By William Cuellar
As the street racing scene in Los Angeles has been called an “epidemic” by its police force, Imports at CPP is a different type of car club on campus that hopes to promote cars without putting lives in danger.
Imports at CPP was founded in 2008 by a group of car enthusiasts. The group became an officially recognized organization in 2012.
The club meets every Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the In-N-Out and Chipotle parking lot located on the corner of Valley Boulevard and Grand Avenue.
According to Imports at CPP President and fifth-year aerospace engineering student Eddie Herrera, the organization is not “like any other club on campus.”
There are no dues or fees for club membership. Members are not required to own an imported vehicle or a vehicle of any kind.
Despite its name, Imports at CPP welcomes students with any type of car, truck or motorcycle.
“Basically, we welcome anything with an engine,” said Herrera. “You don’t even have to have a car.”
Of the five official rules the club has, being respectful of others and the meeting location are the most important. Racing stunts like doughnuts, burnouts and street racing are grounds for immediate expulsion from the club.
“As long as you follow the rules, you are essentially part of the club,” said Herrera.
While Herrera admits that there are times when members become unruly, the club generally maintains a friendly, peaceful atmosphere.
According to fourth-year political science student and Imports at CPP Vice President Kevin McDonnell, the organization helps students socialize with one another outside of the university.
“We want to be an environment where people can go to relax, hang out, and de-stress,” said McDonnell.
In addition to regular Thursday night car meets, the club hosts several events throughout the year. Some events include renting out SpeedZone for a Halloween costume party, a white elephant gift exchange during the holiday season and the annual UC Irvine spring car show.
UC Irvine’s Imports at UCI car club hosts a large car show every year, showcasing over 300 cars from Southern California. Members from Imports at CPP travel to the show as a group, and the event is often the one of the highlights of the school year.
According to third-year mechanical engineering student Jake Jones, the show is a hit with members.
“My favorite part about the club is going to all the car shows,” said Jones.
Imports at CPP is one of several “Imports at” organizations in Southern California. Other universities that host imports organizations include UC San Diego, UCLA, USC, Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside.
Originating at UCI, the Southern California imports car clubs have formed close relationships with each other. Groups of members often travel to other schools for larger car meets and shows.
Although the club does not rely heavily on promotional materials for recruitment, the club does host a large car meet at the beginning of fall quarter with the hopes of recruiting new members.
“We have had two to 300 cars come out [last fall],” said Herrera. “It’s massive.”
The fall quarter car meet caters to active members, alumni and students from the various Southern California chapters. CPP’s esteemed alumni include the founders of the non-profit organization Keep Racing Off Public Streets, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of street racing while making attempts to “keep racing off public streets.”
Vice president McDonnell is a major advocate for KROPS.
“We try to encourage safe driving,” said McDonnell. “If you’re going to race, do it on a public course.”
The club has hosted meets that have featured high-end imports including an NSX GTR, a Liberty Walk BMW M4, an R32 Skyline, a Lamborghini Aventador and a Ferrari F430.
Imports at CPP hopes to continue hosting car meets every Thursday night and spreading the love of cars to the university community.
Marlen Chinos / The Poly Post
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