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Spa City car show draws record crowd

Hundreds of gearheads gathered in Saratoga Springs this weekend for an annual car show.

Passion for pistons is in the air at Saratoga Spa State Park, or maybe that’s just the smell of premium gas.

The Saratoga Automobile Museum’s annual spring show has attracted about a thousand antique and custom car owners and hundreds more enthusiasts on a sunny Saturday.

Keon Odom Jr. is posing in front of a black and purple hot rod for a picture. His dad, Keon Odom Sr., says they’re just along for the ride.

“Which one was your favorite one?” asked Odom Sr.

“Um a teal one,” said Odom Jr.

“The teal one? We don’t know the name of them. We’re not a car person. Yeah, honestly, we don’t really know the real ins-and-outs of cars, but I’d seen this on Facebook and I was like ‘hey, it’s an event to do, let’s go check it out,” said Odom Sr.

It’s Calvin Burgart’s 81st birthday. He’s at the show with his two daughters — Kimberly Weir and a light blue 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray he’s had since it was new.

“When she was born, we brought her home from the hospital in this car. So, she has more memories of it going way back into her past,” said Burgart.

“Yeah, I laughingly say that Mom and Dad, they met at a car club in graduate school. One was an Austin-Healey 3000 and then it was the Corvette and so I spent a lot of my childhood riding around in the trunk of this car. That was way before car seats, but this car, I like to call her my older sister because she came first and he loves her a little bit more but she has been my sibling all along,” said Weir.

Steve Knoll is matching with his bright red Frogeye Healey from the 1980s. He says the car is about 80% complete, but he’s not sure he’ll every really be done restoring it.

“The gas gauge isn’t hooked up, but I carry an extra gallon of gas in case I run out. The speedometer is not hooked up yet. That’s about the only two things, and the hard top, I haven’t put that on yet,” said Knoll.

Knoll got the car about a year ago from a close friend who developed Alzheimer’s and takes the car’s restoration seriously.

“It means a lot because he was a very, very good car restorer and what I’ve done isn’t even close to what he would’ve done. I like put it together and get it running. And he was like meticulous, he was very meticulous. And I would like to be able to take it to where he’s staying now and show it to him, at least say, ‘I got it running, Bill, what’d you think?’ But his wife told me that when she visited him that he said, ‘somebody’s got it,’ and he had a smile on his face,” said Knoll.

Linda Haight is firing on all cylinders — she’s been coming to car shows for years but, not to honk her own horn, this year is different.

“I enjoy seeing all the other cars, never dreamed I would get a trophy. Never! That’s not why I come here. I come to talk with people, exchange information and just have a grand time and today this was a thrill that I got a trophy. I am so excited,” said Haight.

Haight’s emerald green 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL convertible won Judge’s Choice, one of 12 awards for the event.

Even without the trophy, Haight says, today would have been a hit.

“I have friends next-door that we haven’t seen in about six or seven months and we got together and chatted. And I bought some things here, there are some vendors here that are very nice and I patronize them. Basically, it’s just a great show, I never want to miss it. I’m so happy the weather held out. Looks like we might get a little rain but other than that my top is still up,” said Haight.

The cars come in all shapes and colors. Eric Albert is standing next to the smallest car on the lawn.

“As far as I know it’s a 1957 BMW Isetta Cabrio, this car weighs 800 pounds and it has 13 horsepower,” said Albert.

It’s a baby blue two-seater no more than 8-feet in length. The steering wheel is attached to the only door on the car, which opens up, away from the seats.

Albert says BMW only made 150 convertible models for its American market. Scratches, chips, and rust throughout the interior and exterior make the car’s age evident.

“it’s been mechanically restored so the engine and brakes and everything works properly, but I think it’s cool that it’s all original paint and, you know, pretty much original everything other than the top,” said Albert.

The Auto Museum is aiming to set another record next year with a 1,000-car show.

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