GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala City became on Sunday a living museum for classic automobiles with an exhibition attended by thousands of people, who turned out to admire hundreds of vintage cars manufactured between 1901-1980, including some of the most iconic rides in history.
The Campo de Marte open space in this capital was the site for the festival, where more than 300 classic cars in pristine shape, most of them U.S.-made but also some Japanese and Russian vehicles, were on display at the 10th “El Rock de los Carros” event, the “most important” festival of its type in Central America.
Fiat, Ford, GMC, Chevrolet and Datsun collector items were on hand with a two-fold objective, according to what the project’s founder, Cesar Garcia, told EFE: allowing people to indulge in “the fondness for antique cars and the desire to help others.”
The non-profit event donates all funds collected to three Mercy Houses in San Cristobal, San Lucas Toliman and Chimaltenango providing care for children and the elderly around the country.
The Mercy Houses foundation works to provide food to more than a million children 5 years of age and younger who suffer from chronic malnutrition, as well as to nearly 300,000 seniors lacking any other means of support.
The festival has been growing over the years and the 10th edition included some 30 vehicles owned by the Guatemalan army, including a presidential limousine, a 1959 Cadillac, which had been expressly ordered by former President Jorge Ubico.
Weighing four tons, with a V8 engine, the armored vehicle still runs, although only two ex-presidents have ever used it – Juan Jose Arevalo (who governed from 1944-1951) and Alejandro Maldonado (2015).
“While current cars focus their design on their functionality, safety and aerodynamics, classic cars focus their design on ... beauty,” one of the car fanatics on hand for the event told EFE, adding “That’s why after so many years these (vehicles) still hold a special enchantment” for car enthusiasts.