We were cleaning the hard drive of our computer when we chanced upon a file folder that contained this memorable piece of automotive trivia. On May 6, 2007, the very first Power Cruise and Hot Rod Festival was held at the Picnic Grounds of the Clark Air Base in Pampanga. Mind you, this was organized three years before Power Wheels Magazine was created so this event was featured in our MotorCycle Magazine. At the time, car clubs were still in their infancy and everybody who wanted to join the fun was welcomed by the organizers!
Our morning started with a drive from Quezon City to Pampanga via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in a convoy of American cars. Because my 1971 Chevrolet Camaro RS wasn’t running at the time, I drove a red 1989 Chevrolet Corvette (C4) that was lent to me by Lee Martin Kierulf. The 5.7-liter V8 of my borrowed ‘Vette roared loudly following the Aztec Silver 1969 Corvette and yellow 1970 Corvette of brothers Toti and Boy de Leon; the maroon 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback driven by Toti’s son Mike de Leon; a 1969 Mustang GT that was made to look like a “Twister” clone; the blue-with-white-stripes 1970 Chevrolet Camaro of Earl Manalansan; the black third-generation Camaro of Raymond Reyes; the blue 1968 Chevy El Camino SS 396 of Ben Lim; and the “gangsta” trio of a 1956 Chevrolet Bel-Air 210 two-door sedan, 1967 Pontiac Le Mans and a ‘70s Lincoln Continental, which were all owned by Lee. Lee’s brother and the brains behind the Power Cruise, Jan Kierulf, drove his red-with-white-stripes 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 clone because his other car, the award-winning 1967 Mustang Shelby GT 500, which was restored and modified by Alex Isip of Alex Restoration to look like the movie car Eleanor from the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds”, was still being detailed before the cruise.
Car enthusiasts from Pampanga including the Angeles Hot Rod Association (AHRA) with their drag race Camaros and the Low Riders Club with their trick 1963-70 Impalas also joined the fun while Autotechnika conducted a Dyno Shoot-out between a black-with-red 1967 Camaro convertible of Joe Lao and an orange-with-black 1969 Camaro.
Besides the owners of American muscle cars, club members and enthusiasts of classic Japanese cars plus Volkswagen, Mini Cooper, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and sports car owners dropped in and joined the festival. Some notable cars included a vintage Lotus Europa “breadbox” sports car, a couple of MG and MGB British roadsters, and even a Ferrari Maranello 575 berlinetta arrived but left quite early before we could take photos.
Towards the afternoon, people milled around the stage area to see FHM Cover Girl Jocelyn Oxlade, who hosted the show and listen to the pop group Orange & Lemons, who belted out their greatest hits. The organizers handed out awards for outstanding cars that were displayed during the rolling car show while everybody was stuffed with a Texas-style barbeque lunch.
The 1st Power Cruise and Hot Rod Festival was sponsored by Shell in cooperation with Pepsi and co-sponsored by Design Tecnik Motorsports, Meguiars, Hot Wheels, Mizuno, SKF, Rota, American Racing, CITGO and DubShop.
I drove home to show my borrowed 1989 Corvette to my then-7-year-old daughter Genevie Marie, who I nicknamed “Vette”. She was thrilled with the car and told me that I should get her one when she turns 18 because the car bears her name. Sigh… That was 12 years ago, the 1989 Corvette is now a classic car and my daughter Vette already turned 19 but I still couldn’t afford to give her a car that she was named after. Perhaps after another 12 years?