It all began in 1900 with the first auto show in New York, USA. A century later and several follow-through auto shows, a man’s love affair with his car has grown conspicuously strong and extensive. Each is a distinct unit—man and car as separate as a disjoined wishbone yet every inch together like a pair of conjoined twins.
The United Car Clubs of the Philippines (UCCP) has been a main synthesis and conservator for this continuing man/car affinity. Formalized three years ago as a “garage” club—very small and with a vague prospect of survival—UCCP’s third year anniversary celebration at the Circuit Makati under a great downpour last weekend was a likely indication of an extended life. Attendance was encouraging. Enthusiasm was high. In simpler words, UCCP has clearly rode out of its funk and is slowly getting over the most nibbling growing up pains. Through those three years, UCCP has attracted various companies that provide everything from batteries, paints, body designs, glass coatings, tires, and down to the tiniest nuts and bolts, and in providing team building supports as well as more car shows and exhibition programs.
There were not a lot of recontextualized old cars in the show but the ones that were present had rarity, exquisiteness, and sentimental importance. Two vintage jewels were standouts whose beauty needed no explaining: a 1967 Ford Mustang owned by Michael Chanco with its original engine still intact and galloping wild; and a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle owned by Jia Yang which, when parked side by side with the latest Beetle model, will still turn heads and garner attention. Another eye popper was a 2015 Toyota Hilux owned by Von Christopher Violago, easily one monster of a truck with loads of muscular power. The beefy tires lone would be excellent for road gripping and enhancing the truck’s stability and bite during mountain climbs. Such a massive scene-stealer, that truck.
Today’s car owners are now able to go into a more diversified range of automobile options. Loaded with particularized details and artful designs grafted into each unit that add freshness to their appearance, newer cars on display at the show took on a different character—that of their owner and the kind of image of himself he wishes to project. A 2017 Toyota owned by Willy Regarde, Jr. will, hands down, finish off all rivals for attention on any road. He is a zodiac Leo and Aiver Sticker Works, a revolutionary in car restorative art, has put together several lion decals on Regarde’s car with a virtual roar reminiscent of boom boxes of the hip-hop years. Car owner Ricky Balagat’s 2013 Toyota is a testament to his passion for the sports of basketball. His wife Susan’s birthday falls on a 24th and what better homage it is to idolize LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba, than to have Splat Decals get the basketball great to share Balagat’s every ride. Other car owners opted for the more militant images. Oscar Javier who owns a white 2013 Toyota Avanza drew his own image of a Black Ninja and had Splat Decals do the artwork on his car. A 2014 Toyota Wigo owned by Charlz Balquin reminds him of Nitro—sleek, taut, and quick.
But wait. Monochromes are also in. Jop Concepcion’s 2016 Honda Civic RS Turbo was for some time painted pristine white. Four months ago he decided to have it painted pink and the result is an appealing image of luxury.
There will be all sorts of possible configurations and technological benchmarks that will handle each phase of an automotive cycle. Auto shows will continue to be of great benefit to new generations of car owners and collectors of classic cars. In the meantime, United Car Clubs of the Philippines—you rock!