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August 13, 2013 > Mobile masterpieces at 'Hot August Niles'

Mobile masterpieces at 'Hot August Niles'

By Mauricio Segura

In the 1920s, Henry Ford realized that his earlier Model T cars might someday be considered mobile works of art. With this thought he went on to refurbish original models to display at fairs throughout the country. Soon, private collectors caught on to the idea and also began displaying their cars at airplane barnstorming shows for the public to gawk at. The early foundation of the modern car show format was born.

Unfortunately, as soon as car shows began gaining popularity, the Depression brought them to a complete halt. Once car production increased again after the war, the idea of fixing them up as a social status symbol and displaying them as mobile art made its resurgence in the early '50s. Movies featuring fast driving, cool talking, women melting, and stars like James Dean only enhanced the idea, and soon teens all over the U.S. were "souping up" their old man's broken down jalopy and turning it into an outta sight bonafide chick magnet on wheels. For the next 25 years, car shows were held at school functions, fairs, and sometimes prior to illegal drag races.

By the '70s, people were classified into two groups: lowrider or high rider depending on their ethnicity and the type of cars they rolled in. High riders were usually Caucasians who preferred newer, well-built, fast, powerful cars, while the lowriders came from the Chicano and Black cultures of East Los Angeles who preferred older cars with lowered wheels for that slower cruising experience.

Eventually, by the mid to late '80s the groups merged and began displaying their cars together. No longer rivals, the age of modern car shows was born. Small private shows of maybe 25 cars became a regular occurrence in downtown areas, as well as more formal mega shows of over 100 began to attract car enthusiasts on a regular basis. Through the years, the more decked out the car, the shinier it was, the quality of the paint job, and of course the engine, raised the status of the owner to rock star levels at these shows. Car magazines began featuring the events, major beer and food companies signed on as sponsors, and now car shows are a huge draw and business throughout the country.

The Bay Area alone has countless shows each year, but the biggest by far in the Tri-City area is the 17th annual "Hot August Niles Car Show." Held on Saturday, August 17, it will be a street-lined art gallery of mobile masterpieces. With over 300 vehicles in last year's show, cars of every kind - from classics to hot rods, speedsters, and more - will be on display once again for everyone to enjoy. Take pictures, talk to the owners, and make friends with other car enthusiasts while having a great time.

Complimenting the amazing car display will be plenty of food vendors, open shops, raffles with great prizes, and live music from The Classified Band to enhance the street party-like atmosphere. Niles is definitely the place to be for car lovers of all ages this Saturday.

Hot August Niles Car Show
Saturday, Aug 17
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Niles Blvd. (between G and J Streets), Fremont
(510) 792-8023

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