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Belmont car show rolls on despite Sandy

Cars are ready to be judged at the

Cars are ready to be judged at the Long Island Cars Car Show and Swap Meet Belmont at Belmont Racetrack in Elmont. Drivers brought a variety of classic cars to showcase for other enthusiasts at the show. (Nov. 11, 2012) Photo Credit: Andrew Kozak

The most die-hard of local car enthusiasts didn’t let the aftermath of superstorm Sandy keep them from competing at Sunday’s Long Island Cars Car Show and Swap Meet at Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont.

Drivers revved their engines to a heart-pounding roar, while American muscle cars and European imports were primed, polished and ready for presentation. Sunday marked the show’s 28th year, according to Long Island Cars promoter Frank Coppola.

This year’s show had a small turnout caused by the gas crisis from Sandy, which forced the show to be postponed for a week.

“On a nice day like this we’ll get 1,000 cars,” said Coppola, 70, of Oakdale. “Today we have about 125 to 150.”

Vehicles from the turn of the 20th century, like the Ford Model T, appeared alongside BMWs and Chevrolet Camaros. Eric Lazu, 42, of the Bronx, brought one of the few European cars to the show.

“I’ve been coming here since 1992,” said Lazu. “I am always competing and I usually have taken first place. There has only been a few years I have taken second.”

Lazu presented his modified 2011 BMW M3. Its silver paint finish and chrome rims brightly reflected the sun as he cleaned it during the show.

“It’s usually more packed,” said Lazu. “Sandy really put a dent on the show. But the weather is great and it’s good enough for me to be here.”

Scott Collomb, 43, Patchogue, the head judge of the event, carried a clipboard as he critiqued and analyzed the vehicles, shaking hands and sharing jokes with drivers. Of the cars that showed up, 110 were there for competition in a number of categories, while the balance were available for sale.

Vendor tables were strewn with children’s Hot Wheels cars and small models of classic cars. Any car part a grease monkey might want was available, from axles, hub caps, tires, rims and even punch-in cigarette lighters.

Richard Davis, 60, of Patchogue, won first place in one of the many categories for his 1995 BMW 8 series.

“I’ve had this car for nine years and won first place six times,” Davis said.

As the sun went down, drivers received their first-, second- and third-place trophies.

“We give out over 40 first-place trophies and make sure that everyone that comes gets a trophy,” Collomb said. “We really just want to make everyone happy.”

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