The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

June 6, 2011

Medina kicks off Friday night cruise-in series

MEDINA — Residents across Orleans and Niagara counties are bringing their classic cars out of hibernation and are showing them off at cruise-in nights across the two-county region. Friday was the first event of the season at the Medina canal basin.

This is Carmen Strianese’s second year showing off his 1934 Ford Coupe at the cruise-in night. He’s owned the vehicle, which has three windows and a rumble seat, for 40 years.

“We get a lot of people just walking around looking at the cars,” he said.

Strianese, who has lived in Medina for about eight years, winters in Florida. He came back north about a month ago.

“We keep the car locked up all winter,” he said. “There’s cars from all years here. You don’t need an old car.”

Sandy Smalley of Gasport has been coming to the Medina cruise nights for five years. She arrives in her 1974 Mercury Cougar.

“It’s something my husband enjoyed. When he passed away I decided to come out to keep social,” she said. “I like to look at the cars.”

Smalley, who also frequents cruise nights in Lockport, Akron and other areas, said the Medina event draws quite a crowd. “I’ve seen 150 cars here before,” she said.

Lockport residents Joe Runfola, Tony Bucolo and Frank Genewick spent Friday night in Medina lounging in chairs along the canal. Runfola brought his 11-year-old Pontiac Trans Am, Bucolo his 1965 Corvette and Genewick his 1969 Road Runner.

“It’s a nice Friday night by the canal,” said Bucolo, who has been coming to the Medina cruise nights for about three years.

The group has also been participating in car cruises in Lockport and other locations throughout the years.

“This is a treat for us,” said Genewick.

With classic tunes played by DJ Hank Nevins, the basin is abuzz Friday nights with people visiting with friends, making new acquaintances, and getting a look at some classic vehicles.

George Gleason takes his 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk to Medina, Akron and Lockport. “I like Hank’s music, the fun and you see all your friends,” he said.

The original sticker price on the Golden Hawk was $3,800. Gleason traded his 1966 Studebaker for the Golden Hawk which was the fastest car on the road in 1956.

“I just like something different,” the GMC Harrison retiree said. “Everyone else had Fords and Chevys. I’ve loved Studebakers for years. The ’56 has so much more style than the ’66. ... They put the Packard motor in it to get ahead on performance and they beat everybody in ’56.”

Studebaker went out of business in 1966. “I didn’t keep it original. I learned my lesson on that. It was turquoise with a black vinyl top. I had it 30 years. Everybody walked right by it. They didn’t like the style.”

His 1956 Studebaker in sun glow and white catches the eyes of those who pass-by.

Paul Pavlock of Middleport brings his 1979 black Corvette to the cruises to Medina, Hartland and Lockport. He learned that his ’Vet was owned by Jerry “King Kong” Korab of the Buffalo Sabres.

The T-Top pops off so it’s like a convertible.

“I just zip around in this car,” he said. “I wanted one for a long time and finally bought one. I put some time into it. It’s a driver. I drive it all the time.”

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