Salty Air

Mustangs, Model T’s At Hyannis Father’s Day Car Show

Written by Cape Cod Wave

Bill Sacramone of Oxford, MA, a member of the Central Mass Wanderers car club, was attracting a crowd during the Main Street Father’s Day Car Show in Hyannis while lounging in the matching custom trailer to his 1959 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible.

The trailer had the unusual distinction of being outfitted with a couch–actually the back seat of a car–and a tap attached to a keg of Miller beer.

The story of the car, Sacramone said, was that when his wife was celebrating 25 years with her company, she wanted to reward herself with a classic car. Her first car had been a ’66 Mustang and coincidently, so what his. So they bought a convertible. The problem was, there was no trunk space. He saw that a guy in California had made a trailer for his convertible out of another car, but his wife vetoed the idea.

Meanwhile, he had been having a ’59 Ford restored and four cars were taken apart to build it. He took one of those partial cars, a two-door hard-top and made it into a trailer, leaving the rear seat in.

His wife had no idea what he was up to until he brought the car home.

By not telling her, he was following what he called the second rule of married men. “It’s a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
And the first rule? “You can either be right or be happy.”

A young boy passed Sacramone’s car and asked about the keg tap. “What’s that?” he said.

Sacramone said, “You’ll learn when you get older.” Then he modified his answer, “That makes ugly guys look really good to women.”

The 19th Annual Father’s Day Car Show brought an estimated 350 vintage cars and 50,000 to 60,000 spectators to Hyannis’s Main Street under sunny skies Sunday, June 16.

Besides Sacramone’s car, among the flashier rides was a cherry red hot rod owned by Cliff Stalker of Harwich, a 1932 Ford three-window coupe.

The car is new to Stalker as of last October. “I bought it off a friend of mine,” Stalker said.

For the past 10 years, he has brought his ’67 Chevette SS to the car show but this year he wanted to bring his latest acquisition.

Stalker said he has seven classic cars including a 1931 Ford coupe but the ’32, which has all modern disk brakes and drive train, is a favorite.

He said he prefers classic cars to modern ones. “They are just built better,” he said. “Anybody can get a new car. They don’t make these any more.”

Ed Flynn of Hyannis, a volunteer with the Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce, was walking past the cars with a clipboard, judging the entries.

He was checking out Michael Mulroney’s compact 1950 Simca Cinq with a bumper sticker that stated the obvious, “Not Big.”

Flynn said his favorite vintage cars are 1960s models, the years he was in high school. “I had a ’64 Ford convertible,” he said.

But a favorite of his at this year’s show was a ’49 Packard because it reminded him of his father, “who was a Packard dealer in Dorchester back then.”

Among the unusual vehicles at the car show this year was a 1962 Volkswagen Beetle hand-painted camouflage with a bumper sticker on the back that read, “University of South Vietnam School of Warfare.

Nearby was a vibrant pink 1971 Volkswagen Westfalia camper outfitted to be a mobile cupcake store for the new company Something Sweet Cape Cod ( Mike Thonus of Yarmouth, who grew up in Chatham, customized the van with curtains and counters. His wife, Lara Thonus, bakes the cupcakes, which have fillings and frostings made from scratch.

Many fathers, sons and grandsons were taking in the car show, including Jon Power of Yarmouth with his son Matt Power of South Yarmouth and his grandson Zach, 5. It’s a tradition for them to go to the car show every year.

Matt said he has a ’88 Lamborghini that he works on. “I’m hoping to have it here next year,” he said.

Mark Couto of Brewster was there with his car, a kasia blue 1965 Mustang convertible, and as well as a 1950 Custom Business Ford coupe, which stood out with its paint job: white with purple flames. The coupe is owned by Mark’s brother, Tom Couto of Mattapoisett.

The Mustang convertible has been in the Couto family for 30 years. Couto’s father’s cousin owned it, and his brother George bought it in 1979.

“I lent him the 500 bucks,” Couto said. “He loved it.”

A lot more money has been put into it since then, he added.

George Couto has since died and now Mark has the car. “I like the memories,” he said.

Next year he may bring his 1966 GT hardtop, which is awaiting a paint job in vintage Burgundy, he said.

The Couto brothers do a lot of work on the cars themselves. “We love to tinker and spend money,” he said.

Ellen Brady, who works in operations for the Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce, was manning the chamber tent at the car show with the help of others including her husband, Brian.

She said that they had the maximum number of cars at this year’s show, about 350 parked all along Main Street, which becomes pedestrian-only for the show. “This year’s been gangbusters,” she said. She credited the sunny weather for the large crowd, which she estimated at 60,000.

The oldest car in the show belonged to William Elkins of Centerville: a 1921 Ford Model T three-door touring car complete with attached picnic basket.

“It’s older than I am but in better condition,” Elkins quipped.

Elkins said he bought the car at an auction on Cape Cod six years ago. It had apparently been stored in a barn in East Dennis on Cape Cod for 25 or more years.

Elkins had been looking for a Model T when he found the car. He said his son and grandson are so attached to it they won’t let him sell it.

“It drives great. Like a million dollars,” he said.

He found the picnic basket at a yard sale in Osterville two years ago. When he saw it, he knew immediately that it was a picnic basket for a Model T Ford. He had seen one in wicker at the Heritage Museums and Gardens car museum. What was unusual was that the picnic basket was complete, including with the hardware to attach it to the car.

Elkins said he has used many vintage Model T parts on the car. The tires are replica Model T tires that are made in Vietnam. “They use them there for rickshaws,” Elkins said.

“It’s an easy car to work on,” he said. Only problems: “It has lousy lighting and lousy brakes,” he said.

Elkins likes that he can leave the keys inside the car, “because no one knows how to drive it.”

Nearby, Walter Felice of Harwich was hoping to sell his 1923 Ford T-Bucket Hot Rod for $21,950.

It’s got the grill from a ’32 Ford and the front of a Gran Torino and the motor of a ’69 Grand Prix.

The only original part of the car is “the license plate,” he said.

His son-in-law Paul Calder of Dennis said the car can be challenging to drive. “You have to keep your foot on the brakes. It’s ornery,” he said.

Fred Jones of Dennis, president of the Cape Cod Classic Car Club, said admiringly of Felice’s car, “One of the cleanest I’ve ever seen.”

Jones brought his 1965 Corvair Cosa convertible to the car show. He said it has power brakes and many other features.

Fully loaded? “When I’m in it, it is,” he said with a laugh.

Ellen Brady of the chamber pointed out as distinct a 2006 Audi owned by Matt Everson, which has a rubberized cover with a camouflage design and the texture of snake skin.

Everson, who grew up in Barnstable but now lives in Belmont, said he worked with a friend in Vermont to design the covering as a way to customize the car. “We tried to do something we hadn’t seen before,” he said.

Bob Bringle of Sandwich brought his 1938 Ford deluxe woodie station wagon. Unfortunately, because of the heat, the gas expanded and then overflowed the tank, which happens because there’s no vent, he explained. A team of Hyannis firefighters mopped up the spilled gas.

Nearby, Falmouth Police Chief Edward Dunne was showing off his bright yellow 1957 Chevy Belair hard-top. He has had the car for six years and has done all the work on it himself.

“It’s not that I don’t trust anyone else, but I don’t trust anyone else,” he said.

His wife says of the car’s vivid color, “On a cloudy day, it puts sunshine in the driveway.”

Dunne said the car, with all manual steering and brakes, is fun to drive. “That’s what a hot rod is all about,” he said.

– Laura M. Reckford





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Cape Cod Wave

Cape Cod Wave is an online magazine covering the character and culture of Cape Cod. We feature long-form journalism, slices of Cape Cod life, scenic slide shows, and music videos of local bands playing original music.

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