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Economy can’t slow down Classic Car Show

By Staff | Jan 4, 2009

Warm, balmy weather greeted car enthusiasts Sunday at the 6th Annual Open Car/Truck Show hosted by the Cape Coral-based Corvettes on the Gulf Club.
The weather went a long way towards bringing the large crowd to the show at the Fort Myers Toyota Used Car lot on Colonial Boulevard, but it’s the vintage cars themselves that bring the people out to the shows, said Phyliss McCoughlin, president of the club.
“People who love cars are always going to come out. There’s always car shows going on in Florida,” McCoughlin said.
She added that the downturn in the economy has meant a decline in sponsorship dollars, but entrants and the turnout at car shows is higher than ever.
“This is our sixth year and it’s gotten bigger every year,” she said.
While ordinary car enthusiasts could enjoy their day as they browsed past aisle after aisle of vintage vehicles, judges had to determine which of the more than 300 entrants would receive the some 100 trophies in various categories.
Corvettes, Porsches, Lambor-ghinis and even a Model T were on display as loundspeakers played “My Little Deuce Coup” by the Beach Boys.
Members of the Corvettes on the Gulf said the money raised is going to a good cause — Lee Memorial’s Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund through the Barbara’s Friends charity organization.
A percentage of entry fees and food sales went to the charity, as well as all of the proceeds from the event’s silent auction.
“When it comes to participating in a car show, the economy has not affected people because they still have their cars and they’re doing it for a good cause,” said Mary Heitman, treasurer of the Corvettes on the Gulf.
She said the event raised nearly $9,000 last year.
Heitman said the car show is a family event, even though aspiring young Mario Andrettis and Danica Patricks aren’t old enough to drive.
“With a car enthusiast it’s a family affair. (The kids) can still help with the detailing, learn the mechanics, learn the history,” Heitman said.
As the U.S. auto industry awaits a possible multi-million dollar bailout from Congress, that history could be that much more precious in the years to come.