Ralph Scancarelli has worked long and hard restoring his 1936 Auburn Boattail.
From re-chroming the fenders to replacing the interior leather, it took Scancarelli, off-and-on, five years to return the car to glory. But on Saturday, all the work had been finished and Scancarelli of Northport got to show his finished efforts to fellow car enthusiasts from across Long Island.
“I drive it whenever the sun shines,” he said with a proud smile.
At the 2017 Newsday Field of Wheels car show, hundreds of people strolled the newspaper’s parking lot in Melville and admired classic cars. Standing next to the vehicles were their proud owners who happily answered questions and shared the story of how they acquired their prized motorcars.
Bill Bentivegna of Babylon, for example, bought his 1994 Ford Mustang from a man in New Mexico about two years ago. Bentivegna attended Saturday’s event because he’s selling the Mustang, which he said is a replica of the pace car used in the 78th Indianapolis 500, run in 1994.
“Everything on this car is the exact same,” Bentivegna said. “I only changed the tires because the old ones had rotted.”
Saturday’s lineup of vehicles also featured a few low-riders, muscle cars and newer models from local dealerships. The car show also offered a peek at rarities from times long past.
Levittown resident Frank Caira stood next to a 1978 Buick Regal Sports Coupe Turbo and said he has owned the car for 25 years. Caira said he once used the car to commute to work in Westchester County.
“I bought this as my everyday car,” he said. “But I found out how much it was worth and I took it off the road immediately.”
Throughout the day, attendees enjoyed live music and ate snacks from food vendors. Attendees also voted on the best cars in eight different categories, including Best Paint, Best Interior, Best Engine, and, the day’s largest prize, Best in Show.
First-time attendee Stanley Rusinyak of Valley Stream took home the top prize for his 1958 Pontiac Bonneville, with a cherry red paint job and black interior carpet that shimmered with silver speckles. He won the car off an online auction from a man in Kissimmee, Florida.
Rusinyak said he was stunned when his name was announced.
“I knew my car was nice, but I didn’t think it was that nice,” he said.
Newsday has sponsored the event for seven years.