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Donut Derelicts: The Coolest SoCal Car Show You Don’t Know About

The Saga of a Wild and Weekly SoCal Custom Car Cruise Where Spectators Come From Around The World

John Gilbert Aug 7, 2015
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All around the world car cruises come and go, but the weekly car cruise that has been going strong 52 weeks a year for over 30 years, with a worldwide following is known as the Donut Derelicts in Huntington Beach, California. There’re a lot of good reasons why the early morning gathering has outlasted many other events of its kind and that’s because everyone is welcome.

There’s no discriminating if a soul wants to roll in with an oddball make from a country no one has ever heard of. This can range from the rarest-of-the-rare European exotics and the latest Detroit has to offer to hydrogen-powered future rides. That being said, the majority of cars present are mid 20th century American muscle and they tend to gather among their own kind. Some of the cars, trucks, and motorcycles are regulars and sometimes a vehicle shows up once and then it’s never seen again.

Donut Derelicts Chevy 1957 Bel Air 20 Inch Wheels 2/47
Donut Derelicts Chevy Wurlitzer Pickup 3/47

The event got its name back in 1984 when the small group of guys that gathered around Adams Avenue Donuts before heading off to perform honey-dos or head to the shop declared themselves “just a bunch of donut derelicts.” The name stuck forever when the late graphic artist Rick Finn penned a Donut Derelicts logo and had decals made. The original Donut Derelict decals are still available inside the donut shop for anyone that’s got $5 cash on them.

On any given Saturday, the parking lot is packed with finest-of-the fine and the not-so-fine automobiles. Of course, Chevrolets, of all kinds make up a huge majority of the cars in attendance. I’ve been going to Donut Derelicts since 1984 when Rick invited me to bring my trusty old Nash two-door station wagon. The donut shop is at the corner of Magnolia and Adams in Huntington Beach, and it’s best to get there around 5:00 a.m. if you’d like to find a decent parking spot. It’s always been tradition to leave before 9:00 a.m. so we wouldn’t interfere with the other businesses in the shopping center.

Donut Derelicts Chevy Rat Rod Blown Front 4/47
Donut Derelicts Chevy 1937 Gasser Driver Side Cragars 47/47

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