When we dropped by the United Pacific Industries’ (UPI) Rigs & Rods car show on Saturday, September 23, 2017, it happened to be the same weekend and same day as one of the West Coast’s biggest events, Cruisin’ For A Cure car show. Our first thought was; “Why would you compete with one of the area’s bigger events that is established, and now in it’s 18th year?”
Operations Manager Ruben Mangiaterra set us straight about the car show. “Why not two?”
We asked UPI’s Operations manager, Ruben Mangiaterra, that very question. “We’re not trying to compete with any other car show,” Ruben said. “Why should car enthusiasts have just one option? Why not two? We felt like we could support the local car enthusiasts by offering other choices like having people go to the other show, then stop by here, or visa-versa.”
We have to agree. It is not like real hot rodders are going to get tired of looking at great builds. Why not two shows on the same day? We can’t speak for everyone else, but there has never been a time when we were too bored to look at another hot car. To their credit, UPI served the die-hard car enthusiast better by supporting the Crusin’ For A Cure event with a second show of their own. That is typically what United Pacific is known for, offering another good alternative.
A big part of UPI’s business is the big rig market. These owner/operators care as much for their rigs as hot rod owners care about their street rods.
Even if you are not familiar with the UPI name, there is a good possibility that you have one or more of their parts on your classic car. United Pacific Industries does not sell to the public, but if you buy from Summit Racing, Speedway Motors, LMC Trucks, or a host of other parts distributors and retailers, you have probably seen or bought a part that was manufactured by UPI. If you do know UPI, you are well aware that you probably have a licensed product that exceeds the original standards and specifications.
This show was all about the people and the cars. In true Long Beach style, there was something for everyone.
Rigs & Rods 3rd Annual Car Show
We arrived early, and we could tell immediately that the event was going to be packed with the dyed-in-the-wool, traditional rodders, because the venue was already packed. You have to be pretty early to beat us. Sitting in line to register for the show was one of the famous Balvenie Morgan Plus 8 cars. These cars were built for the Balvenie whiskey company in Ireland, and sent out around the world as ambassadors for the liquor.
Each one of these cars is manufactured in the United Kingdom with a 3.7-liter V6 engine connected to a five-speed transmission, and ivory paint with a tan interior. We were truly struck by the raw beauty of the car. Sadly, since 2007, Morgans are no longer imported to the U.S. as the company was unable to satisfy the airbag compliance rules. That means this is almost certainly a pre-2007 model Morgan.
The show was sponsored by Roxanne’s Events, the advertising arm of Roxanne’s Cocktail Lounge and New Latin Grill. To simply say that Roxanne’s is a cocktail lounge is a disservice to the establishment and the crew that helped put on this amazing event. Roxanne’s is uniquely Long Beach, with all the traditions and heritage that goes along with that. Those traditions include catering to the vintage and kustom car culture that helped Long Beach become the hot rod capital of Southern California. Distinctly old world fashion and flavor in today’s bland world, the Roxanne’s crew are definitely vintage car enthusiasts.