Bizzers will fire up front-engine dragsters

Countless Americans enjoy fireworks on July 4, but this year bizzers in the Television Motion Picture Car Club will fire up front-engine dragsters.

The TMPCC hosts its third annual car show Wednesday at CBS Studio Center as part of the Fireworks Festival presented by the Studio City Chamber of Commerce and the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The event is a fund-raiser for a range of charitable orgs.

The club plans to showcase 50 vehicles, all owned by industryites, around the Mack Sennett building on the Eye’s famed Studio City lot.

Car Club prexy Ken Latka and others will start up four vintage dragsters at 8 p.m., an hour before the fest’s fireworks show. Latka, events director Timothy Wong and CBS Studio Center prez Michael Klausman are set to be seated in the cars.

“A lucky raffle winner will get to sit in the fourth car while it’s being started and watch the flames come out of the pipes right in front of them,” said Latka, a supervisor at the Eye’s CBS Television City lot. “I’ve never been in a front-engine dragster. This will be an experience for me as well.”

Latka emphasizes that the club’s focus is on showbizzers who own custom cars, rather than on vehicles featured in movies and TV shows. Celebs expected to attend and sign autographs include Paul Le Mat (“American Graffiti”), Fred Dryer (“Hunter”) and drag racer Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen.

Latka started the club in July 2009 with colleague Harvey Berger. The club’s 100-plus members include auto buffs from all of the major nets and studios, Latka said.

According to some of last year’s attendees, Latka said, the car show attracts visitors to the Fireworks Festival that might otherwise not be interested.

“Apparently several wives dragged their husbands over to the show. The guys just really weren’t that interested,” he said, “but as soon as they found out there was a car show, they were in.” — -

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