NJ AACA visits the Spring Hills Senior Community, Morristown NJ, Sep. 2017

The New Jersey Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) hosted a casual car show at the Spring Hills Senior Community facility in Morristown, NJ, on Monday September 11, 2017. For a number of years, the NJ AACA has been welcomed at numerous assisted living operations throughout the state.

NJ AACA members’ cars lined up for review

The elderly residents are given the chance to peruse the classic cars, and club members are provided the opportunity to show off their four-wheeled beauties. The car owners and residents have lots of time to reminisce, and everyone wins. We saw that effect in full swing on this beautiful late summer day, with sunny skies, low humidity, and temperatures in the 70’s.

The Model T was the fave backdrop car for photos

Event chairperson Abe Platt was pleasantly surprised with a turnout of 11 cars, a copious number for a Monday. Vehicles ranged in age from a 1923 Ford Model T to a 2001 Chevrolet Corvette. The decade with the largest representation was the 1960s. Your author was thrilled to see how many Spring Hills residents could eloquently recall the cars they owned 40, 50, even 60 years ago.

The Alfa was occasionally used as a rest stop

The first gentleman I met approached me as I stood by my Alfa. He told me that in the 1960s, his daily driver was an Austin Healey 3000. He related that the exhaust note on the Healey was so distinctive that his then-three-year-old daughter knew when daddy’s car was about a half block away, and she would get excited knowing her father was almost home. I asked him what his wife drove, and he said “always Volvo wagons. We had them all, from a 122 wagon, to the 140 wagon, then a succession of 240 wagons.” When I admitted that I had spent much of my career with the brand, he said “at Smythe?” In what was the coincidence of the week (nay, the month), it turned out that he knew the owners of the dealership where I was employed in the 1980s. He still regularly communicates with one of the senior partners.

My new friend Bob Detig, he of the Austin-Healey ownership

Another man eyeballed my Alfa and told me that he had purchased a new BMW 2002 tii in the seventies. The BMW replaced a Jaguar E-Type 2+2, which had replaced a Jag 3.8 sedan. With a wink, he said he loved his sports cars, but needed the back seats to carry the family. The last car he owned was a 1999 BMW 7-series, which he would pilot back and forth to Florida at “extra legal” speeds.

Ron was the Jag/BMW owner

The facility generously provided lunch to the car owners, and bottles of wine were presented as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place “People’s Choice” awards. The event started at 12:30pm, and was over by 3:15pm. This was the first time I had been able to join the NJ Region in a Senior Living facility visit. I was touched by the opportunity to share stories with the facility residents. Frankly, it was the best way I could have spent my Monday afternoon.

1968 Ford Mustang

 

1988 Mercury Cougar

 

1940 Buick

 

1965 Chevrolet Impala

 

2001 Chevrolet Corvette

 

1963 Cadillac

 

1980 Cadillac Seville

 

Caddy front ends compared

 

1932 Dodge

 

1998 Ford FIA Cobra

 

Abe announces People’s Choice awards

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

The AACA NJ Region Annual Picnic, August 2017

The New Jersey Region of the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) held its annual picnic on Sunday August 13, 2017. As is tradition each August, the monthly meeting normally scheduled for the first Thursday of the month is pushed back, and is held in conjunction with the picnic.

Pete Cullen, chairperson for the picnic, is fond of saying: “This is the second-largest car show for the club, after the annual spring meet”. Indeed, according to Pete, there were at least 40 members’ collector cars in the lot. The large turnout was encouraged by the ideal summer weather, warm and sunny, with no noticeable humidity, and no threat of rain.

The Club generously covers the cost of the grilled food, consisting of your American BBQ mainstays: burgers, dogs, and chicken. Members are encouraged to bring side dishes and desserts, and the generosity of the attendees ensured that no one went home hungry.

With lunch consumed, many of us took to the parking lots to survey the wide variety of vehicles on display, ALL of which were driven to and from the event. Plenty of pre-war cars made the trip, and there was the expected quantity of ‘50s and ‘60s American cars.

Fans of foreign marques were not disappointed, especially if you like Italian cars. For this club member, the parking lot contained several vehicles not seen before at any NJ AACA event. A standout was the stunning 1954 Chrysler Imperial 2-door hardtop, resplendent in black. According to my copy of “Cars of the 50s” by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, just 1,249 of this model and body style were produced, at a retail price of $4,560. (By comparison, a same-year Dodge Royal 2-door hardtop started at $2,503.)

By 2:30 p.m., most of the crowd had dispersed, and Pete and his crew were done with the cleaning and packing. The NJ Region, which has been in existence since 1951, has many members who have known each other almost as long. It’s a friendly, fun, low-key crowd, and everyone always appreciates each other’s cars and company. It was my first time at the club picnic, and based on today, I’ll be coming back.

Brass-era Fords nicely lined up

 

Herb Singe, founding member of the club, headed home in his “T”

 

1932 Dodge roadster with rumble seat

 

1930 Chrysler- note wood wheels

 

1939 Ford

 

1946 Chevrolet pickup

 

1948 Mercury droptop

 

Compare this to the ’48 Merc- FoMoCo entered the modern age with its redesigned 1949 cars

 

1964 Pontiac Bonneville

 

1965 Ford Falcon

 

1965 Chevrolet Impala

 

1966 Ford Mustang

 

1969 Ford Torino

 

Late ’80s Mercedes-Benz 560SL

 

Lancia Fulvia Coupe

 

Alfa Romeo Montreal

 

1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Jr.

 

Trunklids & taillights

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2017 Hillsborough NJ Memorial Day Parade

The town of Hillsborough NJ held its annual Memorial Day parade on Saturday May 27, 2017. The day dawned sunny and warm, in spite of a forecast which predicted showers, and the turnout from the NJ Region of the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) was extensive and eclectic. The club has supported this parade for years, but this was the first time that your scribe was able to join in the festivities.

We were asked to convene by 9:30 a.m., with a planned kick-off at 10:30 a.m.  Over 20 member-driven cars and trucks were in attendance, including a LaSalle, a Stevens-Dureya, numerous Corvettes, several ‘60s-era Pontiacs, the ubiquitous 1957 Chevy, two Model T Fords, two Mustangs, and a first-gen Monte Carlo. Among non-American makes were two Alfas and a rarely-seen Sunbeam Alpine GT hardtop.

In a unique approach, we were asked to arrange ourselves by vehicles’ decade (not exactly year order), so perhaps the multitudes lining the route could get a sense of automotive history parading by. We moved along at something less than 5 mph, tough on the clutch, but the throngs were appreciative of all the gleaming sheetmetal and chrome.

We probably drove 1.5 miles, and it was over. The cars dispersed, having fulfilled our civic duty for the weekend. It was a thrill to see happy smiling faces waving at you, even as one young man yelled out to me, “hey, is that a Jaguar?” I suppose I should have been complimented.

 

The queue of cars awaits the starting signal

 

1962 C1 Corvette

 

1946 Chevrolet pickup truck

 

Ford Model T

 

1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider

 

1964 Pontiac Bonneville

 

1968 Ford Mustang

 

Stevens Dureya

 

1939 Ford

 

1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

 

C3 and C5 Corvettes

 

Sunbeam Alpine GT

 

1987 Mercury Cougar

 

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

 

Buick Riviera convertible

 

1967 Pontiac

 

Early ’50s Chevrolet

 

1968 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible

 

The author’s 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Jr.

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

The 2017 NJ AACA car show

The New Jersey Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America held its annual car show as it always does, on the first Sunday in May, which this year was the 7th.

Last year, the show was moved to the Mennen Arena in Morristown NJ, so 2017 was only the club’s second time here, after being held in Florham Park for the last 5 or 6 decades.

Last year’s inaugural event at the new location is remembered for only one thing: the cold rain, which kept all but a hardcore 30 or so cars from showing up. With weather the one variable outside the club’s control, we all presumed that the odds would work in our favor and we would be blessed with a perfect spring day.

Not quite.

While nowhere near the washout of 2016, this year still required participants and spectators alike to deal with cloudy and somewhat cool temperatures for this time of year. At least the promised rain held off until about an hour before the show was done. In spite of the threats, turnout was decent, with some unofficial estimates putting the vehicle count at close to 200 cars. Spectators turned out in decent numbers too.

I was proud to have my Alfa Romeo, fresh from the AACA museum, on display, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was one of three Alfas at the show, joined by a rare Euro-spec Nuova Giulia sedan, and a one-owner Milano. The Italian car feast was rounded out by a Lancia Fulvia coupe.

’67 Alfa GT 1300 Junior

 

’78 Alfa Nuova Giulia

 

’87 Alfa Milano

 

Lanica Fulvia Coupe

British cars included an Austin-Healey, a stunning MGB-GT, and two Lotuses (Loti?), an Elan and a Europa (yes, all Lotus model names begin with the letter E).

AACA rules allow cars to be shown once they reach 25 years of age. So on a rolling basis, each new calendar year means that there is a new “class” of eligible cars. For 2017, 1992 and older cars can be shown, so it was a pleasure to see this beautiful ’92 Mercedes Benz 500SL on the showfield.

1992 Mercedes Benz 500SL

Of course, American makes dominate the display, including the so-called orphan manufacturers (those whose marques no longer exist). Below are some examples of these, including Pierce Arrow, LaSalle, Crosley, DeSoto, and Pontiac (still strikes this writer as odd to see Pontiac’s name with the others).

One does not need to be a member of AACA to enter a car into the show. One of the draws for members and non-members alike is the chance to win something, as this show is one of the few in the area which is judged (to AACA standards). The NJ Region recently switched from trophies (aka dust-collectors) to tool and duffle bags, to make for more practical prizes. It’s the generosity of the sponsors who help make it possible to have awards.

NJ AACA sponsors

Here’s hoping for better weather in 2018!

 

1960 Corvette

 

A trio of 2-seat T-Birds

 

Detailing before the judges arrive!

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NJ AACA Holds Car Show at Somerset Patriots Ballpark

Display cars in the parking lot, with TD Bank Ballpark in the backgroud
Display cars in the parking lot, with TD Bank Ballpark in the backgroud

 

Friday, July 8, 2016 was Collector Car Appreciation Day in the U.S., the seventh year in a row that such a date was recognized. The date was designated as per a U.S. Senate resolution which was passed with the support of various auto hobby lobbying groups, most notably SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association).

As part of this celebration, the New Jersey Region of the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) co-sponsored a car show held in the parking lot of the TD Bank Ballpark, the home stadium in Bridgewater NJ for the Somerset Patriots baseball team. This show was held on Sunday, July 10, 2016.

 

Another view of the cars on display.
Another view of the cars on display.

Turnout among NJ AACA members was impressive, with 20 cars from the club on display. The Street Dreams Car Club had also been invited to participate. Their cars and trucks leaned toward newer and /or modified, but not exclusively so. In total, there were close to 50 vehicles in the show. Ballpark employees roped and coned off a section of the lot, allowing us to park together, and game spectators meandered the aisles, enjoying the vehicular variety.

The Street Dreams club cars were mostly at the other end of the lot.
The Street Dreams club cars were mostly at the other end of the lot.

The parking lot show started at 3pm, and the ball game was scheduled to begin at 5pm. Around 4 o’clock, word went out that we all should start our cars and get into a queue near the back of the lot. A large gate swung open, and every show car was allowed to drive one parade lap completely around the field’s warning track. This Alfa Romeo owner had his wife, step-son, and two granddaughters in the car (FIVE occupants, a world record), and we thoroughly enjoyed the chance to see the ballpark from the vantage point of a vintage automobile.

 

A true family affair. Yes, we all fit into the little Italian job.
A true family affair. Yes, we all fit into the little Italian job.

At the conclusion of the parade lap, we all returned to the parking lot, and most of us entered the stadium to enjoy a little baseball. This was the first time that the NJ AACA helped conduct such an event, and I understand that the club has already decided to make this an annual occurrence.

 

The styling similarity between the '50 Merc and the '52 Hornet is obvious from the rear.
The styling similarity between the ’50 Mercury and ’52 Hornet is obvious from the rear.

 

 

 

The owner of this '56 DeSoto has a sense of humor (but it really does have a Hemi).
The owner of this ’56 DeSoto has a sense of humor (but it really does have a Hemi).

 

The author's 1967 Alfa Romeo was the only non-American car in the show.
The author’s 1967 Alfa Romeo was the only non-American car in the show.

 

 

Ballplayer enjoys his view of the show.
Ballplayer enjoys his view of the show.

 

Rounding 3rd, and headed for home.
Rounding 3rd, and headed for home.

 

Water boy waits for 'Bird.
Water boy waits for ‘Bird.

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

The 2016 NJ AACA Car Show

The New Jersey Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (NJ AACA) held its annual car show at the Mennen Arena in Morristown NJ on Sunday, May 1, 2016. Compared to previous events, this year’s affair was unique in several ways: this was the first time that this location was utilized, as the venue which had been used for the previous 40+ years in Florham Park NJ was unavailable; and the turnout this year was the smallest your author has ever observed.

Yes, this was the NJ Region's 65th show
Yes, this was the NJ Region’s 65th show

The reason why 30 vehicles instead of the expected 200+ vehicles were in attendance had nothing to do with the location, and everything to do with the weather. The NJ AACA maintains a strict “rain or shine” show policy, but a steady series of showers combined with temperatures parked in the mid-40s kept entrants and spectators away in droves.

This '30 Model A was one of the very few pre-war cars out to brave the elements
This ’30 Model A was one of the very few pre-war cars out to brave the elements

Nevertheless, vehicles did arrive, even if for the most part they were owned by club members. An advantage for those whose cars were to be judged is that no class had more than 4 vehicles in it (some had 2), and with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes to be awarded, your chance of winning went up exponentially.

A trio immediate post-war iron: 2 Mercs and a Hudson
A trio of immediate post-war iron: 2 Mercurys and a Hudson

Below is a sample of the fine machinery, both domestic and imported, which graced the show field. A trend which has been noticed on the National level was also found at this event: as AACA’s “25-year” rule continues in effect, the inclusion of unrestored and/or original-owner cars is growing, reinforced by vehicles which were considered collectible when new and were salted away (think Eldorado, Fiero, Beetle convertible, and anything first-year, last-year, or commemorative edition).

General Motors

 

This Fiero was displayed in unrestored condition by its original owner
This Fiero was displayed in unrestored condition by its original owner

 

FoMoCo

Jeep

 

This immaculate Jeepster was driven to and from the show
This immaculate Jeepster was driven to and from the show

Italian

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.