Featured: Drive Tastefully: Paramount Ranch Was a Rolling Concours

Drive Tastefully: Paramount Ranch Was a Rolling Concours

By Jonathan WC Mills
November 19, 2014
14 comments

Photography by Afshin Behnia, Kika Vigo-Behnia, and Luke Wooden

When Petrolicious was launched, our founder Afshin Behnia was compelled by a simple motivation; he wanted to see the static automotive concours events brought to life. He wanted to experience the sounds and sights of glorious motion because, at its heart, Petrolicious is a celebration of driving.

This weekend was the second off-line driving event for Petrolicious and it was a resounding success. Drive Tastefully: Paramount Ranch brought together an eclectic crowd of Petrolisti and their cars for a spirited drive, and leisurely lunch, through Southern California’s mountains and valleys.

The participants and cars ranged from around the globe: a rare Morgan 3 Wheeler, a Mini Cooper driven down from Sacramento, a colorful party van from the 1970s, a plethora of rare Alfas, Ferraris, and one very special Porsche 906, a ‘one of fifty’ car that was clearly the belle of the ball. The diversity represented by the vehicles pulling into the Malibu parking lot truly captured Petrolicious’s spirit.

I also noted attendees’ friendly attitude, even at a time of day when most people shy from personal contact. Everywhere friends and strangers gathered in small clumps to discuss their cars, the drive, and what brought them together. The bonhomie was apparent and to my mind, quite special.

After a light repast of coffee and pastries it was time for Afshin to announce that it was “time to start our engines!” The assembled masses decamped en masse, rally maps in hand, to begin the journey. The roar of seventy-odd, mostly carbureted, vehicles suddenly shattered the morning air, although the early consensus was that the tiny Abarth Zagato of Carl Gustav Mangusson had the loudest bark in a crowded field of competitors.

One by one we headed out and into the hills of Malibu—a train of eager participants. Blessed with light traffic we seemed, for a moment in time, alone on the road in the company of likeminded strangers and even more fantastic cars.

Multiple Generations of Porsche at Paramount Ranch

Going topless at Paramount Ranch

Alfa Romeo 105s on one of the Paramount circuit’s old curves

As we wound our way into the mountains, some sped ahead while others cruised more leisurely, myself included. The curvy roads quickly took us deep into a pastoral landscape, the mist and fog revealing a fantastical environment that caused my own young passenger to exclaim, “that looks like middle earth!” and he was right.

My experience was more visceral as I was surrounded by unique cars all along the route, which provided a deep-seated jolt; like being a child again and feeling the rush of seeing a favorite car on the road in front of you…only now it was five dozen of them! It’s one thing to see so many vintage automobiles sitting in a parking lot, but an entirely different experience to be side-by-side with a Porsche 906’s wail! It was truly an awesome sight to see cars, meant to be driven hard, piloted with brio and purpose.

At one point I was behind an almost identical pair of silver Ferrari 308s, a sight that is at once incongruous, amazing, and very 1980s! I later found myself followed by an immaculate black Dino 246 and thought, “where else could this happen, but on a rally like this?” I was also delighted to see so many participants choosing to “leapfrog”, meaning they chose to stop and wait until a different group of participants arrived and joined them on the road. This allowed us, over the 160 miles, to experience being grouped with different cars, speeds, and driving styles…and made for a less competitive atmosphere; a truly “gentleman’s” rally.

The first major stop was Ojai and the residents of this sleepy little resort town didn’t know what hit them when eighty or so raucous cars descended on a single gas station! It was a madhouse of the absolutely best kind. Datsun Roadsters crowding Lamborghini Espadas and hey, is that Jack Nicholson’s Mercedes 600? Why yes, yes it is!

Gassed up, we headed down to the coast along the sparkling Pacific Ocean. The two lanes of Route 101 and later, the Pacific Coast Highway, allowed the cars to stretch their legs and participants to absorb the scenery, although at one point being behind half-a-dozen Italian exotics had me feeling like I was in Rome circa 1971, pre-emissions standards.

Were there hiccups? Well, an immaculate VW GTI lost its hood. The hood tumbled, flipping off on the highway like a deadly metal potato chip. But luckily, no one was injured. Another Porsche lost its transmission early in the day, but the vast majority of the guests arrived at Paramount Ranch with both cars and spirits intact.

Paramount Ranch, a Southern California old-west landmark with a hidden past as a real racetrack was a welcome respite after the long, spirited drive. The miles we traveled were substantial, as were participants’ hunger pangs! The group was quickly satiated by some of the best BBQ this writer has had the pleasure of consuming, and I eat a lot of it!

After filling up on BBQ and taking another tour of the cars we reluctantly packed it in. Drive Tastefully: Paramount Ranch was something special. No one in attendance will soon forget it and for me it was a vivid reminder why I joined this amazing team in the first place, a tactile experience of collective automotive passion…a rolling concours.

Legends of the ’80s

Supercars

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fred smailes
fred smailes

Looks like Mike’s Fairlady on the end

Max RSR

Count me in for the next one, looks like fun! Too bad about the dude with the hood that flipped up!!! :o:o:o:o:o

Winston Wolfe
Winston Wolfe
Hey, that looks like a brilliant event. the one you want to experience on a regular basis. Yoav car is however missing on the supercar picture 😉 I am astonished that so many Alfa stood the test of rust, I didn’t expect sales volume to be significant in the US. Also a warmth to see two products of my homeland, the Facel and the DS. and so many Alfa that enlighted the streets in my childhood: Nuova Giulia, Spider, Bertone, Alfetta GTV, Berlina ! Just a question: is the car referred to as a beige Berlina not indeed the Nuova… Read more »
grandprix
grandprix

The whole day was a winner. Great lot of cars and Just good all around folks. The highlight was clearly the rape van though, that and that amazing grey citroen.

Samir Shirazi
Samir Shirazi

well done Afshin, thanks for your perfect website which I am addicted to read every night all of the articles. It would be a pleasure to cooperation with Petrolicious from Italy or maybe Iran.

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

You’re too kind! Just doing what we enjoy doing. Would love to do an Italian rally! So many great roads and venues and the FOOD!

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Looks like a fabulous event, loved the pictures and also the ones posted by many of the entrants on instagram (#drivetastefullyrally). Is that a Facel Vega Facellia or the Volvo engined Facel III?

Aaron McKenzie
Aaron McKenzie

Matthew – That’s a Facelia, brought to the event by Mark Morgan who added a great write-up of his own to our Facebook page. Read it here:

Drive Tastefully – Paramount Ranch Nov 15, 2014What an incredible feeling to be motoring on some of the best roads for…

Posted by Mark Morgan on Monday, November 17, 2014

Rob
Rob

WOW!!!!
Any true enthusiast would be in heaven to have attended this event.
I’m on cloud 9 just ready this and drooling over these pictures.
Any chance of having an event like this in Ontario , Canada ……like in the beautiful Muskoka’s?
Amazing job thank you for sharing Petrolicious.

Gary Rand
Gary Rand
Kudos to Petrolicious for a great event. Casual, well organized and a really eclectic mix of cars and participants. It was refreshing to see a sizeable group of young enthusiasts which bodes well for the future of our mutual hobby. Oh, T.J & Dustin, I followed the “yank tank” Pontiac through a section of rather tight twisties and the driver certainly earned my respect. My wife inquired as to, “what are those antennas near the wheels?” She had never seen curb feelers before. All in all, a nice day and the “rolling concours” description really sums it.
TJ Martin
TJ Martin
Curb feelers . Yeah … one does need to be of a ‘ certain age ‘ as well as either been born a Yank or at least lived here for 40-40 years to be familiar with those little gems of what was then considered ‘ modern technology ‘ back in the day . scraaaaaaape ! 🙂 As far as your following the ‘ Tank ‘ as well as the driver ? Thats the one concept I have the hardest time getting across to my Gear/PetroHead friends from the EU/UK . Sure those beasts were/are a handful on the best of… Read more »
Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

I really love seeing that silver Corvair but damn that big old Pontiac coming your way is awesome

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

Nice mix of cars . Really nice in fact . Even a bonafide genuine US Government Grade A inspected Yank Tank [ the Pontiac ]

From everything shown here it looks like you had yourselves a winner this year !

But err … if I may ….. one very small minor complaint ? Why no photo of Jackie N’s 600 ? Snif …

Jose Ignacio Guerra
Jose Ignacio Guerra

Gongrats!!! is seems that was an excellent event hope that I could enjoy one of these rides on a very close future, II truly believe that Petrolicious is the link between old and new generation of the Classic cars owners.;)

All the Best,

El Doc

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