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Car show raises money for rare disease

By Staff | Dec 7, 2008

Jim Sobel was proud. He entertained the curious with stories of his creation. He met fellow enthusiasts with a handshake and knowing wink. He had spent three years and nearly $500,000 working on his creation, his vision, and he wanted everyone to know what it took to make it a reality.
“It’s only 95 percent complete,” Shirley said of his 1939 Lincoln Zephyr, a sleek, custom vehicle that stunned passers-by. “I can finally say we’re on the way. It’s been an education, 18 months of non-stop body work.”
As part of the 4th annual Rock Till You Drop Car Show, Sobel’s restored Zephyr was one of many classic autos.
Chevys, Fords, imports and classics alike filled the Sun Splash grounds to raise money for the Progeria Research Foundation, a not for profit organization aimed at finding a cure for Progeria, otherwise known as rapid aging disease.
Rock Till You Drop organizer Tony Allen said the car show sprung from wanting to support the Progeria Research Foundation, whose vice-president, Chip Foose, is a big-time hot rod designer.
“Since we’re all hot-rodders, we wanted to help,” Allen said.
Held in Fort Myers the previous three years, this is the first time the car show was held in the Cape.
Allen went on to say that Progeria has trouble gaining a foothold in the national spotlight because it is relatively unknown.
“That’s the problem,” Allen said. “Its rare and not well known and they (the Progeria Foundation) have trouble competing with other, well known diseases.”
While Progeria research was the beneficiary of the day’s financial gains, the car owners and their prized possessions were the benefactors of beautiful weather and curious onlookers.
Ted Warzecha’s 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air was a hit, featuring a detailed account of past owners much a like a pedigreed dog carries papers of its birth right.
The “authentic” Bel-Air boasted all original interior and engine, something that floods Warzecha with nostalgia when he talks about it.
“It brings back all the old memories, all the old says,” he said. “It makes me fell like a teenager in good health.”
For the Sobels, their Zephyr doesn’t represent youth so much as a dream come true.
Jim spent thousands of dollars getting everything just right; from teardrop skylights that are invisible from the exterior, to hidden dashboard instruments that suddenly come to life was the ignition is fired.
Shirley Sobel first balked when she heard of her husband’s color scheme for the car – a fading purple that alternates from light to dark – but eventually got on board with her husband’s vision.
“When he first showed me the colors I said, it looks like a girly car. But he was right, it looks great,” she said.
For more information on the car show visit FortMyersRock.com. For more information on the Sobel’s, visit TheZZRider.com.