Proud owners show off their vintage and modern cars – NorthJersey.com
FAIR LAWN — Forget about bake sales, hawking candy bars, or concerts and plays. Memorial Middle School roared into a new way to do fundraising by hosting its first car show on Sunday.
Roughly 40 vehicles — ranging from vintage 1930s autos to a three-quarter midget race car to brand-new Teslas — gathered in the school’s parking lot, with their proud owners in tow. The day-long event raised money for Memorial’s Parent Teacher Organization, the Fair Lawn Police Department’s Law Enforcement Against Drugs program, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 281.
“Whatever the net proceeds are, it just gets reinvested into the community.” said Dominick Tarquinio, the school’s vice principal.
With this fundraiser, he said the school “wanted to try something different to attract different groups from the community and appeal to their interests, as well.” And the idea for the car show was the brainchild of a student, Tarquinio said.
“She knows more about cars than my mechanic,” he said.
He was referring to Morgan Oates, who comes from a family of auto enthusiasts. She and her best friend, Kyra Zakrzewski, both 13-year-old seventh graders, worked hard to help promote and organize the event and were busy helping out on Sunday.
“I’ve always been a car fan since I was little,” Oates said. “I would always name cars, say that’s a Mercedes or that’s a Jeep. And one day I went to car show at the Javits Center and got really interested.”
She said that her family owns auto body shops, and that she wants a job where her brother works now, at the auto dealer Prestige. Oates helped her less knowledgeable friend, Zakrzewski, bone up on autos by giving her flash cards with different vehicles on them.
Oates, who said she will soon be getting a 1957 Chevy Chevelle muscle car herself, had a family member proudly showcasing a car. Her uncle, Lou Nardone of Mahwah, brought his lemon yellow 1932 Ford coupe, one of seven vintage cars he owns.
“Everybody’s got bad habits: This is my bad habit,” Nardone said. “I only drive it when it’s real nice out. If I drive this car four times a year I’m lucky. Just knowing they’re in the garage makes me feel good.”
Michael Reinheimer and his wife, Elaine, of Fair Lawn, offered a tour of their 1938 black Plymouth, whose original mohair upholstery remains pristine to this day. They bought the sleek car, which has an art deco design, almost five years ago from a man who had owned it for 40 years.
“We do take it out on Sundays,” Michael said. “We never take it out in the winter or the rain or when there’s salt on the road. … This car has been around for almost 80 years, and I feel a responsibility that I have to maintain it properly and preserve it for the next generation. … I just enjoy driving a piece of history.”
One of Memorial’s alums, Joe Payne III of Rockaway, returned to display his three-quarter midget race car. He said that the love of cars and racing is in his blood, with his grandfather picking up the hobby in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and his father and uncle following suit. Payne bought his red, white and blue car last December, but totally rebuilt it for its 110-mph spins around the track.
“It’s a very family-oriented sport,” Payne said. “Obviously it runs in my family and I like to keep the tradition going. I like speed. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up around it. It satisfies me.”
Tesla did a presentation about its electric vehicles at the Fair Lawn school district recently for its science, technology, engineering and math students, which prompted Tarquinio to invite them to the auto show. The automaker brought two of its Model S vehicles.
Tarquinio fretted that the threatening weather probably kept some from exhibiting their cars.
“If there’s a mist of water out there, some of them hesitate to come out,” he said, since the special vehicles are typically kept in garages.
At one point the disc jockey at the car show played the late singer Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” and there actually was one on display in the parking lot.