Hempstead Town's Seaside Spectacular Car Show dedicated to co-founder Arnold 'Arnie' Levey
Car enthusiasts and spectators took a drive down memory lane Saturday to admire more than 500 classic vehicles and pay tribute to Hempstead Town's Seaside Spectacular Car Show co-founder, Arnold "Arnie" Levey.
For the first time in seven years, the annual event at Town Park at Point Lookout took place without Levey, who died in February at age 81. Town Supervisor Kate Murray and about 5,000 attendees observed a moment of silence in honor of Levey, an avid car collector, car-racing champion, cartoon illustrator, film producer, television stuntman and lifeguard.
"He was a throwback kind of gentleman," Murray said. "He knew a lot about everything. To know Arnie was to love him."
During the show, car collectors displayed classics -- American and foreign models from 1987 and older -- from carmakers like Ford, De Tomaso, Rover, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Mercury, Plymouth and Buick. Among the hundreds of vintage cars were Levey's 1917 Ford Model T and 1931 Ford Model A, which were on display in his honor.
"This car show was like his baby," said his daughter Missy Miller, 48, of Atlantic Beach, adding that his son Andrew, 47, inherited the Model A. "It would have made him unbelievably happy to know that he was being honored like this."
Levey, who grew up in Cedarhurst, started collecting cars at age 16. He owned hundreds of cars over his lifetime, including cars from Rolls-Royce, Morgan Motor Co. and Allard Motor Works. In 1959, he was crowned the Sports Car Club of America's Northeast Regional Racing Champion. He established the South Shore Sports Car and Beer Drinking Society in the 1960s.
"We both liked cars in high school," said his brother Marc Levey, 77, of Malverne. "We never lost the drive for cars."
The car enthusiast also worked on many popular commercials and characters, including Mighty Mouse and Alka Seltzer's Speedy. Levey also participated in a rodeo and performed as a stuntman in the Elizabeth Taylor film "National Velvet."
"He did everything he ever wanted to do in his life," Marc Levey said.
Arnie Levey, who lived in Atlantic Beach, served as the village's parks commissioner and as a lifeguard from 1962 to 1987. The Army veteran, who served for two years in Korea, culminated his career as an artist and video producer for the Town of Hempstead's Office of Communications.
"He was like a renaissance man," said his friend Maria Clifford of Floral Park. "He was a phenomenal person. It is great that they are honoring him because he deserves it."