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Car buffs find new gathering location

La Jolla’s downtown Village is rapidly turning into a haven for car buffs.

For the last five years, Promote La Jolla, the community’s Business Improvement District, has sponsored the Motor Car Classic at La Jolla Cove, which this year drew 2,500 guests and 144 vintage vehicles.

Now there’s a new, more casual attraction in town for car collectors: impromptu weekend get-togethers between 8 and 10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays in front of Jack’s restaurant at 7863 Girard Ave.

The classic car gathering, which costs nothing other than participants’ time, was the brainchild of retired car buff Ray Hamel, who got the idea while attending a similar function in Irvine.

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“I thought, ‘This is a long drive, why not do this in San Diego?’ ” said Hamel. His next thought was that there wasn’t much going on weekend mornings in the Village.

Jack’s just happens to have a sidewalk cafe open during those same hours. It was a perfect match.

“It seemed like a good idea to me,” said Bill Berkley, Jack’s owner, who agreed the show has potential for growth. “The more publicity you get, the more people know about it and want to come out and show off their cars. It’s gaining popularity.”

The impromptu car show is catching on, attracting exotic cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis, as well as the participation of La Jolla exotic car outlets like Mercedes-Benz service center Heinz Gietz on Girard Avenue.

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For more information call (858) 272-2020.