Monday, August 23, 2010

Enthusiasts gather to show off shiny cars, raise money

Originally written for the Nashua Telegraph by GREGORY MEIGHAN

MERRIMACK – When Art and Carol Zubrowski drive 88 miles per hour to car shows in their 1981 DeLorean DMC 12, they are at risk of getting a speeding ticket, not going back to 1955.

On Saturday, the Zubrowskis were just two of the many owners who possessed more than 240 cars in the seventh annual Northeast Exotic Car Show at Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack.

The purchase of the DeLorean was not because of its ability to warp time in “Back to the Future,” said Art Zubrowski. “The kids graduated college, and I wanted a sports car,” he said.

They drive the car once a week and put 2,000 miles on it per year going to car shows alone. The car has 50,000 miles on it and won large events in the past. They attribute their car’s success to its cleanliness and shine. The shine on the stainless steel exterior is achieved by using silverware cleaner and Windex throughout the year.

The couple has been married for 40 years, and the only thing that may shine more than their car is the smiles they have spending time with each other doing what they love to do.

“When we were dating, I wanted to spend time with him, and he was always working with cars,” Carol Zubrowski said. “He taught me how to use a torque wrench.”

The car show was designed to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation by attracting people who are passionate about cars.

The director of the event, Dave Dugal, summed up the value of the cars as “absurd.” No car was more expensive than the 2003 Ferrari Enzo, the brakes on which cost $35,000 to replace. The total value of the car: $1.4 million, said Tim Kachel, owner of Kachel Motor Co.

Brian Rohloff put 135 miles on his brand-new limited edition 2010 Viper ACR driving to the show, bringing the total mileage on his new ride to 200. His trip to the car show came to a halt twice when he was pulled over.

“The first time I got a ticket for racing a Lotus,” Rohloff said. “Cops didn’t like that very much.”

He said that he was pulled over only five minutes later, but was given a warning for speeding. Rohloff has four Vipers and bought two new ones, because they are rare, and since this is the last year Dodge is producing the Viper, he wanted to get them while he could.

Red convertibles are normally associated with being a magnet for a speeding ticket. Mike DeCampo, of Londonderry, has a “pull-me-over red” 2005 C6 Corvette Convertible. DeCampo was wary of jinxing himself, but he said he has never received a speeding ticket in his car. He did point out the majority of the people in the show only drive their cars on weekends when the weather is perfect.

“I don’t think any of us know how to use the windshield wipers,” DeCampo said, laughing.

Memorial Day is big deal for all Americans, but for James Mirazita, it also means he can start thinking about driving his beloved 1988 328 GTB Ferrari. Mirazita drives his car twice a month during the summer and once a week during the fall, before packing it away for the winter. He lives in Amherst and used to be nervous about driving on unfamiliar back roads in fear of pot holes.

“Not too many things are more fun than driving a Ferrari,” Mirazita said.

In 2000, Kim Bentham was looking for a car that would eat Ferraris. His desire lead him to a 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo.

“It is a track car that somebody barely made legal,” Bentham said. “After four hours, you want to get out of it, because it beats you up.”

He said his car is not meant to go grocery shopping – this car was made for speed. Bentham said when he was in Vermont, he had his car up to a speed that is not legal.

“I had it up over 170, and it still had room to go,” Bentham said. “It was in the rain. There was a big rooster tail 50 feet in the air.”

Hiro Yamamoto’s Lotus Elise 2006 is what he calls an excellent handling car. He said other cars are more focused on power and straight-line speed. His car excels on curves and sharp corners. His girlfriend, Melissa Kanaracus, said riding shotgun is like sitting on a roller coaster. This is the third year he has been coming to the car show, and this year was the biggest turnout he has ever seen.

Rick Desrosiers is the president of the car show. For him, the day wasn’t about his Yellow SRT 10 Street Serpent Viper, it was about raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He said since 2003, the car show has generated more than $30,000 for the foundation. In previous years, he said the highest total of cars participating was 140, this year they had more than 240 cars. Each car paid $20 to be in the show. All the money raised went to the foundation, he said, and the total is much more than just from cars. He said they received between $500-$1,000 from the 12 vendors who were represented.

Rich Plante’s car was in the parking lot as he and his son Nick, 13, came to watch and have a good time. The two said they enjoy cars and they were getting chills just looking at them. For Nick Plante, the car posters in his room do not provide the wow factor that an up-close look produces.

“It is sweet; it is sweet,” Nick Plante said.

Gregory Meighan can be reached at 594-5833 or