Some of  the original founding members of the Pharaohs Car Club: Top Row, L to R: Fred Smith, John Kahaian, Donald Simonian (deceased), Ronald Kazarian, George Merigian, Jr. (deceased).

Bottom Row: L to R: Marvin Baxter, Gerald Hamp, Russell Smith, and Mr. Al Leal (Advisor and Fowler High Auto Shop Teacher).


Our Story

The Pharaohs Car Club of Fowler was founded in 1957 by a small group of Fowler High School seniors and recent graduates who shared an interest in classic and vintage cars. Its purpose was to promote fellowship among members, encourage driver safety, and to promote musical productions, car washes, and other events for charitable causes – including the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, March of Dimes, and Fowler Hospital. Fowler Police Officer Bill Gonsalves and Fowler High School Auto Shop Teacher Al Leal served as Sponsors/Advisors.

Our Name

The Club’s name – The Pharaohs – was unique when adopted in 1957. However, in 1973 the legendary film “American Graffiti” was released to widespread popularity and critical acclaim. Its stars included Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Mackenzie Phillips, and Cindy Williams. It was written and directed by George Lucas, and the plot was influenced by Lucas’ own teenage years in the early 1960’s in Modesto, located only 100 miles north of Fowler. The car club featured in American Graffiti was named the “Pharaohs” and Bo Hopkins played the role of its leader, “Joe the Pharaoh.” Because of the popularity of “American Graffiti” many car clubs formed thereafter adopted “The Pharaohs” as their name.  An interesting note here is that there has always been an issue with the spelling of “Pharaohs”.  In the movie it is spelled correctly if you look closely at the club jackets being worn.  However, there are some plaques being sold at car shows with a Bo Hopkins cast signature (inside of a car outline)  which has the name is  spelled incorrectly – Pharoahs – and yet another version (no car this time!) which has the correct spelling!  One version is a race horse, the other a car club!

Early Activities

In the late 1950s, The Pharaohs Car Club of Fowler sponsored musical productions entitled Talent
Extraordinary and Review of Stars that featured nearby amateur performers and helped fund the Club’s charitable contributions. The performers included Jeannine Riley of Madera, CA,  who later starred in Petticoat Junction and Hee Haw, and Jean Del Carlo Lane of Sanger who became an educator and starred in Fresno musical and stage productions.

From the Past to the Present

The original governing documents provided for officers and a board of directors. The first president was John Kahaian and the first Chairman of the Board was Marvin Baxter. As founders, they are now Members Emeritus. The Club became inactive in the 1960’s. It was reactivated in 2016 at the urging of Chuck Ferreira and few other local Hot Rodders. Chuck was later elected to serve as the first president for the reactivated club. Nowadays, the club still has a few original members, and a lot of newer faces to carry on the legacy. In 2021, the club became incorporated and is now registered as 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The club continues to give back to the community with annual scholarships at Fowler High School as well as State Center Community College automotive technology programs. The Pharaohs also continue doing their part to keep hot rodding alive!