Fast cars mean lots of fun, members of the Untamed Tuners car club said while displaying their vehicles at Old Settlers Day in the Waynesville City Park.
Many of the vehicles were extensively modified. Amos Carey of St. Robert showed off a 1997 Honda Civic that now has doors which open straight into the air, a feature shared by an Acura RSX owned by Gerald Valle of Waynesville.
“Parking is easier; I don’t need to open my door very far,” Valle said. “People stop and stare.”
Some of those people staring Saturday included Frances Pfeiffer of Jerome.
“I think that is just cool!” Pfeiffer said after staring at the car with doors raised high into the air.
“It looks dangerous; it’s got that bad boy ‘untamed look,’” Pfeiffer said. “I’d like to have a car like that.”
Old Settlers’ Day coordinator Kelly Howley said many others shared that opinion when the Untamed Tuners drove their vehicles into the park.
“It was like a parade of cars entered,” Howley said. “I think everybody wondered what they were doing and that prompted interest in the cars.”
The Untamed Tuners car club began small but has rapidly grown, said club member Robert Young of Waynesville. The club now has 22 members who love customizing their cars.
“We started out with three guys,” Young said. “We wanted to go to the custom cars to look at them and have fun doing it.”
Customization includes everything from vertical doors on the outside to high-definition television screens inside. Customization work has also been done to radios, speakers and other equipment on many of the vehicles.
“Ninety percent of our members do all the work on our cars ourselves,” Valle said.
Gerald Valle’s wife Kathleen said unlike some car clubs, the Untamed Tuners are a family-oriented club. She’s a member along with her husband and she does mechanical work on the cars right alongside her husband and other club members.
“My father was in the car business, I grew up around it, and now I am an addict,” she said. “I drove (the modified Acura with vertical doors) for a year while (my husband) was in Afghanistan … You get some stares; you get a little bit of looks from people saying, ‘You are a girl; do you know what you’re doing?’”
Carey said working on cars doesn’t have to be expensive if the mechanical work is done by the car owner. With $7,500 in special rims, extra paint, electronics, and vertical doors, he’s transformed his 1997 Honda Civic into something that routinely gets stares on the road and in parking lots.
“Except for some welding, everything on that car has been done by myself,” Carey said. “I’m pretty crafty and I like working on my car.”
Kathleen Valle cautioned that hot cars don’t mean heavy feet on the pedals — at least on city streets.
“This is not about street racing; we take it to the track where that is legal,” Valle said.
Young agreed.
“We go to drag strips where the only people we endanger are ourselves,” Young said.