We caught up with fuel-injected gearheads showing off their sweet rides at Harborfest’s “Wheels in Motion” classic car show at Ontario Beach Park.
Photos by Matt Burkhartt. Interviews by David Andreatta.
GREG SEDLAK, 52
GREECE, 1969 VOLKSWAGEN TARANTULA BUGGY
What drew you to this car?
“When I was kid, my neighbor was building a dune buggy and I always wanted to build one. I like things that are old school. I wanted to restore it like original. I wanted it to feel like it came right out in ’69, you know what I’m saying?”
You born in ’69. You and the car are the same vintage. Who looks better, you or the car?
ERIC “E-Z” BALDON, 51
GREECE, 1978 PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
Does she have a name?
“I call her Greeny. She’s a tough girl. I seen her sitting on a lawn. It said, ‘Come buy me right now.’ The guy wanted to get rid of it so bad, he said, ‘Give me $500 and get it off my yard.’ I’ve had it for 18 years.”
JOE SACHELI, 65
RUSH, 1969 PONTIAC TRANS AM
Did you want a car like this when you were a kid?
“When I was 16, it could have been my first car and my father wouldn’t let me buy it. When I was restoring this car, I started laughing to myself one day going, ‘This was supposed to be my first car. It ended up being my last car.’”
MIKE BACCARI, 37
GREECE, 1966 CADILLAC S&S VICTORIA HEARSE
Why ride around in a hearse?
“It’s something different. It’s not a Chevelle, it’s not a Camaro, it’s not a Corvette. Everybody has those. Very few of us have hearses. It’s dangerous to drive on the highway. Everybody wants to take pictures. There’ve been a few close calls.”
Yeah, but you’re car is named “Last Responder.” You’d be there to pick ’em up.
“This is true.”
NICK DiSTASIO, 73
GREECE, 1948 BENTLEY MARK VI “STANDARD STEEL SALOON”
How long have you had this car?
“I’ve always loved Rolls Royce and Bentley, even when I was a little kid. And when I was 25, I hunted far and wide for one. This was in Danbury, Connecticut. I’ve now had it for 47, so I’d say it’s my pride and joy.”
PETER BELMONT, 48
WEBSTER, 1984 BUICK REGAL LOW RIDER
What do you feel like when you’re driving “Purple Haze”?
“I feel like I’m on a cloud. It’s a high. Technically, I guess, depending on how you hit the switches, it’s a low too.”
DAVID STEIER, 62
ROCHESTER, 1931 FORD MODEL A TUDOR
Does this car draw a lot of attention?
“People come to car shows to look at all the bright shiny new cars and the fancy cars and they forget about the simple guy wanting to get a car back on the road. This was a rescue. Some people go for rescue dogs. I guess I go for rescue cars.”
JOHN “JOHNNY CHROME” MATTLE, 75
ROCHESTER, 1962 CHEVROLET C-10 PICKUP
I see a decal on the back that reads “Johnny Chrome.” What’s “Johnny Chrome?”
“That’s me. I love chrome. Everything is chromed. So, I got a buddy that nicknamed me Johnny Chrome, because I chrome everything. Underneath the hood is a lot of chrome. Now everybody knows me as Johnny Chrome.”
KRYSTAL KAMINSKI, 38
ROCHESTER, 1937 FORD ROADSTER
What about this car spoke to you?
“It’s little, like me. Honesty, I’m one of the few people who can fit in it to drive it. I love the nice smooth lines and that it has a nice sleek look.”
RICK TUFFO, 66
GREECE, 1970 DODGE CHALLENGER RT
You say this is your second 1970 Dodge Challenger
“I had one in 1971. Then I got married and the question was, where you gonna put the couch? You got to have some place to live and the couch wouldn’t fit in the car.”
BRAD SARGENT, 48
PENFIELD, 1939 DODGE LUXURY LINER
Is she powerful?
“It’s powerful for the period. Back at the time when they built the car, there were no expressways. So you’re really topping out at 55-60 mph. It’s best to drive around town.”
BILL BARRY, 78
ROCHESTER, 1970 BUICK ESTATE WAGON
You must get a lot of remarks on a car like this.
“People tell me wonderful stories. They remember these and how many kids they could pack in the way back without seatbelts and how they still lived.”
How did you come by a station wagon? It isn’t your everyday, average car show car.
“When my kids were little, I had a bunch of station wagons and didn’t think much of it. But I’ve been doing car shows for 35 to 40 years and I really started to get stuck on these. I really find hem fascinating, especially after so many of them were destroyed in demolition derbies. This one in particular was such a powerful car. And it’s full of bling, you know?”
Bling? On a station wagon?
“The leather top, the upholstery, the electric windows, the Riviera wheels, the wood sides, and it’s all original. It’s never been restored.”
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