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Car classic works to cut sound impacts

La Jolla Historical Society has agreed to take steps to dampen the sound during the sixth annual La Jolla Motor Car Classic by turning the stage towards the ocean.

Car show representatives appeared before both the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation Board and Parks & Beaches Subcommittee of La Jolla Town Council last week to promote the Jan. 11 event at La Jolla Cove.

John Bolthouse III, the historical society’s executive director, said his group is “in it for the long haul” in sponsoring and promoting the car classic.

“We want to build this event and have it be advantageous, not just for the historical society but for the community,” he added.

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The historical society, which took over responsibility from Promote La Jolla as presenting organization, agreed to the change in response to concerns expressed by Parks & Beaches Subcommitee members Aug. 25.

The historical society hosting a classic car event “works.” Said Bolthouse: “It fits into our mission. Folks who preserve cars are passionate in the same way as those who preserve architecture.”

Research shows lots of historical societies around the country sponsor vintage car exhibits and that the relationship is complementary, he added.

During his presentation to the Parks & Beaches Subcommittee, La Jolla architect and historical society member Trip Bennett said the organization hopes to break even on hosting the car classic this year. After that, he said it will gradually move to improve, expand and enhance the event in years to come.

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“The next three or four years we want this to ramp up to where it’s making a significant contribution to the historical society helping to pay for a staff archivist and for our programs,” Bennett said.

“We’d love to see it become a six-figure event each year.”

Getting to that level will be challenging.

“We’ll get there mainly through sponsorship,” Bennett said.

The event costs about $80,000 to stage annually.

At last year’s event more than 100 vintage vehicles were exhibited in the juried car show which included a 1932 Cadillac, a rare 1956 Jaguar race car worth about $5 million and a 1935 Mercedes Roadster. Last year’s car classic included a tribute to restorers who actually rebuild the vintage antique automobiles.

A $15 admission fee was charged last year for the first time and a 4-foot-tall fence surrounded the venue at Scripps Park.

There will be something new in the 2010 version of the La Jolla Motor Car Classic: a road rally.

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“The day prior to the event there will a private classic car tour around San Diego County starting in Balboa Park,” Bolthouse said.

“Owners will be able to sign up their classic cars for it and they will be on public roads making very public stops around town.”