WESTFIELD, NJ — A replica of the police car featured in the “Andy Griffith Show,” a 1977 Cadillac El Dorado named “Don Vito” and a mock robot from the movie “Transformers” were among vehicles on display at the train station’s parking lot Saturday.
The sun reflected off of chrome trim, washed windshields and waxed classic cars at the Westfield PBA Local 90’s third annual auto show where the owners of just over 200 classic cars, Jeeps and motorcycles gathered in the largest iteration of the event yet, organizers said.
Marc Strauss and his son, Jason, could be found next to their 1964 Ford Galaxy 500 made to appear as if it were the very car Andy Griffith rolled around in while filmed in the 1960s television show.
“We just love bringing it to car shows and letting people say ‘oh remember that TV show’ and just sit in it and enjoy it,” said Strauss, who had lain memorabilia from the TV series in the vehicle. “It’s a classic show. It’s a great show, and we like to bring today back to yesterday.”
Strauss, 50, had traveled from Clinton, in Hunterdon County, for the show in Westfield. Asked what he thought of Westfield being compared to Mayberry, the setting of the TV show from which his replica car originated, he said: “If Westfield can be compared to Mayberry, that’s a good thing.”
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A replica of the truck that turns into the robot Optimus Prime in the movie “Transformers,” was also there, along with a Westfield Police Department Humvee, food trucks and children’s games.
Oak Ridge resident David Pretino arrived with his 1977 Cadillac El Dorado, with the name “Don Vito” emblazoned on the trunk. Pretino said he had launched a two-year search for the same vehicle that his father, John, had once driven. He located the Cadillac on Long Island.
“It’s just an Italian car so I call him ‘Don Vito,’” said Pretino, 56, who had strung fuzzy dice from the rearview mirror, along with the chili pepper shaped amulet known as the Italian horn.
Jeff Pate, a resident of Westfield, reminisced. “I used to run the Midas shop right next door,” said Pate, 61. “I fixed these types of cars when they were new.”
Officer Christopher Forcenito, who chairs the event for the PBA Local 90, said that while an exact count of participants remained elusive, around 1,000 people were anticipated to visit the show throughout the day. Monies raised at the event benefited the PBA.
“Every year’s it’s been getting bigger and bigger,” Forcenito said. “That’s our goal. It’s nice to spend time with the community, talk to them, hang out with them for the day.”
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh