barbara County is beautiful any time of day, but in the mornings, it's got its own kind of magic.

The air was damp and chilly. The dew from the ocean glistened on the long leaves of the huge avocado trees. We got in our Alfas, Megan and I in ours, Paul and Mary in their red Duetto, and we caravanned over to the Montecito Polo Fields, where the car show was being held.

We parked Sofia in a prescribed spot, and were surrounded by impressive company older Alfas: Ferraris, Maseratis, Lancias, Austin Healys, Shelbys, and some very distinctive Rolls Royces.

There was the classic white Rolls...

The Rolls with the custom wooded boat tail...

...and the rolls you take out when you're hunting game birds..

...with conveniently packed luncheon feast in the boot, complete with Burberry table cloth and sterling silver cups, and a silver wine bucket to keep the libation properly chilled.

There were a lot of great cars, but Alfa owners are the most fun. They are so friendly and welcoming. If you are an Alfisti, you're family; simple as that.

I heard they were offering doughnuts and coffee in in the Hagerty tent ( ). I strolled around the polo field, sipping and noshing and looking at some of the most beautiful automobiles ever built.

People walked by and stopped and talked. So many people had a connection with an Alfa Spider. Some used to have one. Others remembered their fathers had one and loved it. Everyone remembered how much fun it was.

The day grew hotter, and we were getting hungry. We pulled out the lunch we had packed. It did not have the same layout as the hunting Rolls, but we always keep a small table packed for emergency lunches, and Mary brought an Irish linen napkin, which we used as a tablecloth so as not to be completely shunned by the RR Hunting Club. Mary made a frittata with onions and parmesan cheese, and we ate hummus and bread and vegetables and drank some very swanky bottled water, compliments of the Motor Classic and Hallstein Water.

However, we did get inspired, and next year, we are planning a larger Italian-style feast... more food, larger tables... perhaps some cafe umbrellas, and getting the event to let us Alfas park together.

It was quite a day on a polo field at the foothills of the mountains near Santa Barbara, Carpenteria, to be precise, by the Pacific Ocean. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon.

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