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March 22, 2013     Post-Gazette
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March 22, 2013
 

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POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 22, 2013 Page 13 by John Christoforo abb ollKtOANostalgicRemembrance l ll, i i Last week I was talking about my hobby ... old cars. During my younger life, I have had some pretty nice cars. I always bought them used as I had a taste for the expensive ones. My ra- tionale was that, the expen- sive ones were owned by older people who didn't hot rod them around the city and that meant they were in good shape. I seemed to luck out each time. My first car as a working adult was a 58 Thunderbird. For 1958, the 2-seater sports car had evolved into a 4-seater and my bass violin fit inside. It was 1961 and I had obtained a job teaching high school the September before and with a teaching salary and the music at night I could afford a nice car. My next car was a 1960 Cadillac convertible, which I drove to Florida several times when the guys and I went on summer vacations, The next was a 1964 Chrysler Imperial and this was fol- lowed by 1969 Eldorado. From there on I always stayed with the Cadillac or Lincoln models, always used and always within pocket range. My first attempt with an antique car happened acci- dently. An ex-girlfriend from my teen years was getting a divorce. Her husband told me ;that they were selling every- thing to divide things equally between them. He taught auto mechanics at a techni- cal high school and had done over a 1953 Corvette. It was number 000069 from that first year of the left cycle of the Corvette. The car wasn't much of a sports car. It had a Chevy 6 cylinder engine and an automatic transmis- sion, which meant that it couldn't get out of its own way. But, it was pretty, I liked it and the price was right. I bought it for $2,500. I put it into the garage for the winter and when spring rolled around I received a call from Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. I had been knocking on doors out there and they began to open. Be- fore I was to leave Boston I cleaned up the Corvette so Dad might be able to sell it for me. I headed for a gas sta- r_ion to fill the tank and while this was happening, I spot- ted an old-timer who began walking around the car. I asked if there was anything wrong and he looked at me with a scowl on his face and asked, "Is this car for sale?" I replied, "I hadn't thought about it, but are you inter- ested?" Scowling even more, the man said, "I'm inter- ested, but I won't give you a cent more than $25,000. I tried not to move a muscle on my face and replied, "Let me think about it." The man gave me his business card with his phone number on it and left. I looked up and said, "Thank you God." With the car sold to the old man, I had enough money ......... to_ live on in California. I did My 1962 Lincoln Continental. get some work from the pro- duction company's houses at Paramount and headed back home as Labor Day ap- proached that September. I went back to teaching in Boston and playing music at night. Periodically, I'd get a call from Paramount and headed back to California to do a bit of acting. Through all of this, I didn't have time for a hobby, espe- cially where old cars are con- cerned. My entry into the hobby was, as I indicated in last week's column, later in life. Well, if you remember, I brought my winning Little League team to an ice cream place and a group of old car enthusiasts were having an impromptu get together. I spotted a '66 Thunderbird on display that was for sale. Loretta felt guilty about the '59 Caddy she talked me out of the summer before and insisted I buy the T-Bird. It needed work and I bargained with the owner for 2 weeks. I finally bought the car and proudly drove it to antique car shows that summer. From that point on, I began working on the car trying to put in showroom condition. I did a little every year to keep the cost down and I still own the vehicle today. Dean Saluti and Margie Cahn were the next in the crowd to buy an antique car. They found a 1963 Corvette in Texas and brought it home. We, for the next few years, would lead off division three of the Columbus Day parade with our cars, but I could tell ... Dean wasn't happy. He wanted an antique Jaguar. When I first met him in 1973, he was driving a Jaguar XKE 2-seater. He wanted a British car to make him happy, and the Corvette was traded for Victoria, 1966 four door Jaguar that makes him look like a detective from Scotland Yard when he drives it. A year or so later, Loretta needed a car and I went on the search for something she might like. One day, I was passing a garage in Belmont and saw a couple of used cars for sale. I looked at one I thought she might like, but the mileage was too high and it needed a lot of work. But, parked next to that car was a 1962 Lin- coln Continental with sui- cide doors. The car was in good shape and had low miles. This model came out in 1961 and was the salva- tion of Lincoln Division of Ford. Between the Edsel and the late '50s Lincoln, Ford had lost many millions. They dropped the Edsel and re- styled the Lincoln. This '62 was from the 2nd year of the production model. It was such a good car; the style would last through the '60s. I bargained with the son of the garage owner until I got my price and added the '62 Lincoln to the collection. From that point on, I be- gan to rotate which car i drove and to which car show I wanted to attend. Dean next bought a 1969 MGB, a 2-seater convertible. I like the car, but my shoulders don't fit the seat. I guess the British are built different than Italians are. Dean and Margie have stayed with the European cars and have severa! today, but we attend some of the same events that feature old cars. Last year I was at a car show and an old friend men- tioned that a lady he knew had her late husband's an- tique car for sale. The man was gone and the widow was selling off all his toys. I ac- companied by friend to see the car. It was a foreign one and I brought a friend who is a foreign car expert, Bill Strachman. The car turned out to be a 1973 Mercedes 4540 SL, 2-seater convert- ible. Bill checked it over and whispered to me, "Buy it or I will." I bargained with the woman for a week or two be- cause her price was unreal- istic. She finally relented and sold it to me for what I wanted to pay and I added it to the collection. Loretta thinks I'm crazy owning three old cars, but my comment is, "I'm old, don't drink, don't take drugs, don't smoke cigarettes and don't chase women ... I need something and it might as well be old cars." To keep the cars running and in good condition ain't cheap, but as the years pass these vehicles only appre- ciate in value and I love the hobby. If Dad were alive, I think he would accompany me when I head out to the car shows. I know that Babbononno loved to ride in convertibles. I guess I've made the right choices. Maybe when Loretta isn't looking, I might find some- thing else in the way of another old car. If I do, are there any good divorce lawyers around reading this column? Gotta go ... .GOD BLESS AMERICA Socially Scene (Continued from Page 13) Caffe dello Sport serves up some if the tastiest Tiramisu, Frutti Di Bosco and Cappuccino! in the alley behind Bricco Ristorante. You can stop in between 6:00 am to 12:00 am or place an order by calling 617-248-9859. Salumeria Italiana .... A classic place to find all your appetizer ingredients also odds and ends. In our feats held at home the meats and cheese plates are something your guests always look forward to. Salumeria offers Calabrese style soppressata, Italian mortadella with pistachios, burrata, Central Formaggi peeorino sardo, Agostino Recca Sicilian Salted ancho- vies and even pasta, otis, vin- egar and kitchen tools. Salumeria Italiana is home to the finest foods from Italy and all of the Mediter- ranean. Their store opened almost 50 years ago in Boston's North End because an Italian mother wanted to feed her baby son the wonderful foods she knew from her homeland. That baby was Gaetano Martig- netti, the owner and son of founders Erminio and Vanda Martignetti. Salumeria Italiana allows you to browse through their store, select just what you want and quickly and easily place an order. All orders are packed with extra care and pride to make sure the prod- ucts get to you as safely and as quickly as possible. They are located at 151 Richmond Street, Boston and can be reached by phone at 617- 523-8743 or 800-400-5916 or visit their website at (www.salumeriaitaliana.com). Caffe' Dello Sport .... Some consider the best part of the meal the very last. Ev- eryone saves room for desert on Easter. Caffe' Dello Sport is just a great place to catch a soccer match and cappuccino, yet a great spot for your desert orders. They place orders for you through Bindi pastries, originally from Milano, who now have brought their Italian touch to New Jersey. They receive the imported items there to create theses amazing cakes on site. A few items featured are a Frutti di Bosco (mixed berry cake} and triple chocolate mousse. You can access a full listing at www.bindiuscacom or con- tact Caffe Dello Sport at 617- 523-5063 or www.caffedello sport.us. They are located at 308 Hanover Street, Boston MA or you can follow their flawless sports schedule at w ww.facebook, corn~ Caffe DeUoSport. Pastry by Erica ..... Pastry by Erica is a desert company based out of Cranston, RI. Erica Rico, owner and top chef of the business is a graduate from the baking and pastry arts program at Johnston and Whales Uni- versity. With her experience and natural touch each pastry is made to perfection solely by her. For the holiday they will be featuring Easter Bread (Italian/braided with eggs), mom's famous coco- nut bunny cake and rice pie. Pastry by Erica does it all; she bakes the fanciest birth- day, wedding or christening cakes along with some of the best zeppolis aroundI Log on to www.pastrybyerica.com to view her selections, place orders through Info@pastryby erica.com or call 401-556- 4408. Owned and operated by Pamela Donnaruma, Publisher, Post-Gazette Quality Printing for all your Commercial and Personal Needs Stationery Business Cards Menus * Flyers Program Books * Wedding and Party Invitations Announcements * Busmess Forms and Documents -- COMPETITIVE PRICES ---