By Yingzi Dong
As it drove down to Cross Island Parkway, a white Ford Mustang coughed white smoke, its engine revved and roared down the road.
Hundreds of newly-polished collectibles and antiques glistened under the glaring midday sun. The Spring Car Show has finally come to Belmont Park.
On Sunday April 9, thousands of people gathered to enjoy the annual Spring Car Show and Swap Meet at Belmont Racetrack, held by Long Island Cars. Vendors, enthusiastic car fans, and visitors were welcome to show off and sell their custom hot rods, muscle cars, antiques and collectible exotics in the “Car Corral.”
“We are really just for enthusiasts,” Phyllis Aquino, the promoter from Long Island Cars, said. People come together to find the parts they needed for their cars and show their cars, so families could enjoy the show.
“[I’m here] to have fun, show off my car (…)” Minarik James, an 80-year-old man who has owned a pink hot rod for 20 years, said. “It’s living a dream. I mean when we were kids, we could not afford something like this.” James tries to go to a car show every Sunday.
“As a car person, I agree that car culture is an important part of American culture,” Kathy Schoendorf, an editor of The Model A Ford Club of Long Island who owns a 1931 Model A Ford Station Wagon with wood body, said. “From the early days of racing, [to] rum running, NASCAR’s roots in moonshine running, the invention of the drive-in movie, motels, highways, car hops at drive up restaurants, Sunday drives — the car and Americans came of age together.”
The Model A Ford Club of Long Island is dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of the Model A Ford, as well as other antique vehicles.
“There are Model A owners who have spent years and tens of thousands of dollars restoring their cars,” Schoendorf said. “I would spend thousands to repair my car if need be. These cars were built almost 90 years ago, they are a piece of rolling history.”
Some vendors also came to the show to sell merchandise instead of showing their cars.
“I am here today as a vendor selling some diecast [car] models,” Eric Boken, a vendor from the show, said. “These models here are just for sell. [I have] around 15,000 more car model collections at home that I will not sell. [Collecting car models] is definitely my hobby. I’m collecting myself and I also buy other people’s collections.”
Long Island Cars has kept the show going every first week of April for 25 years and the next show will be held on Flowerfield Fairground at Saint James, Aquino said. However, it has become more hard to find a place to hold the show, so the organizers are scouting for new events.