Connecticut GTO Club Car Show, August 21st, 2011

CTGTO082111 001Round two of our marathon Sunday brought Dave and I to Vernon for the Scranton Motors, Inc. and Connecticut GTO Club’s car show to benefit The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. The camp, started more than 20 years ago out on Route 44 in Ashford by Paul Newman, gives children with serious and life-threatening illnesses a chance to spend time out in the country, breathe fresh air and just be kids.

“Our first three shows raised $5,300 for The Hole In The Wall Camp,” GTO Club President Robert Heim said. “We host such a great weekly cruise at Hooters (Wethersfield) that four years ago people suggested we host a car show for the camp. We’ll present this year’s check at the Walk-a-Thon in October. We’ve won the top award among groups making donations to The Hole In The Wall, and we’ve had a great time doing it.”

“An event like this helps kids with serious or life-threatening illnesses attend the Hole In The Wall Camp without any charge,” according to Cindy Lehmann, the chair of the HITW Walk-A-Thon. “There are activities for every camper. Even the kids in wheelchairs can go into the swimming pool. The camp has 44 acres of water, so the kids can go fishing and boating.” Newman kept a cottage on the campgrounds and would come out to meet the campers. He also treated the kids to Christmas parties at the camp. After Newman’s passing, his widow, Joanne Woodward, remains committed to the Newman family presence at the camp.

Steve and Mary Lee Lachowetz might have caused a lot of whiplash on their drive from South Hadley, MA in their 1958 Cadillac. “This summer is the first time we’ve had the car out,” Steve said. “We bought the car from the niece of the original owner and since it didn’t run, we had it delivered on a tow truck. We’ve got more than 3,000 hours invested in the car. We get a lot of attention in it. This is such a neat car.”

Dave and I then spent some serious time checking out Al and Donna Poulin’s red 1930 model A. I think the coffin trailer was what I noticed first. Or maybe it was the white spider web front grille. It could have been the carhop tray on the driver’s side. Dave thinks the white header pipes coming off of the engine first caught his eye.

“The car was too domesticated when we bought it five years ago,” the Stafford residents laughed. “It was a plain hot rod,” Al added. “I built the coffin this winter for ha-has. It’s great for storage.”

Making the trip to Vernon from East Hartford Al Theriault was proud to tell Cruisin’ Photography that “My 2008 Corvette was the first atomic orange ‘Vette in the state.” It was easy to see why Theriault chose that color.

Brian Frederick drove a piece of local history to the car show – a 1936 Chevy Coupe whose original owner, Grace Wiley, had won the car after being voted Miss Rockville at the 1936 Elks Club Carnival. Frederick, who lives in Somers, showed us paperwork that indicated Wiley won the car on August 29th and took delivery on September 1st, 1936. History never looked so good.

With the clouds darkening and the threat of rain becoming greater, the organizers decided to draw the raffle prizes and give out the trophies earlier, to ensure that everyone could be on the road home before the rains came. Dave and I took this as our cue to hit the road for part three of our marathon day.

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