Labor of love: Celebrating classic cars to help families of troops

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The Vineland Public School District made students and families happy by distributing countless books for free on Wednesday, August 30. Video produced by Justin Odendhal

 

LANDISVILLE – Rollin’ Rods of South Jersey hosted its 28th annual Rod Run and Car Show on Monday to raise money for families of deployed troops.

The event was held at Bellview Winery, 150 Atlantic St., and included wine tastings, live music, food vendors and a massive Chinese auction with more than 200 baskets up for grabs.

 

Proceeds from the Rod Run benefit the Hearts Apart Holiday Party that is held each year at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for families of deployed troops. Each child at the party receives a gift, and they get to enjoy a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“The kids really look forward to it,” said Rich Conrad, president of Rollin’ Rods of South Jersey. So, the club members and their friends and families work hard each year to present the annual Rod Run.

 

“It’s wonderful to see the gathering of all these people and the teamwork that goes into putting this event together,” said Jeanette Conrad of Medford. 

This year’s display featured about 400 cars and included an extensive span of models that piqued the interest of all car enthusiasts. It was staged to the backdrop of fruit-bearing vineyards with plenty of room for spectators to admire the massive display of automotive beauty.

 

“I tell people if you have something you think people might want to see, bring it down,” said Dennis Morgan, vice president of Rollin’ Rods.

Joe and Karen Minchelli of Cape May Court House attracted crowds throughout the day with their 1920 Ford Model T Speedster No. 5 race car.

The car is one of one, meaning it is the only one ever built, said Joe Minchelli. They purchased it at an auction four years ago after it was discovered in a barn in Leesburg, Va. “We didn’t want to miss out on a historical car,” he said.

 

Within nine months, the Minchellis researched and restored the yellow race car and they have been showing it at car shows ever since. “We got bit pretty quick by the bug to go to car shows,” he said.

They participate in local shows and invitation-only events. In fact, they displayed the race car at the Ford Nationals, an honored bestowed upon only 12 vehicles out of 5,400 applicants.

 

Another treasure displayed at the Rollin’ Rods of South Jersey Rod Run was a 1954 MG TF-1800 owned by Bob and Kris Hill of Greenville, Del. Their car is number 25 of 25 made, and it is the only one with the midge hood ornament on the front and the hamper, or picnic basket, on the back.

“It’s the only one known to be on the East Coast,” said Bob Hill. “And this is the only New Jersey car show we are attending this year.”

For more information or to support the Hearts Apart Holiday Party, visit www.rollinrods.com.

 

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