Battle on the Bay Car Show excites crowds in Vallejo – Vallejo Times-Herald

Saturday was time for the annual Battle on the Bay Car Show, and it was massive.

The Vallejo show featured dozens of cars, which packed the blocks surrounding City Hall with chrome, custom paint jobs, deluxe sound systems, and more hydraulics than NASA.

“It’s loud,” said Julio Franklin, referring to his car’s exhaust system. Franklin is a contest entrant and proud owner of a souped-up Nissan Cube. Yes, a Nissan, which made him an anomaly amid ‘57 Chevys, Impala low riders, and Lincoln Continentals.

Franklin’s Cube, which he has christened Space Dragon, has a fully redone, well, everything. It even has neon lights underneath that make him glow at night. Lights under his carbon-fiber hood are voice-activated because, well, you might have a girl on one arm and a non-alcoholic near-beer koozie in the other, right?

His Cube has garnered 11 trophies so far, he said, including first place at a show in Stockton.

Seven people judged the Saturday show, with each judge splitting off into his or her designated years, say, cars from 1965 to 1969. The judging was made by Top Notch, which is well-known in the low rider community especially. Criteria for judging is a well-guarded secret; they don’t want contestants to know what they are looking for or how many points each category is afforded.

The number of car clubs represented were too numerous to mention but they covered the gamut in Northern California.

“Unfinished Business” is out of Richmond and had a fleet of Lincoln Continentals.

Douglas Gibson looks over one of the unique bicycles on display as part of the Car Hop Battle on the Bay car show put on by the Chelu Family car club in downtown Vallejo on Saturday. (Chris Riley—Times-Herald)

Vincent Foster’s Lincoln was loaded with hydraulics, enabling it to perform “three-wheel motion,” also known as riding on only three while the fourth wheel is elevated up off the ground. Foster’s front grill featured two powerful speakers inside, possibly a bit more effective than blaring the horn when the guy in front of you won’t make that left turn.

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“I know you are Unfinished Business,” said the Times-Herald, “But it looks pretty finished to me!”

“Oh,” chuckles Foster, “it’s never finished.”

Car enthusiasts will agree with that sentiment. The fun part of car collecting is the constant embellishments over time, though most start out with a hoopty and go from there.

Cheryl Allison was a bit of a rarity at the show, a female vintage car owner. Allison serves as secretary for Unfinished Business. Her Lincoln is an opalescent silver, with pink piping and a Play Girl decal on the back window.

In addition to the cars, chrome bicycles and motorcycles were parked. Food trucks filled lunch bellies and the Kids Zone provided bouncy house fun.

Other competitions included “hoppers,” cars with hydraulics that bounce, and “bed dancers,” where truck beds raise, dip, turn, and rotate. Sadly, the final judging wasn’t done until after press time.

The event, organized by Pete Duenas from the Chelu Car Club, was free for onlookers but all proceeds from entering vehicles went to children and community charities. Duenas turned his life around nearly 20 years ago and likes to give back to the community; holding car shows gives him the opportunity to celebrate a culture he loves and pay it forward.

A fellow going only by “Chuy” said he brings his family to this event every year.

“We make a day of it. It’s good for my kids to see other people who are as obsessed with cars as I am,” he laughs. “Maybe they don’t think their old man is so crazy.”

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