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Car Club Gives New Meaning to Toy Drive

Published: December 05, 2011
Moises Benhabib ’13, president of DRIVE UT, said this is the first of its kind event at UT.
Moises Benhabib ’13, president of DRIVE UT, said this is the first of its kind event at UT.
Moises Benhabib ’13 said he knows every car on campus.

He knows the make and model and what modifications have been made: strobes, neon underbody kit, cold-air intake to increase horsepower, addition of a front strut bar to increase driving precision.

“I grew up with a wrench in my hand,” said Benhabib of his childhood in Miami, where his dad has worked for Chevrolet for 34 years and is now the production manager of a General Motors dealership.

As president of DRIVE UT, a car enthusiast club that meets monthly to discuss cars, attend auto shows, go to the University of South Florida car meets twice a month, and swap tips for do-it-yourself modifications, Benhabib wanted to bring his love for cars together with another passion – Toys for Tots.

Benhabib and DRIVE UT are organizing the Toys for Tots Car Show on Dec. 10 from 6 to 11 p.m., where the entrance fee is one unwrapped toy. Members of UT’s Students Veterans Organization will be there helping to collect toys.

“We wanted to be more involved in the University,” said Benhabib, who spent four years in the Navy JROTC in high school where he was introduced to Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that distributes new toys as Christmas gifts to needy children.

The fifth and sixth floors of the West Parking Garage will be hosting the nearly 100 confirmed attending, plus a host of vendors and other car groups like USF Car Meets and dragster Kelsey Lay ’15 .

“It’s a social event,” said Mike Catipovic ’15, pre-medicine biology major and member of DRIVE UT. “It’s not just about cars. It’s a good cause.”

Benhabib said there will be a showing of a little bit of everything, from exotics (Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bentley) to Eurocars (Mercedes and BMW) to average cars like the Honda Civic or Pontiac G6. Auto clubs from as far away as Orlando will be attending and Euro Cycles of Tampa Bay will have a selection of motorcycles on display.

Trophies will be awarded to anyone interested in participating in categories like Loudest Exhaust, Best Motorcycle in Show and American Muscle.

Benhabib, a government and world affairs major, said a car show like this has never happened at UT.

“We hope people come and say, ‘Wow, this is really cool.’ Then maybe they’ll go to other shows. Mainly though, we just want them to enjoy themselves.”

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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