Aug 12 2011

Long Island Automotive Update: News, Events & Recent Comments- Saturday, August 13, 2011

Latest Long Island automotive news, events and recent comments on

News Sunday August 7, 2011 "Black Beast roars to life in Lake Ronkonkoma"

I held onto my gear tightly as Howard Kroplick gunned the engine of his 1909 Alco racer down Ronkonkoma Avenue on Sunday morning. The car, nicknamed Black Beast, was one of the cars to compete in the first-ever Indianapolis 500 Race in 1909, and has won various trophies, including two Vanderbuilt Cups. The engine roared as Kroplick sped onto the main road, and for a moment I thought I could hear the cheers of a crowd as the Beast relived its glory days. Kroplick of East Hills purchased the vintage race car from a dealer in Belgium in 2009, and has had the Beast reconditioned in order to be fully drivable. Originally sold for $6,000 in 1909, this retro rocket is now valued at more than $140,000. The Beast is also the only known Alco race car still in existence. Kroplick brought the Black Beast to Lake Ronkonkoma for the inaugural Parade and Car Show at Raynor Park where Long Islanders gathered to admire cars from the early half of the 20th century. All of the cars were from 1948 or older (except for a vintage firetruck from the 1960s that was in attendance) and they all gleamed like they were only a few years old. Despite the gloomy looking weather, locals laughed, threw a Frisbee disk around, and barbecued in the park while attendees looked on at the half-dozen or so vintage autos

SatchPatch, August 9, 2011: "First Annual "Sunday Drive" Fair a Success"

Howard Kroplick appeased children and adults alike with both photos and rides in the “Black Beast,” a 1909 Alco racecar with an impressive track record.

Photo Gallery

New York Times August 6, 2011: Have You Picnicked at the Tank Farm?

Alley Pond Park

Alley Pond is a sleeper in eastern Queens, 655 acres, crisscrossed by highways that overlook ice-age kettle ponds. Staking out corners of the park are horseback riders, birders, overnight campers and rope-climbers. A 2.5-mile bikeway was once part of William Vanderbilt Jr.’s privately run Long Island Motor Parkway, the millionaire’s early auto-era conceit.

A young girl hurries past with a tennis racket and a violin, ready to play something. Tavern league softball teams swing metal bats and beer bellies. The sweet sound of a peewee-league coach delivering baseball clichés to his players is a particular pleasure: “Now, you played hard, and I know your parents want to know that, but next time I know you’ll play harder and we’ll win, right?”

Wait — is that sound the “cheer, cheerful, charmer” song of the Eastern bluebird? That this hard-to-spot species is bred in the park is a revelation to someone from faraway Manhattan who has spent too much time contemplating Pale Male wannabes and the sparrows nesting raucously in the stanchions of city lights.

Ebay Items




Vanderbilt Cup Board Game 1906Did Not Sell. Reserve was $750

Featured Upcoming Automotive Events:

Upcoming Alco Black Beast Event


Vanderbilt Cup Region A.A.C.A. Car Show, Centerport, Sunday, August 21, 2011

Featured Weekend Automotive Events

Frank Bigelow Memorial Car Show, West Islip, Sunday, August 14, 2011

2nd Annual Sons of Italy Car Show, Kings Park, Sunday, August 14, 2011

North Shore Horse Rescue Car Show, Baiting Hollow, Sunday, August 14, 2011

Calendar of 2011 Long Island Automotive Events

WBAB Long Island Car Club Event Calendar

2011 Long Island Cruises

Current Long Island Weather Forecast

Recent Comments on


Then & Now: Long Island Automotive Museum

Arthur M: "Howard, I remember going to a great party and tour of the museum in the mid ‘60s when it was alive and well. We were racing at the Bridge and we were invited over. It was a spectacular museum."

Roberto Rodriguez: "Seeing you extraordinary now photos… I can’t help thinking, there for the grace of God… The same thing came so close to happening with the Seal Cove Auto Museum and Richard Paine’s collection. So many great museums and collectors from the past now gone. I think of this daily as I look at our Knox and Thomas Flyer from Henry Austin Clark, Jr’s collection, the American Victoria Underslung from Briggs Cunningham’s museum, the F.R.P. from Harrah’s and the Peugeot from James Melton’s Autorama. Do hope you can come for a visit."

Frank W:"“Thanks for posting more pictures of the old museum. The one I really want to see is the one of the inside during the 1978 auction which I attended. I can’t believe how overgrown the site has become. I have always wondered why the family didn’t sell the land when real estate prices were up.”

Earl Gandel: "A lot of people remember Austin Clark, and I remember him well as a board member of BRRC, Bridgehampton Road Races Corp., who ran the street races 1949-53 and built the race circuit in 1954-5. My group, Bridgehampton Racing Group, leased the track from them in 1971 and ran it until 1984. They were our “landlords” and were happy to see someone else keeping it alive. Austin had the biggest private automotive library (in his own home) I’ve ever seen. There are some of his cars in OwlsHead, Maine. Other BRRC members included BJ Corrigan, Alfred Momo, and Hewlett Treadwell. Thanks for the memories. And don’t forget our Rally October 1! There are some people out here who haven’t yet had a ride in The Beast."

Harry C. Reynolds: "Just a note to thank you for your always interesting blog. It brightens my day."

Lou K: "Just viewed the then & now pictures and film about The L.I.Automotive Museum. I enjoyed the trip back but not the ‘now’ journey. Do you know what exactly happened that allowed such decay to occur? Did the proprietor pass away ? Who owns the land now? I enjoy your letters every week.”

Steve:"thank you so much for this artical. brings back so much. One of the first things my family saw after moving to the Island in 1962 was stop at the LIAM on the ride to Montauk.How well I remember the Flyer,the Jolly Fiat and especially the little baby blue Bugatti that looked like it just pulled in with it’s dust and worn,cracked leather.Once we even saw a little mouse scurry across the floorboard of that Bug! We went there as a family an I continued with my family when I raced at Bridge.One day it was closed an it was like a death.Probably made me the car nut I am today.Always got a kick ‘cause we lived on Sandy Hollow Rd (in Northport).Anyone know where the Bug went?

Jeff Notabartolo: "Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Thinking back to my childhood when my family visited the museum in the mid sixties made me realize the influence the museum had in my life. It fostered a real love in me for the automobile and its history. How sad that this Long Island treasure has been lost these thirty years."

Walter Jamieson, Jr.: "The writer claims that Clark owned a Bugatti Royale, but doesn't say which one. He could never have owned 41100, 41121, 41131, 41141, or 41150. The only possibility then is 41111, unless 41150 was briefly with him between Peck and Nethercutt. Did he ever really own either one, or is that just local lore combined with wishful thinking? Does anyone out there know for sure?"

Paul Emmert: "We have so much history here on Long Island, the LIMP is part of it. If You want to see more, come out to the LIEF, Long Island Early Fliers picnic at the Bayport Aerodrome on Aug 14. Thank U Howard."


Long Island Motor Parkway Bridge Series: #3 The Hollis Hills Terrace Bridge in Queens

RMW: "I grew up on the other side of Horace Harding Blvd. From what I remember, Hollis Hills Terrace became the name soon after the Clearview Expressway opened, which cut the road off. Before that, as far as I can remember from the 50s, it was Hollis Court Blvd. The beginning of the Q26 bus run was at the intersection of Hollis Court Blvd. and Francis Lewis Blvd."


A Mystery Photo from the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Michael Sperrazza:"I’m the owner of the 2 breese Paris autos. & that is without dout the BLM. It was planed to go into production with a number of different bodies Built in NJ with FRench engines. The 1906 recession put an end to production. also there were 2 James Breeses: the father & son. There were 4 males in the family; James Breese the father, Sidney Breese oldest son (designer of the engine for the Spirt of St Louis), James Breese (chief engineer of the NC4 first aircraft to fly across the atlantic around 1919) & Robert Breese (the designer & builder of the Breese Paris)."

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