Reinassance Mall & Rif Fort, Curacao 27th April 2024: Wabi Club, the antique car club and oldest car club on the island of Curacao, celebrates King’s Day with its traditional ‘island tour.’ This year’s tour ended with a small car show in front of the Reinassance Mall and Rif Fort to give the Mall’s traditional King’s Day celebration a vintage look! The Weather gods, as always, were on our side, blessing us with a warm breeze, sunny weather, and no raindrops, making it a perfect day for celebration.

Text: Benjamin Wefer
Picture: Omar Martha / Friwil

Wabi Club is an antique and classic car club where every brand and model is welcome as long as it’s 30 years old (there is no age limit to become a member). It’s a group of passionate individuals who share a love for restoring vintage cars and driving them on every possible occasion. That’s why their island tour goes way beyond the club’s official existence. So when did this traditional tour start? 

The car club was officially founded in 1961 by founding father Benjamin ‘Shon Benchi’ Wefer Sr. He envisioned using vintage cars in front of the grand carnival parade to entertain the public. But it wasn’t in the form we know it today. It was more of a ‘rat rod’ mentality. They would remove the car’s hoods, fenders, and car seats and paint funny statements on the side of the vehicle. In 1965, Wabi Club changed its vision from a rat rod mentality to a show-n-shine mentality, resetting the clock to zero. One thing that stayed the same was the occasion rides during Queens/King Day, Flag Day, etc. They continued doing this and even had the honor to exhibit for (at that time) Queen Beatrix once. The club is quite popular on the island and gets frequent requests to display the cars at a specific location. 

This year, the island tour started at the parking lot of Centrum supermarket in Piscadera, where all the members got together. After a riders’ briefing by the club’s president, Sherwin Clemencia, it was time to start the engines and kick off the King’s Day ride. The board members always carefully choose the routes so that all the participants can enjoy the day driving their beloved cars. This year’s route took them from Piscadera through Weg naar Bullenbaai onto Helmin Wiels Boulevard, Pater Euwensweg, and ended up at Renaissance Mall & Rif Fort parking lot.

Renaissance Mall & Riffort King’s Day Celebration was full of activities for the whole family, from a bazaar to portrait paintings, games for the kids, live performances, and the exhibition of the island’s most exquisite antique cars. 

Today’s oldest cars participating in the King’s Day Ride were this beautiful restored 1953 Ford F-100 pick-up, owned by member Norwin Walle, and a 1954 Packard Convertible Coupe, owned by Clifford Muskus. Another eye-catcher was this 1973 Ford Mustang Mach One, owned by Rudy Winklaar. Rudy bought this car from a Ford dealer and has owned it for 51 years.


1953 Ford F-100 pick-up

1954 Packard

1973 Ford Mustang Mach-1

We also asked Sherwin Clemencia for his reflection on how the day went, to which he replied: I am delighted with how the day turned out. Fifteen of our members showed up with their cars, and we stayed there until 19:00. We had a lot of fun together, and the audience was stunned by the vehicles we brought to Renaissance Mall & Riffort. I also want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Renaissance Mall & Riffort staff, especially Maritza, for inviting us to celebrate Kings Day with them. 

All the members enjoyed this day, and the present audience had the opportunity to admire just a glimpse of what Wabi Club (the oldest car club on the island) can offer, making the 2024 King’s Day ride a great success.