First Paly car meet held in over a decade

Avi Srinivasan and Maxwell Zhang

Palo Alto High School student car enthusiasts junior Edward Wong (left) and junior Adrian Federici (right) park their cars in front of the science building during lunch on Friday. This was the first car meet at Paly after a nearly 10-year hiatus. According to auto teacher Doyle Knight, the car meets traditionally have been led by students. “It’s always been student-organized, so I usually leave it up to them,” Knight said. “I’m just there to make sure that they’re doing the right things. For most of them, it’s been the students that wanted to host it.” (Photo: Maxwell Zhang)

Organizers are applauding Palo Alto High School’s first car gathering in nearly 10 years, held during lunch on Friday in front of the science building, as a step forward to revitalize the tradition.

Car meets are events where people bring their cars to a spot to admire each other’s vehicles and show off the inner workings of their cars while revving the engines. On Friday, over 20 cars were showcased by students of all grades. 

According to auto teacher Doyle Knight, car meets haven’t been held for quite a while due to scheduling conflicts.

“We haven’t done it for probably 10 years now, [but] we did it for about five years before that,” Knight said. “Then, I started coaching golf, and it just was interfering as I always had a CCS event or something. So I wasn’t able to be here [for the past events] but it’s always been popular when we’ve done it.”

The event was organized by senior Judah Maples, who said he wanted to see the revival of the car community at Paly.

“Honestly, just on a whim I kind of wanted to see all the cars on campus in one spot,” Maples said. “A couple of months ago, me and Mr. Knight talked, and I was like ‘have you ever done a car show?’ He said, ‘yeah, we did them all the time before COVID.’ And it just went from there.”

Although Maples said he is not extremely involved in the Paly car community, he still loves tweaking and fixing cars in his free time.

“I am not a big part of the Paly car community,” Maples said. “I know a couple of people. I mostly stick to myself and rebuild engines.”

According to Maples, the meeting showed a large range of unique vehicles from different decades and regions.

“We’ve got everything from a brand-new AMG Mercedes to 1970s muscle cars, 1970s European sports car and a 60s European sports car,” Maples said. “We also have all sorts of Japanese cars and sedans.”

Knight said the turnout of cars grew quickly as the event got closer, and the venue quickly filled up.

“For a while, there were maybe four cars, and then as it [the meet] got closer, more cars came,” Knight said. “We had seven, maybe 10 and now I think we are at 15. Hopefully next year we’ll continue it again.”

Senior Kalev Vaska said he enjoyed seeing the high turnout and diversity of the car meet.

“I’m actually pretty surprised that these cars showed up, I didn’t expect all that,” Vaska said. “I’m glad that there are people at Paly who still support car culture.”

Vaska said working and learning about cars is one of his passions.

I’ve been doing this car stuff for a while and been working on these cars a lot,” Vaska said. “It’s nice to see other people get into the hobby too.”