WEST PALM BEACH – Hot rod buffs and car collectors crowded round the Florida Fine Cars booth at the Downtown Showdown Fishing Tourney & Seafood Fest last week and waited for the car show awards to kick off.
Participants didn’t really care who took home a trophy. It was a day to show off their cool wheels, talk about their hobby and know that proceeds from the daylong event would benefit the non-profit Lauren’s Kids, the Boy Scouts and U.S. veterans. Florida Fine Cars was the official car show sponsor for the event.
“Their sponsoring the car show part of this is important. We have to buy all the awards and we couldn’t have done that without their help,” said car show organizer Eddy Cebreco. “The local hot rod community comes to support this because of all the charities involved.”
Cool Rides, Cool People, Awesome Fish, Food and Fun!
The day-long event – with its live music, food booths, vendors and car show – attracted steady crowds all day. The event was organized by Southern Fishing Charities (SFC), which organizes and hosts outreach programs to support veterans. SFC partners with local organizations to create awareness and raise funds through fishing tournaments and related events.
Car Show, Seafood Festival Draw Crowd of 10,000
Approximately 75 hot rods and classic cars ranging from vintage Mustangs to a screaming yellow Lotus were on display during the May 20th festival on Flagler Drive along the West Palm Beach waterfront. It was the event’s third year.
“The Downtown Showdown was a great opportunity for us to support local charities, show off our inventory and meet some local car collectors,” said Florida Fine Cars marketing director Jamie Suid. “Everybody had fun.”
Organizers were thrilled with the turnout.
“With over 10,000 people in attendance throughout the day, 63 Boats competing for thousands of dollars and the perfect weather, this amazing charity event was a complete success!” said Grant Portier, co-founder of the SFC and co-organizer of Downtown Showdown. “Our benefitting charities, Lauren’s Kids, Southern Fishing Charities and The Boy Scouts of America – Gulfstream Council, couldn’t have been happier. Even the Mayor herself, came out to kick off this event.”
The sunny, breezy weather was perfect too.
Car collector Tom Costain of Palm Beach Gardens ducked under a canopy to escape the glaring sun and grinned as festival-goers gawked at his somewhat-rusty 1950 Buick Special. The impressive old car was a head-turner, with its flashy whitewall tires, eroded paint and hulking frame.
“It’s not stock. It’s got a Cadillac turbo 400 transmission in it,” explained Costain, who’s owned the car for 11 years. “It went from 248 cubic inches to 500 cubic inches.”
Conversation always turns to the car’s rusted, peeling paint.
People always want to know what color Costain is going to paint it. And his answer is always short and sweet.
“I’m not,” he chuckled.
Parked down the way was Moose Luc with his 17-foot long 1958 Plymouth Fury in buckskin beige with gold trim. The vintage ride was a stunner, with its whitewall tires, classic rear fins and glistening chrome.
Stephen King fans might recognize Luc’s Fury as the “Christine” car from King’s 1983 horror flick. The cult classic is about a violent car that can regenerate itself when damaged and the murderous rampage it embarks upon.
The producer purchased 24 similar models in various states of disrepair which were used to build 17 models of the Fury. Today only two are left, in the hands of car collectors, Luc noted.
Luc loves to show the old car off, point out its features and share its connection to the Christine movie.
“It’s a blast,” he confessed.
Brian Small’s 1993 black and white Ford Mustang won a “Top 25” award at the car show. With its 1000-horsepower engine and custom interior equipped with 14 gauges, the car drew lots of attention. Small rebuilt it himself, with a supercharged engine equipped with nitrous oxide.
The car has a race engine block, big valve heads, a big cam shaft and 10 pounds of boost. And it goes from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, Small said grinning.
“From 0 to 145 mph nobody gets past me,” bragged Small, who owns the Palm Beach Brake & Auto Center.”
The event was a big crowd pleaser.
“The 3rd Annual Downtown Showdown KDW & Seafood Festival was a huge hit,” Portier said happily.
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