Cars, Drones, Live Steam All Part of the First Ever Virtual Car Tour

(Contributed Photo)
Jason Matthews enjoys driving his wife Jennifer’s 1974 Karmann Ghia, which was fully restored following a fire.

    The 16th annual Orinda Classic Car Show, this Covid-19 year a driving tour, hits the road Saturday, Sept. 12. Limited in-person and car gatherings forced the annual hands-on show to go virtual this year. The live stream, narrated by Steve Harwood, will be telling tales about the 100 cars in the tour from 9:30 a.m. until noon.
    Tour drivers will depart from Orinda Way in caravans of 20 cars each, starting around 10:15 a.m. They will wend their way to Moraga, Lafayette and the Berkeley Hills before returning to Orinda. You can enjoy the live stream starting at 9:30 a.m. or view the tour along the route (See graphic route map). Real-time videos and still photographs will be incorporated into the live stream along with drone coverage as cars crest at Grizzley Peak.
    The story of one of the entrants will give you a taste for more such stories if you opt to stream the Classic Car Show tour. Since her teen years, Jennifer Matthews has wanted a Karmann Ghia but always opted for practical cars. That is until last summer when she and husband Jason found her dream car in Los Gatos. Gretel, the Baja Red, fully restored 1974 Karmann Ghia, has quite a story to share.
    Gretel hummed along the freeways back to Orinda, easily keeping up with traffic. So far, so good. 45 minutes later, however, flames burst through the rear engine cover. After the fire department “doused the heck out of it,” Gretel was towed to Shell Auto Care so Kathy Mitchel and her team could get her roadworthy again. The next trip was to a specialist in Berkeley for a complete restoration. As with any antique car, Jason said they expected to face some defects, basically rust and cosmetic imperfections. They did not expect to find six layers of multi-colored paint.
    “She’s a beautiful tin can,” said Jenn, “But, with no power steering or brakes, it will be my fair-weather car.” She does, however, accentuate the positive saying, “there are a lot of more fun details and nuances.” Harwood will focus on those when he presents Gretel during the live stream tour. “We’ve ordered new license plates, “1HotFlash,” as an homage to her fire, fire power, and my middle age,” laughed Jenn, who turns 50 this month.
    Touted as the primary fundraising effort benefitting The Orinda Association’s Seniors Around Town (SAT) ride program, the annual car event faces a $15,000 dollar shortfall due to the virus enforced, new format. “With fewer than half the cars allowed to participate and no generous monetary contributions from show attendees, we are encouraging online donations to make up the difference,” said Diane Lautz, event co-chair. “There are donation links at and”
    Since 2005, SAT has arranged no-cost rides for Orinda seniors or those who have a medical condition which limits driving capabilities. During this time of COVID-19, SAT volunteers have clocked 178.5 hours of driving, shopping, running essential errands and making reassurance calls for seniors.
    To join the live stream, “Orinda Classic Car Tour,” sign in at the following zoom address: Space is limited and early registration is encouraged. The optimistic Harwood anticipates a world-wide audience, befitting the good work money raised from it provides for Orinda seniors.

(Contributed Graphic)
On Sept. 12, classic cars in caravans of 20 will drive from Orinda Way through Moraga, Lafayette and the Berkeley Hills before returning to Orinda. The Classic Car Tour can be enjoyed via a live stream or viewed at vantage points along the above route, allowing for physical distancing.

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