East Bay, RI

East Bay Newspapers

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy days with the Rhode Aces

Rhode Aces Car Club sock hop dancers

Rhode Aces Car Club sock hop dancers

Daddy-O! with R-L: TommyRock on bass, Wildman Will on sax & R.C. on guitar&vocals

EAST PROVIDENCE – Amid license plates that read "Big Dog," "Greasr," and "Looky," Rhode Aces Car Club member Jim Viara stepped out of his 1941 "super red" Willys and explained that what folks were seeing was his interim car: Purchased for a song (a $65,000 song, to be precise) from a collector in York, Penn. He and his brother Manny are currently building their own Willys, where the engine alone costs $125,000. The two brothers currently own vehicles between them that include two Pierce Arrows, four Pierce Arrow trucks, and a 1923 Ford Roadster.

"I was born into this," Manny said, affirming that buying and building cars has been "...a life hobby since I was 12 or 13.

"We lived on a farm and didn't have much of a childhood because all we did was work," he said, indicating an occasional escape into a world of coveted cars was pure magic for him.

Saturday night's Rhode Aces Car Club sock hop and car show, with "hardcore '50s" music provided by '50s band Daddy-O, was the first of its kind, a tradition to be continued, according to President Paul Rodrigues, where 60-plus members and their families were greeted by floating 45s (records) and six-foot cardboard reproductions of Jimmy Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley at the HGBC (Holy Ghost Brotherhood of Charity) Club in East Providence. A hot and cold buffet fueled dancers for hours of '50s fun on the dance floor, and even 18-month-old Savannah Medeiros, granddaughter of long time member "Butchie" Medeiros, rocked around the clock until way past her bedtime.

The car club, formed in 1956 and surviving various hiatuses and incarnations, brings together motivated owners of antique and/or custom cars and motorcycles, and raises funds for a variety of charities and individuals in need such as Gold Star Mothers (mothers whose children have lost their lives in service) and the John Fogarty Center.

Among the evening's festivities was an awards ceremony where Rhode Aces Vice president Mark Saraiva honored his father, Manny Saraiva, one of the club's original founders. "Butchie" Medeiros, grandfather of Savannah and owner of East Providence's Bagel Zone, was also honored for his tireless involvement in the goals of the organization.

According to Charlie Costa, event committee co-chairman, membership in the car club is not exclusive.

"You have to own a car or motorcycle, that's about it," he explained, noting the organization was more about inclusion and camaraderie, and reaching out to better the community in any way they can.

This interested in joining the Rhode Aces Car Club should call President Paul Rodrigues at 639-4964.

By Beth Herman


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