Proud car owners show
off their classics

As part of a special Labor Day celebration this weekend, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet presents a special classic car showcase in addition to its usual everyday shopping deals.

Classic Cars

"Show and Shine Celebration"

» Where: Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

» When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

» Admission: 50 cents

» Call: 486-6704

Called the "Classic Cars Show and Shine Celebration," Sunday's event will feature more than 100 vehicles from the West Side Cruisers Car Club in the makai Pearl Harbor side of the stadium's parking lot.

"It'll be a throwback to the old school days, like in the '50s," said West Side founder and president George Helekahi, who started the club in 2000. "You know, rat rods with the primer, chop top and suicide doors -- real nostalgic."

Membership has increased to about 45 people since the club began reaching beyond Leeward Coast residents to welcome applicants from all over Oahu. Once a month, members meet to discuss upcoming events and socialize before heading out for a cruise and potluck at various locations around the island.

Besides car shows such as Sunday's at the stadium, the West Side Cruisers also host various fundraising events, donating proceeds to local schools and the D.A.R.E. drug prevention program.

"It's all about having fun and giving back to the community," Helekahi said. "To tell you the truth, I do it because it's my passion."

Much of that passion stems from family ties to the hot rod culture. Most WSCCC members are in their 30s and 40s, and have fond memories of working on cars at a young age.

"I was brought up in this hot rod scene," said Helekahi. "We all do our own work, the painting and chopping, building the motors and frames and all of that."

While he doesn't deter new members from importing mainland hot rods for enjoyment on local roads, the sense of accomplishment gained from building a vehicle from the ground up is a pretty big deal. Part of owning a hot rod is the feeling that the car is an extension of the owner's personality, a glimpse into the creative side of the person behind the wheel.

"I've got friends and family that go to the mainland and buy these $100,000 cars," he said. "It's a good thing if you've got the money, but you don't feel proud about yourself if you didn't build it."

Along with the homegrown hot rods, Sunday's event will also feature live entertainment by Shining Star at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. A beer garden will also be open for those 21-and-over, and a special holiday BBQ menu will be available.

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