Though only 6 years old, the Pirate Garage Car Show is drawing entries — and spectators — from greater distances as the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School event grows in popularity.

Vehicles ranging from American hot rods to exotic European sports cars, customized pickups to stock classic trucks, economy to muscle cars and motorcycles to tractors packed the East Lot and spilled over into the parking spaces in the campus entrance Saturday morning.

Some of the entries had accessories like a matching black pinstriped ice chest, a replica of a typical 1960s-era fast-food feast on a window tray and an original 1940 orange-and-black California license plate.

In addition to giving SYVUHS students and staff as well as other Santa Ynez Valley residents a chance to show off their unique and beloved vehicles, the show also drew entries from Santa Maria, Lompoc, Orcutt, Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, among other areas.

Spectators showed up from as far away as Southern California and northern San Luis Obispo County, and the show brought back graduates from previous years who volunteered to help put on the show.

Members of the Wheels ‘n’ Windmills Car Show organization also volunteered help in staging the event.

The show is sponsored by the Pirate Garage, a club made up of SYVUHS automotive technology instructor Rob Hill and his students who not only learn practical car care practices but also knowledge that allows graduates to step right into entry-level jobs.

Students get hands-on experience through Pirate Racing, a team that fields a stock car at the former Santa Maria Speedway, now known as Stadium805.

The quality of the school’s automotive program and the dedication of club members has gained notice from the auto industry as well.

At the show Saturday, members showed off a Jeep donated to Pirate Garage by the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association.

As a fundraiser for the club, the car show’s entry fees benefit the Automotive Department’s vehicle restoration projects, entry in Skills USA competitions, community service projects and classroom materials not provided by the school budget.

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This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.


Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.