The Bayside Historical Society held its annual Vintage Car Show this past Sunday. The lawn of the Castle at Fort Totten was transformed into a hub of diverse antique and vintage automobiles from throughout the last century.
Although some of the cars on display were originals, most of them were restored originals, a practice that requires a lot of passion, time and money.
Tom Lee, a car enthusiast who’s been involved with car shows for ten years, brought his 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air to the show. Lee purchased the car from a young man in Pennsylvania, who built it in his garage as a hobby.
“It was a wreck, he totally redid the whole thing,” he said. “It’s like a new car, but it’s still got some original elements like the old three-speed shift.”
Lee said he enjoys entering and attending car shows such as this one to see the different styles of vehicles, as well as to meet new like-minded people.
Queens Village resident Steve Ditullio brought his 1966 GTO convertible to Bayside, which he first finished in 2007. For him, these days car shows are more of a hobby and chance for social interaction, as opposed to years ago when he was more competitive.
“I’ll go to a car show, but not stick around for trophies,” he said. “I’ll say ‘hello’ to my friends and leave. But in the beginning, I got a bunch of trophies, especially for my ‘58 Harley that I had, which I actually plan to donate.”
Although restored, his GTO convertible is era correct as it has DMV-verified license plates from the model’s year, as well as a registration sticker in the back of the car where it used to be placed.
Ditullio described himself as a purist when it came to building this car, since he did everything he could to keep it original, but still made modern tweaks to make it safe.
He said his favorite thing about putting his cars on display is the nostalgia it evokes in the people who admire it.
“What I really love is there’s so many people who have come up to me and owned one of these cars in the past, and I bring them back to that time,’” he said. “I even start seeing people my age bringing their grandkids who become interested in it. So it’s nice to see that it’s not going to die out as quickly as I thought.”