Disneyland Car Club Day and Autocade
The Disneyland Car Club Day and Autocade was a car show held on September 5, 1959 by the Road Lords of So. Cal. car club. It was a spectacular one-day event that took place at Holidayland in Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The show was promoted as an annual show but was only held once.
The participants of the car show drove their cars down Main Street USA and continued to Holidayland for the show and judging. The show was put together and produced by Marvin Karjala and current Road Lords of So. Cal. president Tom Woolley. At the time the show was held, Disneyland was only about 4 years old, and they were hungry for special events to bring more customers to Disneyland. The Road Lords of So. Cal. was also sanctioned by the Los Angeles Police Department Advisory Council, and Ray James, who was a member of the club at the time, believes that may have helped promote the idea of the car show to Disneyland. The club consisted of about 12 members at the time, and Ray's contribution to the show was to get sponsors for prizes and promote radio advertising Another member, Bob Holley, worked as the Public Address Announcer that day, and he remembers that he had to tell George Barris over the PA system that if he didn't move his car, a red Cadillac, which he had asked him to do at least twice before, then the club would push it off. The reason was that according to the agreement with Disneyland, they could not have any car motors started or running during the event for safety reasons.
Marvin and Tom put their own money up on stake, and bought all of the trophies and plaques with their own money. Marvin's son, Lee Karjala, suspects that the show was not a financial success for his father and his brother-in-law Tom, because they never duplicated it or talked about it after the one-day event. Lee also has a dim memory about the Disney organization may have asked for more money to rent Hollidayland for a show the following year, and that Tom and his father thought it was more work than it was worth. Cliff Riehl was another member of the club. In 2020 Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama asked Cliff about the show, and he could tell him that the reason there was only one show, was that "Disney took all the money."
Bob Holley left very early from the show the next morning. He was an ambulance driver at the time, working 24 hours shifts, so he wanted to go home and get some rest before going back to work the next day. When Bob left the show, everything was going smoothly, and all cars left the show in a single file as they had agreed to do. At the next club meeting, he heard that there was not going to be another event. The reason for this was that some of the guys that attended the show decided to make a show of leaving the show after Bob had left. Ray James remembers that he was really disappointed that the club would not be going forward and start working on a 1960 show, and he left the club shortly afterward.
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