Knights of Columbus hold inaugural car show at San Marco

Lance Shearer

America’s love affair with the car was on display Saturday. The Marco Island Knights of Columbus held their inaugural car show in the parking lot at San Marco Catholic Church, bringing out a crowd of spectators to wander through the gallery of automotive art.

With 85 cars in the show, there was something for car enthusiasts of every stripe, from Dick Fracasse’s lemon drop yellow ’39 Ford convertible to Kathy Strobel’s custom star mist T-Bird, a 2003 model converted to the look of a ’57.

“My husband surprised me with it for our 50th anniversary,” said Strobel. “Then he got himself a car, but he knew he had to get me one first.”

Chris Tighe showed off his larkspur blue ’57 Bel Air station wagon, which has been in the family since it was manufactured, originally purchased by his wife’s father. “He paid $2,200 for it. We were offered $125,000,” said Tighe.

Jack Keery's 1954 MG roadster sports an exotic front end. The Marco Island Knights of Columbus held their inaugural car show Saturday in the parking lot at San Marco Catholic Church.

The show catered especially to Corvette enthusiasts. The Corvette Club of Marco Island had 20 examples of the Chevy muscle cars in the show, and club president Tony Costantino pointed out if you want to see them again, the club holds get-togethers every Friday evening at Marco Town Center, and every Saturday morning at Marco Lutheran Church.

All funds raised Saturday went to the charitable endeavors of the Knights of Columbus, including Special Olympics, local charter schools, the Bread of Life food pantry, scholarships, and the police and fire-rescue foundations. Carlos Escarra won $700 in the 50/50 raffle, and peeled off two hundred dollar bills to donate back to the cause.

K of C volunteers grilled up burgers and dogs, Steve Reynolds MC’ed and DJ’ed, and the Celtic Spirit School of Irish Dance put on a high-stepping dance exhibition.

The K of C show was put together by John DeRosa, who is the longtime organizer of the Kiwanis annual car show in February – “the big one,” said DeRosa. “This kicks off our season.”

The Kiwanis event, he said, would be held for the first time at Veterans’ Community Park, after spending many years next to the NCH Healthcare Marco campus.

Tony Costantino of the Corvette Club finds a speck of dust on his 2016 Z 06. The Marco Island Knights of Columbus held their inaugural car show Saturday in the parking lot at San Marco Catholic Church.

A guide for budding car enthusiasts

Car enthusiasts appeared as soon as the automobile was introduced to the general public in the 18th and 19th centuries. Through the years, certain vehicles have proven more desireable to customers than others based on their looks and other attributes.

Auto hobbyists devote substantial time and effort to purchasing, restoring and displaying classic cars. While the hobby of restoring classic cars is not necessarily for everyone, its popularity suggests it's an activity that's here to stay.

According to an article in The Economist, in the wake of the recent recession, investors were increasingly pulling their money out of stocks and converting assets into tangible items, such as classic cars. As late as 2013, collector cars were outperforming other tangible investments like art, wine, stamps, and coins by large margins.

Those ready to dip their toes in the classic car waters should understand a few key factors that can affect how much they enjoy this potentially rewarding hobby.

  • Environmental regulations. Some collectors face challenges when attempting to restore classic vehicles because the cars do not meet today's stringent clean air initiatives that govern automobiles. With the increasing number of new, clean cars on the road, vehicles that fail to meet modern emissions standards may pose a costly problem to classic car collectors.
  • Introduction of alternative fuels. As governments increasingly emphasize the importance of clean fuel options, classic car owners may find it challenging to find more traditional fuels or face the added expense of adapting their vehicles to run on alternative fuels.
  • Lack of mechanical expertise. Workers in the automotive trade are trained to manufacture and repair new vehicles. As a result, classic car owners without much mechanical ability of their own may find it difficult to find mechanics with the skills necessary to repair and restore classic cars.
  • Historic requirements should be heeded. Each state has its own requirements governing classic cars. To qualify for historic vehicle registration, vehicles may need to be 25 years or older, owned solely as a collector's item and used exclusively for exhibition and educational purposes. When driven for personal use, such vehicles may not be allowed to exceed 1,000 miles per year.

Classic cars continue to attract hobbyists from all over the globe. Restoring classic cars can be a rewarding pastime, but one that involves dedication and an investment of both time and money.