Sharing the love of wheels, car enthusiasts show off their treasures
Woo, a retired General Electric jet engine supervisor from North Reading, is one of 31 million classic car enthusiasts and owners in the United States.
“Working since I was 14, I had a 1968 Corvette when I was 21. Oh how I still wish I had it,” said Woo, 69, reflecting on his lifelong love for cars and engines.
He also owns a 1967 Ford Fairlane XL-500, a 1968 Mustang, and “a 2015 50th Year Mustang GT with the Modified Anniversary Pack with an 800 horsepower Kenne Bell Supercharger.”
Eric Siciliano, 49, of Waltham still has his first vehicle – a 1978 Ford F-150 pickup truck.
“I bought it as a work vehicle when I was 19,” Siciliano explained. “As a carpenter and a contractor, I used the truck for work and then had fun with it – four-wheeling through the mud. I blew the engine up in 1999, took it off the road and stored it for years.
Siciliano “never intended to become a car enthusiast“, but in 2012 he decided to strip his vintage truck down to the chassis, rebuild and customize it.
Today, Eric and his wife, Nicole, also own a 2010 Camaro and a 1999 C5 Corvette. Nicole drives the Corvette and both cars are used “to move the kids to and from football.”
Active in the South Shore Antique Auto Club, Paul Pelland, 59, of Stoughton, owns a 1966 Dodge Dart.
“My very first car was a 1965 Dodge Dart,” he recalls. “It’s not exactly the same car, but it’s close.”
After buying his car 10 years ago, Pelland took the recommendation of a family friend and joined the auto club.
“It’s a small club and we always welcome new members. We get together once a month, have an annual barbecue and share our cars in parades. The 4th of July weekend was a particularly busy one for Pelland and club members as they took part in parades in Braintree, Randolph, Duxbury and Stoughton.
For Sicilians, cars are fun, but what keeps them active as car enthusiasts are the people they meet and the stories they hear from other classic car owners.
“There’s a story behind every car,” said Eric, who is one of the founders of the Motorheads Car Club. “Our club and the car show that we organize each year are aimed at all car enthusiasts. We don’t limit entry by age or type of car, we tell you if you like it – bring it and tell us your story.
Wess Murphy, 43, from Haverhill brought his 1985 Knight Rider replica to the recent Andover Center for History and Culture Car Show.
“Knight Rider”, a popular television series from 1982 to 1986, featured KITT, an artificial intelligence crime-fighting computer embodied in a Pontiac Firebird. More than a talking car, KITT has become the four-wheeled sidekick of David Hasselhoff’s star character, Michael Knight.
Murphy learned everything he knows about cars from his uncle, Russ MacLeish. He and MacLeish began the project to build his Knight Rider replica together. When MacLeish died, Murphy continued the 10-year project on his own as “time and money permitted”.
“Sometimes I relied on YouTube videos for help and Facebook pages for parts,” Murphy said, noting that he “isn’t rich and doing all the work himself was a labor of love”.
Hagerty reports that the average price of a classic vehicle is around $28,500 – more affordable than a new car, and the largest percentage of registered classic cars and trucks were made in the 1970s and 1990s. with 59% of all enthusiast vehicles in the United States having been manufactured after 1980.
“There are different types of car enthusiasts,” Siciliano added. “Some are purists who prefer cars restored to their original form. Others prefer to customize the drive to suit their own personality. Whatever you choose, it’s a never-ending project.
“When buying a classic car, choose carefully,” advised Pelland. “It will take your time and with cars that need extensive restoration the work can become overwhelming.”
Woo enjoys the challenge of finding parts for his vintage vehicles by attending New England Dragway’s monthly Swap Meet in Epping, NH, and tapping into his nationwide network of suppliers. At Danvers’ cruise party, several car enthusiasts came out to admire the “dog dish” hubcaps he had recently added to his Ranchero.
Enthusiasts like to share their passion for cars with the public. Evening cruises are scheduled in the area every week and car shows throughout the fall.
The Sicilianos invite everyone to visit the free Motorheads Classic Car Show on September 25 at Gore Place in Waltham.
“There is something for all ages and all tastes. It benefits a local charity, is family friendly and kids can vote for their favorite car,” Siciliano said.
Linda Greenstein can be contacted at [email protected].