A young Scot Congress was so excited with a new family stationwagon that he spent the night curled up in the back seat. Larry Congress discovered his 9-year-old son in the brown Vista Cruiser the following morning, the Oldsmobile's battery dead, the boy fast asleep.
"The seats were cool and it smelled so good," said Scot Congress, today a Sanibel merchant and the owner two Detroit-era muscle cars. "My fathered kidded me that it never ran the same again. I guess (that night) kind of kick started this whole thing."
Congress and a fellow car buff in Sanibel have formed the San Cap Motor Club, Inc., envisioning that others with engine oil in their blood will join them at the group's first "Cruise In" rally Sept. 1 at the Periwinkle Place Shops. Congress owns an Olds 442 and Chevrolet Super Sport. Sanibel realtor Mike Stone co-hosts the event and is also behind the club's formation. He owns a Pontiac GTO and an exquisite 2004 Maserati that he picked up on a popular television auction program. The Spyder Cambiocorsa has Ferrari pedigree and is certain to draw a circle of admirers at the Sept. 1 event that starts at 5 p.m. The pair expect a few dozen vehicles -- hotrods, classics/antiques and motorcycles -- in the three-hour event. The Blue Giraffe restaurant in the shops will extend a happy-hour special though the show.
Scot Congress (left) and Mike Stone
"(You) start talking to guys about cars," Stone said, "and they act like teen-agers. It's amazing. And the difference in Sanibel is that guys want to share, not show off."
Sanibel has long been home to serious vehicle collectors. One island physician, for instance, owns a 1960s era Ferrari valued at $1 million. Several Sanibel vehicles of amazing grace and value are stored off-island at a popular repair shop in Fort Myers. But most Sanibel-Captiva collectors have cars and trucks that an average car enthusiast would have in his/her garage, beaters to get around on beach days, pickups of lasting and sentimental value. One island driver regularly purrs around in a bright red Stringray of extraordinary beauty, sharing stories about the Porsche cars he decided to forgo to purchase the new Chevrolet. A centerpiece of the Bailey's General Store is an old Ford flatbed held in loving storage at the city's historical museum.
Congress and Stone envision a rally of normal proportions. The owners back in, flip the hood, share trade gossip, hot trends, the car of their dreams and the first vehicle owned.
"Where to get this and that done," Congress said of rally talk about parts and mechanics. "Informal fun."
The pair expect the rally to pick up steam as the season rolls into October and November. They plan a large event for March 2015.
"The community's reaction will dictate" the direction, Congress said.
Details about the club, blogs, photo galleries and contacts are at sancapmotorclub.com.