It seems like forever that car enthusiasts in the Los Angeles area like to occasionally drive their prized cars through the Malibu hills. Or dice through traffic on Mulholland, through Topanga Canyon, or Malibu Canyon. This morphed into Cars and Coffee meets at the Trancas Country Market and Paradise Cove parking lots with the likes of Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and other personalities. But now store owners, who once rejoiced in the added business and attention, want the Ferrari and Porsche enthusiasts and people to leave.
Personalities like Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld began meeting in Malibu
At first, it was a small, secret hangout for rich collector car owners. But slowly it has attracted many enthusiasts because some of those car owners are personalities like Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. And they bring out some rare machines you only see in museums. How could any enthusiast not want to park with the entitled few?
According to the LA Times, the city of Malibu didn’t see a problem with the gatherings. At first. But once the pandemic hit the city closed down the meet-ups in March 2020. Those closings took in golf courses, tennis courts, and hiking trails; not just Cars and Coffee gatherings.
Once the Cars and Coffee meets stopped, Jay Leno and others found another spot
What happened was that a lot of the participants in the formerly casual meet-ups found other places to show up. The Malibu Village parking lot became one of those spots. It features numerous stores and restaurants on Pacific Coast Highway, across from Pepperdine University.
From just a few showing up it quickly blossomed to between 200-300 collector cars. And lots of people. That is when the problems and merchant pushback began. The LA County Sheriff’s Department called in some of the people perceived as “organizing car shows” to warn them.
Sheriff’s Lieutenant James Braden told them if the policing and traffic management started costing the city money, “it is going to come back to you,” according to the LA Times. Then, some Malibu Village merchants began putting up barricades from early morning to just before noon.
When the morning barricades went up, Leno and friends met later in the day
That was easy for car owners to navigate. They just started showing up later in the day. The car collectors began showing up around 11 AM and would stay through midday. Malibu officials began accusing those attending the casual gatherings of increasing traffic, accidents, and fatalities.
The problem is that none of this is organized. Nobody is being invited, and nobody has a contact list of participants to contact to ask them not to come. They just show up. Within 15 minutes of taking the barricades down the entire Village parking lot fills with exotic and classic cars, hot rods, and rare Ferrari and Porsche models.
Now Malibu Village merchants blame car enthusiasts for no business
With no parking left for Malibu Village customers, the sheriff’s office is called to remove show attendees. That’s because many of the merchants say their businesses are ruined. Regular or casual customers can’t get near their stores. And some can’t even get into the parking lot because once collector car owners can’t find a parking spot, they just stop their cars in the middle of aisles.
So the barricades keep customers out before 10 AM. Once they come down the lots get filled with car enthusiasts, so there still are no customers. And things don’t return to normal until later in the day. The barricades have worsened the situation, and it is as busy and crazy as it has ever been.
Some of the personalities blame the merchants, the merchants blame the car owners, and then on Sunday it starts all over again. But this time it is surfers, who fill the parking lot and head to their favorite surf spot. If you think you have a solution, call the city of Malibu with your suggestions.