Slice of West Seattle life: Car meet under The Bridge

Your WSB co-publishers and freelance reporters/photojournalists go out and “cover stories,” but the spice of the site is so often YOUR contributions – whether a wildlife sighting, a breaking-news photo, kudos for volunteers, or something else entirely. The latter category might be the most appropriate for this story, with photos, shared by Kevin McClintic:

I took the low bridge home from downtown Seattle and came upon a large gathering of car enthusiasts assembling under the West Seattle Bridge around 17:15 Sunday evening, February 21. Most of the cars were Hondas, with a few other makes and models mixed in for variety. One Honda even sported right hand drive. The drivers were all in their late teens to early twenties and very well behaved. Young men and women – and their love affairs with cars.

I managed to find the leader, Daniel Vargas, who was happy to take a moment away from his own photography to explain the group and their purpose.

Daniel is the sort of official leader of the group and spokesperson. He explained that the group comes from all over the Puget Sound area once or twice a week when the weather is nice and cruises around to different locations and then parks and talks cars, taking turns photographing each other’s rides. Daniel went on to explain that they DO NOT race – they just simply enjoy cruising around. The events usually draw a crowd of about 40 to 60 cars. I estimated perhaps 30 at this gathering.

Daniel has a My Space account called “Big Brown Photography” where he evidently showcases pictures from the weekly events [it’s set to “private”]. While I was busy taking a few pictures, Daniel motioned for me to come over, and he had arranged for one of his friends to put on a little demonstration.

Meet “Nick” in the blue plaid shirt.

Nick was using a laptop to “tune up” his engine from the driver’s seat. I was not really sure what was going to happen next. Nick revved up his engine while he made some adjustments from the laptop that resulted in a half dozen or so loud bangs (similar to gunfire) that was caused by his purposely causing the engine to backfire. Some might say juvenile – but this 50+-year-old writer was suitably impressed with the fact that it was all controlled by a laptop. Demonstration now over – the car sounded like any other Honda that you might see around town.

It’s not hard to see that organizer Daniel takes his interest in autos seriously. Just take a look at his forearm and you will see that he is a die-hard Honda owner.

I asked Daniel about his car – what does his car do? He began to tell me about his 4000 (yes – four THOUSAND) watt stereo, and asked me if I would like to hear it. I looked at my watch, thanked Daniel for his time, and told him I had to get home in time for dinner.

29 Replies to "Slice of West Seattle life: Car meet under The Bridge"

  • Mike February 24, 2010 (6:35 am)

    Good to see them enjoying their rides and having fun. Most people associate these meet ups with the ones that rip around Alki and our neighborhood at break neck speeds. Just know these meet ups are enthusiasts, not always the rug rats we dislike.

    There are many car forums that will get groups together near or at Alki because it’s a commonly known area with great views.

    VW/Audi enthusiasts often meet up as well and it’s the common interest in the type of vehicle that drives them to connect.

    If you’re ever around these, most people are pretty open to showing you and talking about their car.

  • bridge to somewhere February 24, 2010 (7:04 am)

    Cool story! Thanks!

  • samson February 24, 2010 (7:21 am)

    oh no, to these Honda Lovers, be careful!! High volume of Honda bye-bye!! Car-thiefs are interested to steal Hondas away from lovers. Honda gathering sounds fun to show off their engines, and the beauty!! cool one!

  • coffee February 24, 2010 (7:28 am)

    Interesting, I saw a right hand drive Honda the other day and did a double take. Just cannot remember where it was.

  • Greg February 24, 2010 (7:37 am)

    Great slice of life there. Nice of you to take time to see what the kids were really like. Too easy to dismiss them all as racing punks, of which there is no short supply. :-)

    Keep up the great work.

  • Tony S February 24, 2010 (7:43 am)

    I’ve seen these gatherings for some time down under the viaduct — thanks much for the information. The members of these clubs are serious motorheads; they know their stuff!

  • Brian February 24, 2010 (7:47 am)

    Peer learning is such a great way to learn about all the mechanical and electronic systems involved with tweaking cars. Thanks for the story.

  • Bianca February 24, 2010 (8:34 am)

    Loved the story!

  • velo_nut February 24, 2010 (9:06 am)

    Remember this story when your Honda is missing it’s wheels, hood, bumper or quarter panels in the morning. Just sayin-

  • mc February 24, 2010 (9:14 am)

    Hmmm velo_nut, you’re sounding prejudice, if not just plain ignorant… just sayin-

  • Dawn February 24, 2010 (9:31 am)

    awesome to see that they can hang out and have a good time UNDER THE BRIDGE!!(not down on alki, near homes where people are trying to sleep.. im just sayin..)

  • Heath Pierce February 24, 2010 (9:54 am)

    What a great story, this is why I love WSB. And what a great outlet for these guys and gals, a healthy activity. If I owned a business with ample parking I would invite these citizens to use my lot if it didn’t interfere with my customers.

  • austin February 24, 2010 (10:01 am)

    No one is asleep at quarter past five on sunday afternoon. Even on alki.

  • fc February 24, 2010 (10:16 am)

    I bet we can take our Honda’s down there and find ways to fix them for FREE.

  • I. Ponder February 24, 2010 (10:20 am)

    This is a terrific story. Interesting and good for the community. I passed this event while on a bike ride. Young people get misjudged as “up to no good” all the time. This story lets us meet bright interesting young people face to face, who we might otherwise have never met.

  • JW February 24, 2010 (12:08 pm)

    Great story– thanks! I would’ve easily dismissed this group as “punks”– I definitely needed the slap in the face to remind myself of how ignorant I can be. Kudos to the author for actually taking the time to find out the details.

  • Born To Be Mild February 24, 2010 (12:22 pm)

    @velo_nut: You’re a jerk to assume these people are thieves. What we want to do is to welcome them to our community and share our values. The best of them will become our neighbors and make WS a great place to live. I turned out okay even if I’m pretty sure the 4 speed that I bought from another pillar of the WS community was originally bought from Gene Fiedler Chevrolet with a 5 finger discount.

  • 06-FG1 February 24, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    Thank you for all of your support everyone. I was one of the vehicles under the WSB and it’s really good to hear that MOST of you don’t think we are a bunch of criminals. Were just a bunch of friends with cameras and cars.
    Thanks again
    *be sure to find big brown photography on myspace*

    • WSB February 24, 2010 (1:32 pm)

      FG1 – I linked to it – anything blue in one of our stories is a link. However, the profile is set to private, so you can’t see much of it, unless there’s a backlink I missed.

  • MB February 24, 2010 (1:30 pm)

    I’m pretty sure if this group’s goal was to go steal Honda parts from the community, they wouldn’t be welcoming their pictures being taken for a story on the WSB and would also not be posting their own pictures weekly online. Great story and great reminder that not all young people are up to no good.

  • velo_nut February 24, 2010 (1:55 pm)

    You got me.

  • Crameus February 24, 2010 (3:41 pm)

    Ya the meets are always fun, gives us something to do and keeps us out of trouble. The one annoying thing about driving a honda is getting harassed by police all the time, modified exhaust tickets are probably the most ridiculous thing to get. It doesn’t make any sense how we can get tickets when our cars aren’t even loud compared to a Harley or a “muscle car.” Also it’s getting hard to find new places to go because we are always getting kicked out by police who have nothing better to do.

  • Sean February 24, 2010 (4:59 pm)

    Under the bridge seems like a great and mostly underutilized spot to do your thing. Do the cops give you grief when you meet down there?

    If I ever see you guys I stop to give you all a look at my moded Spec.B, or is there love for the Subies?


  • I. Ponder February 24, 2010 (6:04 pm)

    I don’t understand why young people can’t get a break. You should be able to do your thing out in the open without being harassed if you are law abiding. I bet a common excuse is “someone complained”. To me that’s not a good enough reason.

    That was a spectacular sunny day. I hope this and similar coverage of what you’re doing will help you catch a break.

  • Garrett February 24, 2010 (8:48 pm)

    Yes we are a bunch of people that share the same love for imports, like big brown said we are NOT RACERS.. just friends that like to get together and go on a drive.. and sadly the cops catagorize,judge,harass most people driving imports and make it hard for us to have meets like this…..

  • Crameus February 25, 2010 (12:48 am)

    Well actually under the bridge spot we have never been harassed by cops, they just always say no racing. It just sucks because we were perfectly fine in the parking lot by the boat launch on Sunday and all of the sudden we just get kicked out. I just don’t understand how you can get kicked out of a public parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. All our cars were parked and we were taking pictures. Oh well, definitely enjoy all the positive feedback though, I always thought people hated us for having our meet ups around them. You will definitely see more of us as the weather gets nicer!

  • I. Ponder February 25, 2010 (9:21 am)

    I suggest you contact the City Attorney and tell him what your experiences have been and ask what your rights are. Ask for a letter stating what you can and cannot do. Copy the letter and give to all your friends. Maybe you can get a permit to meet at the boat launch. Also, go to an event where you can meet our new Mayor and tell him what’s going on. I believe he’ll be receptive.

    Another option is to invite some older dudes and dudettes to your meet-up in the public place of your choice. Preferably attorneys with experience in this sort of thing.

    You do have rights. You may be issued tickets for asserting your rights, but then you can challenge it before a judge. Always be respectful to police!

    My teen sons have occasionally been hassled by police and bus-drivers for things I doubt I’d be hassled for as an older person.

  • francis57 February 25, 2010 (7:06 pm)

    These kids sure look a lot less intimidating than the the ones we used to see hanging out in Spokane and it looks like they’re just getting together for some good old fashioned fun. I didn’t read the whole story but the pictures tell the story well. It’s not like kids and hot rods didn’t go together when I was a kid!

  • g.L. February 28, 2010 (12:41 pm)

    there is nothing wrong with kids enjoying their cars…that’s been going on for a long time..with anything there is always a few bad apples but i’m sure most of them are still good kids.

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