The Road Kings of Burbank started in 1952 as a club for local drag racers and hot rodders. However, the group, which is a co-producer of an upcoming car show, has become much more than a bunch of racing enthusiasts.
This weekend, the social-welfare organization will celebrate its 65th anniversary during the annual Downtown Burbank Car Classic, where car collectors and enthusiasts will bring their classic, exotic and celebrity vehicles and put them on display along San Fernando Boulevard between Magnolia Boulevard and Angeleno Avenue.
During the event, which will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, the Downtown Burbank Car Classic will honor the club for supporting several charities and nonprofits in Burbank.
Though many of its 100 members still talk about modified cars and racing, the Road Kings’ main focus for the past 30 years has been giving back to Burbank and the surrounding communities.
So far, the group has donated over $500,000 to numerous nonprofits and charities, including the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, the Burbank Aviation Museum and the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, said Don Baldaseroni, who is in charge of the car shows with which the Road Kings is involved.
“We’ll do car shows and bring out some of our members’ cars for different things,” Baldaseroni said. “Everything we do, they donate to our charities. We don’t do anything for money other than donations.”
Baldaseroni, who has been a member of the Road Kings since 1989 and is a history enthusiast as well, said the group has also done its best to support local museums and history organizations, such as the Burbank Historical Society, the Burbank Police and Fire Museum and the Burbank Fire Fighters Muster and Historical Club.
Because the organization revolves around automobiles, Baldaseroni said the Road Kings gives out scholarships to students who are interested in automobile engineering or becoming a mechanic.
“I think our sport is on a decline because kids now don’t have auto shop programs anymore,” he said.
Though the Road Kings is not a service organization such as the Rotary or Kiwanis, Baldaseroni said he thinks the car shows the group puts on bring the community together.
And rather than keep the donations they receive during the events, Baldaseroni and the group would much rather help other organizations that need help with their fundraisers.
“It’s not worth our time and effort to keep the money,” Baldaseroni said. “It’s good to give it somebody that’s less fortunate. Donating the money just makes you feel good.”
For more information, visit downtownburbankcarclassic.com.