Downtown New Britain Car Show, September 17th, 2011

DNB091711 114A crisp and bright fall day, tempting foods and a bevy of vintage and classic vehicles, hot rods and muscle cars brought downtown New Britain to life on Saturday. Dave and I had long ago marked our calendars to ensure we would not miss this event.

Automobile enthusiast and journalist Pete Rocco was the first familiar face to greet us after Dave and I arrived. Jr Mendez of the Busa Crew joined us, and he and Dave started talking shop. Pete said they wouldn’t notice if we slipped away and he took me over to meet Janet Reed of Simsbury and her stunning “barn find.”

Janet and her husband, Steven, found the 1930 Model A Panel Delivery in a barn in Granby. The truck had been tucked away for more than 50 years. “I immediately said that I loved the truck. My husband asked if I was sure, and I was. This truck was the one for me. We spent the first year organizing and cleaning the truck. There were a lot of mice nests, and the engine was so far gone. We also needed a new roof and new tires.”

I was so glad to hear that Janet has no plans to restore the exterior of the truck. The patina gives the GE service supply truck such a sense of originality and history.

“I drive it to work every once in a while, but I mostly drive it to car shows. These wood beams are my favorite part of the truck,” Janet said as she moved to the back of the truck. “Look inside. They’re in great condition.” Janet has added a couple of vintage radios and a toolbox from Pete to the rear of the truck.

New Britain’s Walt Lazlo must have been smiling down on his son an awful lot. Walt’s widow, Pauline, suggested that their son John show the 1969 Pontiac GTO in downtown New Britain. The odometer read 29,987 when John got into the car that the elder Lazlo had ordered 42 years ago from Bill Kemp Pontiac in Newington. John was fittingly behind the wheel when the odometer registered the 30,000 milestone during the drive to Main Street.

John showed me the original window sticker that his dad had saved, and the $3,845.45 price tag. “Dad also saved the original spare tire and original license plates, which we still have. Dad and I cruised the Pike the last year he was alive I’m almost positive this was the car he drove me home from Hartford Hospital in when I was born in 1971.”

Capozzis Motors made sure folks who enjoy exotic cars weren’t disappointed, bringing a Lamborghini, two Porsches and two Ferraris. The Trantolo girls looked right at home, posing with the Lambo. For the second year running, Dave and I really enjoyed the Downtown New Britain show. We can’t wait for the next one!

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