07 August 2006

Cruise Night New York Style

An East Coast retro car scene in the LATimes

HARTSDALE, N.Y. - Steve and Marie Michaels maneuver their black '55 Chevy with the "MOB HIT" license plate so the rear faces into the parking lot of a Carvel ice cream shop, where everyone can see the trunk's "Godfather" mural. It shows Brando as Vito Corleone, Pacino as Michael Corleone, and the guy who plays Luca Brasi, the hulking henchman who winds up sleeping with the fishes.

"Luca, he's the man," says Bronx-born Steve Michaels as he folds his cigarette pack under the left sleeve of his white T-shirt.

LiVecchi concedes that there are challenges to being car crazy in New York, as opposed to, say, California. Owners need a good garage, for starters, and can't be planning to drive in snow, ice and road salt. Of course, those indoor months give them time to work on cars such as the "Godfather" Chevy. Next on the drawing board for that one?

"You know the scene where Sonny gets killed at the toll plaza?" LiVecchi says. "We're going to do a mural of that, under the hood."

A message to the guy checking the oil, perhaps?

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