by Althea Travis
You spoke loud and clear – and Neal DeLeo and I have responded to your request. Actually, Howard Kroplick, our dynamic speaker at last month’s meeting, gave our next event a jump start. Those who were at Howard’s presentation will recall that Howard spoke of the key role that his “mechan-ician”, plays, not only in the maintenance of the 1908 Alco that he takes to area car shows and historical re-enactments, but Sam also played a key role in addressing the mechanical repairs and operation of the “Chrysler’s Chrysler”, Howard’s latest project.So it was that a visit to Sam Greco’s Restoration Garage in Garden City Park captured the members’ attention. At last year’s Old Westbury event, Ellyn Ostdyk and I spoke with Sam about a GNYR trip to his shop. With Howard’s frequent mention of Sam and his work in his presentation to the club, it was easy to see that the timing was right – let’s go and see where this historic Chrysler was brought back to life.
Now, at press time, we highly suggest for you to mark your calendar for Sunday, June 8 for the visit to Sam Greco’s garage. Discussion at the meeting may have us considering July 13 as an alternate date.
Why a Sunday you might ask? Because it is easier to get many of the cars in Sam’s shop out onto the driveway so that there is space to walk around inside and appreciate those cars that are works in progress inside the garage. Many of our members have has their cars restored at Sam’s place. If you look hard, you might find at least one member’s car on the shop floor right now.
Sam will give us an insider’s view on what it was like to restore the mechanical aspects of “Chrysler’s Chrysler”, and will also have stories about some of the other historic vehicles he has restored in the past. He will also share some thoughts on how to solve some car problems that occur often in older cars and how to do so with minimum of effort.
Although there are may be some club business left over from the Fourth of July Picnic meeting, President Mike Sussman has assured us that the meeting will be very short – just to finish up some odds and ends.
The next GNYR trip that will take place is the trip to Richard Bonati’s Northeast Packard Restoration Shop on Route 112 in Patchogue. Much like the trip to Sam Greco’s shop, the date that we chose is one where you will be able to get the most insight into the operation. The trip is scheduled for Saturday, June 28, a day when the shop is in operation. Right now there are four Packards being reconstructed. One of them will be going to the Greenwich Concours. Not long ago, another one of the shop’s Packards won Best of Show.
If you haven’t been to a restoration shop before, you are in for a surprise. The craftsman on Rich’s staff can design tools for the specialized purpose of re-creating a particular part. Put in other words, they engineer the machine that will make the part! You will get an idea of some of the consummate craftsmanship that goes into creating Rich’s beautiful Packards.
Many of us get into the old car hobby because we have wonderful memories of the older vehicles through our personal experiences with them. For each person who sees us driving our older car, they are learning about the early vehicles. If we keep the historic cars at home in the garage, we are not letting others see their beauty and appreciate their mechanical design. Rich, a past President of the Vanderbilt Cup Region AACA, feels very strongly that is is important for cars to be used – to be on the road. Rich has invited us to bring our historic vehicles to his home following the trip to the shop.
We can display our cars on his lawn, in a sense, putting on our own car show for ourselves. Rich will have his personal car collection on the lawn also, and, yes, the majority of them are Packards. We can have a picnic there under the trees and have a relax for a while before heading back home. So, save the date. You will hear more about this trip a the May 1 meeting when a member of the Northeast Packard’s staff will give a 10 minute presentation on what one experiences on the trip to the shop and then back to the house. As few of our GNYR club members have experienced this visit in the past and they don’t miss the opportunity for a repeat visit, so, save Saturday, June 28.
The other two trips that are close to locking in a date are the trip to see Peter Nettesheim’s BMW Motorcycle private collection. This trip will appeal to a more specific audience than most of the other trips. We will call this a “Special Interest” trip. For the most part, those people who are in our club and also have a passion for motorcycles, have already spoken up about their interest in going on this trip. The date will be tailored to the schedule of those who expressed a desire to go. Speak up now if you want to be involved in this trip, or if you want to come and bring a buddy.
What are the special features of this program about motorcycles? You will recall that it was George Luhrs’, the man who captivated our interest in the micro mini engines, who referred us to Peter and his motorcycle collection. You see, George, with his broad interests, was into motorcycles also. He and Peter would often travel to Munich to the BMW factory and would see some one-of-a-kind motorcycles come off the assembly line. More than likely, the one-of-a-kinds were headed right to Peter’s private collection. Peter’s collection has motorcycles that even BMW does not have in their own collection. Again, speak up if you want to be included in this trip.
The other trip that is close to being scheduled is the trip to the Bayport Aerodrome. Like antique car people who are also into motorcycles, other antique car people are also into antique planes. Ask GNYR member Bill Clifford. He’ll be glad to show you his REO, among others, sitting right next to his antique plane, in his hangar at the Bayport Aerodrome. Bill and Frank Licari, another antique car and plane aficionado, who will co-host us for a trip to the Aerodrome. We learned last year that the weather in Bayport can often be different than it is in Nassau County, or Queens, or the East End. We’ll hope for good weather, and then, more than likely, at least one of us will get to fly over the Great South Bay and Fire Island, as I once did, with an 83 year old pilot who learned to fly during World War II. It was an awesome experience!
Here again, the idea if our bringing our cars is not only for our own pleasure, but also so that other guests at the aerodrome will get to see our cars and, as a result, learn more about them. We are, in a sense, a rolling history lesson. Aren’t we lucky to be able to enrich the lives of others while having a great time for ourselves.
Mark your calendar now for the re-enactment of a ride along the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway. The date is Sunday, October 12, and will start in the parking lot in Hollis that is close to Cunningham Park and travel through the woods until you exit at Creedmore. Then the group will travel, with police escort, along the original roadbed, where possible, to Ronkonkoma, when lunch will take place. Thank you GNYR club member Ellyn Ostdyk for arranging this awesome experience.
You collectively, chose these events, as your priorities. At the next meeting, the activities questionnaire will be handed out. Please take time to fill it out and hand it back, either to me, Althea Travis, or give it to Neal DeLeo. In this way, you can schedule the other events for this and help us schedule the events for next year.