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A line of colorful dune buggies at the Little Car Show in Pacific Grove on Wednesday. (Vern Fisher - Monterey Herald)

PACIFIC GROVE >> Good things came to Lighthouse Avenue in small, very shiny packages Wednesday for the traditional freebie known as The Little Car Show, a three-block walk among vintage automobiles that were sleek and sexy, nostalgia-inducing, cuter than a Beetle or a Bug, and all the colors of the rainbow.

The fifth annual event, presented by Marina Motorsports, was limited to fossil fuel-powered micro, mini and arcane vehicles with engines under 1,601 cc, plus electric vehicles. Spike Bascou, owner of Sanctuary Rock Gym in Sand City, showed up at the show with an electric vehicle that resembled a Lego block on three wheels.

"It's a '73 Electra King, one of the original electric vehicles made in Southern California," Bascou said of the aqua-colored car, capable of traveling about 40 miles if all six of its batteries are charged. "There were probably 50 different manufacturers of these cars, and they were common on the streets and sidewalks. There were no real regulations at the time and you could pretty much take them anywhere.

"But the big, Detroit car companies started to see these things as trouble in the early '70s and sent their lawyers after them for seatbelts, bumpers, and multiple safety regulations," he said. "They squashed the whole industry."

Bascou found his Electra King online and bought it from a dealer in Southern California.


"How does it drive? It's like a roller-coaster ride," he said with a laugh. "The suspension is really rough, so it kind of rocks you around a little bit. It only has three wheels and it goes 30-plus mph, so it's ... exciting!"

For many of the cars, the Pacific Grove show was just the latest stop along a long, winding road from their birthplaces.

"This is a 1958 Enzmann 506. There were 80 of these built, the majority of which were sold in and around Europe — Northern France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium," said Erik Ouwersoot, a native of Amsterdam, Holland, now living in the Los Angeles suburb of Montrose. "Most of the 19 Enzmanns still remaining are in Southern Germany, and the majority of those are being used for hill climbs."

That's because the Swiss-built Enzmann is equipped with a short gear ratio in a Volkswagen transmission, with a Porsche engine, making it ideal for hills, he said.

"It's dangerous to drive, because it's built for racing," Ouwersoot said. "The suspension is so hard, there's only one inch of foam in the seats, and it's like a rocket off the line. One movement of your big toe on the throttle and off you go. You move the trottle an inch and a half and the car will go from idle to full open."

Marja Van Den Hende of Boulder Creek said her husband, Rick Harvie, found their 1954 MG-TF as a rust heap in the Nevada desert.

"You wouldn't recognize it as having been an MG," she said. "It was just frame rails, with body panels so horribly rusted that you couldn't tell what it was. It was in pretty bad shape."

Harvie restored the car 25 years ago — a three-year process — turning it into the gleaming, cream-colored showpiece it is today.

"It's lovely to drive," she said. "It's a little tough on heavy freeways with a lot of trucks — with mechanical brakes you don't stop too fast, and it can be challenging on some of the hills — but it's a lot of fun."

Joseph Scobey of Thousand Oaks bought his bright-orange, '74 Saab Sonett 10 years ago from a mechanic for $315 — the cost of a water pump he was about to install.

"I showed up the next day, paid him the $315, and put it on my trailer, and all of his employees were saying, 'Damn ... I would have bought it for $315!"

The sleek, sporty car was among the last Sonett's built by Saab — fiberglass with a built-in roll bar, front-wheel drive, and a standard tractor engine under the hood.

"It's fun to drive, but it's more toy-like than car-like," he said. "I can't imagine anybody driving it on the highways. I mean, I do, but not very often."

Dennis Taylor can be reached at 646-4344

Thursday's Events

Tour d'Elegance: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Pebble Beach and Carmel. • It doesn't take a lot of imagination to picture John D. Rockefeller, Franklin Roosevelt or Al Capone riding in the back of one of the magnificent Packards, Bentleys or Deusenbergs that will roll around the Monterey Peninsula. A nearly 25-mile parade of gleaming automobiles.

Automotive Film and Arts Festival: Thursday through Sunday, 4 to 11 p.m., Golden State Theatre, Monterey Marriott. Showings schedule, prices at

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion: Thursday through Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. About 550 cars from nine countries and spanning 81 production years will participate.