VENTNOR, NJ – The local Lions Club is inviting the public to set its sights on some classic cars in order to help the visually impaired.
The Ventnor Margate Lions Club is holding its first car show noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 in front of the Auto Zone at the Ventnor Shopping Plaza where car clubs, collectors and dealers are invited to display their vehicles.
Those showing off their rides are asked to pay a $10 donation with proceeds benefiting projects for the blind and visually impaired.
“We would like to invite anyone who has a classic or custom or just plain cool car to be a part of this show,” said King Lion Mark Hills of Ventnor. “We hope to see a lot of locals and some really great cars at the event.”
He said the cars don’t have to be new or antique to be on display, and he’s looking for owners that are willing to chat about the unique features of their ride.
Hills said the car show gives people a chance to socialize and share stories about cars and history.
“To me, that’s a big part of what goes on in these shows; passing history down, telling history of a car, telling history or having someone remember riding in one,” Hills said.
Among the cars on display will be a 1949 Chrysler Windsor convertible, which has been in the family of John Campbell of Margate since it was bought new by his uncle.
When he was 16 years old with a Pennsylvania driver’s license, Campbell, now 84, drove a 1929 Ford Model A, which was popular for a while. He said after he got out of high school, that car fell out of fashion in favor of the curves and style that followed World War II.
He said it was tough to get a new car and potential buyers would often have to entice car dealers in order to get their names put on a list. He did just that, in 1948, and put his name on a list for a new car, but after awhile he forgot about it.
At the time, Campbell worked at Haverty’s Service Station, owned by his uncles, on the corner of Franklin and Ventnor avenues.
“One day my uncle came in and said to me, ‘Hey John, you’re car’s out front.’ I said, ‘My car, what car?’ and out front was a Chrysler convertible,” said Campbell Friday, Oct. 7. “The guy said, ‘Here’s the car you ordered.’ But I didn’t have the money for it.”
He said three days later, his uncle came into the shop and asked him to check out his new 1949 Chrysler Windsor convertible, the same car that was almost Campbell’s.
“He got the car; I got drafted in the Korean War,” Campbell said with a hearty laugh.
Campbell said the car was garage kept for most of the time it was owned by his uncle until 1969 when he inherited the prized automobile.
“I used it when I was married, and on special occasions,” Campbell said of the car’s modern-day use.
Without power steering, he said it’s a bear to drive, but he was happy to take Miss New Jersey Jennifer Farrell for a victory lap around town.
Campbell’s classic is among the many that are expected to be on display in the Auto Zone parking lot of Ventnor Shopping Plaza.
The Ventnor Margate Lions Club collects eye glasses and distributes books on CDs to the visually impaired and has also raised funds for cornea transplants. The group meets the first and third Monday of each month at Fedeli’s Restaurant, 9403 Ventnor Ave., Margate.