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CLASSIC CARS & BOB’S BIG BOY DINER: A Love Affair

Iconic American diner in Burbank hosts weekly car show welcoming everyone

By Leo Shvedsky
March 18 2022
Classic's at the classic Bob's Big Boy Diner. (Bobs.net) 

Although it sits in the shadow of cinema giants like Warner Bros. and Disney in Burbank, Calif., in terms of pure Americana, Bob’s Big Boy diner outshines them both by more than a few nits.  

A ’50s Chevy shows off its valuables. (Shutterstock) 

In addition to serving American diner classics like burgers and chicken tenders, it also satisfies the appetites of car enthusiasts with a classic car show every Friday evening. That’s right: Every single Friday from 4–10 p.m., no ticket required, you can go and check out more than few classics out in the parking lot. That’s pretty great. 

A bespoke hot rod is shown off in the parking lot. (Shutterstock) 

Built in 1949, the iconic diner’s design hearkens back to a time when the Googie architecture style of diners and coffee shops was really coming into its own, and, moreover, becoming decidedly American. Bob’s was a  pinnacle of that design. Just looking at it evokes that classic diner feel that simply warms the heart, sometimes quite literally.  

A classic meal in classic car? Yes, please. (Shutterstock) 

It does it so well that in 1992 the state of California declared the site a historical landmark — awesome news for lovers of kitsch and cars because it means that it can’t be torn down and turned into a drugstore or parking lot.  

Jay Leno at the Bob’s. (Bobs.net) 

Shortly after Bob’s Big Boy’s historicity was officially recognized, its owners decided to add a car show saying, “When declared a historical landmark, we wanted to bring the historical ’50s style back. We agreed it wouldn't be complete without the revival of classic cars in the parking lot.” 

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a vintage shot, but it’s from two years ago. (Motortrend.com) 

Since that time, the car show has become a landmark attraction in and of itself, with celebrities like the king of car collecting, Jay Leno, himself showing up, along with Brian Wilson, one of the founding members of the Beach Boys, surfing by to gawk at and show off their own amazing classic cars. 

This Caddy is perfect. (Motortrend.com) 

All in all, this show has a cozy feeling to it. You don’t have to know the difference a straight six or a V6, or what torque is to enjoy it — and while that applies to other car shows, too, sometimes the bigger shows can give nonenthusiasts the impression that enjoying cars requires deep technical knowledge to love them.  

So, whether you’re showing up for a burger in the Beatles booth, where actual Beatles’ buns warmed the pleather seat in the ’60s, or to look at a ’50s Cadillac DeVille, you’re sure to find a fantastic piece of history at Bob’s.  

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