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Portsmouth car show raises thousands for charity

By   /   June 19, 2013  /   Be the first to comment

Brendan Martin of Little Compton with his 1963 Cadillac ambulance, the runner-up in the special interest class. Mr. Martin is a member of the Portsmouth Fire Department, which uses somewhat more modern rescue vehicles.

Jim McGaw

Brendan Martin of Little Compton with his 1963 Cadillac ambulance, the runner-up in the special interest class. Mr. Martin is a member of the Portsmouth Fire Department, which uses somewhat more modern rescue vehicles.

PORTSMOUTH — He may not have won, but many car-lovers who turned out for the 57th annual Newport Motor Car Festival Sunday said Brendan Martin’s green ambulance was their favorite set of wheels overall.

The eye-catching 1963 Cadillac ambulance, which Mr. Martin has owned for four years, was the runner-up in the special interest class at the festival, an annual fund-raiser held by the Portsmouth Rotary.

Mr. Martin, a Little Compton resident, knows more about ambulances than most; he’s a lieutenant with the Portsmouth Fire Department.

Rotary President Chad Kritzas was also a fan of the unique ambulance.

A father and son walk by a 1959 Chevrolet. The Rotary’s car show was held on Father’s Day.

Jim McGaw

A father and son walk by a 1959 Chevrolet. The Rotary’s car show was held on Father’s Day.

“I keep saying we should have a president’s award,” said Mr. Kritzas.

Mr. Kritzas was impressed by the turnout Sunday at Portsmouth Abbey, estimating that between 350 and 400 cars took part. Visitors were treated to fine views of Narragansett Bay as they inspected automobiles and motorcycles of all makes and models, some of which dated back more than 100 years.

Rotary member Paul Watters said the organization raises about $8,000 to $10,000 annually at the car show for its 25 or so charities in Newport County. The Rotary also awards scholarships of $1,000 each to two Portsmouth High School seniors every year.

A curious visitor sticks his head inside a 1940 Ford Coupe.

Jim McGaw

A curious visitor sticks his head inside a 1940 Ford Coupe.

“It is the oldest classic car show on the East Coast,” said Mr. Watters, noting that the show has been running for 57 years and was established by the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA). The Rotary took it over 10 years ago, he said.

“The Rotary had been helping out by parking cars,” he said, adding that some of the CCCA members were in their 70s and doing less and less. “We eventually starting taking over more and more of the responsibilities.”

For more about the Portsmouth Rotary, visit www.portsmouthrirotary.com.

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