HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Jon McGee, 72, has been a huge fan of cars his entire life, but nothing comes close to his love for his 1941 Ford Deluxe Coup with a brand new Chevy 350 cubic inch motor that can rev up like nobody’s business.

“I was into cars before I even got in the Navy," he said. "In high school, I built a couple of hot rods."

Every year, McGee likes to show off his beloved hot rod at the Veterans Day Car Show in Huntington Beach, which features hundreds of collector’s cars all on display at the city beach parking lot on Pacific Coast Highway.

“I just love to be around fellow guys that are my age," he said. "We all enjoy the same things."

A longtime Huntington Beach resident, McGee spent four years hunting submarines as a weapons specialist in the aviation wing of the Navy, including a quick stint in Saigon in 1972.

He bought his car 14 years ago and has been restoring it to its old glory ever since.

“I love to be around other car enthusiasts,” McGee said. 

Enthusiasts like Hans Henselman, who said he came to the show, not just to look at cool cars, but also to thank veterans for their service.

“It’s fun to talk to the folks and see how much time and energy they put into them and see the love and pride they have in these cars,” Henselman told Spectrum News 1.

This past year and a half has been particularly challenging for the veteran community. A recent study about the impact of COVID-19 on veterans found that one of seven experienced increased distress. Which is why McGee said he brought his most prized possession as a show of support.

“Veterans are very patriotic people,” he said. “We believe in law and order, obviously. So I just think it’s important that we keep strong veteran groups.”

As for his car, he will likely be polishing it for the rest of his life.

“Probably my grandson will get it,” McGee said. “It’s one of those cars that will be in the family forever.”