As we look out at the front parking lot at Xavier Monday morning, we see mini-vans and sports utility vehicles. Where did the whitewall tires go? And the chrome? And the hood ornaments? The Bentley and the Packard, the Corvettes, the Chevy SS, the 1940 truck?
All of that and much more were here Saturday for the Eric J. Kalber Classic Car Show. The Xavier Classic Car Club, headed by senior John Kee Vose, did a fantastic job organizing the event. Vose, not surprisingly, was honored Thursday night at Academic Awards Night with the Xavier High School Business Award presented to a senior who has excelled in Xavier business curriculum.
Kalber was a 2004 Xavier graduate who died in a car accident in 2005. The car show benefits the EJK Scholarship Fund.
The front lot was filled with cars Saturday. And each car had a story behind it.
The best post-2000 trophy went to Kevin Gibney of New Britain and his white 2012 Corvette. The license plate: NCM WNR, which stands for National Corvette Museum Winner.
The National Corvette Museum is located in Bowling Green, Ky., and runs a raffle. Gibney put down $500 on a chance to win a Corvette ZR1. He didn't win that one. But he put down $150 for a raffle ticket for a Corvette ZO6. There were 1,073 tickets sold. Gibney won.
He was all smiles Saturday as he received his trophy.
Eric's father Bob Kalber brought his 1973 Chevy Nova SS to the show.
"It's great seeing all the people out here today; it's a celebration for Eric," Bob said. "I bought the car three months after he passed; my wife said you've got to do something."
The car was restored in honor of Eric. A deep metallic blue with a 350 Chevy engine, it is a beauty.
Parked up front was Mike Satmary's car, driven up from Old Saybrook. The sign on the car said, "Hello, my name is Miss Gatsby and I was built 40 years ago in my owner's backyard garage. My sleek, Rroaring '20s design was built using many pounds of steel to make me heavy (3,900 pounds). Being long, low and heavy allows me the handling of a sports car with the ride of a limo."
Satmary said it took him five years, much of it as a hobby at night to relax, after a day's work. He said he spent about $25,000 in parts. "It runs nice," he said. "If it's a nice day and I need to run for milk, I'll take it."
The car that won for Best In Show was a blue Bentley convertible that Sean McHugh bought as a birthday present in 2016 for his wife Lori. McHugh is the son of former Xavier football coach Larry McHugh.
Bryan Butcher of North Branford had never been to the Xavier show. He was glad he came. "It's a good show and a good cause," he said as he sat next to his 1940 Ford half ton pickup. He said the truck came from Alabama and he did a lot of work on the motor to make it more period correct. He paid $22,000 for it and now figures it's worth about $40,000 because trucks are on the upswing now.
Xavier is a private, Catholic all-boys high school in Middletown, CT.