Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Classic Cars Shine on Historic Route 395 Rally

erris City Councilman Al Landers outside the Perris Theatre under a sign designating D Street as part of historic Highway 395
Perris City Councilman Al Landers outside the Perris Theatre under a sign designating D Street as part of historic Highway 395.

More than 30 classic car lovers gathered in Perris to take part in a historic rally along a historic roadway.

The first ever Route 395 road rally began Saturday at the Perris Theatre on D Street—part of the original Route 395 – and snaked its way to through Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, Temecula and Rainbow before ending in Fallbrook.

 All the communities along the 35-mile route call Route 395 home and some of the participants came from those cities to be part of the rally.

The California legislature declared Route 395 a historic route in 2008.

The 900-mile road links California from San Diego to the Oregon border and for decades served as the lifeline through the Golden State, carrying passengers and merchandise. The route served as the main road along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough drove from Perris to Fallbrook in a classic Volvo
Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough drove from Perris to Fallbrook in a classic Volvo.

Perris City Council members Al Landers and Mark Yarbrough came to wish the rally-goers good luck. Both said the trip was particularly significant because Perris is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2011.
“This is a historic event and I am proud to be part of it,” Landers said. “This is another great event for the City of Perris. Route

395 served for many years as a lifeline for California and Perris is on that lifeline. It is truly a historic route and I am glad it has been recognized as such.”

Yarbrough took part in the trip to Fallbrook.

He came with a classic car—a 1956 Volvo P-1900. The car is one of less than 70 built and one of less than 50 known to exist worldwide. Yarbrough said the City of Perris is known for partnering with other agencies to bring significant events to Perris while raising the community’s profile at the regional, state and national levels.

“I hope this rally becomes an annual event,” Yarbrough said. “It would be nice to share it with everyone. This is one of those quality-of-life issues that make Perris a fun place to live.”

The caravan stopped for a few minutes in Temecula, which was part of a circuitous route from Perris to Fallbrook
The caravan stopped for a few minutes in Temecula, which was part of a circuitous route from Perris to Fallbrook.

People began gathering at the art deco Perris Theatre about 30 minutes before the rally began. City staff members Erica Tello and Cynthia Quintero handed out water and mementos to the participants. The theatre was open for tours and road rally participants said they were impressed with the way the City is restoring the building to its original grandeur.

“This facelift has really energized the whole City,” said Brad Benson, who came to Perris in a 1972 Volvo E-S 1800. “The fact that the City has taken over the theatre is really fantastic.”

A caravan of Fords and Chevrolets, coupes, convertibles, station wagons and roadsters took off from Perris. They included pristine cars and well-used vehicles that are driven every day.

Jack Harlow came with his 1954 Chevy-210 Sedan.

“It’s a blast from the past,” he said. “It brings back my high school days. I love going to these sorts of events because you talk about cars and old times. It’s just a ball.”

Traveling along Highway 395 meant moving at speeds of 30 to 40 mph. The winding route also included many stop signs—a far cry from today’s freeways. A crowd of well-wishers cheered at the caravan as it proceeded through Old Town Murrieta, waving signs and shouting words of encouragement.

Upon arrival in Fallbrook, Route 395 enthusiasts gathered to talk about the day and the first-ever rally along the highway.

“We had an excellent turnout and I am really appreciative that the City of Perris was there to support us,” said Jeffrey Harmon, a Rainbow resident and member of the Historic Route 395 Association.”It’s a fun thing that introduces a lot of people who belong to car clubs to the route. You get to see historic landmarks along the route. It’s a lot of fun.”

Councilman Yarbrough returned to Perris along Interstate 15, making the 35-mile trek in about half an hour, a far cry from the two-and-a-half hour trip along historic route 395. He said he was glad to take part in the rally.

“It’s something we would definitely want to be part of in the future,” he said. “I think we made a huge impression on the people who drove down from Perris. They marveled at the Downtown area. They were excited to be part of it. It was a nice draw for the City.”