First car show in years a roaring success

Vehicles and bikes of different models and makes were displayed at the 2015 Island Summer Auto Fest held at the Marianas Business Plaza last Saturday. (Frauleine S. Villanueva)

Vehicles and bikes of different models and makes were displayed at the 2015 Island Summer Auto Fest held at the Marianas Business Plaza last Saturday. (Frauleine S. Villanueva)

After a hiatus of several years, a car show once again took place on Saipan, with the 2015 Island Summer Auto Fest drawing hundreds of automotive enthusiasts to the Marianas Business Plaza last Saturday.

About 40 cars and 17 bikes were on exhibit, and it was not just souped up versions of modern vehicles but also several automobile classics.

According to organizer James Fleming, he and his wife, Carol, decided to do the event after much prodding from people.

“A lot of people have been asking me, ‘Hey, when is the next car show?’” Fleming said.

After over 15 years of competing, they decided to run the car show themselves.

The show was earlier set for Aug. 22 but got pushed off the calendar due to Typhoon Soudelor. They decided to hold it instead last Saturday.

Fleming said it’s a way to bring the community together.

“It’s something to bring back all the people and become one because, you know, everyone suffered a lot during the typhoon,” Fleming said.

He himself was surprised by the outcome.

“This is pretty much the biggest one because when I was competing before in the late ‘90s…cars were few,” Fleming said.

The show attracted a lot of entries but Fleming said they would have had a lot more if some vehicles hadn’t gotten damaged by Soudelor.

“We were willing to accommodate them. The judges were willing to not focus on the damage,” Fleming said. However, some owners of the damaged cars opted not to display their cars.

Three judges from Guam came to the island for the event.

“The judges are from Guam so that there will be no conflict. They are always judging competitions in Guam so they know what they are looking at,” Fleming said.

“The vehicles were judged through a point system based on their tires and rims, body, interior, exterior, undercarriage, engine, and overall appearance,” he added.

The vehicles competed for eight categories.

Overall Best of Show was awarded to Manny Ada with his 1995 Acura Integra Type R.

Ada also topped the two-door category, followed by Norris Kwon’s 2009 Nissan Grey 370z and Francis Villamin’s 2000 Honda Civic Hatchback in second and third places, respectively.

For the four-door category, Joel M. Javier’s 1993 Toyota Corolla won the first place followed by Raymond Borja’s 2000 Honda Civic.

James Whang swept the whole classic category, winning the first to third places with his 1931 green Ford Model A, 1954 red and white Chevy Bel Air, and 1962 Volkswagen Real Maxi Taxi.

In the 4×4 Category, Toyota Tacomas ruled with Svetlana Del Rosario’s 2015 model coming on top and Curtis Dancoe’s 2006 model in second.
Mark “Ibo” Borja topped the truck category with his 1985 Nissan 720st. Jesse J. Celis was the sole winner for the SUV category with a 2008 Chevy Suburban.

For the cruiser bike category, Sean White won first place with his 2015 Harley Davidson Road King. It was followed by Dennis Jacobs’ 2007 American Iron House Legend and Steven Llagas’ 2014 Harley Davidson Sportster 72.

Jay Doronilla topped the café bike category with his 2009 Yamaha R1.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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