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Retro roadsters rev up on Rockaway

Classic car show cruises into Valley Stream

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On Friday evening, dozens of vintage automobiles lined Rockaway Avenue as if it were a scene out of yesteryear. While oldies music played in the background by a D.J., Valley Stream’s classic car show featured an array of cars from the 1930’s through the 1970’s, all of which were carefully restored and maintained. The village’s classic car show will be held every Friday throughout the summer, weather permitting.

Jack Miata of Lynbrook, who owns a 1931 Ford Model A roadster, commented that the social aspect was one of the things he enjoyed most about coming to the car show. He said the Friday night event gives antique car owners the opportunity to gather and talk with each other the hobby they had in common. Miata said he bought his restored roadster about five years ago after seeing it in an advertisement. Although he replaced a few parts in the car, it still appears as it did when it was first on the road 90 years ago, he said.

“My uncles used to have old cars when I was a kid and I like them. It’s nostalgic and I enjoy driving, and I enjoy working on it,” Miata said, noting that he is a member of the Massapequa chapter of the Model A Ford Club. He added that his grandchildren have fun riding in the antique car, which can travel up to about 50 miles per hour. 

In addition to gathering on Fridays to share their passion for old automobiles, some car collectors also noted the importance of sharing a piece of history with the community. Several members of the Valley Stream-based Road Jesters car club brought their mid-20th century collector cars to the village’s cruise night. Paul Coppola, president of the club, explained that all the cars in the club date back to 1965 or before and muscle cars are not permitted. Instead, the club restricts membership to vehicles such as hot rods and rat rods that come out of the post WWII era.

“It’s a hobby. It’s nice to get out, you cruise. . .” Coppola said of collecting and driving vintage cars. “You pull up and people appreciate it because a lot of these cars are gone. So we’re trying to keep it going from the hot rod era.”

While some car owners purchased an antique vehicle to restore it and allow its story to live on, other owners had driven their cars for decades — and these vehicles were part of their own life stories.

“You’re talking about a lot of memories. I took this car all over with me. We went on vacations. For anniversaries, when we went away we took the car. A lot of years,” Bill Brisco reminisced about the 1977 vehicle that he displayed at the car show.

Brisco, an 80-year resident of Valley Stream, said he had purchased the car as a Mother’s Day gift for his wife 44 years ago. He remarked that he maintained the vehicle through the years, and it still drives well. Brisco said that going to the car show is his favorite pastime as it allows him to talk with others who shared an interest in classic cars, and socialize with friends.

“It’s just nice being with old friends. . .” Brisco said. “Everybody’s pleasant. Everybody’s friendly. And that’s what it’s all about — car people.”