The Vintage Automobile Club of Ocean County, NJ welcomes you.
Recently, Valerie and I spent a week in Florida to celebrate our 40thWedding Anniversary. When we
got married in July, 1975, we didnít have any money nor could we get the time off from our
respective jobs to go on a proper Honeymoon. So we spent a rainy two days at the Aztec Motel
in Seaside Heights. During the long Thanksgiving weekend later that year, we went to Walt
Disney World, and we considered that trip to be our real Honeymoon. Weíve been back to WDW
many times over the years, and this last trip makes three times with just the two of us.
Although we spent some time at the Disney Parks, we actually spent more time doing car stuff.
We drove to Sarasota to visit the Sarasota Antique Car Museum. It is the second oldest museum in
the USA. The Henry Ford Museum is the oldest. Weíll soon be visiting the Henry Ford Museum as
well as the Gilmore Museum, both of which are in Michigan. Iíll report on those museums next month.
The Sarasota museum contains 91 vehicles; about 20 of those are brand new. Some of the cars are
only a few years old, and unless they had some sort of provenance, I couldnít see the reason for
their being in a museum. The museum building itself must have been built in stages. Itís made up
of three sections, none of which match other sections. There was one docent on hand, an elderly
gentleman who we were advised to speak loudly to because he was hard of hearing, but we were also
told he had a vast knowledge of old cars. Luckily, he didnít follow us around.
Summary: If youíre ever in Sarasota, donít bother going to the Sarasota Car Museum. Itís dark,
dirty, hot, and it seems some of the cars are there only because their owners wanted them out
of the blazing Sun. On display is a World War II Jeep. The sign says ďKaiser JeepĒ. The problem
is, Kaiser didnít build WWII Jeeps, Willys and Ford did. Kaiser didnít own Jeep until 1953 when
it purchased the Willys-Overland Company, and there was no such thing as a Kaiser Jeep until 1963.
So much for vast knowledge. If you want to see a really good museum, go across the street to the
Ringling Family Circus Museum. That Sarasota museum is a must see.
We also visited the Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum in Ocala. Previous to going to Florida, we
signed up for a backstage tour of Donís personal garage and storage facility. We did the same
thing for the Magic Kingdom at WDW. Don himself led the tour. Heís eighty three years old, and
I wish I had half his energy. He showed us things not open to the general public. Following the
tour, Don fielded questions, and I asked him if he ever thought that drag racing would ever be
the big money maker it is today. He laughed and said no. He said that is why he always had a
business to fall back on in case the racing gig didnít pan out. Don was willing to autograph
anything you put before him. I was prepared. I still have every car magazine Iíve purchased
since 1964. So I dug out two magazines. One was the November, 1964 issue of Hot Rod, and the
December, 1964 issue of Car Craft. Both magazines had Don on the cover. He autographed both
magazines. Since I used to subscribe to Car Craft, my name and former address are on the back
The Garlits Museum is made up of two buildings. One is all about Donís racing career, plus some
of his competitorsí dragsters, and the other contains cars that Don and his late wife Patty
collected during their 61 years together. Summary: must go.
If youíve ever been to Walt Disney World then youíve probably visited Old Town for their
Saturday night old car cruise. As always, Valerie and I did that too. Thereís only one problem
with being in Florida in the Summertime. Itís unbearably hot. I hear people get used to the heat.
But how long does that take? A month? A year? Ten years? I had to keep rolled up paper towels
in my pockets because I was dripping sweat constantly. We saw these car guys, sitting behind
their cars having a grand Ďol time, seemingly oblivious to humidity one percent below pure rain.
Did you know the Okefenokee Swamp is made up of sweat from Florida tourists? If it remained that
hot in New Jersey all Summer, I would never attend a car show or cruise night. Iíd just sit in
front of the TV in my underwear watching the Velocity channel.
Summary: we had a great time and I canít wait to do it again.
Don't forget to check
information about local shows & events in our area.
John Mahoney - President
Gary Stabile - Vice President
Denny Derion - Secretary
Everett Ross - Treasurer
Marge Kurtz-Cusack - Sunshine
Denny Derion - Membership
Bill Bottorff - Editor
Rob Mahoney - WebMaster
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TOMS RIVER, NEW JERSEY 08754-1135
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