Hundreds of vehicles gather at Vintage Motor Car Meet

By Merja Lehtinen - ReminderNews
East Haddam - posted Mon., Aug. 5, 2013
There were vintage fire trucks at the Annual Vintage Motor Car Meet, in addition to hundreds of cars. This one features a Dalmatian sculpture. Photos by Merja Lehtinen.
There were vintage fire trucks at the Annual Vintage Motor Car Meet, in addition to hundreds of cars. This one features a Dalmatian sculpture. Photos by Merja Lehtinen.

The 47th Annual Vintage Motor Car Meet of the Belltown Antique Car Club on Sunday, Aug. 4, was like a road rally from the 1920s; one almost expected Daisy and Gatsby to drive up the road.

Several groups of antique car drivers motored back and forth between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to the antique motor vehicle show at the Haddam Neck Fairgrounds - so many, in fact, that seeing a modern car along the roads was the exception, not the norm.

More than 240 antique cars were officially registered for the meet, and the drivers of several hundred more were just there to enjoy the day. Mix in period fire trucks from the late 1800s to early and mid 1900s, and the scene at the show certainly brought some onlookers back in time.

Jim Way's 1929 Ford Roadster is his pride and joy, but he was not seeking acclaim; Way claimed he was just there to organize others to have fun. Kelly and Curvin Councet, from North Branford, attended in a glamorous bright red 1953 Buick Skylark.

Karen and Louis Swiridowsky, of Middlefield, had their five-window 1930 Chevy coupe, while Tom Siena, of East Hampton, was driving a 1955 Nomad station wagon by Chevrolet. But he did not come to display his car; he drove long-time expert, friend and antique car buff John Peterson, 93, to the show.

There were several Models As and Model Ts at the show. As Richard Beckwith pointed out, the Model T came first, then Ford created the Model A with a transmission as we know it, and other modern amenities that moved cars "into the modern era."

Little Triumphs and MG/MGB British antique sports cars, manufactured in the 1950s to 1980s, were also present.

John Grant, who officiated over this year's show, said that more than 240 cars were given packets for registering; another 200 or more antique cars came with people who just wanted to watch. "We don't count people around here, we just count antique cars!” Grant said. “It is just fun."

The Motor Car Meet started in the 1960s in conjunction with an historical celebration of East Hampton's past. Then, several people who owned antique vehicles were asked to participate in the parade. So, as a result, all those people became friends and decided to gather annually as part of a motor club which still meets every year, 47 years later.

There were nominal prizes awarded, which were Belltown's Bevin Bros. school bells in various sizes for participants.


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