A Coeur d’Alene Classic

Show, shine and cruise: Car d’Lane looks to next year to bring back the fun

By Abigail Thorpe



July 17 and 18 would mark the 30th anniversary of Coeur d’Alene’s beloved Car d’Lane, when the downtown streets typically fill with classic cars and happy crowds of car enthusiasts and families, but due to COVID-19 health concerns, the event was unfortunately canceled for this year. Typically held around Fathers’ Day in June every year, the event was rescheduled for July in order to allow for the traditional gathering of people, but ultimately the city made the decision to cancel and look to 2021 to bring back the beloved event.


Car d’Lane is one of the largest classic car cruises in North Idaho and started as a result of the positive reaction to the show the State Centennial brought to Coeur d’Alene in 1990. The following year, local car enthusiasts wanted to do another gathering of classic cars like that done on Father’s Day weekend when the Centennial came through town. Three years later they joined forces with the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association and Car d’Lane was formed.

All cars and trucks 40 years and older are welcome to participate in the show, and the event usually kicks off Father’s Day weekend with a group like The Red Hot Mamas dancing down the main drag of Sherman Avenue.

The Friday night cruise that follows is always a must-see for car lovers, with people lining the street to keep an eye out for their favorite cruiser, cheering the drivers and admiring the cars, and the car show is an all-day event on Saturday.

“This [would have been] the second year of bringing back the Young Builders Alley, where car enthusiasts 25 years of age and younger can show their automotive projects of any make/model/year,” says Emily Boyd, events coordinator for the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association. Each young adult can participate for the Young Builders Award, which they plan to continue for next year’s event. “The highlight will be seeing the community come together and have a great time downtown and bringing the car enthusiasts together,” she adds.

Car d’Lane is a very traditional event, focused around family, good healthy fun and an appreciation for classic cars. It’s become a much-loved community event that brings people together, and next year promises to be extra special when it returns to the main drag.

Whether you’re a fan of the muscle cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s, or like to take it back to the classic, all-original Cadillacs and Fords of the 1940s and ‘50s, there’s an era for everyone represented at the show. Visitors are invited to wander the streets, chat with car owners and peer under the hood for an up-close inspection of their favorite classic.

Coeur d’Alene’s tree-lined, old-fashioned downtown makes for the perfect backdrop for the show, and attendees can expect to run into old friends and acquaintances while wandering the show. Stop for an ice cream along the way, or take a moment to stroll the lakefront and take a rest in the park.

It’s always been a place where memories are made, and families of all ages can find something to enjoy. “One of the most memorable stories I have experienced actually took place last year,” recalls Boyd. “A gentleman entered his 1970 red convertible Datsun into the show, and then after having breakfast downtown with his best friend and family, they wandered up to the vehicle admiring it.” The friend explored the classic car, admiring the new engine that was put in just days before as the gentleman walked him around it.

“The gentleman then turned to his friend and said, ‘You like the car?’ The friend said ‘yes’ and complimented the vehicle. Then the gentleman said, ‘It’s yours buddy,’” says Boyd. After a friendly embrace, the friend got behind the wheel of what was now his restored vintage Datsun. It was a special moment that represented what Car d’Lane was about in so many ways; a time and place for friends and family to share special memories and bring joy to others’ lives.

Beyond being one of North Idaho’s most anticipated classic car shows, Car d’Lane is unique because of its stunning location and small-town feel. “We feel the community and gorgeous setting by the lake sets this event apart from the others,” explains Boyd. “Community members will sit along the cruise route and cheer on cars they love and wave to their friends. On Saturday, families and friends—whether they are knowledgeable in classics or not—will come out to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful cars.”

Visitors can make it a full weekend getaway and enjoy all that Coeur d’Alene has to offer in addition to the car show. There are several options for places to stay located right along the main downtown drag, including the Coeur d’Alene Resort, Resort City Inn and the Flamingo Motel, or you can branch out and explore what other parts of the city have to offer.

Guests can enjoy a dinner downtown after the cruise and be ready bright and early to hit the streets for the show and festivities.

As Car d’Lane joins other beloved car shows like Sandpoint’s Lost in the ‘50s that have been forced to cancel due to COVID-19, North Idaho classic car enthusiasts eagerly look forward to its return in 2021 and the opportunity to get out and celebrate, enjoy the classics and return to a sense of normalcy.

Events like Car d’Lane depend on the help and support of the community. For opportunities to volunteer and help out, call 208.415.0116 or email info@cdadowntown.com. For more information about Car d’Lane and Downtown Coeur d’Alene, visit CdADowntown.com/cardlane.


This article has been updated and differs slightly from the article you will find in print, as it was announced that Car d'Lane had been canceled after we had already gone to print on our July issue.