STEELFEST!

In a desolate industrial district on the north end of downtown Saint Louis, Missouri, there’s a steel supply warehouse named Shaprio Metal Company.  This area isn’t a place you want to be alone at nighttime, and maybe not so much during the day as well.  But once a year, an event unfolds that sheds light to this area by inviting cars, music, and beer along with the best part of all — burnouts.

Dubbed the Shapiro Steelfest — for one day, parked along the city block sidewalks are rat rods, street rods and motorcycles all here to celebrate what makes up the bones of these machines; and that’s Steel.

While onlookers pack the sidewalks huddled around rusted steel metal contraptions, the ambiance is the sound of burnouts and tire tire smoke as car after car stops on the main strip for an opportunity to perform a smokey tire show for the crowd. While the roadway is traffic controlled by the local fire department . . . to which they even use the firetruck water hose to wet the burnout box.

There is no real way to describe this event.  It’s massive, entertaining and combines raw steel with senseless burnouts in the streets — the Shapiro Steelfest is certainly a spectacle for any gear head to see.

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The Mustang Week Car Show

For any Mustang enthusiasts, Mustang Week can be viewed as the pinnicale of all Mustang events. Globally it may just be the largest Mustang gathering as well know, with an entire week filled with the sounds and sites of Mustangs scattered throughout the Myrtle beach area. For 6 days, thousands and thousands of Mustangs take over the strip for Mustang Week. One of the more notable events being  the car show. So here are a few clips and photos of what takes place at the Myrtle beach convention center during Mustang Week.

 

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The Survivor Camaro. Still Surviving.

In our lives we meet amazing people, some of those who set out to change the world, or make it a better place. So was the case for the “Survivor Camaro.”   Built by Kristen Benavidez after a long battle of the life threatening disease Leukemia, she survived.  Her 2010 Camaro then became a symbol to raise awareness and support for others who are struggling as she did.

I had the opportunity to travel to Houston, Texas and shoot Kristen with her Camaro and during that time, learnt a lot about the vehicle, along with her story and eventually we became very good friends.  But just a few short years after this photoshoot, the Camaro was destroyed along with her family home during the hurricane Harvey.

Here is a tribute to an amazing person and car.

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Stance: An Acceptance?

What comes to mind when you hear the word stance?  Could it be the cringing photos that post into your daily social feed with defunct camber and tires that look chewed up by your neighbors dog?  Or the beaten and battered shrapnel that used to be a fender well cutting away as the car scrapes down the roadway.  Let face it, Stance is a word that can bring a bitter taste to the automotive pallet.  For seasoned enthusiasts, maybe we just don’t understand this trend. Or should we?

So on a brutally hot and humid Florida day, I made a trip to the outskirts of Tampa for an automotive gathering hosted by the club known as “Clean Culture.”  Upon my arrival, I entered a parking lot of lowered down cars most of which were touching the ground.  I held my breath for a moment and remained calm, disillusioned by random thoughts of what I was about to see.

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I began to walk around and to my amazement were not the dreaded visions of internet memes or the ridiculous beaten up machines.  But a display of finely crafted automobiles.   By no means was this the largest event I have ever attended, but it is the first of which every vehicle was lowered to the ground, tires tucked away, and the camber cranked to 11.

As I baked in the sun, I began to soak in the energy of the elaborate paint schemes and wheels that where meticulously shined up and tucked away.  Each car gleaming one after another.  Despite the random fender well dents here and there, they were a visual sensation, balancing my nerves between distaste and awe.  Walking through the isles of this show, was like walking through a modern art gallery.

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So one can say that Stance is art.  It may not be functional, but it’s not supposed to be.  It’s a way to turn a vehicle into an abstract form.  In fact — Stance is the abstract art form of the car culture.  Such as a drag racer breaking parts to go fast in a straight line, these enthusiasts too, suffer for their art with broken wheel lips and fender wells.  It may not something you understand, but maybe Stance is a form of the modern car culture, we can accept.