Custom cars, new cars, classic cars, drag race cars, motorcycles, and even custom bicycles were on display Sunday at the Summer Slam Car Show.
The inside space at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center limited the number of cars on display. But the early turnout was "very good," according to Carol Callwood of Westline Productions, the promoter of the event.
"We are pleased with the participation of the car owners," Callwood said. "Usually there is a longer period to prepare for the show, but this came together in a month."
As a result of the short preparation period, there was no official judging of the cars displayed.
"The car owners felt they could not be ready for judging, so this is a exhibition rather than a contest," Callwood said.
Among the show/street race cars on display, Honda products made up a large segment, with eight of the 30 cars in the show. Among the new cars from dealers on show, the new Chrysler Prowler two-seat factory "hod rod" was getting almost as much attention as the customized cars.
The Caribbean Drag Racing Association of St. Croix brought over five of their members' race cars to show.
David Francis, public relations director of CDRA, said, "We have 20 cars down in Antigua right now, or we could have filled this place just with our race cars.
"We are expanding from two classes last year to three classes of cars this year, and we have 2,000 people and 50 cars at a regular race. A special event will bring out 80 to 100 cars and 4,000 to 5,000 people."
Francis said "drag racing is the most popular spectator sport in St. Croix."
One of the cars on display was the present champion of the Divi Carina Bay series, and owner Patrick M. Oriend was enthusiastic about the growth of drag racing in St. Croix.
"I've been racing since I was 14 and I'm over 50 now and still having a great time, and more people, both adults and kids, are coming out to race at the track," he said.
Two of the Crucian cars on display were the "Junior Dragsters," cars 14 feet long powered by something that started life as a Briggs and Stratton five-horsepower utility engine. Bob Rickenbach of the Junior Dragsters of St. Croix explained the class: "These cars are driven by kids, boys and girls, from the age of 8 up until they turn 17. The younger kids are limited by a restriction on engine horsepower, but the cars the big kids drive will go 70 to 80 miles per hour at the end of an eighth-mile run, The cars have full safety gear, including roll bars and five-point seat belts, and the drivers wear helmets."
A basic Junior Dragster costs about $3,000 with fancy paint and special details added on, but Rickenbach, a former teacher, said that any child who goes through the Junior Dragster program will always have a car to drive.
"We will always have three or four cars in the program for the kids to race, even if they don't get a car of their own," he said.
Businesses showing new cars and products included Rodriguez Auto Parts with several lines of high performance tires, Amco Auto Sales, Caribbean Auto Mart, Community Motors and John's Auto Center.
The Car Show 2001 started at noon and by 3:30 p.m. much of the floor space not taken by cars was filled with people. Activities were scheduled throughout the afternoon with the Starlites band starting at 5 p.m. Word spread around the show floor that the real big show would be in six months and Carol Callwood of Westline confirmed those plans.
"The last few days before the show, more car owners than we could accommodate expressed interest in entering, and the crowd shows the people are interested, so we are already planning another event in about six months' time," Callwood said.
The show was sponsored by Coors Light.