SOUTHINGTON – When Tony Carneiro was 12 years old he caught a glimpse of a ‘57 Chevy Bel Air and set his sights out to get one for himself.
Many years later the Wethersfield resident sat proudly behind his own hard-top model at the Roaring 20’s Antique and Classic Car Club’s 50th Annual Car Show and Swap Meet, held at the Southington Drive-In Sunday.
Carneiro lovingly restored the ‘57 Chevy back in 1998 and painted it a crisp blue hue.
“It was a 10-year project,” he explained.
His girlfriend Jessica Goodrich drove the two of them to Sunday’s event, since Carneiro lost his sight soon after the restoration was completed.
“It’s a lot of fun to drive,” she said. “We always do all the car show benefits. We’ve met a lot of new people.”
The Roaring 20s Antique and Classic Car Club planned to donate a portion of funds raised at the show to Southington Bread for Life, a non-profit organization that provides meals for people in need.
Trophies sponsored by Connecticut Cruise News were awarded to the rarest and most spectacular cars, including Augie’s Vagnini’s 1955 Ford Crown Victoria.
The Middlebury resident humbly accepted the award, one of many he’s received for the car.
“It’s unique; you don’t see very many of that model,” Vagnini pointed out.
It took him six-and-a-half years to restore to pristine condition.
Car owners at the show swapped restoration stories and stats, finding common ground among strangers.
“This is our 50th anniversary car show,” club member Bob D’Amico said. “We’re really excited to be doing this today.”
While many car shows don’t have a cut-off year and welcome newer muscle and sports cars, the Roaring 20s Antique and Classic Car Club kept true to its name.
This show’s cut-off year was 1985, so all the models on site were manufactured at least 37 years ago.
The club’s mailing address is in Milldale, although members hail from all across Central CT.
For the past 50 years, The Roaring 20’s has given away dash plaques to participating show car owners. Special this year, in honor of its 50th anniversary, participants had the opportunity to take home rare plaques from past shows throughout the club’s history.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.