Cars are the stars – the voices of Monterey Bay

Cars are the stars – the voices of Monterey Bay


Article and photos by Carlos Rene Castro

to Ruben Cortez in 1959 turning a production Impala convertible into a piece of lowrider art is a family affair.

14 years ago, he bought an elegant classic car famous for its flashy rear fins. “The car was just a shell and no engine,” Cortez said last week while attending the Tavares Family Car Club’s Mega Show at the Salino Airport. “The whole floor was rusted and had bullet holes. My wife was like, “Man, what’s going on here?” She was quite upset.”

Cortez said he’s been around the lowrider all his life. His older brother Mario Cardova was involved in driving and had previously owned the 1979 Ford Thunderbird. Cortez was hooked as a child and followed in his brother’s footsteps. He is now president of the Santa Cruz chapter of the Impala Car Club.

Cortez said he considers his Impala a masterpiece and credits his family for helping him in the process.

“It’s a family affair. As now, I am creating 1959. Impala convertible and my whole family is in it. It’s a great outlet,” Cortez said.

Thousands of other enthusiasts from car clubs from across the state jammed the airport tarmac at Saturday’s Mega Show to show off their own masterpieces and admire tricked-out lowriders, semi-trucks and lowrider bikes. The bikes were cool, the huge and bright shiny half inspired the crowd.

In addition to the vehicles on display, the Tavares show featured a car jump competition that tested the hydraulic spring of participating vehicles. Additional batteries to power the hydraulic pumps are hidden in the trunks of the lowrider, and vehicle owners control their jumps via remote control. The principle is simple: the car that jumps the highest wins. Even better, everyone was a winner; all car jumpers shared a $5,000 prize.

The Tavares Mega Show is one of the largest gatherings of lowrider clubs in the country. Rides Collective, an online news site for car enthusiasts, named the Tavares one of the five “Most Anticipated Cars of 2022.” Lowrider Performances’. 565 registered vehicles and bikes and more than 5000 people participated in the event.

The City of Salino will recognize the Tavares Family Car Club for its success at the City Council meeting on August 23rd. Tavares said at least one city official told event organizer Pete Tavares that the show was among the top three events in the community. this year was held in the city.

The Mega Show is Tavares’ first show of 2019. comes up when the family’s car club hosts a show co-sponsored by Lowrider magazine, the iconic car culture publication that went out of business a few months later. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, car club members got together earlier this year to brainstorm a comeback.

“We sat down with our club members and said what can we do to bring something into our community and get people out of their homes,” said Tavares, president of the Tavares Family Car Club. “We will have trucks, boxing, Lucha libre, we will have cars, we will have vendors and a concert.

For added drama, the Tavares Mega Show also included an amateur boxing match that drew hundreds of fight fans to the tarmac at Salinas Airport. Cheering on the young fighters were a pair of professional boxing stars from Salino, including Ruben “Dracula” Villa and Justin “The Stallion” Corona. Near the boxing ring, Lucha Libre wrestlers flew off the ropes and body slammed their opponents in a fast-paced show.

At the north end of the airport, legendary Mexican Norteño band Los Cadetes de Linares played hits like El Palomino, Los Dos Amigos and Las Tres Tumbas while attendees danced. In addition, The Gap Band, a funk group that first rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s, played tunes on stage.

The Mega Show is a major event for the Tavares Family Car Club Foundation. The nonprofit was founded in 2019 to raise funds for about a dozen charities, including the Salinas Police Action League, Dorothy’s Kitchen and Fallen Heroes of America.

After 2019 the performance club donated $20,000 to local organizations. This year, the plan is to donate 75% of Mega Show sales and split the proceeds to various local nonprofits, Tavares said.

But the stars of the airport on Saturday were the cars.

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