They broke a record for attendance at the Kiwanis car show on Sunday – not people, but cars.

Yes, over 3,700 attendees paid the $5 admission to view the collection of antique, muscle, luxury and exotic cars, but this year, said car show founder John DeRosa, there were 213 vehicles, the most ever.

“We had to turn some away – we just don’t have room,” he said. One beautiful classic Corvette sat forlornly in the parking lot among the ordinary SUVs and sedans that visitors drove to see the show. It lent credence to the “they just don’t make them like they used to” sentiment that the classic car enthusiasts were quick to utter when asked about their passion for bygone designs.

From a 1920s-era REO Speedwagon, the progenitor of the pickup truck, completely hand-restored by Frank Jones, to Fred Steiner’s 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner, displayed with a plush version of its namesake and the hood raised on four legs, to a gorgeous 2008 Bentley with the “flying B” hood ornament, there was something for every taste in automotive art.

Along with motorcycles – two-wheeled, three-wheeled, and scooters – and two ambulances from the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department and Collier EMS, the show even had its first-ever tractor, a 1947 Ford 8N restored and displayed by Jack Bird.

“It’s the only tractor in the world built with disc brakes,” he said. “I used it to tow my ¾-scale replica of a P-51 Mustang in and out of the hangar.”

Some of the antiques are one-owner cars. Lee Henderson brought his ’64 Dodge, a two-seater convertible that today looks as long as a boat. He has owned since it was built.

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“My dad followed it through the production line. It never went to a dealer,” he said.

City Councilor Joe Batte showed off the 1948 Buick Roadmaster his dad bought as a new car.

The crowd patronized the Kiwanis grill, bought 50/50 raffle tickets and had entertainment to go with the cars. They applauded performers including the high steppers of the Celtic Spirit School of Irish Dance, and the jazz band, chorus and cheerleaders from Marco Island Academy. DJ Steve Reynolds, who has spun tunes for all 13 years of the event, played “car tunes” including “Mustang Sally,” “Hot Rod Lincoln,” and the Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Coupe.”

Eventually, the muscle cars in Corvette Alley made a throaty roar as their drivers headed out, turning the roads of Marco Island into something of a car show of its own. All the money raised, said DeRosa, who would not share specific figures, will go to the children-centered work of the Kiwanis. If your car craving hasn’t been sated, you can view another show at Hideaway Beach Club, for two hours on Sunday afternoon, March 5. Proceeds from that show support the “Hideaway Chips Away at Cancer” fund.

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