SAUGERTIES, NY – The Sawyer Motors Car Show revved up the fun and visitors showed up in record numbers Sunday to see hundreds of classic, antique, muscle and unique modern vehicles.
Sawyer Motors owner Bob Siracusano, who runs the show with his brother Larry Siracusano, owner of Sawyer Chevy in Catskill, estimated there were between 500 and 600 cars this year along with entertainment provided by bands on Main and Market streets. Divide and Main Streets and next to Mirabella’s on Divide Street.
Bob Siracusano said it was one of the biggest turnouts in terms of cars and crowds he’s ever seen. He expected to distribute $70,000 in car registration proceeds to various nonprofits late Sunday afternoon.
Each car has a unique history and the owners are very proud of them. They included Mccoy Melter of Poughkeepsie, who brought his 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS396 L34 muscle car.
A self-proclaimed “Chevy Guy,” Melter said he owned a 1971 Chevy Nova years ago, but had to sell it after a divorce from his first wife left the classic car world.
But then in 2015, he had enough money to track down the Chevelle, which still had its original build sheet from a General Motors plant in Kansas City, online and bought it from a man in Rhode Island .
“This is my first big-block,” said Melter, speaking of the 396-cubic-inch engine. “I’ve always had small blocks before and, boy, does it make a difference?”
Thomas Frost of Wappingers Falls showed off what he called the ultimate in American-made luxury: A massive 1964 Cadillac. He said he’s the third owner. He bought it from a friend who is a well-known car collector and was looking to downsize his collection when he turned 80 after having the car for 47 years.
He said it still only has 34,000 miles on it after nearly 60 years. Some of the miles were logged in Dutchess County by its original owner, an insurance salesman who collected people’s auto and life insurance premiums for the first seven years of the car’s life.
“I loved Cadillacs growing up,” he said. “But we were poor and my father couldn’t afford a Cadillac.”
He said he appreciated the car’s craftsmanship, ride quality and luxurious interior with red leather sofa-like seats. “Cadillac advertised itself as the standard of the world,” he said.
Rich Cartwright of Hudson brought his 1937 Packard 115 to the show. He said it was considered the “poor man’s Packard” of the luxury marque that disappeared when it merged with another old automotive sign, Studebaker.
“It was worth $900 when it was new,” Cartwright said. “That was a lot of money back then.”
He said he likes Packards because he likes their body styling.
Maureen and Dale Hoose have always been into classic Chevy cars like Chevelles, Novas and Malibus. They finally had a chance to own a classic Camaro, and with upgrades that included fuel injection, it makes 500 horsepower.
“In high school I wanted to buy one,” Maureen Hoose said. “I did not understand.” But that changed in 2006 when the couple bought it from a young man in Red Hook.
Other enthusiasts, like Kareen Washington of Kingston, prefer pickup trucks. He made the short road trip in his 1972 Chevy C-10 short bed.
Washington said he has always been a Chevy truck enthusiast. When this one came up for sale online, he made a deal on the truck, which features an upgraded engine.
“I grew up dreaming of a truck, and I knew I always wanted one,” he said.
Ezra Cafaldo was enjoying his new/old 1937 Chevy truck donated by his uncle, Chief of Ulster Hose Co. No. 5, Shawn Heppner. Heppner happened upon it while working in a barn in Hurley.
Unlike many high-horsepower sticks and muscle cars, the truck’s original inline-six engine takes it to a more sedate top speed of about 45 to 50 mph, Cafaldo said.
“It’s from 1937 and has the original engine,” he said. “We don’t push it too hard.”