MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
For the past seven years the Marine Corps Community Services Auto Skills Center has held a car and motorcycle show here. Classic, performance and American muscle cars brought by auto enthusiasts and car clubs, such as Wicked Stangz, Heavy Hitterz and the Over the Hill Gang, were on display next to the depot Fitness Center, July 31.
The event is not only intended to showcase vehicles, but also to help the Marine Toys for Tots foundation.
The car show was previously held in December because it was close to the Toys for Tots collection time, but this year it was moved to July to avoid the cold and rain of winter, said Tim Crain from the Southern California Shelby American Automobile Club.
“Moving to July was a bonus versus having it in December,” said Crain. He said it was a good thing because in December it rains a fair amount, and his car, a 1965 Shelby Cobra, does not have a top.
Along with the vehicle enthusiasts and car clubs, many vendors participated in the event. Vendor stands provided information on where to find local transmissions, clutch repair, paint and body jobs and detailing. Food and entertainment was also provided.
The entry for the show was a small fee and a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots program, said Jose Ortega Garcia, manager at the Auto Skills Center.
“Anything we can do to help the Marines,” said Terry Nally of Escondido, Calif., and Bent Fenders car club member. “Like the donation of toys and raffle tickets.”
Most of the local car shows are oriented toward the military, said Nally. They donate necessities and amenities to troops, he said.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Jerry Price from Alpine, Calif., and member of the Over the Hill car club. “It’s a morale booster for the Marines and sailors on base.”
The show gives servicemembers a chance to get involved in building and customizing cars, said Price They get to interact with the community and with many veterans who are hot rod enthusiasts. Additionally many car clubs such as the Prowlers and the Corvette Club make themselves available to young military members for advice and guidance on the hobby, said Price.
The show wasn’t just for the cars to sit around looking pretty; it was also for competition. There were awards for General’s Choice, People’s Choice, the top three motorcycles and cars in each category. The categories were Bullitt, Classic, Custom Car, Hot Rod, Import, Low Rider, Motorcycle, Truck, Muscle Car and Most Unique.
Jim Casey, a member of the South Bay Cruisers car club, won the General’s Choice award with a restored 1957 Chevy.
Even if some of the participants didn’t win, many said they left the show with the knowledge that they may have positively influenced a new car enthusiast to get started. The show was a chance for troops and their families to mingle with other car enthusiasts, veterans and to possibly start a new hobby, said Price.