Eddie Dixon and his son Michael gushed over the bodywork and powerful engine of a metallic gray 1971 Chevy Chevelle on Saturday at a car show in Selden.
But to them, it wasn’t just any car show.
Selden Fire Department’s inaugural Oscar Dixon Memorial Car Show raised money to go toward building a monument in honor of Eddie’s father, Oscar, a volunteer firefighter who died at age 38 from a heart attack 40 years ago while responding to a fire in Selden.
“It’s a great thing they’re doing for my father,” said Eddie Dixon, 52, of Staten Island. “My father used to work on cars at Sears Automotive. He’d get a kick out of something like this.”
Hundreds of car enthusiasts mingled and ate cotton candy and fried dough, all while checking out 80 cars and trucks displayed at its the Selden Fire Department’s main headquarters, Dixon Engine Co. 3.
Former Selden chief John Bartnik said the event’s goal was to raise at least $2,000 to help pay for a monument to be displayed at Station 1 in honor of Dixon’s service and sacrifice to the community.
“We went to every car show this summer to pass the word along,” said Bartnik, 52. “We hope to get the monument paid for so we’re hoping for a good turnout. It’s a beautiful day and I’m seeing a lot of people out, so I think we may have gotten just that [much raised].”
Bartnik said the monument will cost between $5,000 and $6,000, and the department is accepting donations to reach that goal. But Bartnik added that the event honoring Dixon will take place annually, with future funds raised going to local charities.
Looking under the hood of a yellow 1992 Greenwood Corvette, Carl Werkheiser, 50, and his wife Laura, 52, said they like checking out the enhancements on the cars the most.
“I come to these shows to look around and get ideas,” said Carl Werkheiser, of Selden. “But it’s also good to know the money we pay to get in is going towards honoring a firefighter who served our community. I’m glad to help.”
Ken Zimlinghaus, the owner of a metallic candy apple red 1932 Ford three-window coupe, said it was a good reason to get together and raise money for a good cause.
“I get to show off this beautiful car, meet some great people and help out the department,” said Zimlinghaus, 63, of Farmingville. “What more could I ask for?”
For David Anselmo, the car show meant something a little different to him. After his grandfather John died of lung cancer at age 62 in 2004, he was left with his grandfather’s pride and joy — a 1955 Ford Victoria, which was stored away until now.
“It’s important to our family and I’m lucky to have it,” said David Anselmo, 19, a volunteer firefighter at the department. “Me and him used to go to car shows together when I was little. Everything about this car is priceless and I hope to pass it down to my children someday.”