“Every year, as long as they have it the night they’re supposed to, there’s been more cars. This is the most I’ve ever seen,” said Wiltonian Paul Bonomo as he stood next to his 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster Hot Rod at this year’s Wilton Kiwanis Geeb Fleming Memorial Cruise Night Friday, July 10.
“I’ve always been a car guy, since I was 15. Lived in Wilton all my life. My family moved here in 1922. We’ve been here for almost a hundred years,” said Bonomo.
“I’ve come (to the Cruise Night) every year since they had it. I knew Geeb, the guy who started it,” said Bonomo.
Thomas “Geeb” Fleming was killed by a drunk driver in 2009. He started Cruise Night out of a love for cars and car people and ran it for eight years, and now, six years after his death, the Friday night destination is still attracting enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike.
“This is just great,” said Bonomo, “and there’s new stuff coming. I haven’t seen these Land Rovers before; I haven’t seen that Ford,” as he pointed to various cars around the Piersall Building parking lot. “A lot of stuff here that hasn’t been here before. A lot of stuff that has been, but a lot of stuff that hasn’t.”
Bonomo exhibited four of his 10 vintage vehicles Friday: A 1963 Willy’s CJ3B, a 1961 Corvette Hot Rod, the aforementioned 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster Hot Rod and, perhaps most interestingly, a 1966 21-window Deluxe Volkswagen Microbus.
“Believe it or not, that’s probably worth more than any of these three,” Bonomo said. “They became very, very popular in the late 60s. It was really the first minivan. People bought them, but nobody held onto them.”
To Bonomo, it is priceless.
“I was getting some parts in California,” he said, “and the part-guy offered me 40 grand for it; I said, ‘no.’ I put it up for sale briefly, and had another guy offer me 55; I said, ‘no.’ He upped it to 65; I said, ‘no.’ He said, ‘Will you go to 75?’ I said, ‘no.’ I’ve seen them go for $130,000.”