Cars take center stage at La Jolla Motor Car Classic

This 1972 VW bus will be seen at the La Jolla Motor Car Classic. Courtesy
This 1972 VW bus will be seen at the La Jolla Motor Car Classic. Courtesy

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

The stars of the show at the seventh annual La Jolla Motor Car Classic this Sunday will be the vehicles themselves, and this year’s lineup includes a rare Tucker owned by the late automotive entrepreneur himself, a custom-painted 1972 Volkswagen “hippie” bus and a locally owned 1954 Ford V-6 that was sponsored by Juan Peron in the 1954 PanAmerica race.

The collectible vehicles will be among the 150 classic autos in 30 specialty classes, plus antique motorcycles, on display at Ellen Browning Scripps Park at the Cove from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the event which has car enthusiasts “buzzing” from near and far.

The Tucker is truly a prize, one of the “rarest of the rare,” of which only 47 of 51 ever produced remain. This one, owned by the entrepreneur himself and his wife, was “secreted” away from public view from for many years before being purchased in August 2010 by Eric Breslow.

Breslow related the story of how he acquired an automotive “legend.”

“I’d been looking for one for years trying through auctions,” he said. “This one was in private hands and had been bought from Tucker’s wife in 1963. The car had been hidden in South Dakota for 50 years.”

Breslow said the Tucker’s owner, J. Busker, who died of cancer in 1956 after being acquited of fraud charges that undermined his fledgling automotive company, and his heirs had inherited clear title to it.

“I happened to catch them on the right day at the right time,” said Breslow, who purchased it and keeps it in his private museum which can be accessed at


“This isn’t just a Tucker,” said Breslow. “It was Preston Tucker’s Tucker, very historically important, and tested at Indy Raceway. It was one of the cars (used) in the movie ‘Tucker: The Man and His Dream.’ ”

Breslow said the last Tucker that exchanged hands sold for $1.2 million, adding, “I would think this car would break the bank."

Another featured car, one of two being shown by La Jolla resident Howard Singer, is a 1954 "Straight 6, 223 cubic inch" Ford that finished 71st out of 300 cars entered in the last trans-Meixco road race.

"None of the V-8s finished," Singer said, noting that the all overheated.

The car car was driven by Americo Guzzini and Marcelo Bernardo Guzzini and bears the name "PERON," for its sponsor, the legendary Argentinian dictator. Singer also has managed to get an Ohio license plate with the word "PERON" on it.

He purchased the car in 2002 and drove it straight to a museum in Auburn, Ind. Prior to this weekend, which will be the first time it will be seen in California, the car's only other public showing was at a vintage grand prix show in Pittsburgh, where Singer grew up.

Also on the grass at the park will be a 1972 Volkswagen bus, whose owner was not disclosed and which normally resides in the San Diego Automotive Museum, will be on exhibit at the Motor Car Classic on April 3, said spokesman Daron Christy.

“The bus pays homage to the hippie era and has a lot of different artists — Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison, Elton John — airbrushed on it by Nick Battaglia,” said Christy. The bus was restored at Randy’s Foreign Car Clinic.

Tickets to The Motor Car Classic presented by La Jolla Historical Society are $35 in advance, $40 at the gate.

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