Wheels & Waves Malibu
Fireball Tim~ A Bit More Than Cars & Coffee Article and photos by Steve Geldman, Image Photo Motorsports
I must be one of the most fortunate journalists around being given the opportunity each month to attend one car event after another and sharing these experiences with readers. Aside from being treated to an endless abundance of automotive eye candy, I meet some of the most friendly and interesting people. A case in point was when I recently stopped by a nearby beach community’s automotive event and had the pleasure of meeting its host, Malibu’s one and only Fireball Tim Lawrence. Fireball is locally known for creating his popular Wheels & Waves Malibu monthly cars and coffee gathering, which I’ll get to in a moment. Being referred to as Fireball, his legal name by the way, couldn’t be more appropriate. This guy IS on fire! Together with his lovely wife Kathie, they have so many ongoing activities it can make one’s head spin. For his Automotive Design skills, Fireball has worked as a team member assisting to create vehicles for over 400 Hollywood movies and commercials plus special projects for SEMA. Some of those iconic cars include Batman (think Michael Keaton’s ride), Knight Rider (think KITT), Jurassic Park (think Ford Explorer) and Gone in 60 Seconds. Then there is his Fireball Publishing company. Fireball creates and distributes Children’s Coloring Books. Why? Because he noticed there were no coloring books available that focus on cars. Kids love cars as much as we adults do, so Fireball filled that void by creating automotive versions for children. Fireball’s coloring books also include marine life, due to his admiration to this beach community. Next and perhaps most popular is his ‘Fireball Malibu VLOG’. With now over 800 episodes, his VLOG is seen on ‘The Auto Channel’ TV Network as well as available on YouTube. This nonscripted entertaining show surrounds Fireball (and often Kathie’s) automotive beach life and features cars, celebrity interviews, Malibu real estate and automotive destinations. Fireball tells me “It’s about passion … whatever your passion is, live it and expand upon it.” In addition, one can often spot Fireball wearing a T-shirt stating what comes from his heart: “Do What You Love, Love What You Do”. Amen to both!
Wheels & Waves Malibu newest sponsor is The Murphy Museum. Along with The Malibu Times, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf plus others, they assist in funding for things such as event entertainment and giveaways to guests and exhibitors. These may include Mattel Hot Wheels, Trading Cards and other goodies. What makes Wheels & Waves Malibu perhaps a little different than most other morning ‘cars and coffee’ events? First, there is the terrific background music hosted by DJ Ken Vela. Vela is out there with his wireless mic constantly addressing the crowd with his cool voice similar to DJ’s we all heard on Los Angeles AM rock radio in the 60’s (um, perhaps not all of us). Vela is also a major car enthusiast who was customizing cars at the age of 17. As exhibitor cars are rolling onto the parking lot, Vela is detailing the vehicles as if he owned them, making sure everyone doesn’t miss taking a closer look once parked. Did I hear free coffee? Fireball obtains a ‘Coffee Sponsor’ each month that allows him to hand out coffee coupons to guests and exhibitors until they run out. This being Malibu, there are the celebrities who come to mingle. Some past celebrities include Dick Van Dyke, Keanu Reeves, Tony Dow and pop singer Celleste. Fireball’s website usually informs in advance which celebrity is planning to attend. Let’s talk about the cars. Fireball makes it very clear that within our car culture, we admire all types of vehicles, including motorcycles. He emphasizes “ALL types of vehicles are welcome to this event.” You will see vehicles from early model vintage to late model exotic supercars and everything in between. On any given event morning, about 100 to 150 vehicles arrive for viewing, and often drooling, pleasure. Louis and Linda Cicciari from Simi Valley came out this July morning with their 1974 Red and White Ford Torino they have owned for the past 13 years. What makes this car so special is being a reproduction of the Torino used on the 1970’s Starsky & Hutch TV series. During the show’s run, the model years 1974 through 1976 were utilized. Cicciari has always been a big Starsky & Hutch fan and wanted this car since being a kid. After the 2004 movie version came out, he was able to find the car builder, Zebra Three of San Diego (now defunct) and had them build their ‘Starsky & Hutch’ Torino. The interior has ‘Zebra Three’ embossed into the seats among other reproduction details. For those of you who need to ask, “Zebra Three” was the call sign when the two main characters, while using their car radio, were communicating with police headquarters. Does the name Huggy Bear ring a bell? When Cicciari was later asked if his Torino can be used at a Starsky & Hutch promotion event, he immediately said YES. During that event, actor Paul Glaser (aka David Starsky) came by and personally signed his signature on Cicciari’s Torino glove compartment door. For Cicciari, how cool was that?!
Covering California Car Events and the People Who Make it Awesome.