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John Campos' 1969 custom black Volkswagen Beetle is usually parked in front of his barbershop on West Main Street.

On Saturday, however, he drove the classic, named Moto Loco, to the fourth annual Fiesta Car Show at Santa Maria Foursquare Church to show her off.

The Santa Maria resident, who hasn't missed a Fiesta show since it began four years ago, said he's always happy to be a part of an event that benefits the community at large. 

"Knowing that I only needed to put together $25 for a registration fee that'll send kids to a youth camp makes me [only] too happy to be here. Plus, people come see what you have, talk to you and get to know your stories." 

Saturday marked the first time a fee was charged to raise money to send kids to Camp Cedar Crest in the San Bernardino mountains. 

"Just a little donation from registration goes such a long way," said Foursquare Church Pastor Tim Mossholder. "This past summer, we sent 55 kids to camp and they had an amazing time. They experience so much and meet hundreds of other kids around the state, and return to Santa Maria with life-changing memories and expanded hearts.

"They do everything -- from hiking, games, sports, worship, paintball -- but also learn about God."

Mossholder recalled the Fiesta Car Show happened almost by accident at another event the church was hosting, when the owner of a classic lowrider asked if he could display his car.

"That year, people enjoyed it so much, we decided, why don't we make this a more official annual event? Since then, it's grown so much bigger," the pastor said.

"My favorite part every year is meeting the people at the show and hearing their stories, both about their cars and their own lives," he continued.

"The cars can't talk, obviously, but you can hear about them, where they came from, how they were restored. You get to hear about the restoration in other people's lives, too."

In the two decades since he purchased his classic VW Bug, Campos has painted it three times, pinstriped it and mounted a custom-made air cooler pump that sits next to the window of the front passenger seat. 

"I did so much to Moto Loco," he said. "I just recently installed a new motor last year, and am getting ready to take her apart all over again to put in new parts."

Campos said after the original owner saw a photo of his daughter, who is Campos' neighbor, posing with Moto Loco, "[he] is now willing to buy his car back after he saw how much she's changed. But I don't see myself selling her back for a very long time. I've been having too much fun with her."

Once he gives the car another makeover, Campos said he'll stop driving it so much, "as she has so much bad luck." Drivers always either hit her by accident or scratch her somehow, he said, shrugging.

"I need to take better care of her, because I use her to advertise my barbershop business in town."

Having it parked outside the business at 516 W. Main St., which he has owned for 15 years, helps new customers find it quickly, he added.

"When people hear from other regulars where to find my barbershop, they don't give them cross streets or the address; they just tell them to drive down West Main and look for a 1969 black VW."

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210


Courts/Public Safety Reporter