Classic car show drives downtown business

A 1953 Hudson, a 1969 Shelby, and a North Carolina sheriff’s car were among the more than 120 vintage vehicles that drew throngs of people to Thorold’s Historic Downtown Car Show Saturday.

Songs from the 50s blared from speakers and souped-up engines roared down Front Street as spectators strolled among several mint-condition Mustangs, Camaros and a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle Classic Deluxe.

Paul Feor of Thorold made his maiden cruise in the 13th annual car show, displaying his red and black 1980 MGB convertible, which he said he drives “as much as I can.”

But probably the most exotic of all was built four years ago in a tiny town called Woking, England and shipped to Raymond Smith in Canada.

“I’m a British car fan,” Smith said, pointing to the metal British emblem on the front of his spotless 2013 McLaren 12C Spider. “I first started racing British cars in 1960, but I don’t race anymore.”

These days, Smith said he carts his Spider “back and forth by truck” from homes in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto as well as the Florida Keys, where he drives it during Canadian winters along with his motorcycle, while his wife drives her Maserati.

Many stopped to take a second look at the striking black and orange Spider, “not something you typically see at a car show,” said Nick Dell’omo, Chair of the Car Show Committee.

Despite the occasional light drizzle, car enthusiasts came in droves from near and far, and downtown business was booming, Dell’omo said, estimating that “120 to 130” drivers registered; “about the same as last year, or more. They come from all over,” he added.

He and his fellow merchants were pleased so many people risked the raindrops to shop or stop in for a bite at Front Street restaurants.

“I saw the drizzle and thought it would stop a lot of people from coming, but we’ve been pretty busy at the Café,” said Dell’omo, owner of the Biscotti Café, adding that “Hana’s (Café) was busy for breakfast” as well. Each year, car show committee members strive to drive more traffic downtown.

Staff and board members from the Thorold Community Credit Union were also busy flipping hamburgers and hot dogs at the sidewalk barbecue outside the credit union, with proceeds donated to Community Care.

With this year’s successful car show now in his rear view mirror, “I’m happy,” Dell’omo noted.

“The last few years have been better than ever.” 

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