Jul 28, 2014

He Gets Your Motor Running

Local community leader and auto lover plays a big role in Encinitas' classic car nights.

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Doug Jones didn’t think much of it when he took his ’56 Chevy panel truck down to the Picnic by the Bay car show at Seaport Village in 2006. After all, his truck wasn’t a show car, but a “driver” he used all the time.

“I didn’t even wash my vehicle; I just drove up, had my wetsuit hanging and my board still on top and didn’t even lift the hood,” he says.

But at the end of the day, his truck had won the people’s choice award and soon after he started getting calls to help coordinate car-related events and fundraisers. Among the events he’s now involved with are the Encinitas Classic Car Cruise Nights, which kick off for the summer on June 16.

“The most common response I get from people, and it’s a feeling that gets manifested in different words, is ‘I’m driving in a postcard.’ They’re cruising into town in anticipation of a wonderful evening, and it’s beautiful,” says Jones of the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association event, which includes classic American and European autos on display, plus live music.

“Despite the fact that some of the cars can be quite expensive, owners don’t seem to have a problem parking in the lots and streets here and having people walking around,” he says. “My take on this is that the friendly, respectful nature of the community creates this happy, yet considerate, environment.”

It’s the perfect volunteer opportunity for Jones, not just because he’s service oriented—he’s well known as the director of the Pacific Southwest region of the Y’s Men/Y Service Clubs International and co-founder of the Encinitas Community Emergency Response Team—but because he’s also a car aficionado.

It’s a love affair that dates back to his childhood. Jones can remember hot summer days when, instead of riding his bike, he delivered papers on his route from the back of his mom’s black ’57 Ford convertible. He got his own ’56 Chevy convertible while a junior in high school, and also owned a ’55 Chevy pickup, a ’41 Chevy panel truck, and a Honda Scrambler by the time he was 17. Jones, who spent a little time racing in Petaluma when he was younger, estimates he’s owned between 12 and 15 classic cars in his time. He’s now down to three.

Jones has also helped with events for Wounded Warriors. (A separate initiative, Ride to Live, which gave a custom PT Cruiser woodie to a disabled soldier from Iraq, will be showcased at this week’s Classic Car Cruise Nights.) And for three years running, he’s been part of a car show at Silverado Senior Living. That event, he says, capitalizes on UCSD research that shows memory-impaired patients recall life experiences by coming into contact with items from the past such as vintage cars.

Jones says he’s heard some amazing recollections from seniors at the event, and adds that an interest in cars can establish bonds between different types of people. “In a world where people get hunkered down in professions and their own little boxes, it becomes a way to expand what we all have in common,” he says.

The Encinitas Classic Car Cruise Nights take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. the third Thursday of the month through September along Coast Highway 101, between D and K streets. For more information, visit encinitas101.com.

Everybody Into the Pool

A world-record attempt to hold the most simultaneous swim lessons takes place June 14 at the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA. Lessons in a variety of experience levels will be held from 8 to 8:45 a.m., and fees are $5 to $7. Participants will receive commemorative certificates. To see if space is still available, call 760-635-3050.

Here’s to Your Health

There is a special general plan update workshop centered on public health issues slated for June 14. The forum takes place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Encinitas Community and Senior Center, located at 1140 Oakcrest Park Dr. For more information, visit encinitas2035.info.

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