ROXBURY, NJ - Sept. 10 was supposed to be the final installment of the weekly Roxbury Mall “Sunset Cruise” hot-rod show. But the organizers have added an extra night in an effort to raise money for Kenvil resident Chris Schmidt, whose foot was recently amputated due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
Schmidt, who works for the Roxbury Department of Public Works and owns a DJ business, is a regular at the Sunset Cruise where he does announcements and provides car-themed music, noted North Jersey Street Rod Association (NJSRA)President Tom Harvey.
He said all money raised at the Sept. 17 car show will be given to Schmidt. There is no charge for visitors, but NJSRA members will collect donations.
A GoFundMe site created by Claudia Clifford and Amanda Treier, friends of Schmidt and his wife, Kari, has raised more than $8,000 for the Schmidt family. Schmidt, 41, remains in Morristown Memorial Hospital. Doctors there removed his left foot on Aug. 29.
The foot was severely damaged when it was clipped by an oncoming car that crossed the center line of a road in Chester where Schmidt was riding his motorcycle on Aug. 23, according to Clifford.
In a YouTube video posted on the GoFundMe page, Schmidt appears in good spirits as he expresses thanks to all who donated.
Charity and Chrome
Harvey said the NJSRA raises money for charitable causes through the Roxbury Mall gatherings and other events including its annual Father’s Day car show at Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna. It typically donates about $2,500 per year, he said.
Members of the club not only try to help people, they also help preserve the American hot-rod culture and the vehicles of its heyday.
For example, at this week’s show, Ed Korpos – owner of Ken’s Auto Body in Ledgewood (a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor) – could be found displaying his glistening 1970 Chevelle SS. Korpos and his employees blessed the muscle car with a total, body-off-the-frame, restoration that was completed earlier in the day.
The Chevelle was given to Korpos about three years ago by his father, also named Ed. He now lives in North Carolina but was at the Sunset Cruise on Tuesday, happy with its facelift and to discuss its history.
Muscling to the Market
Korpos bought the Chevy when he was 28 and married with two children (including “Eddie”). He put about 33,000 miles on it before giving it to his son.
“I was living in Landing and working for the Post Office when I bought it,” Korpos recalled. “Chevy had a deal: If you worked for the Post Office you could get a car for $100 over cost.”
He said he special-ordered the Chevelle, stipulating it come in black with a black interior, have no racing stripes and no power steering. Korpos said the dealer tried to sell him a Camaro Z-28, but he chose the Chevelle because it had a bigger back seat, an important difference to a family man.
Korpos said he paid $3,200 for the black beauty and picked it up from the dealership in Boonton in December 1969.
Although the Chevelle was kept in a garage and well maintained, Korpos said it wasn’t treated as a museum piece. “This was our go-to-the store and go-to-work car,” he said.
His only slight regret: Buying the 396-cubic-inch engine version with 350 horsepower, instead of the 454-cubic-inch version with 450 horsepower. The latter, he said, are harder to find these days and worth a lot more money.
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