15th Culver City Car Show to tap into local history, movies

Phil Tangalakis spoke with delight as he detailed his traditions at the Culver City Car Show.

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By Meredith Powers

During Saturday’s event, Tangalakis and about 20 of his friends – also alumni of Culver City High – will gather at the 15th annual car show at Veteran’s Memorial Park to display their additions to the show’s collection of hot rods, muscle cars, classic American machinery, custom models, motorcycles and other four-wheeled rarities.

The car show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Exchange Club of Culver City

Tangalakis, who has participated in the event every year, will exhibit a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad and 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe. He said the event reflects Culver City’s historic car culture.

“There were classic cars in Culver City for decades and decades. Hot rods and cruising in your car had one of its birthplaces here,” Tangalakis said. “(Culver City) was a place to show off cars and meet people.”

John Cohn, a spokesperson for the Exchange Club, said the event also demonstrates Culver City’s rich film history.

“Culver City is where the movies and hot rods sort of intersect with each other,” Cohn said. “The event is literally geared with cars from the movies.”

Among the 400 cars, trucks, and specialty vehicles that will line up on display, the event includes cinematic favorites from the Petersen Automotive Museum. This year the museum will bring the 1941 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe Custom, once owned and customized by Clark Gable, the pink Honda S2000 that jumped a bridge in 2 Fast 2 Furious and the 1967 Dodge Coronet 440 Dragcar from Smokey and the Bandit—one of only 55 of its kind.

For those with a historical bent, a vintage Wartburg 100 will be on display, a European make with the history dating back to the 1900s and notable as the most popular car in East Germany before the fall of the Soviet Union.

Event participants compete for recognition in categories including “Best in Show,” “Best Pinstriping,” “Best Special Engineering” and other designations of models and decade of manufacturing.

Among the changes in the event’s 15th year is a new mascot, the Helm’s Bakery vehicle. With the truck’s boxy shape mimicking a “loaf of bread on wheels,” Cohn said, the mascot commemorates the presence of the Helm’s Bakery, a landmark in Culver City since the 1930s.

Eventgoers will find food and drink refreshment at a gourmet food truck court and a beer garden, along with live music performed by Black Sabbitch, 310 and the Red Surf Band. Photo booths will also be present for visitors to take selfies with different cars. Free parking at Sony Pictures Studios will be available via the entrance on Overland Avenue.

Proceeds from the event support charitable projects of the Exchange Club, including the food pantry at West L.A. College and other scholarships. The food pantry supports the homeless student population at WLAC. Proceeds from the event have also benefitted the Culver City Youth Health Center, Culver-Palms YMCA scholarships, the Culver City Senior Citizen’s Association and many more.

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