Story Behind Monarch Bay Motor Club

Well, where do I start?   Spring 2002 looks like a good time!

I’ve always enjoyed those special times hanging around with people that share the same passion I do with anything Horse Power!

Jim Cocoros is one of those Guys!  One morning in early 2002, Jim and I were having a cup of coffee in Laguna Beach at GOKO’s cafe when we decided that it was time we put together an informal Saturday Morning gathering of our good car buddies to share coffee and car stories.  We decided to walk across the street and talk with Jim’s buddy at Laguna Pete’s auto service and see if it would be ok to have a few classic cars meet on Saturday mornings for an hour or two.  He said “No Problem”.  The following Saturday morning there we were – Jim and I, Pete Wendorf and Jim Roy.  By the next weekend there were 10 to 12 Guys and their cars.  One Problem – we only had room for 10 or 12 cars..  Later that week, Jim and I decided to go on the hunt in Coastal Orange County for a spot where we could, perhaps be a little more comfortable.  While cruising up the coast in my ‘47 Chrysler Town and Country, we spotted a large and empty parking lot in a new shopping center called Crystal Cove.  We pulled in and loped around the parking area, and to our surprise, a new Starbuck’s was preparing to open the following week.  I knocked on the door and the Manager opened up and invited us in.  Within a few minutes, the deal was cast!  The following week, after numerous phone calls, we were able to get a half dozen of our car buddies to meet us in front of the Starbucks!  They were, Dave aka “Rodman” Gibbs, Jim aka “Palopa Top” Roy,  Pete aka “The Hammer” Wendorf, Jim aka “Sparky” Roy, Bill aka “Esquire” Rooklidge, Jim aka “The Greek” Cocoros and Myself, Johnny aka “Carwash” Fotsch.  The date was January 25, 2003.

Well, as many of you know, over the next few months, Crystal Cove, as it came to be known, “Blew Up” into one of the fastest growing car gatherings on the West Coast.  It didn’t take long for the growing pains to become evident. By summer time, a small but feisty group of car enthusiasts, that included many of the original Crystal Cove founders, decided it was time to splinter off and locate an alternate location for Saturday mornings.  This group’s main criteria: the location be central to most South Orange County cities, that it be on or next to the coast, that we start by learning from what transpired at Crystal Cove that eventually caused its early demise, and that we be all-inclusive – all motorized vehicles and their owners would be welcome!

This time it was Dave Gibbs and myself that started the trek to locate the optimum location.  It took exactly 25 minutes driving south on PCH and there it was – Monarch Bay Plaza!  As we pulled into the parking lot, once again there was Starbucks – Who’d a Thunk?  The next Monday I met with the property manager for Monarch Bay Plaza and the Starbucks Manager.  I explained that we were an “Unofficial Group” of car lovers that met on Saturday mornings for a couple of hours.  They welcomed us with open arms!  They did however stress that there would be a set of rules regarding gathering times and noise regulations that we would need to adhere to.  I stressed that we would self-police!  Our first Saturday morning was August 10th 2003.  Can you believe we are in our ninth year?  It has indeed been a hand in glove fit with Monarch Bay Plaza and the affection we all have for Starbucks and the incredible crew that provides us with our Saturday morning pick me ups!

Saturday Mornings at Monarch Bay Plaza have become like Church services for many.  Our time together has created an affectionate atmosphere that I, for one, indeed cherish!

Live Long and Keep Motoring,

Johnny “Carwash” Fotsch

A photo of the first Saturday morning at Monarch Bay

August 10, 2003

From left to right the original cast of characters are:  

Bob Hubbard, Danny Quan, Bill Rooklidge, Johnny Fotsch, Jim Bocca, Dave Gibbs and Pete Wendorf.

Week Two of Monarch Bay…

Laguna Pete’s  Auto Repair, Spring 2002



One comment on “Story Behind Monarch Bay Motor Club

  1. Thanks to Johnny and John for putting this package together. Cool folks and cool cars! Saturday morning at the Monarch Bay gathering is the beginning of my week.

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