There has been a surge in the collector car market over the past 10 years, and nowhere is it more evident than in the number of car shows held throughout Long Island and the nation. Why is this? I believe because cars become time capsules, and one can be transported back to times of innocence and firsts. The 1950S rock and roll music always played at these shows increases the ability to capture the past.So do the scents emanating from these wheels of the past: the unmistakable smells of leather and oil from the old English vehicles, the aroma of wood and fuel from the cars of the teens and 20s, and the sounds and smells of the big block V8s from the 50s and 60s.
Last Saturday, some 100 cars were present at the Shelter Island Historical Society’s fifth annual Car Show in the field on North Cartwright Road. Antique and classic cars and trucks, as well as vintage firetrucks were on display. And the show had cars for everyone. There were many of the sporty Thunderbirds from the 50s along with Corvettes of the same decade. There were a few classic fender-less hot rods along with a variety of pickup trucks.
Fred Ogar had numerous Model-T Fords on exhibit while Joe Hine displayed his classic British sports cars.
Hollywood fans were able to examine cars similar to James Dean’s Mercury from “Rebel Without a Cause” and the Grand Torino from “Starsky and Hutch.”
Most of the cars being shown are restored to conditions better than when they rolled off the showroom floor. They have all been carefully detailed right down to the proper radiator hose clamps.
Others had patina, a term now used in the classic car world to refer to cars that are all original and have been used. Paint may be faded. There may be scratches and rips in the upholstery and even a crack in the glass — but it is all original and owners choose to leave them that way.
What’s good about these car shows for seniors is that we remember when these cars were seen on the road or parked on the streets. No big deal. But the passage of time has made them special.
My grandson was shocked when I told him that I had an MGA roadster like the one he was examining and I sold it for $250!
I spoke with Historical Society Executive Director Nanette Breiner Lawrenson at the show and she noted that there were “many more entrants than last year” and that she was pleased with the attendance.
When I asked her why the show was scheduled to end at 2 p.m., she explained that many of the entrants come from great distances and do not want to drive at night.
I fully understand that.