Covid has not so much made time stand still as it has made everybody and every event stand down, nowhere more so than in the crowd oriented classic car venues. Car show after car show, concours upon concours, swap meets and cruise nights all fell victim to pandemic panic.
Like the freak year-long winter of 1816 caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora, the 2020 classic car season fell victim to the icy chill of pandemic fears. Now in 2021, like a green shoot in early spring, the Korzinski family of Paul’s Motors in Hawthorne, NJ boldly struck a blow for a return to normalcy when they hosted the April 10th Man Cave Garage Sale.
Man Cave Garage Sale unmasks covid boredom
With a vigor just short of children departing school to start summer vacation, car enthusiasts eagerly flocked to Paul’s Motors’ Man Cave Garage Sale to experience, after more than a year long drought, an honest to goodness car event. Granted, masks adorned every face, yet it had a familiar social feeling that felt so good.
Adding to the upbeat atmosphere was the opportunity to spend time with 96-year old Paul Korzinski whose father started Paul’s motors 101 years ago. Daughter Diane Korzonski says, “My grandfather began the business as a repair shop in 1920. My father took over after the end of WWII. He has worked here all his life.”
In 1957, the first year Volvo came to America, Paul took on a Volvo franchise. He liked Volvo because of its concern for safety. In a sign of the times, Paul’s Motors turned in its Volvo franchise after 60-years in 2017 as the corporate franchising demands placed on the small family run operation made for a money losing proposition. Always known for high quality used cars Paul’s Motors continues to be the go to place for a used vehicle.
The inspiration for the early season sale came out of a conversation between Diane and big time car enthusiast Bob Austin.
Diane says, “Bob and I were talking about how we have collections of things. As I showed him a great anvil and an old scale from one of our shipping containers, I mentioned that we’ve been here for a hundred and one years. We have a lot of old stuff. So Bob said, well, I have a lot of old stuff. Maybe we should have a Man Cave Garage Sale. What a great idea, I thought.”
While clearly car flavored, various vendor offerings provided an eclectic array of goods. Man Cave organizer Bob Austin says, “We had some interesting vendors with everything from gumball machines to airplane propellers and fur coats.” With a good size crowd throughout the day the feeling was festive and the selling was brisk. A smiling Austin says, ”Absolutely a fun day and for some of us it afforded a great opportunity to reunite with friends that we haven’t seen for the better part of the year.” As for Covid concerns, with a good breeze and everyone wearing a mask confidence ran high.
Vendor Rocco Scotellaro was clearly happy to be at the Man Cave sale. When asked about being there, Rocco said, “Excellent, historically as a vendor I usually do about two or three shows a year. Last year I did none. It’s great to be back in business.” When asked to evaluate buyer action, Rocco quickly offered that the show was much better than he expected emphasizing that the turnout was quite good. Rocco says, “A major challenge for vendors like me is deciding what to bring. It’s always a guessing game.” Sporting a big smile, Rocco went on to say, “I guessed right for the Man Cave sale and did very, very well.
Clearly people savored the opportunity to share space and time with others in a non-Zoom real world environment. Diane commented that, “I think a lot of people came in looking for something free of Covid gloom, something to make them happy. We’ve all been kind of cooped up all winter. Watching the news certainly hasn’t helped.”
Jaguar Land Rover Archivist Fred Hammond brought a treasure trove of classic car models and automobilia. Fred says, “The Man Cave Sale has been a tremendous success in so many ways. I mean one can put it in the context of saying that I sell stuff. Yeah, you bet. I sold a lot of things but the real enjoyment here was seeing friends, fellow car enthusiasts and talking to people sharing the joy of being outside with others, at last. Everyone seemed to be basking in the joy of feeling a kind of normalcy.”
Pieces, parts and even a very clean 1996 Mustang Cobra changed owners thanks to being on display at the Paul’s Motors event.
Clearly, everyone has suffered through serious cabin fever with a nasty Covid hangover and could not wait to rub elbows with their fellow man. If the Man Cave Garage Sale represents any indicator, social distances show every sign of shrinking as humanity pokes its collective head out from under the Covid rock.