Classic cars at Art Deco Weekend bring back memories of past eras for visitors

Posted February 7, 2014


Who doesn’t love seeing a vintage, or classic, car drive by, or parked on a busy sidewalk? They have “muscular” builds and colorful paint jobs. Even more, the older the car, the more dreams and fun times it has collected.

So many car collectors today invest their lives — and money — into buying and restoring vintage cars. They do this because they recognize the beauty that these cars have, and to these collectors, the cars have a value that no modern car can ever realize.

These select cars were seen at the 37th Art Deco Weekend Festival in South Beach this past January. Aside from the unique paintings and artifacts, these special antiques left people in wonder and awe.

Though most of the cars were not actually from the Art Deco period, they still carried with them the air of a longing for a seemingly perfect past. They were a representation of the beautiful Art Deco era.

Two bright red shiny Mustangs caught a lot of attention from people walking by—and not just because they were reflecting the intense Florida Sunshine. These cars belonged to Stanley Jacobs, president of The Mustang Collection, Inc.

The first was a 1979 Ford Mustang convertible. It was his car from college that he is still able to drive today after doing engine work 20 years ago that he says, “revived,” the engine forever. He also hints about the memories he’s had with the car, laughing, “If this car could talk, I’d be in so much trouble.”

The other car was a 1966 Ford Mustang convertible, and this one is famous, being driven by Robert Redford in the 1996 film, “Up Close and Personal,” also featuring Michelle Pfeiffer. It was also driven by Ricky Martin in one of his earlier music videos and has been featured in a number of Wendy’s commercials. With original 289 Ford V8 engines, one has to keep up with the cool air these Mustangs breathe.

Going back even further into the 20th century was a grand 1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Convertible. The massive car had a 5.7 liter Ford Monobloc Flathead V8 engine, dating back to 1932.

When the owner, Steve Amster, was asked why he decided to get such a vintage vehicle, he said it was an easy decision.

“You can’t look at it as an investment. I wanted a car that I could take to shows like this, but also drive around with the family,” Amster said. The car that sold for $4,000 during the Depression, is now valued at around $56,000.

Like anything classic, old cars have lots of memories and a deep history. While most of the collectors there had a number of cars in their possession, Greg Paiewonsky did not.

“I’m a one car collector,” he said about his 1959 Rolls Royce Silvercloud I. It’s value to him was that it was his grandfather’s car. Paiewonsky’s grandfather bought the car in 1959 for $12,500 when his grandparents went on a two-month tour through Europe .

After the trip, his grandfather decided to bring the car home and have it for everyday use. The Rolls Royce is unrestored with original paint and interior, but still sleek.

“As a one car owner, the car becomes more valuable because it hasn’t been altered,” he said.

The car is now worth up to $35,000.

There was one car that really stood out from the rest, a 1967 Ford Galaxie. While it looks like many classic Fords of the time, the Galaxie is a rarity. It’s owner, Maria Gonzalez, who collects with her husband, refers to it as, “a church girl gone bad. She,” as Gonzalez calls it, “was the best buy.”

Her husband found the car for her just out on the street one day and she bought it immediately for $10,000. This was a steal for the very rare car, as what is most usually seen is the 1967 Ford Fairlane. Gonzalez recalled taking the car to the Turkey Run Car Show in Daytona Beach last year and out of 7,000 cars, hers was the only Galaxie there.

The rare 1967 Ford Galaxie (Photo by Kyla Thorpe).

The rare 1967 Ford Galaxie (Photo by Kyla Thorpe).

“She,” is now valued at $40,000.

Probably one of the most definitive images of the Art Deco period was the classic muscle car. These cars were made to stand out, in bright, shimmering colors, each body stronger than the next.

Another collector and diehard Chevrolet fan, Alex Williams, said that the cars have changed.

“Chevys today are very different from the ones back then. These cars are fun to work on. The cars of today, you have to be a computer technician,” he observed.

Though many of the cars on display the Art Deco Classic Car Fest were not from the Art Deco period, they still represent the stunning and simple aura of the time. A few cars today, such as the Dodge Challenger, are trying to get back to this signature style, but, as with the art, the beauty of these cars belongs to the past and can never really be duplicated.

We can only admire.

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