TJ Jackson shows off his 87 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that he completely customized into a 'Low Rider' as his hobby. The car is equipped with a hydraulic system that can lift the body off the frame. CLICK THE PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE MORE
SLIDESHOW: SW Community Center Festival and Car show connects the community
The fourth annual Southwest Community Center Family Fest on Aug. 12 saw more than 20 custom, low rider and euro and Japanese sports cars on the grounds as people enjoyed the music provided by DJ Sirreal and had a chance to talk to the car owners and support the teen programs in the area.
TJ Jackson was there with his custom 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with a "built 350, and we took the frame completely off and did a restoration. We completely wrapped the frame and did a hydraulic installation in the back with 3 pumps and 8 car batteries," he said. These cars are part of a sport referred to as low-riding and hot rods in which cars from all eras are customized with special paint jobs, interiors and often with hydraulic kits that enable "hopping" (meaning the cars actually jump their front ends) or more commonly lift the body off the frame at amazing angles. The front wheels and tires are sometimes canted in at crazy angles just for visual effect, but they are not every day driving cars in any case. These are personal show cars.
"This is modest compared to some of the cars," Jackson said. "We have 61 Impala convertibles, 62, 63 and 64's.
Another car own Josh Hirsh whose 1978 Chevy Malibu coupe was painted in an amazing combination of blues, purples and metal flake said he goes through a lot of tires. "in the last few months probably about 11 tires," he said laughing.
It has a full custom suspension, 3 pump 8 battery hydraulic set up and a 3/4 frame wrap. He's a member of the Lowrider Style Car Club out of Tacoma. He's from SeaTac. The next event for them will be Sept. 1 at the Lemay Car Museum in Tacoma then on Sept. 15 in South Park a carnival will take place with dozens of custom cars who will parade there then head to downtown Seattle.
Andre Franklin and his son Andre Jr. from Top Hat arrived in style in a 1927 Model T Ford that he said he has been working on for the last six years. "It keeps me out of trouble," he joked. He has customized the car into a true hot rod with a stunning lavender metal flake paint job."It's never ending and it helps me keep my son busy. It's still a work in progress." He takes the car out about 10 times a year.
Stephanie Berry, Team Development Leader was there, who talked about the fact that the center provides a free program for teens on the first Saturday of every month that gets them a food handlers permit. It's part of the Power Place program in conjunction with the late night program Berry explained and runs from 7 to 9pm. "If you are 13 to 19 and need a food handler's permit come on through, it's free."
Southwest Youth and Family Services had a big group on hand working on burgers and other food to give them experience. "Everything that they raise today goes to help them with their school clothes and supplies," explained Berry. The participants in the program learn about food handling but also budgeting and planning. "It's an all around learning experience for them."
The next big event at the Southwest Community Center is the Halloween Carnival for kids 11 and under.
Photo gallery for this story