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Cruisin’ Downtown ends year in style

Even the weather did not stop vintage car enthusiasts from showcasing classic cars.

On a cloudy evening of Sept. 12 that attracted some light light rain, 31 vintage automobiles lined Washington Street in downtown Toms River for the popular outdoor festival, Cruisin’ Downtown.

Taking place in downtown Toms River throughout the summer months annually since 2004, the outdoor festival on Sept. 12 marked the final event for the year.

“Typically on a good weather night, we can get around 100 cars on Washington Street,” Business Improvement District Marketing Director Kim Dippolito said.

Carl Nicolini, a Toms River resident, showcased his Chevrolet Bel Air that he restored from scratch.

According to Nicolini it took 12 weeks to finish the car.

He has been participating in Cruisin’ Downtown for the past two years. Nicolini said what he loved most about the Bel Air is the ride.

“I have had the Chevy Bel Air for four years,” Nicolini said. “I’m retired so going to showcases is a hobby for me.”

For Tom Armbruster, who a resident of Toms River, his was his fourth time this year at the festival.

He featured his yellow 1973 Road Runner. He has had the car for two years and he ordered it from Illinois.

“It was in storage for 25 years. It had rat holes. The interior and carpet were replaced,” Armbruster said.

Armbruster said he takes the Road Runner out as much as he can. When he was younger he owned a similar Road Runner in the shade of blue.

Another Toms River resident, Ted Gooding, displayed his 2014 Chevrolet Corvet.

According to Gooding, he does not take the car out. He only takes it out to shows. The body style and horsepower attracted Gooding to the car. Gooding is a regular at the Cruisin’ Downtown festival.

“Last month I brought my ’35 Chevy Hot Rod,” Gooding said. “A regular chrome engine. I try to switch up once in awhile. I have four cars I bring to shows.”

According to Gooding, there is not as much maintenance for his four vintage cars. He said as long as you take care of the vehicles you will be fine. All four of his vintage cars sit for the winter.

Chuck Laing, a resident of Toms River, has been participating in Cruisin’ Downtown for the past five years. Laing presented his 1941 Cadillac for residents. Laing won a trophy in August with another vintage vehicle he has; a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible.

“I love to show them,” Laing said. “I love to work on them and have fun with them. They are great. I only get to take them out to the shows or the shop. Every now and then I take one to dinner.”

Laing has four vintage cars total: ’61 Lincoln, ’59 Thunderbird, ’41 Cadillac and a ’72 Triumph GT6.

Dan Liberto, who also hails from Toms River, showcased his red Malibu. Liberto has been a part of the festival for five years. The red Malibu cost him between five and six thousand dollars.

According to Liberto, he has to do a lot of mechanic work on the car.

“I like to go to a lot of shows,” Liberto said. “You have to go somewhere. If you heard this car start you would back up. This Malibu has all muscle.”

Vintage car enthusiasts will have to wait until June 2019 to once again showcase and view the unique cars at the Cruisin’ Downtown festival.

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