Field of Wheels show draws thousands of show car fans

Mastic resident CJ Schelhas, 4, enjoying a moment

Mastic resident CJ Schelhas, 4, enjoying a moment on a 1949 Mack Engine Huntington Fire Truck at the Newsday Field of Wheels in Melville May 17, 2014. There was a large turnout for this event in the NW parking lot of the main plant. (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

The gleaming chrome and glistening paint was so bright in the afternoon sun, spectators at Saturday's Field of Wheels car show had to shield their eyes.

Thousands of people flocked to the fourth annual event sponsored by Newsday in Melville, featuring about 500 classic cars.

Lined up in neat rows, they ranged from tricked-out hot rods and brawny sports cars to fin-tailed classics.

Some were for sale, but not Anthony Basirico's 1956 Oldsmobile Holiday.

The pistachio-and-cream beauty, making its second appearance at the show, won the Best in Show trophy.

"I could not believe it. I saw three or four really nice cars, and I would have thought it was them" who won, Basirico, 71, of Commack, said afterward. "I was very, very surprised."

Instead of by panel, judging was done by popular vote: Visitors stopped by a central booth and tapped in the entry numbers for their favorite cars on an iPad.

Basirico has owned his Olds for 33 years. The car, he said, has become a part of the family, with children, and later grandchildren, riding shotgun on sunny afternoons.

Local car clubs, such as Back In Time Cruisers of Levittown, made a splash Saturday with their freshly waxed fleets of collector cars. A pristine 1995 "triple black" Corvette convertible drew plenty of attention.

Matty Fuller, 77, of West Babylon, came for the older cars.

He spent the afternoon wandering through the gleaming rows with his family, pausing often to reminisce about similar cars he once owned -- before they were deemed classics.

"It brings back a lot of memories," he said.

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