Love of cars is inherited by many at Cruise

SALEM-For many attendees of Friday’s antique car show in Centennial Park, their love of classic cars can be traced back to their parents.

Connie Cranmer of Salem brought a 1931 Ford Model A she inherited from her late father.

“My dad was a big collector of classic cars,” Cranmer said. “This was the last car that he bought before he got sick and passed away. This is the only car left that he owned.”

Cranmer’s father, Gus Christofaris of Salem, was an avid classic car enthusiast. Growing up she was surrounded by old cars.

“I can’t keep track of how many he had,” Cranmer said. “When I was a senior in high school, I drove a 1935 Studebaker with suicide doors to school. It got some strange looks.”

Cranmer’s father purchased the Model A in 1985, but it was nowhere near driving condition.

“When my dad bought it, the car was in pieces, there was a ton of work to do” Cranmer said. “I helped my dad paint the frame, but shortly after that he got sick.”

Christofaris passed away in 1990 and for 20 years, the car sat unused as the family searched for someone who could put it together.

“We took it to a place on Western Reserve Road and they put the engine in and put it back together for us,” Cranmer said. “It’s not completely right, but it runs good. I’ve been taking it to car shows for the last four years.”

Cranmer said the car is never leaving her family.

“After me, its getting passed to my son,” Cranmer said. “It’s a nice reminder of my dad, there is no way it’s leaving the family.”

Just across the parking lot, Bryan Sevenich of Columbiana sat with his parents Paul and Carol next his 1958 Ford Skyliner retractable. Like with Cranmer, Sevenich’s car carried deep family significance.

“I inherited this car from my father,” Bryan Sevenich said. “It’s been in our family for 42 years.”

Sevenich’s parents bought the car in 1972 at an auction on the Canfield fairgrounds for $4,000. The main attraction was the car’s scarcity.

“They stopped making these cars in 1959,” Sevenich said. “The ’58 is actually rarer than the other two because there was a recession and they didn’t sell a lot of these cars. My parents wanted to buy it and take it around to shows. At all the shows it’s been to, people comment on how rare it is.”

Sevenich-a 1980 graduate of Leetonia High School-recalled admiring the car when he was younger and looking forward to the day he could drive it himself.

“I kept thinking how great it would be to drive,” Sevenich said. “Finally when I was 16 they let me take it out.”

Many years later, Sevenich finally got a chance to own the car for good.

“For many years, I was the only one who drove it,” Sevenich said. “I kept pestering my dad asking to buy it from him. Four years ago, we were sitting on the front porch together and he walked over, handed me the keys and said it was mine. I couldn’t believe it. I’m honored to have the car that he had for so many years.”