It’s more than a car show

Cruisin’ Classics and Cadillac Kings of South Jersey give back to the community

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Now that the weather is starting to heat up, you may see more and more of those classic car shows around town.

We checked in with Cruisin’ Classics Auto Club and Cadillac Kings Car Club in South Jersey on what they are all about.

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Cruisin’ Classics Auto Club is located in the hub of South Jersey in Hammonton. Their main focus is to preserve Antique and Classic Cars for the future generations to see and enjoy, as well as promote the classic car hobby with the other proud owners of these special vehicles, according to its website.

“First meetings were held at the home of Joseph and Elizabeth Giralo on Orchard Street beginning in July of 1990 with their son Joe as the first club president,” relayed Nick Domenico, acting president of the club.

Domenico is joined by Pete Tavarez, as vice president; John Falciano, as treasurer; and Vic Mazza, as financial advisor / accountant.

The club was formally established in 1991 as Cruisin’ Classics Auto Club as an offshoot of the Fifties Auto Club of America FACA.

The group had been part of the original car club that started the Red, White, & Blueberry Show back in 1986. They will return for the festival’s 38th annual on June 30.

The first shows were in the Jamesway (now Shoprite) parking lot on the White Horse Pike in Hammonton. There were 12 cars on display that first year.

“Later we moved into town at the field of the Hammonton Middle School which is now occupied by St. Joseph Academy,” Domenico said.

“We eventually moved to the current Hammonton High School and are still responsible for organizing Cruising Main Street in the downtown area in May and in the fall until 2020.”

Leon Valentino Sr. was the originator of the Cruisin’ Main Street concept and he organized it for many years

From their humble beginnings, the shows have grown close to 500 cars over the years.

Club members have cars that range from the 1930s up to today’s modern muscle cars. The club is open to members who share a passion for this hobby and want to have fun. Many members have great classic cars from the 1950s and 1960s, Street Rods, Customs, Stock and Modern Muscle Cars, Trucks, and Rat Rods, according to its website.

Cruisin’ Classics is a nonprofit organization and donates to local charities including Hammonton High School Senior Awards, the Hammonton Presbyterian Church Food Pantry, the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry, and the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home.

“We intend to continue and expand donations if the show is a success,” Domenico said.

We turn to Cadillac Kings Car Club in South Jersey next. They are a chapter of the worldwide Cadillac Kings.

The first meeting of what is now known as Cadillac Kings Car Club was held May 7, 2005 at a Farmer Boys Restaurant in Riverside, California, according to its website.

That first meeting had a turnout of approximately 15 Southern California classic Cadillac owners, and their rides. At the time, most local shows/meets only showcased Chevys, Fords, or imports.

The South Jersey chapter was formed in 2017. Jay Longo was a founding member along with three other guys – Chris MaComber, Dana Mulvany and Danny Cordona.

Longo is joined by Charles Esposito, as vice president, Carlos Mendoza III, as sergeant at arms; Christine Esposito, as treasurer; and Leeann Longo as secretary.

“We currently have 16 members in good standing,” Longo said. “We reached out in the beginning to become Cadillac Kings since there was no group of guys who loved and enjoyed Cadillacs. We were the only Cadillacs at all the shows.”

Becoming a chapter of Cadillac Kings was a perfect fit.

“They believed in family, Cadillacs and giving back to the community and they were all similar in age and their cars were direct reflections of who they are,” Longo said of the members.

“… Since joining, [we] have always felt a part of the other 52 chapters worldwide.

“Each year we get bigger and give back more to others and enjoy cruising to shows or just to get coffee.”

Cadillac Kings of South Jersey usually holds two events per year and they have a big outing when all the chapters meet together in Las Vegas once a year.


Photo by Andrea Mendoza

The most recent events include a fundraiser for the Artisan Social Club, a nonprofit that mentors and educates aspiring designers and artists, equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to excel in their chosen artistic path, according to its website. The show was held at Napa Auto Parts on White Horse Pike in Hammonton.

The second show was a fundraiser for 8-year-old Casey Seitles, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. All process from the show helped to support getting the family a diabetic alert dog. The car show fundraiser was also held in Hammonton.

For more information about Cruisin’ Classics Auto Club visit cruisinclassics.org.

For more information about and Cadillac Kings Car Club in South Jersey visit facebook.com/CadillacKingsSouthJersey/

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