By Barbara Mellon
Looking around some days you might think that all vehicles in the Catskills carry the brand of either Subaru or John Deere. But there is an avid group of collectors in the area who prove otherwise.
The Catskill Mountain Classic Car Club (CMCCC), which meets monthly at either the Andes Public Library or the Pine Hill Fire Department, is a group of car crazy but civic minded folks who, according to their literature, “have an interest in promoting the preservation of the automobile, old and new.” Currently the club has about 45 members from locations throughout the Catskill region, including Andes, Delhi, Walton, Saugerties, Kingston, Rhinebeck and Wappingers Falls. There is even a member from New Jersey.
President Frank Stapleton is credited with founding the club. In 1985, with help from the Saugerties Antique Car Club, he put on a car show to raise funds for the Big Indian Park. The success of that first Catskill Mountain Classic Car Show inspired Stapleton to continue with the effort and in 1990 the CMCCC was formed to help organize the annual event.
The club’s fundraising efforts have expanded over the years. Besides the car show, they now hold an annual, year-long cash raffle, a “Toys for Tots” drive and a number of “Cruzins” around the area. The income from these events allows them to make donations to such organizations as the Catskill Area Hospice, Toys for Tots, the Big Indian Fire Department, Christmas Angels, the Andes Public Library and the Pine Hill Community Center. For the last six years they have been holding a car show on the Sunday before Columbus Day at the Mountainside Residential Care Center in Margaretville, with the funds raised going to the Resident Sunshine Fund to be used for outings and other recreational opportunities for the residents. Those living at Mountainside look forward to seeing the restored automobiles and enjoying an afternoon of food, music and fun.
Of course its not just work for the members of the CMCCC. The love they have for their cars is evident in the meticulous way the vehicles are restored and maintained. You can see the pride in the faces of the owners as they tell you about the features or rarity of an Oldsmobile 442 with the W30 option, the ’63 split window Corvette Coupe Fuelie, a Mustang Fastback, ’57 Chevy Bel Air or a custom hot rod. Look for them to be showing off their prized automobiles at various events throughout the summer, including the Margaretville Firemen’s Festival, the Ulster County Volunteer Firemen’s Parade in Phoenicia, the Margaretville Hospital Flea Market and Andes Community Day. A “Cruzin” at Hogan’s General Store here in Andes is being planned for later in the season and will include ‘60s era foods and music, and others will likely be scheduled at the Bun N’ Cone in Margaretville.
The club’s biggest event of the year, the 27th Annual Catskill Mountain Car Show, will be held on June 24th at Big Indian Park. Approximately 200 vehicles are expected to enter, and there will be a 50/50 raffle, refreshments, music and plenty of trophies. Gates open at 8:00 am. If you like cars, you don’t want to miss this event.
For more information on the club, the car show or other upcoming events, check them out on Facebook, see their website at www.catskillmccc.webs.com or give Frank Stapleton a call at 845-254-4238. New members are always welcome; you don’t need to own a classic car, just love them. ~