Objects of beauty were openly on display in Hollister Saturday, March 26. It only happens once a year but the artistry and imagination at work was admirable at the fourth annual Hot Rod show held at San Benito High School’s football parking lot.
The Impala Club of Hollister and the Hollister Collision Center organized the event, where owners of hot rods and other car types gathered from the Hollister, San Jose, San Juan Bautista and Watsonville area to put on show for the benefit of San Benito High School athletics.
It cost $40 to show off a car and $25 for bikes. The Impala Club is all about the Chevrolet Impala from 1958-1969. “The club originated in San Jose but there are now 30 chapters all over the United States,” said Mark Sermeno, who owns Impala Magazine. He and Ken Perez of Hollister Collision have run the event together for four years.
Ruben Guerrero, owner of Guerrero Custom Autobody and Collision in Gilroy, has been in the business for more than 30 years and today runs it with his son, Ruben Jr. Guerrero was being followed around by a film crew and is also known for being father of Robert “the Ghost” Guerrero, a well-known boxer from Gilroy.
Guerrero Sr. is a car builder and collector, which he demonstrated on this clear, sunny day. He had his heart set on a 1938 Chevy and had already put in an offer. The owners, Sergio and Juanita Torres from Watsonville, weren’t sure they were ready to let go of it. Juanita said she was partial to the two-door “Deluxe” that is chopped and has airbags. She said, “This is a car that people remember. They stop me and tell me, ‘We came to California in one of these.’”
Guerrero said, “I told him I’ll get it right now and I’ll take that back home.” He was primed to add it to his collection but admitted there are a lot of fish in the sea.
Tod Thatcher, San Benito High School athletic director, explained that the event helps a variety of sports, not just the main ones. Parents who wanted to help a specific sport come out and worked the event to have money donated to the sport of their choice. A portion of the rest of the proceeds from the event goes into the account managed by the Baler Backers, a general athletics booster club that provides scholarships to student-athletes and also helps fund equipment and other needs for all sports at the school.
Thatcher said the event does well for student athletics. In a good year, it can bring in upwards of $5,000.
Kenny McGovert from Hollister was there showing off his 2010 Harley Davidson Roadglide, which he calls “Purple Haze.” He has been on the hot rod show circuit for two years. McGovert retired from the military and finally has time to do some things he enjoys. He said he spent about five years building his motorcycle with its custom 30-inch front wheel. Recently, his motorcycle won $2,000 in a Southern California show. “It’s a lot of fun, good group of guys and a lot of the time you’re doing it for a good cause,” McGovert said.