Vintage wheels and wings on display

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First Posted: 7/23/2013

The members of the British Car Club of Northeastern PA are hitting the road.

Work at South Abington Park will prevent the car show from returning to its regular venue for its 11th annual event. But Club President Ed Ostrowsky, of Wyoming, has turned the inconvenience into an opportunity.

On Sunday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the car show will include vintage aircraft for the first time as classic European automobiles roll into the Wyoming Valley Airport (2001 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort).

“The facility staff here has just been phenomenal. Joyce and Jim Scrobola have just been unbelievable. Anything we needed, they were there,” Ostrowsky said.

The British Car Club has about 160 members, and Ostrowsky is infusing new energy into the organization that has helped bring in at least 12 new members, with many hailing from Luzerne County.

Sponsors for the 11th annual show include Bennett Automotive Group of Allentown. The dealership will bring in the Jaguar XF, XJ, and new F-Type Roadster for display this Sunday.

“The thing it is just scary beautiful,” Ostrowsky said of the F-Type.

Club members share a passion for British-made automobiles, but the show is open to all European models. They hope to attract Porsches, Fiats, Alfas, Minis, motorbikes, and more to Sunday’s unique event.

“Once you get addicted to a British car – and you know you can pretty much say that with any class – once you get addicted to a British car, it’s a disease. We all share that disease,” he noted.

Ostrowsky fondly remembers when he caught the bug.

“I bought my first British car when I was parking cars in the student lot for a work study for football at King’s College. I was parking cars and this lady would come down from Mountain Top in this 1962 Triumph. Every time she would drive by, I was just like, ‘Oh, my God, I love that car,’” he recalled.

The car, which had cloth wiring, would often ground out in the rain, and Ostrowsky recalls ribbing the owner about getting rid of her “terrible” ride.

“I used to say to her, ‘You ought to sell that son of a bitch,’” he said. “I literally ended up buying that car for $350 from that lady. I still have that car. I’ve had it since 1976.”

Ostrowsky’s 1962 Triumph is staying home this weekend, but his Triumph TR6 and an MGC will be at the show. The MGC, he said, is “a rather rare bird,” and he believes less than 900 of them exist in the United States.

Aside from their annual show, club members have participated in notable events, including a special run on the second day of the recent Giants Despair Hill Climb in Laurel Run.

“When they broke for lunch, we took the 12 cars up the hill. People were going absolutely crazy.”

Ostrowsky said members already come from many counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, but it’s his goal as the new president to find members in every county of the region.

Sunday’s show will include a small tribute to the Giants Despair and food prepared by Boy Scout Troop 281 from Dallas. Profits from all food sales will directly benefit the troop.

Hosting the car show at the airport presents a unique opportunity for car lovers. With fees starting at $20, they can take a trip up in an airplane. Those with a little extra to spend looking for a more rare experience can go up in a Navy SNJ or T-28 Trojan with rides costing at least $175.

Participants’ cars will be judged in 25 different categories based on marque and model with first, second, and third place trophies being awarded. There are also trophies awarded for Best of Show and Diamond in the Rough, a car that may be going under repairs that shows great potential.

About 70 cars had pre-registered by Monday, and Ostrowsky was expecting many to arrive the day of the show.

“I don’t think the valley’s ever seen this kind of car collection at one time,” Ostrowsky said. “I think when you combine the airport and the cars, it’s just going to be staggering.”