FORTY FORT – Crowds gathered to examine a rare burgundy 1938 SS Jaguar while a 1943, dark blue Navy war plane rumbled down the runway Sunday during the European Car and Aviation Show at the Wyoming Valley Airport.
Appealing to America’s love of automobiles and planes, the British Car Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the airport combined forces to present a unique opportunity to admire both.
Joe Scrobola, of Valley Aviation, said Airport Day has been held for four years to give families an opportunity to learn about aviation.
Ed Ostrowsky, club president of the British Car Club, said this is the 11th year the group has held the car show, but it is the first year holding it with the Wyoming Valley Airport. Previously it has been held in the South Abington Park in Clarks Summit. Work being done at the park prevented the car show from being held there.
Ostrowsky said there has been a steady flow of enthusiasts from when the gates opened at 9 a.m. until closing, which was well after 3 p.m. Boy Scout Pack 281 of Dallas offered food and refreshments.
Threatening weather prohibited some owners from bringing their vintage cars, but there were about 100 vehicles on display.
“All of these cars have character,” Joel Goldman, treasurer of the BCC said. “There is a car for everyone.”
Vince Gatto of Hughestown, owner of the 1938 SS Jaguar, said that before World War II, the Shallow Side Car Co., known as SS, made side cars for motorcycles. In 1938, the company designed and handmade only 118 SS “Jaguars.” After the war, there were changes.
“Because the war had just ended, many people thought the SS looked too much like the German insignia,” he said. “Eventually the SS was dropped and they became known as Jaguars.”
Proudly giving a walk-around, Gatto pointed out the car has the original registration on the front and back, the original engine block with the SS embossed on the side, and the original honeycomb radiator.
Cruising the skies was an option for the more adventurous of spirit. Plane rides were available in a Cessna, an Alaskan bush plane, a 1954 T28 or a 1943 SNJ Texan. Rides cost $20 and up, depending on the type of plane. They lasted about 15 minutes and provided a scenic view of the Wyoming Valley.
Scrobola said that often Airport Day provides an opportunity for those interested in learning to fly a chance to talk with pilots and take a flight.
The Wyoming Valley RC Flyers, based out of Moon Lake, had a dozen planes ranging from micro flyers to a large plane, 1/4 scale, to demonstrate another way to enjoy flight, without leaving the ground.