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August 2013




$F REE $






IN THIS ISSUE Cruise & Show Schedule Works of Art in Progress


Mike & Chris Fesko’s Broncos This month’s cover was shot on location in Hammond by Jerome Hindmon, of Ernie Adam’s 1933 Ford Hot Rod

Interested in Advertising? or Call: 219.200.3877 Got a Cool Ride?

Our Team

Founder • Publisher Mark Halliar Publisher Rolando Martinez Contributing Writer Chris Jackson Contributing Writer Betty LeBeau Contributing Photographer Jessica Halliar Contributing Photographer Jerome Hindmon Publication & Ad Design Designs by Mark


Ernie Adams’ Hot Rod


Luis Romero’s 64 Chevy Impala


Warren Vesely’s Custom Chopper


Laine Kasarda & All Soup’d Up

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HOOSIER’S HOTTEST GARAGES Hirata’s Motor Sports - A True American Success Story


Music & Street Festival


End of Summer Car Show


Iron Horse 4x4 Club Truck Show


28 31 32 34

Porter County Fair Grounds


NEW!! - Kidz Kustom Korner


NEW!! - Region Rides Classifieds


Region Rides is a monthly publication by Region Rides LLC. All rights reserved. Production without permission is strictly prohibited. All photographs & articles submitted become the sole property of Region Rides Magazine.



Cruise Night Schedule MONDAY NIGHTS

Applebees/Advance Auto • 5pm to 8pm 791 Indian Boundary Rd • Chesterton, IN Charley Horse Restaurant • 5pm 8940 Calumet Ave • Munster, IN Dairy Queen of Demotte • 5pm 341 N Halleck St • De Motte, IN


Southlake Auto Mall • 4pm to 8pm 4191 E Lincoln Hwy • Merrillville, IN Every 1st & 3rd of the Month Al’s Supermarket • 5pm to 8pm Franklin Street • Michigan City, IN Pav’s Restaurant • 4pm to 8pm 642 North Main St. • Hebron, IN



White’s Pit Stop • 5pm 330 E US Hwy 30 • Schererville, IN

Courthouse Square • 5pm to 9pm Crown Point, IN

A&W/KFC • 5pm 1475 S. Lake Park Ave • Hobart, IN Across from St Mary Hospital

SouthSIde Pizzeria • 6pm to 9pm Parrish & 133rd Ave • Cedar Lake, IN *Rusty Nail Sports Bar • 6pm to 9pm 2420 Dombey Rd • Portage, IN Whiting Cruise Night • 6pm to 9pm Every 3rd Wednesday • 119th Street Quaker Steak & Lube • 6pm to 11pm *Bike Night w/Live Entertainment 6245 Ameriplex Dr • Portage, IN

Pick-Ups Bar & Grill • 7pm to 11pm *Bike Night w/Live Entertainment 21000 Torrence Ave • Sauk Village, IL

Quaker Steak & Lube • 6pm Truck & Jeep Night w/Entertainment 6245 Ameriplex Dr • Portage, IN


*Harley Davidson of Valparaiso • 5pm 1151 W Morthland Dr • Valparaiso Finnegan’s Pub • 6pm to 9pm 1074 Joliet St • Dyer, IN Zel’s Restaurant • 5pm 210 US Hwy 41 • Schererville *Boomers Pub & Grub • 5pm 2522 Portage Mall • Portage, IN


Simon Sez • 8pm to Midnight 2250 W Lincoln Hwy • Merrillville

*BIKE NIGHT Like us on

FACEBOOK and Share Your Event!

Region Show Schedule Advance Auto Parts End of Summer Car Show and JDRF Fundraiser

Iron Horse 4x4 Inc 5th Annual Beauty & The Beast Truck Show

Deja Vu Annual Car Show

FREE Valpo Car Show, Swap & For Sale Corral

Saturday, August 17 • 4pm to 8pm 914 North Man St • Crown Point 219.663.7846 $10 Pr-Registration $20 Registration Day of Show Sunday Aug. 18th • 11am Raffles, Drink Specials, First 50 Car Registration receive a free dash plaque Trophies awarded to each Category!! All Proceed to benefit the “Veterans Life Changes Services”

Sunday, September 8 • 11am to 3pm Buddy & Pal’s & Langel’s Pizza 342 US 30 • Schererville, IN $15 Per Truck Class TJ Piccirilli • 219.996.6563 Sunday, September 8 • 9am to 2pm Porter County Fairgrounds Call Mario: 219.464.9918 Best Paint • Best Engine • Best in Show $0 Registration Fee $5 Spectator Admission

Cruisin’ for Critters Car & Bike Show

September 22 • 9am to 2pm Pav’s Restaurant 642 North Main St • Hebron, IN 219.996.3663 Top 50 Awards Breakfast Will be Served! $15 Registration Fee


Let us know on our Facebook page or send an email to


The Man WHO: Jacob Mateer WHERE: Westville, IN

The Ride Got a project you’re working on? Send us pics and a brief description to:

YEAR: 1969 MAKE: Ford MODEL: F100 Ranger PAINT: Factory Black BODY: Regular Cab Long Bed

SUSPENSION: Currently Stock but will be changing ENGINE: Ford 429 big block TRANS: Ford C6 INTERIOR: Stock with Factory AC OTHER: This truck has come apart surprisingly easy. I only had to use the sawzall one radiator core support bolt. Otherwise everything came apart without breaking. Had a few repairs in the frame to patch up and now the saving starts for parts YEAR OF PURCHASE: Family business purchased back around 2001 and has sat in the shop till now until I brought it home to my garage June 2, 2013 TIME SPENT RESTORING: 12 hrs for tear down MODIFICATIONS FROM STOCK: Truck is currently stock other than the motor and trans set up

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FUTURE PLANS: Mustang II front end conversion, air suspension, 4 link rear end, relocating the fuel tank underneath the bed between the frame rails with a flap door built in to bed floor, fixing body panels and one rusty cab, paint

the new look of miller time. Stacked logo with gold drop and slight gradation on red

Stacked logo with gold drop and no gradation on red


MIKE AND CHRIS Written By: Betty LeBeau

THIS is a unique story for Region

Mike’s passion for power started

wanted. All of the customization,

Rides in that it involves not one,

back in 1978 when he started


but TWO of the sickest, meanest,

to modify, customize and repair

sweat, and knuckle-busting tears

mud slingin’, tree crushin’, swamp

his 1976 4x4 pickup truck. The

that went into his Bronco are his

stompin’, and just plain bad ass

work that he put into that pickup,

own. If anything came up that

Broncos that I have ever had the

lead to the acquisition of the 1978

he didn’t know how to do, he

pleasure of gazing upon! These big

Ford Bronco 4x4, that he always

taught himself! That passion was



bad boys are owned by father

reignited when his son, Chris,

& son, Mike & Chris Fesko.

took a road trip to Indy to pick up his 1979 Ford Bronco 4X4. That’s when the muddin’ fun for these two really began! Mike has had his baby for


OS’ 4x4S Photos By: Jessica Halliar

about 20 years now. In that time,

added Yukon Chromemoly axles

crushed velvet, with a wave

his truck has undergone more

front and rear, 3 shocks on each

pattern and a diamond pattern

upgrades and facelifts than a

side, four stabilizers in the front

sewn into it. Mike did have some

Hollywood celebrity. He changed

and four in the rear, and Yukon

loving help from his mother with

her over from a 4 speed to an

513 gears front and rear. By far

the sewing. The door handles and

automatic, added a 3” suspension

my favorite part of this truck is how

marker lights have been shaved,

lift, and then modified the hood to

he added two air cleaners that

and the fenders are welded to the

tilt forward. In 1993 he rebuilt the

sit inside of the hood scoop with


400 cubic inch V8, added a dual

carefully placed aluminum plate

quad 2 Holley 390 4-barrel carbs

to protect them from muddy water.

When Chris purchased his ’79

and blower scoop. She boasts a

Genius! The interior is gorgeous

Bronco the body was in near

Mallory ignition system, Milodon



8 quart off road oil pan, and a



C6 trannie with a B&M shift kit, Mike lifted her up by 9”,

needed a lot of work. As

Chris so eloquently described it, “There was a lot of hillbilly engineering.” He and his dad employed a ton of teamwork to get this beautiful beast in the pristine condition you see her today. Mike spent about a month in front of his house, wrenching away to get her running smooth. Her 429 Ford Big Block came out of a 1969 Ford Galaxy 500. They rewired the whole electrical system, added an 850 Holley carb, put in a 4 core oversized radiator, and added shiny chrome valve covers. The suspension has been lifted 6” and the body 3” for an increase of 9” overall, they upgraded the gears, and put in a Posi rear end. Serious repair was needed in the dash; they fixed all the holes (seriously, I saw the pictures, it looked like swiss cheese!), added custom gauges and finished it off with a beautiful black

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and red paint job expertly done by Mike himself. They painted the engine bay and the frame black, covered the seats in black and red vinyl, and added matching carpeting. This incredible father and son duo’s favorite awards were both won at the same show, Iron Horse 4x4’s Beauty and the Beast. Mike took first place for Best of Engineered Vehicle and Chris took second place. Mike would like to offer a word of thanks to his son Chris and girlfriend, Diane for all of their help and support. Mike lovingly said, “Diane has more red and black spotted shirts than I do! She busts her knuckles, cleans and waxes them right along with us.” Chris would like to send out huge thank you to his dad, “For all of the support and help he has put into his truck.” It is really rare to see two such pristine machines as these Broncos, it is even rarer to have two such dedicated enthusiasts in the same family. - RR

See more of the Fesko 4x4s on our website and facebook page: or

Ride Specs Who: Chris Fesko

Wheels and Tires: 40” Super Swamper TSL

What: 1979 Ford Bronco 4x4

Interior: Black and red painted dash with vinyl

Where: Crown Point, IN Engine: 429 Ford Big Block Trans: Bone stock




Extras: Upgraded gears, Posi rear end, 12”

overall lift, engine bay and frame painted black.

Ride Specs Who: Mike Fesko What: 1978 Ford Bronco 4x4

Interior: Custom red and black crushed velvet sewn in a diamond pattern

Where: Merrillville, IN

Wheels & Tires: Pit Bull Rocker 44” x 19.5” on 15” x 12” rims

Engine: Rebuilt/modified 400 cubic inch V8

Paint & Body: Custom red and yellow enamel

Trans: C6 with B & M Tork Master 2000 rpm stall speed converter

Extras: Too many to put here, read the article!

Suspension: Completely custom

ONE BAD Written By: Betty LeBeau


33 FORD Photos By: Jerome Hindmon

ERNIE Adams is the proud owner of this baaaaaaaaad 1933 Ford 3 window coupe. This sizzling hot rod was meticulously designed and built by Williams Street Rods in Humboldt, IL and put up for sale at the National Street Rod Association’s car show in September of 2005. Ernie & his wife Glenda had been

looking to buy a car. At that show, Ernie’s grandson Tyler turned to his grandma and said, “Grandma, if you’re gonna buy a car, that’s the one to buy!” That youngster sure does know his stuff! She has a 454 Chevy Big Block with about 400 horsepower,

Edelbrock intake, and Sanderson Limefire headers. All of that chromie goodness is backed by a 350-turbo 3-speed transmission with a LoKar shifter and fluid sticks. The radiator is by Performance Rod and Custom and the water pump is by Tuff Stuff. This beauty also packs a Maval Omni steering

The interior is all comfort, with two tone Ultima leather wrapped seats, door panels and accented with a chrome tilt column.

This might put some of your Ford Purists into cardiac arrest: This 454 Chevy Big Block won Ernie and his Ford first place at an all Chevrolet Show. rack, wiring kit by Haywire, and Inland aluminum drive shaft. The suspension is by Pete and Jakes and has a chrome 5” front drop axle. Her rear end is a Winters Quick Change 10” champion in polished aluminum. Those sexy shoes are American Racing Torque Thrust 15” in the front and 18” in the rear with Wilwood


front and rear disc brakes.

This is one of those cars that looks fast just sitting still! The paint is PPG color Orange Glow laid over Sterling Silver. T h e

stunningly classic flames are spun silver leaf. Jim Ross of Letters, Lines and Designs, who is a true master of custom pinstriping and airbrushing, did both the flames and the gorgeous pinstriping. This smokin’ hot rod has 7” Headwinds Contour Bullet headlights. The seats are wrapped

Want to see more of Ernie’s 33 Ford? Visit our website and facebook page: or

Riders, I probably would have completely lost my composure, let out a teenage girl Beatlesscream and fainted! Ernie then convinced him to sign a plaque for him to display in his coupe. Ernie’s garage, as you can imagine, is filled with awards for his striking custom coupe. I had a fantastic giggle in hearing about his favorite. He was especially tickled to take home first place at an all Chevy show with his Ford. He said, “I guess that because it had a Chevy motor, it qualified as one.”

Custom dash plaque signed non-other than George Barris in brown Ultima leather with a tan wave pattern inlay. Aside from the classic instrument gauges in the dash, you may have noticed the coolest plaque that could ever grace a hot rod. EVER. While at a show in Crown Point the one and only George Barris walks up to Ernie and asked if it was his car, and he calmly said, “yes”. Let me tell you Region

Ernie would like to send a huge thank you to his wife Glenda.

Ride Specs

Who: Ernie Adams

What: 1933 Ford 3 Window Coupe Where: Highland, IN Engine: 454 Chevy Big Block approx. 400 HP Brakes: Wilwood Front and Rear Disc Transmission: 350 Turbo 3 Speed

He said, “It is something that you always want but without her permission, you don’t get too far.” His grandson, Tyler for talking Glenda into letting him purchase his dream car. He also sends a big thanks to all of the members of The Vintage Tin Car Club. -RR

Rear End: Winters Quick Change 10” Champion Polished Aluminum Interior: Ultima Leather Interior Wheels & Tires: American Racing Torque Thrust Wheels 15” Front and 18” Rear Paint: PPG Orange Glow Over Sterling Silver

INSPIRED Written By: Betty LeBeau


LUIS Romero’s 1964 Chevy Impala is one of those cars that as you see it roll past, you can’t help but stop, lean back a little, turn your head, and say in a high voice, “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn!” With it’s gorgeous classic style, it is one of those cars that you hope

catches a stop light so that you can admire her for just 10 seconds longer. Luis found her through eBay and went out to Valparaiso to bring her home. “It was just a shell, no interior, no lights, no trim. I picked it up because it was a solid car and I was able to build

it up how I wanted it to be.” It took him 2 years of overtime and knuckle busting to get it to the lean and clean condition it’s in today. The Impala had a 283 cubic inch engine, which Luis swapped out for a Chevy small block 327 that he

D IMPALA Photos By: Jerome Hindmon

bought new, and then he and his buddies chromed it and machined it down. That spiffy new engine is backed by a 2-speed Powerglide trans. He also installed a musical 7-trumpet horn that sounds La Cucaracha. I can think of only one word to describe that choice,

AWESOME! Luis left the classic gauges, and original radio, but also added a sick modern sound system. He installed a classic chain steering wheel. “I love the chain steering wheels, it is one if the first things that I bought for the car.” He decided to go with a 4-switch

hydraulic suspension because all of his friends have hydraulics, he likes to play with the switches and it responds a lot faster than bags. He also added a Hodgkins adjustable rear end. All of this sits atop 13” x7” whitewalls with 100 spoke OG rims that have been

Chapa’s Upholstery in Hammond stitched the custom interior of white leather with maroon accents of ostrich & suede powder coated white to match the color on the roof. He switched out the bench seat for buckets from a 1965 Impala. Chapas Upholstery in Hammond, IN meticulously completed every single part of this interior from carpet to headliner to the custom trunk. The exquisite attention to detail really shines through in the interior of this lowrider. The seats are upholstered in white leather with accents of maroon ostrich and suede. They are finished with contrasting maroon piping. The

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A Small Block 327 powers Louis’s Impala

back dash is wrapped in white leather and suede with matching maroon speaker covers.

which translates “Son of Mexico”. Louis said, “That is where it all started”.

Tracy Tichenor, owner of T & R Auto Body in Hammond, painted her that gorgeous deep original GM color in Luis’s dad’s (Vincente Romero’s) favorite color Maroon with a stunning white pearl top. The breathtaking mural on the trunk lid is of the Cathedral de Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua, Mexico where Luis’s parents were married. The text above the mural states “Hijo de Mexico”

The entire vehicle is inspired by and built as a loving tribute to his parents, Vincente and Maria Romero. His dad was always in the garage. “He didn’t have the nicest cars, but he always took care of them.” Luis would like to thank his mother and father, “for the inspiration

for building my car”, and all of his lowrider family. Luis won his favorite award at The Outfit Car Club Show in Chicago Heights. “I was up against almost every lowrider in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, and the mayor

picked my car out of all of them.” He certainly said it best, “[building a car] it’s a pain in the butt, but in the long run, it’s all worth it.” - RR

The 7-trumpet horn that plays La Cucaracha

Ride Specs Who: Luis Romero What: 1964 Chevy Impala Where: Hammond, IN Engine: Chevy Small Block 327 cubic inches Trans: 2 Speed Powerglide Rear End: Hodgkins Adjustable

Paint and Body: GM Color Maroon with White Pearl Top, Custom Wood Frame and White Leather Trunk Sounds: Alpine CD Head Unit, 4-Pioneer 6x9’s, 2-3 ½” Soundstreams behind the seats, 2-5 ½” Pioneersin the kick panels, 2-800W Pioneer Amps Hydraulics: 4 Switch Set Up (Front, Back, and Side to Side), Running off of a Whammy Tank with 8 Batteries Powering the Whole System

Interior: Bucket Seats with White Leather, Suede, and Maroon Ostrich Wheels and Tires: 13”x7” Whitewalls and 100 Spoke OG Rims

The breathtaking mural on the trunk lid is of the Cathedral de Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua, Mexico where Luis’s parents were married. The text above the mural states “Hijo de Mexico” which translates “Son of Mexico”.

See more of Louis’s 64 Impala on our website and facebook page: or


Written By: Betty LeBeau

THIS brawny blue beauty is owned,

created, custom 2-wheeled, rolling

a customer of Warren’s in 2005.

was designed, created, and built by

works of art by his shop Scooter

Thankfully, she recently came back

Warren Vesely of Lowell, IN. Does


You may have seen

to him for her second life in near

that name sound familiar Region

some of the INSANELY gorgeous

perfect condition (and with under

Riders? You may have seen him

custom bikes that he builds out of

1,000 miles!).

on the Discovery Channel’s Great

his new shop Fast Time Garage;

Biker Build Off, you may have

he is certainly an incomparable


heard of or been lucky enough

master of his craft. This particular


to see some of the impeccably

chopper was originally made for

machinery took a mere 6 months to


this of She


muscle has

powerful 2-cylinder 124” S & S engine





Photos By: Jerome Hindmon

with an 11.8:1 compression ratio &

3/8” BDL Top Fuel belt drive. The

He also made those sick ass fenders

140 horsepower. The transmission

frame was custom made in house

from blanks and the fender studs in

is a right side drive Baker 6 speed,

(at Scooter Shooterz). There is a

the rear.

the final drive is a chain and the

42 degree rake, 5” stretch in the

primary is

backbone and 0” stretch in the

Warren lays down all of his own

downtubes, the forks are by Mean

paint, and for this bike he chose

Street Products in El

a striking Candy Cobalt Blue by

Paso, Texas. Warren

House of Color. She has a 3”

built the3-gallon gas

drop seat and the foot pegs are

tank from scratch in

by Performance Machine. The

addition to the stainless

beautifully designed stainless steel

steel handlebars and

exhaust was done by Larry Nagy,




Jr. and polished by Pro One Polishing. Warren’s

favorite thing about this meaty

I want.” Warren has recently

chopper is the overall stance, “It’s

downsized from Scooter Shooterz

not one that’s over exaggerated, its

and has a new shop, which he

just pretty much all business. [This

owns and operates, Fast Time

bike has] got a nice tight package,

Garage. His bikes have been on

it looks stout and ready to roll. It’s

the covers of Easyriders, V-Twin,

stripped down, it doesn’t have a lot

and In The Wind Magazines

of bells and whistles or a bunch of

and many, many more. He works

crazy jazzy stuff, its just got a big

strictly by appointment only; call

tire and a big motor, you just sit on

him at 219-374-9740. He builds,

it and hold on tight.”




work, and custom painting on He would like to send a big thank

V-Twin based hot rod motorcycles.

you to his wife, Jamie Lee Vesely,

To see his current projects or

and son, Tucker (just like the car),

check out some of Warren’s other

“for putting up with my neurotic

incredible custom bike builds, go to

gear-head ways & letting me or Facebook.

continue to work on whatever

com/FastTimeGarage. - RR

Ride Specs


Who: Warren Vesely

Gas Tank: 3 Gallon Single

What: Custom Chopper

Handlebars: Stainless Steel, Custom

Where: Fast Time Garage-Lowell, IN

Front Wheel: Performance Machine 21” x 2.5”

Engine: 124” S & S

Rear Wheel: 18”x10”, 300 mm

Cylinders: 2

Brakes: Performance Machine

Compression ratio: 11.8:1

Trans: Baker 6 Speed, Right Side Drive

Frame: Built in house at Warren’s shop, Scooters Shooters

Paint: House of Color Candy Cobalt Blue Seat: 3” Drop

Written By: Betty LeBeau

LAINE Kasarda, owner of All Soup’d Up Barbeque and Catering, not only cooks on a couple of awesome replica 327 Chevy small block engine grills, she cooks with an incredible amount of passion. Her deep love for cooking started at 9 years old with a beef stew recipe that she cooked for her family. Her inspiration and passion came from her parents, “We had a big garden growing up and most of our food came from the back yard.” As she and her siblings got older, her dad used his homemade soup to bring all seven of his children back together. He would cook a big pot of homemade soup

and then call all of his children and say, “Soups on, come and get it!” Laine and her father had originally planned on cooking at the Hobart Farmers Market together. The plan was that he would cook his incredible homemade soup and she would cook her famous grilled sandwiches. She started her catering and barbecue business as a loving tribute to him. About a year after his passing, in 2010, her brother called and asked if she was planning on cooking at the farmer’s market. Someone showed her a picture of a hot rod grill and she decided to place an order. “It came completely unassembled and took a long time to put together.” As her business grew she ended up having to order a second grill. According to Laine, her

brother says, “[It takes] two guys, three hours, and a case of beer”. At All Soup’d Up, Laine’s passion for incredible, healthy, made with love, homemade food keeps her customers coming back for more. When barbecuing for car shows, farmers markets, fundraisers, and other events, she makes sure to have the customer’s favorites available. Some of her INCREDIBLE menu choices include her famous Redline Rib Eye Steak Sandwich, Jumbo Smoked Polish Sausage, Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers, and Grilled Pork Chops On a Stick. She does different variations of pork and chicken, and likes to mix up the menu. Laine always has a huge pot of delicious homemade soup on hand and no two pots are ever the same. (Be prepared to say, “excuse me!” for all of the loud

yummy noises you will inevitably be making.) All Soup’d Up offers a full buffet menu for catering services. She is available to cater private parties, graduations, open houses, weddings, and all events that require an, “Oh my goodness! This is the most amazing food that I have ever tasted!” reaction from your guests. Due to All Soup’d Up’s incredible success and phenomenal customer response, Laine is planning an expansion. This will come in the form of a Retro 60’s style restaurant hopefully in downtown Valparaiso at the corner of Lincolnway and Morgan Blvd. “I am excited and terrified, all at the same time”, she stated. She is no stranger to running a business, and has had great success in her other business v e n t u r e , Mopsters, Inc. for the past 28 years. Her restaurant will feature a

The Famous All Soup’d Up Redline Ribeye menu of all-American favorites with Polish and German influence. To hire All Soup’d Up for your event, please call Laine at 219405-5930. For news, updates, soup o’the day, and where to catch them, check out Facebook,com/ AllSoupdUp. Be on the lookout, Region Riders, for the opening of her awesome restaurant in downtown Valpo. Laine said, “There’s a lot of love that goes into my food, it really comes through in the flavor.” All of that love, passion, talent, and yummy noises that people make is what makes All Soup’d Up such an awesome place to grab a bite. - RR

Life in the Fast Laine! Just look for the Hot Rod Grill!!

Every Thursday Hobart Farmers Market Festival Park on Old Ridge Road (All Season Long)

August 6th & August 20th Southlake Kia Cruise Night Merrillville, IN (Through September)

August 15th thru18th Hobart Lake Front Festival Next to the Jaycee’s Beer Garden, Festival Park on Old Ridge Road


THE story of Hirata’s Motor Sports in Lowell, Indiana is truly an amazing one and is a testament to what hard work and dedication can accomplish. What began as a family business 57 years ago remains a family business today, and the passionate dedication to excellence that fueled the business in its infancy is still the hallmark of the business today.

excellence the family has created. Hirata feels a sense of obligation to remained continue to move forward the entity his in the camp for two years and while parents created. interred, the family lost everything.

And if Hirata ever needs a reminder of what that dedication and tradition is all about, all he has to do is talk to his parents. And he doesn’t have to go far to find them because Kenny Hirata, now 85, and his wife Chiyo, 84, still But the story of the business is really come to work every day. the story of a family and the tradition that family established. Today, Hirata’s As remarkable as that fact is, the Motorsports is actually one of four history of the Hirata family is even more separate business entities under the remarkable. And the story doesn’t begin Hirata banner. Also included in the with the Lowell Body Shop in 1956. The Hirata brand with Hirata Motorsports story of this amazing American success are the Lowell Body Shop, Lowell story begins much earlier, in 1941. Automotive and Radiator and Hammer’d. In December of 1941 Kenny Hirata’s family, first generation American The brand that we know as Hirata’s citizens of Japanese descent, lived on is run today by Dave Hirata, the son a farm in Stockton, California. of the founders, Kenny Hirata and his wife Chiyo, who opened a body shop But after Peal Harbor and the outbreak in 1956 that became the Lowell Body of World War II, in what has to be one of Shop. the most shameful incidents in American history, the Hirata’s, like thousands As the individual responsible for running of other loyal Japanese American the Hirata family business today, Dave citizens, were rounded up and placed Hirata is driven by the tradition of in an internment camp in Arizona. They 28

After the war, the family relocated to Cleveland, Ohio where Kenny fell in love twice; first with his future wife Chiyo, and then second, with racing. It was in Cleveland that Hirata began what continues to be the family passion today, drag racing. Only then, there weren’t any drag strips. Hirata was actually street racing. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Hirata was drafted and proudly served for two years in the army of the country that had turned its back on him in World War II. While he was in Korea, Hirata met and became friends with a fellow serviceman who happened to be from Lowell. After the war, Hirata stayed in touch with his army buddy, and eventually moved the family to Lowell where Hirata started the Lowell Body Shop in 1956. Hard work and dedication built the business and with the same work ethic

AMERICAN SUCCESS STORY Written By: Chris Jackson

he used in his business Hirata began building and racing dragsters in the late 1950’s. In 1963 and then again in 1965, Hirata won the US National Drag Racing Championship. Hirata continued to race until 1973 when he decided to give up racing and concentrate on the business. Lowell and Automotive and Radiator was added in the 1980’s to make the shop a full service facility, Hirata’s Motorsports was created in 1997, and Hammer’d, dedicated to restorations and custom jobs for muscle cars and hot rods, is the latest addition to the Hirata brand. As a result of his contributions to the sport of drag racing, in March of this year Kenny Hirata was recognized as a true racing pioneer with enshrinement in the NHRA Hall of Fame. Hirata had also received a Lifetime Achievement award from the NHRA in 2003. Considering what Kenny Hirata had to go through as a teenager, what he and his family have accomplished is a true American success story. Interred by his own country in World War II, he goes on to serve his country in the next war. Upon his return, he not only built a successful business that he still works at today, but he also became a two time national drag racing champion and a member of the NHRA Hall of Fame. But surprisingly enough, Dave Hirata, 50, didn’t immediately inherit his

father’s racing fever. He concentrated on learning the family business and never really had any desire to go racing, even though his father was a noted racer of national fame.

accomplished. He was a self taught, motivated guy who took a lot of pride in how he did things. Back when he was racing he engineered and built his own cars. I couldn’t even dream of that today because the cars are so “I was born in 1963 and my dad was technically advanced.” finished racing by 1973 so I was only ten years old when he ran his last “But I am almost obsessed with taking race,” said Dave Hirata. “So I really what my parents started and making hadn’t done a lot of traveling to races sure it doesn’t fail,” said Hirata. “And with him so I didn’t really have much I can’t imagine what it’s like to turn the interest in racing.” reins to a business that you started over to someone else and let them run it. It’s “When I finished high school, I went got to be tough for him.” to college, but after a year of school I knew that wasn’t for me so I started While Hirata is intense about the family learning the family business. First I was business being the best in everything in the shop and learned body work they do, he does not micromanage his from start to finish. Then after a while employees and gives them all the credit my dad moved me into the office to for the success of the business. learn the business side of things like estimating jobs,” continued Hirata. “We have got some great people here from the management and staff down “I am so fortunate to work with my to the technicians,” said Hirata. “We family,” said Hirata. “It wasn’t all do good work at a fair price and we great in the beginning when I was 21 treat people right and that’s all because and thought I knew it all of our employees.” but now that I have been running things for fifteen years I have the utmost respect for my parents and what my dad

Just like he runs the business with the focus that his father did, Hirata at last followed in father’s footsteps and began drag racing in 1997. And again like his father, he is a racer of some note.


Just last month Hirata won a national drag racing event when he took the Top Alcohol division title in the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. After following in his father’s footsteps in the business it would seem only natural that Hirata would follow in his father’s footsteps in drag racing too, but he didn’t start racing until he was 35. But all he really had to do was try it out. Because once he got behind the wheel, Hirata fell in love with racing, just like his father had done so many years ago,

“I was out at the track with a buddy of mine who had a super gas Camaro and he asked me if I would like to take it for a spin around the track,” said Hirata. “I hadn’t even gone halfway around the track before I was infected. I’ve been racing ever since.” - RR

Written By: Chris Jackson ON Labor Day weekend, Calumet Region residents will be descending on Griffith, Indiana for the Griffith Rock N Rail Street Fest. The fest will take place on Friday, August 30th through Sunday, September 1st and will be the town’s fifth annual celebration to highlight the revitalization of downtown Griffith. The downtown area will be blocked off to traffic on Broad Street north of Main Street for the weekend to host the festival, which draws its name from the non-stop music that attendees will enjoy with a salute to the town’s historical past as the town that grew up by the railroad tracks. Region car buffs will be happy to know that there will be a car show on the opening day of the fest on Friday, August 30th. The show is sponsored by the Griffith Firefighters Association and should be a good one too as there were over 100 entries a year ago. The car show runs from 5:00 pm till 9:00 pm at the north end of the festival grounds and the cost to enter a car is

$15 dollars. There will be prizes for the best cars in the show. Besides the car show, there will be plenty of other attractions too. If you’re hungry, there will be more than twenty food vendors serving everything from barbecue to catfish. If you want to shop, there will be plenty of craft vendors. And if you love music, there will be more than twenty bands to enjoy, including Nicole Jamrose. If you are thirsty, well, of course there will be a huge beer garden on site with room for up to 1,000 people. And in addition to your normal beer garden beverage choices, there will also be import and craft beers available as well premium wine. And of course the fest is family friendly too. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be games and activities for kids taking place at the north end of the grounds where the car show had been.

“The idea for the festival came from our desire to draw people to the Griffith downtown to highlight the facelift of the downtown area,” said Rick Ryfa, Vice President of the Griffith Town Council. “There’s a lot of excitement in Griffith about our five year revitalization plan and we want people to come to the fest, have a good time and see the new look of our downtown,” continued Ryfa. “We started out wanting to highlight the attractions in Griffith with the annual street fest and it’s really starting to take off,” said Ryfa. “It’s getting bigger and better every year.” “We’ll have non-stop music with an incredible stage and sound system that you have to see to believe, there will be more food than you can eat, and we have a huge beer garden,” continued Ryfa. “And there will be plenty of free parking too. We just want everyone to come and see the new downtown, listen to music, try some different foods and check out the new Griffith.” - RR

ACrown GOOD TIME FOR A GOOD CAUSE Point Advance Auto Parts Car Show To Benefit JDRF Written By: Chris Jackson WHEN Region car buffs get together at Advance Auto Parts in Crown Point on August 17th for the store’s annual “End of Summer Car Show”, they can feel good about having a good time, because the proceeds from the show are going to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. “I think it’s important for people to give something back,” said Cindy Lockridge, the general manager at the location. “JDRF is a great cause, and by having a car show with lots of fun stuff to do, we can have a great time and help raise money for a great cause. Last year we were able to raise over $600 dollars in four hours.” The show is the fourth annual show staged at the Crown Point location by Lockridge, who has been with Advance Auto Parts for twelve years and in the auto business in general for fifteen, and it all started with an idea. “I’ve always had car shows wherever I have been,” said Lockridge, a Rock Hill South Carolina native. “I thought about what we could do to get people into the parking lot and into the store; And what better way to do it than to have a car 32

show where people can come out and look at a lot of sharp cars and have a lot of fun while raising money for JDRF.” There will be classes for hot rods, classics, antiques and cycles; and there will prizes for each of the top three vehicles in each class. Last year there were ten separate classes of entries. Already registered for this year are a ’32 Roadster, a ’34 Ford, a ’39 Chevy

“You don’t have to be a big fan of cars to come to the show,” said Lockridge. “It’s just something to see. Anyone can come out and look at a lot of really cool cars, have something to eat and listen to the music and have a good time. And it’s all for a good cause.”

The cost to pre-register a car is $10 dollars. If you don’t pre-register and still want to enter a car on the day of the show you can do so for $20 dollars. To register a car, you can stop by or call the store at 219663-7846. For those who may not want to enter a car or just want to help raise money for JDRF, there will be mystery prizes for personal 914 North Main Street • Crown Point donations of $20 dollars or more.

SAT AUG 17TH 4PM TO 8PM Rat Rod, a ’70 Chevelle, a ’73 Charger and even a 1961 Rambler. All entries in the show will receive door prizes and goodie bags or buckets. In addition there will be raffles, drawings and plenty of good food and music. And you don’t have to be a car nut to come out, the general public is welcome to come out and enjoy the festivities.

Advance Auto Parts is located at 914 North Main Street in Crown Point. The show runs from 4pm until 8pm on Saturday August 17th and in the event of rain the show will take place on Sunday the 18th. “We’re looking forward to everyone comin’ out, hangin’ out and havin’ a good time,” smiled Lockridge. - RR





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IF you happened to take in one of the local parades last month on the 4th of July holiday, chances are you saw a couple entries from the Iron Horse 4x4 Club. And if you enjoyed that, then you will definitely want to come check out the Iron Horse 4x4 Club’s annual event, “The Beauty & the Beast” truck show. “The Beauty& The Beast” Truck Show will be the Iron Horse 4x4 Club’s fifth annual extravaganza and this year the event will help support the Schererville Police and Fire Departments 9/11 Memorial Fund. The show will take place on September 8th at the Buddy & Pal’s/ Langel’s Pizza plaza located at 342 US Route 30 in Schererville. There will be seventeen different classes of trucks at


the show including separate classes for two-wheel drive Fords, Dodge and GMC trucks, four-wheel drive Fords, Dodge and GMC trucks, twowheel and four-wheel drive imports, two-wheel drive Jeeps and vans and Low Riders.

Club. “The event has gotten bigger every year and our goal is to break 100 entries. We had 91 last year and we hope to top 100 this year.”

There will also be classes for the best paint job, the best graphics and the best engineered vehicle; and of course there will be a class for the best “Beauty”, or the prettiest truck, and the best (or worst?) “Beast”, the loudest, biggest or most beat up truck. And the best part is you don’t have to be a member of the club to enter a truck. “If you have a truck there is a class for you,” said TJ Piccirilli, a trustee of the Iron Horse 4x4

The cost to enter a truck in the show is $15 dollars. Registration begins at 10:00 am and ends at 11:00 am. The judging will be by the participants in the show and will conclude at 2:00 pm.

Truck Show

Written By: Chris Jackson

After the conclusion of the judging, the trophy and awards ceremonies will take place and awards will be made for first through third in most classes. All entries will receive a complimentary dash plaque for participating in the show regardless of any other awards. There will also be music provided by a DJ and vendors will be available on the grounds. And throughout the day, Langel’s Pizza and Buddy & Pal’s will be providing food and refreshments and there is no charge for admission to the general public. The Iron Horse 4x4 Club was formed in 1980 by guys who all worked at the mill and owned four-wheelers. The fact that the club members worked in steel mills is what gave rise to the name “Iron Horse”. Piccirilli became a member in 1989 and has served the club in a variety of ways, including thirteen years as

club president. Piccirilli now serves the club as a trustee. “Back in the ‘80’s there were a lot of places where guys who had trucks could go four wheeling and get ‘em dirty,” said Piccirilli, who is now ranked third on the club’s seniority list. “Today there aren’t a lot of places where you can go locally.” At its peak in the ‘90’s there were 96 members in the club but today membership is down to 32 members. “A lot of the founding fathers of the club have gone their separate ways now,” said Piccirilli, a native of Calumet City, Illinois who now resides in Hebron. “We still have some of the older members but times change and when the economy went bad the first thing to go was the toys,” continued Piccirilli. “Today our membership is more diverse and the guys come

from all walks of life. And we have a lot of younger guys now too, so we have the best of both worlds.” “But we’re still a blue collar, family oriented club, and being a member of the club is like being a member of a family. We take pride in what we do and in giving back to the community,” said Piccirilli. “We’re all guys who just love 4x4’s,” said Piccirilli. “I’m proud to be a member of the Iron Horse 4x4 Club and what we’ve accomplished,” continued Piccirilli. “Over the years our club has raised between twenty to thirty thousand dollars for charities through our events. It gives you a sense of pride to be doing good things. You see the less fortunate people and realize what you have and that you should be counting your blessings.” - RR

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Written By: Chris Jackson

ON Sunday, September 8th, there will be a free car show at the Porter County Fairgrounds. That’s right, your eyes didn’t deceive you, this car show is free. The show is from 9am until 2pm and is free for any entered car and its driver. There is however a donation of $5 dollars for any additional passengers in the car but kids twelve and under are free. There will be trophies for the top 50 cars in the show, regardless of class. Participants in the show will get a ballot to vote on the top cars (sorry, you can’t vote for your own car) but in addition there will be six official judges that will rate the top cars. The winners will ultimately be selected in a process that combines the scores of the judges with the votes of the participants. The judging will start at 1pm and the winners will be posted before the awards ceremony. That way, an


FREE entry doesn’t have to sit through an awards ceremony only to find out they weren’t a winner. Although there will be vendors, none of the big companies will be represented at the show. At this show, there will be a swap meet where private individuals with parts to sell will serve as the vendors. And chances are you will be able to pick up parts for just about any car. The show is being put on by Valparaiso resident Mario Alvarez. Alvarez, a retired former Nipsco employee is not only holding a free show, he has no sponsors either. Why would someone hold a free car show without any sponsorship? Why not? You see Alvarez enjoys putting these events together; and while he isn’t in it to lose money, it’s not about money to Alvarez; he does it because it’s fun. “I don’t want to lose money but money


shouldn’t motivate you,” said Alvarez. “I like to put shows together because it’s a challenge. I like doing this because it’s fun. You have to think of everything.” It all got started for Alvarez in 1985 when he began putting together Corvette shows in Chicago. And due to bad weather, he lost money each of the first five years of the show. But failure is a word that isn’t in Alvarez’ vocabulary. “Show” business had gotten into his blood. So he kept at it until he eventually began to make money. “You don’t fail until you quit,” said Alvarez. “I’m not afraid of failure. And I know I’ll never get rich doing this my way; I try not to lose money but it isn’t

AR SHOW & WAP MEET about money to me. I do it because it’s fun. I like putting it all together. The day it stops being fun, I’ll quit.” A couple years back, health issues forced Alvarez, who will be 65 in November, onto the sidelines. But putting shows together was in his blood. And as his health improved, he began putting shows together again. And not just car shows either, although he has done somewhere between 60 and 80 car shows. He has also put together arts and craft shows, fireworks shows and even rock shows; and all because he enjoys it.

Maybe the thrill of the deal has a lot to do with it. “I couldn’t stop after the Corvette shows,” said Alvarez, a Glen Park native. “I’ve done it so many times, but I still get nervous. There’s a lot of legwork involved in putting a show together so I’ll ask myself: Did I do this or that? Did I think of everything? It’s a challenge.” This is the third year that Alvarez has put together the “Valparaiso” free car show, an event he describes as very low key; but it’s just the second time he has staged a second, or fall show in Valparaiso.

But the question still stands. Why is the show free? And why doesn’t he have any sponsorship? To Alvarez, the answers are simple. “I have never understood why guys have to pay to enter a car in a car show,” said Alvarez. “I mean, these are guys who have spent upwards of $50,000 dollars restoring a car in some cases and then they have to pay to show it? It just doesn’t make sense.” And as far as the sponsorship is involved: “I don’t have time to go around begging for money,” said Alvarez. “Plus, I don’t handle rejection well. If that’s what I have to do to get sponsorship, I’d rather play golf.” - RR

Call Mario For Details


Kidz Kustom Korner Dylan Scheuerman

Age 7

Age 11

11 Years Old

Portage, IN

1996 Pocket Bike modeled after a Suzuki Katana. When Dylan was 7, his uncle gave him the bike after it had been run over by a car. With some help from his dad Kurt, Dylan repaired all the tins, removed the swing arm and welded in new supports, straighteners and re-built the carburetor and pull start. His Dad welded the cracked rims and mounted new tires. Dylan then stripped and painted the bike. It’s still a work in progress and probably always will be since now at the age of 11 he’s never satisfied. - RR

HIS MOM SAYS: “The kid lives in the garage and doesn’t beg me for Xbox games... instead he wants tools, paint, parts etc....”


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