BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Sponsored by the Bloomfield Center Alliance, the popular Cruise Night will continue to attract local classic car enthusiasts to Bloomfield Avenue and Broad Street for one last evening this summer, Wednesday, July 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. So come out and hear some ’50s music, dance if you like, and talk to the individuals who own and drive these vintage wheels. Visit Cruise Night to discover the attraction and lore of an eight-cylinder love affair.
At a Cruise Night earlier this month, Essex County Commissioner Carlos Pomares, District 5, was joined by Bloomfield assistant attorney Steven Martino, who recently competed in “The Great Race,” an event sponsored by Hemmings Motor News. The Bloomfield duo achieved the distinction of arriving at checkpoints at the exact time once and just a second off six times. Pomares drove his 1972 Corvette with Martino navigating. Cars newer than 1974 cannot compete.
“The fastest we went was 50 mph,” Martino said.
The race was from Rhode Island to North Dakota, June 18 through 26. The effort raised $2,000 in scholarship money for the Bloomfield Cruisers, a car club.
Martino also displayed his 1931 Ford Model A Victoria, which he purchased after returning from “The Great Race,” which emphasizes following driving instructions to arrive at the checkpoints at precise times.
“Most of the cars in the race were from this era,” Martino said. “In 39 of the 40 years ‘The Great Race’ was held, a car older than 1936 won it. I attribute that to performance. You have to maintain lower speeds — 15, 20, 25 mph.”
Chris Paladino, of Belleville, found his 1970 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, on Facebook two years ago and purchased it from the original owner. There are 51,000 miles on the odometer.
“That’s less than 1,000 miles a year,” he said.
Paladino also owns a 1993 Buick Electra. The engines of both cars are 225 cubic inches.
Kelly Bennett, of Bloomfield, showed his ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 30th wedding anniversary gift from his wife, Cathy. He has owned the classic for 22 years.
“It’s my baby,” he said. “I put a new engine in it just before the pandemic. When I first got it, it looked like a palomino, red and gray. The first year, I painted it in my garage. The next year, I had it painted professionally.”
Over the years, the car has been given a new transmission and another paint job.
“A lot of money has gone into it,” he said. “It’s a very popular car.”
Edward Elliott, of East Orange, showed his 1999 C5 Corvette 6B.
“It packs 500 horsepower,” he said. “I bought it new for $52,000.”
This car sports engine chrome and chrome wheels.
“The work I did was the chrome,” he said. “When I got it, it came stock. I also have decorative lights under the hood.”
Elliott also owns a 1977 300D Mercedes Benz, which he also purchased new. He is a member of the Nostalgic Automobile Society of Montclair, a 30-year-old classic car club.
Ocey Parker, of Montclair, showed visitors his 2006 Corvette C6. He said the C6 model had the same body style from 2005 through 2013 and that he is his car’s second owner. The car was a gift from his father in 2008. Together with his father and several uncles, in 2017, Parker began a YouTube channel, Corvetteboyz, which provides tips to Corvette owners.
Anthony Lopomo, of Nutley, displayed his 1949 two-door Nash Ambassador at the car show.
“I’m really a fin guy,” he said. “I like the Caddies 1959-66. But I was lucky to find this car locally. It was called an ‘orphan’ car. Together with the Hudson, the Packard and a few other companies, they merged in the ’70s to form AMC.”
Lopomo said the car has “three on a tree,” meaning it is a column stick shift.
Photos by Daniel Jackovino