The Car Club for Old Cars and the Young at Heart People.





To keep all informed of happenings at our monthly 'cruise-in', we will be giving a plaque each month as the "Cruiser of the Month", and they will be chosen by one of our show visitors. We will be hosting a cruise-in on the first thursday of each month at the Seafood Dive Restaraunt in Apollo Beach on US Highway 41, 6 PM to 9 PM. Please come join us.

'32 Ford Roadster Is Cruiser of the Month.

By Paul Courter. 9/12/15

Don Romano has owned and driven many cool cars over his 30-plus years in the collector car hobby, but for all that time, the Riverview resident has had his heart set on a '32 Ford.

He finally found one that met his high standards close to home - a bright blue roadster built by his friend Joe Ferrante and son Joey. Selected as the Roamin' Oldies Car Club September cruiser of the month, it's powered by a 301-cubic-inch GM engine with six 2-barrel carburetors atop an Offenhouser intake manifold, coupled to a Chevrolet 400 automatic transmission.

Don had the roadster modified to his taste with a few mechanical tweaks and the addition of fenders, white flames, and a white convertible top. "I've been looking for the right '32 Ford for 30 years, and now I've got it," he said happily.

Valrico Teen's '42 Ford Is Cruiser of the Month.

By Paul Courter. 5/11/15

Many Roamin' Oldies Car Club members have grandchildren Austin Smallwood's age, and there were smiles all around when the Valrico 16-year-old's 1942 Ford Opera Coupe was voted Cruiser of the Month for May.

In the 18 months since he found it as a non-running old street rod, Austin has completely rebuilt and upgraded the engine. He is now perfecting his welding skills to renovate spots of the bodywork showing the effect of years of neglect. Under the skin, the running gear is all Chevrolet, with a small-block V8 and automatic transmission, mounted on a 1957 Chevy chassis.

The older club members, Austin says, "Have all been nice as can be, trying to help me out and give me ideas on how to improve my car."

Chevy 5-window pickup Is September 2010 Cruiser of the Month.

By Paul Courter. 9/15/10

A 1954 Chevrolet five-window 3100 Series pickup owned by Wes and Nancy Snybert of Apollo Beach is the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the Month for September.

Starting with a sturdy but bedraggled daily driver, Wes and Nancy spent a year and a half restoring it to like-new condition, topped off by a Juniper Green finish with black fenders. They installed a four-speed transmission, but otherwise stayed with factory specifications. That includes the newly rebuilt inline 6-cylinder engine, and an all-new interior.

Plymouth Convertible Is June Cruiser of the Month.

By Paul Courter. 6/18/10

A bright red 1936 Plymouth rumble seat convertible owned by Burt and Susan Harness of Parrish is the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the Month for June.

"It"s actually Susan's car." Burt said. "We both like the lines of the car. It's something different." Though it looks pretty much original, the Plymouth is powered by a 350 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine matched to an automatic transmission. It is also fitted with air conditioning and other contemporary "creature features" that allow them to drive it extensively in comfort.

Unique 1949 Starlite Coupe Is May Cruiser of the Month.

By Paul Courter. 5/15/10

The striking 1949 Studebaker Starlite coupe built by Bernard McElwain of Ruskin is the Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the month for May.

Bernard created the car over a 10-year period, starting with the rusted remains of two old Studebakers. Powered by a 454 cubic-inch high-performance Chevrolet V8, it is built as a pro street racer. Finished in a striking two-tone gold color scheme, the unique Starlite coupe is a popular and much-admired participant in car shows throughout the region. A long-time motorsports competitor, Bernard doesn't race the car, but enjoys sharing it with others.

1967 Barracuda Picked As Cruiser of the Month for March 2010.

By Paul Courter. 3/15/10

A 1966 Barracuda Formula S owned by 20-year-old Daniel B. Zajac of Brandon is March Cruiser of the Month for the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Car Club.

Daniel, a University of South Florida junior, acquired the car only about six months ago. "I liked the styling of the Barracuda," he said. In addition to making upgrades to the engine and transmission, he set about installing a new wiring harness soon after winning his award.

Collector cars are a family hobby. His father, Army Col. Daniel Zajac, owns a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad that was also selected as a Cruiser of the Month. The younger Zajac is an Army ROTC cadet, and also plans a military career.

An Elegant 1927 Buick Is Cruiser of the Month for February, 2010.

By Paul Courter. 2/14/10

The striking 1927 Buick owned by Al and Diane Longeinrich is February 2010 Cruiser of the Month for the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Car Club.

Al found the car, reduced to only the body, frame and seats, in a warehouse, and spent the next eight years restoring it. Its well-documented first owner was an Al Capone "associate" based in St. Louis, Missouri. It is now powered by a 350-cubic-inch V8 and equipped with an automatic transmission, as well as power steering and brakes. Al Longeinrich did almost all of the restoration and fabrication himself. The striking two-tone blue paint scheme was selected by Diane.

They are full-time RV'ers who work as volunteers each winter at Little Manatee River State Park. The Buick is their daily driver, and is garaged in an enclosed trailer that goes with them wherever their travels take them.

Kings Point Model A Is Cruiser of the Month for January, 2010.

By Paul Courter. 1/15/10

The 1930 Model A Ford street rod owned by Dale and Kathy Johnson of Kings Point is January Cruiser of the Month for the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Car Club. Dale spotted the all-steel Tudor Sedan at a customizing shop in Massachusetts on the way to his Florida winter home last October, bought it and had it shipped to Kings Point. Though new to the old-car hobby, he drives his street rod regularly and participates in local cruise-ins and shows. The all-steel Model A is chopped two inches, fitted with a 1932 Ford grille, widened fenders and a steel top, and painted a glistening Lazer Red. It's powered by a 350 cubic-inch Chevrolet V8, coupled to an automatic transmission.

Blue Angels Tribute Is Cruiser of the Month for December, 2009.

By Paul Courter. 12/7/09

The 1999 Corvette of Albert and Carrie Corsetti of Valrico is December Cruiser of the Month for the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Car Club. Since acquiring his dream Corvette about five years ago, Al has transformed it into a tribute to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels precision flying team.

Polished stainless steel engraved with Blue Angels artwork adorns the engine compartment, interior and trunk. The car was displayed at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station show in October, 2008, and was autographed by 37 of the 40 Blue Angels pilots and crew members. The Corsetti's daughter and her husband both served as Navy Corpsmen, and she was on the final cruise of the carrier USS Kennedy.

A Hemi Orange 1969 œ Dodge Super Bee Six-Pack owned by Paul Carlsen of Bradenton is the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the Month for November, 2009.

By Paul Courter. 12/16/09

Dodge produced the Six-Pack in limited numbers, just a few more than required so it could compete in NASCAR racing at Daytona. It is powered by a 440-cubic-inch Stage II Wedge engine with three two-barrel carburetors, matched to a 4-speed manual transmission.

Carlsen bought the second one sold in Florida in 1969, and drove it for 11 years. "I've regretted selling it ever since," he said. After years of searching, he found his "new" Six-Pack in an Ohio museum, and brought it home. In addition to his Roamin' Oldies membership, Carlsen is president of the Braden Street Cruisers.

The 1957 Chevrolet Nomad of Col. Daniel Zajac is the Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the Month for October, 2009.

By Paul Courter. 10/5/09

A glistening bright blue 1957 Chevrolet Nomad owned by Col. Daniel Zajac of Brandon is the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the Month for October.

The limited-production Nomad station wagon is a prized collectible. This one has been owned and under restoration by Col. Zajac and his wife Eveline since 1995. They have kept the body and interior as original, but have equipped it with a GM 350 "Ramjet" fuel-injected engine, air-conditioning, disc brakes, 17-inch wheels and other updates.

As an active-duty Army officer who has seen duty in Iraq and Afghanistan many times, Col. Zajac's time to work on the car is limited.

1981 Corvette Is Cruiser of the Month for September 2009.

By Paul Courter. 9/10/09

A sparkling blue and silver 1981 Corvette owned by Charlie Schlau of Apollo Beach was selected as the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the Month for September.

Charlie bought the low-slung coupe in 1986 when he lived in Lackawanna, New York, and drove it down when he and his wife moved to Florida in 2003. It is a consistent trophy winner, and was featured on the cover of Corvette Magazine. Charlie drives his 'Vette regularly and participates in many area events.

1960 El Camino Named Cruiser of the Month for August 2009

By Paul Courter. 8/15/09

A 1960 Chevrolet El Camino owned by Bob McInerney of Plant City, bright red and nicely restored, was selected as the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the Month for August.

Bob's stylish pickup is almost completely original, with the exception of a later 350 cubic-inch engine, automatic transmission, air conditioning and power steering. He found his El Camino six years ago in South Carolina, and shows it regularly at area cruise-ins and major events across Florida.

Birthday Mustang Is Cruiser of the Month for July 2009

By Paul Courter. 7/8/09

Rudy Latorre of Riverview kept a promise, and bought himself a 1965 Mustang as a fortieth birthday gift this February. The pearl white coupe, nicely restored and mildly customized, was selected as the Sun City Center Roamin' Oldies Cruiser of the Month for July.

With a Cobra hood, front valance and emblems, Rudy's Mustang has an aggressive look, set off by a blue racing stripe and subtle purple flames. Ample power is provided by a beefed-up 351 Windsor engine. The interior is updated with 1994 Cobra power seats. Rudy is new to the old-car hobby, and says he enjoys the friendly people he meets at area car shows as much as the cars themselves.


A Handsome Paige in Auto History
By Paul Courter. 7/3/09
Johnny Sewell had always wanted an antique car, and one of his customers in Sun City Center had a dandy.
When Sewell, a Ruskin roofer, did some work for Ruth Ann McMillen, he asked about the 1926 Paige sedan in her garage.  It had been in her family since new, and wasn't for sale. He checked back from time to time, and a couple of years later, learned that she had decided to sell the car.
"I decided that I had gotten too old to drive it, and it just didn't make sense to keep it," Ruth Ann said. "I wanted someone who loved cars to have it." She offered it to Johnny for half the original asking price.  He said he didn't have the cash, but after 18 months of saving, paid in full and brought the Paige home in December of 2002.
A Pretty Good Deal
When Ruth Ann's grandfather Emmett James bought his new Paige 6-45A sedan from J.R. Rhoades & Son in Kenton , Ohio , for $1,195, he got a pretty good deal. The Paige was an upscale and innovative car with a list price about $300 more than that.
He and his wife Dora kept the car until he died. Dora never drove, Ruth Ann says. "She was too busy raising nine children."
The car changed hands a few times, but always within the family. Eventually, Ruth Ann purchased the Paige from her uncle Park James. During her ownership, she had extensive engine rebuilding and body restoration done, but more work was needed.
Over the course of five years, Johnny rebuilt the brakes and the fuel pump, sealed the gas tank, repaired electrical wiring, cleaned and varnished the wood-spoke wheels, and did all the other little things it takes to get an 80-year-old vehicle back in working order. 
On the Road Again
Today, the black paint glistens, the engine fires up instantly, and the Paige is a regular participant in Roamin' Oldies car club events and local parades.  In a letter to friends from Ohio who repaired some of the wood work, Ruth Ann wrote of Johnny's care for the car, "He is so proud of it...I wanted someone who would appreciate the old car."
Though she had to part with the Paige, she also is one who appreciates automotive performance and design. She says she still regrets selling her 1966 Corvette when she moved to Sun City Center to be with her mother.  She is a former Wimauma school teacher. She also taught English in Turkey , and has great affection for the country. She visits there regularly and says, "I consider it my home."
A Luxury Car
Though strangely ignored by automotive historians, Paige sold well-appointed upscale cars between 1908 and 1927. It got off to a rather inauspicious start, however, with its 1908 model powered by a three-cylinder two-stroke engine.
Mining magnate Harry Jewett acquired the rights to the car and formed the Detroit-Paige Motor Car Company in 1909.  Two years later, that ill-regarded engine was gone and so was company president and namesake Fred O. Paige.  
After Jewett took over, four-cylinder engines became standard, and " Detroit " was dropped from the car name. A six-cylinder engine was added in 1915, and by 1916, all Paige models had six-cylinder power.
 According to an Antique Automobile Club of America publication, "Paige gained a reputation for graceful styling and good performance."
A Handsome Sedan
By the time Johnny Sewell's 1926 sedan was introduced, Paige offered five models ranging from the $1,295 Brougham to the $2,295 Cabriolet Roadster. Company advertising said of the Standard Sedan, "This handsome enclosed sedan will look at home beneath the porte-cochere of the most exclusive club or residence."
Though that hardly described the Ohio farm of Ruth Ann McMillen's grandparents, it served them well for many years. Rated at 72 horsepower, the six-cylinder engine was potent for its day. The car was equipped with hydraulic four-wheel brakes, an advanced feature for the time.
Despite all that, sales were declining, and in 1927 Jewett sold out to the Graham brothers, who formed the Graham-Paige Motors Corporation. They sold cars under the Graham-Paige name until 1930, when the Paige name was dropped.
Original owners Emmett and Dora James with the Paige on their Ohio farm.
(Ruth Ann McMillen family photo)

Johnny Sewell and his prized 1926 Paige sedan.

(Photos by Paul Courter)  



The Roamin' Oldies cruise-in is held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the Seafood Dive Restaurant in the Apollo Beach Winn-Dixie Plaza on US41. The event is free to both entrants and spectators, and the public is welcome.

About 60 of the area's finest antique and collectible cars and trucks are typically on display, accompanied by classic 1950's music played by DJ Joey Ferrante. The event is sponsored by Thompson's Auto Parts, Ligori Associates, SCC Funeral Home, and the Florida Railroad Museum. For information, call Chet at 813-842-1511.