When Charlie Canavan was growing up in Garden City, he spent every Easter Sunday watching hundreds of vintage and antique automobiles parade down the block.Â
“There were 200 to 400 cars every Easter morning. My family and all the local families would go down to watch the cars. I thought it was one of the greatest things,” said Canavan of the annual event.
Canavan hoped to recreate this childhood memory in Sag Harbor last Saturday by hosting his own Motorcade Parade with the Sag Harbor Hysterical Society to benefit the family of recently deceased local Joanne Cajowski.
Although Canavan’s idea was paved with good intentions, the weather was less cooperative as the precipitation ranged from a light drizzle to a steady downpour.
Despite the rain, almost a dozen classic car and motorcycle collectors turned up in support of the event, although Canavan had hoped to draw a larger crowd.
Peter Mole was one of the first antique car owners to arrive at the Long Wharf, pulling up in a bright red Studebaker pick-up. Mole purchased the vehicle nearly a decade ago at the annual Classic Car Auction held in Bridgehampton – which he also oversees. The truck — built in 1949 — spent most of its life at an estate in Vermont, and Mole said it has never been restored, but has been painted.
“I use it all the time,” said Mole. “I was at the dump the other day with it and a guy came up to me and said ‘You should have it parked and be polishing it.’ I responded,Â ‘Well no, it’s a truck, and I should use it.’ It was built to be driven.”
In addition to the Studebaker, Mole owns the ultimate automobile collectible: a 1915 Model T-Ford. Mole said driving the Model-T is like stepping back in time.
“The Model-T is such a unique thing … They made millions but driving it is unlike anything else … it doesn’t have gears … and it only has two speeds … So I had to learn how to drive it,” explained Mole.
Among the cars present on Saturday were a lime green 1970 Dodge Super Bee, a brown 1971 Ford Pinto and a hunter green 1931 Model-A Ford. Newer vehicles, like a Smart Car, Volvo and Lexus also showed up for the parade.
Although a majority of the car owners who attended the event favored vintage automobiles, local motorcycle connoisseur Nick Genender showed up with three classic choppers. After working for decades in the clothing industry, Genender recently opened – and currently operates – a Southampton outpost of New York City Choppers. He will often build a chopper from scratch, but base the design on popular motorcycles from the 1940s and 1950s. The ultimate satisfaction of his work is building a chopper from the ground up. He said an added bonus is catering to clients who range from janitors to millionaires. Although chopper – and car enthusiasts – come from all walks of life, Genender said they are all linked by a common love for the classic automobile or motorcycle.
“It is a very small community, but we are like a little family,” he said. “We are like a tribe and everyone identifies with one another.”
Although the Sag Harbor Hysterical Society experienced some rain this year, Canavan said, “We will do it again next year … and hopefully we will get great weather.”