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Hot Cars, Hot Nights

PEPPERELL — Sunday nights are Cruise Nights at Scotch Pine Farm.

Scotch Pine owner Michael Blood says this is the latest attraction to his ever expanding collection of businesses, which includes the restaurant, Chef on Wheels catering, the Meadow Glen outdoor function facility, a country store and a tent rental business.

“This is the first year we started the cruise nights, and they have caught on quickly. On average, we have between 35-40 cars,” said Leigh Ann Colvin, a marketing and event coordinator at Scotch Pine. In addition to an array of shiny cars and proud owners, everyone can enjoy an outdoor BBQ, music, prizes, a beer tent, slush cart and plenty of friendly animals to visit.

Colvin said that there has been a nice variety of cars dating from 1929 to the early 70’s; with a few regulars that include a 1965 Mustang, 1966 Ford Cobra, Mercury Montclair, 1960 Ford Thunderbird, 1970 Barracuda.

Mike Seminatore of Wilmington says he likes to turn heads with his 1930 Ford 5 Window Coupe Street Rod. The nostalgic rumble seat is long gone and the vehicle now features a 5200 BTU window air conditioner, 26-inch LCD TV, 5,000 watts of surround sound piped through ten speakers, GPS navigation, a radar detector and an iPod.

In contrast to the automobile enthusiast who dares to accessorize, there is the camp that prefers not to modify. Joe and Joanne Jean of Tyngsboro had their 1964 Thunderbird Convertible restored as original. Some like to see cars that are “barn fresh” before all the work is done to them. Dennis Caprigno of Tewksbury “cruises” with his all original 1955 Mercury Montclair convertible.

Nick Livadas of Pepperell admits to being a “car guy” his whole life and says he grew up in a garage during the ’60s. Dolly, Nick’s wife of 35 years, says “He has had so many cars we can’t even keep count of them all.”

He described his passion for muscle cars and says that he is partial to GTOs. Livadas also said he couldn’t imagine parting with his 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 582. According to his wife, Livadas is competitive and likes to have more power than the other guy.

No doubt there’s some power in his ’70 Chevelle, which features a Shafiroff Ultra Street Big Dawg 582/745 horsepower engine. It was marketed by the company as the “Tire melting power you want and the cruising reliability you need in a pump gas friendly package.”

Admittedly, Livadas said that he had his fair share of cruising and “American Graffiti” style street racing in his day. “But now,” he said, “there’s so much power and it’s far too dangerous, not to mention the cars represent a significant investment … they are worth too much to even think about racing.”

The most recent “toy” in the Livadas collection is a 1992 Mustang LX 5.0 Convertible.

“I wasn’t really looking for another car,” Livadas said, “I saw the Mustang in Florida with my dad and we couldn’t believe the asking price was so reasonable. But, I got on my plane and flew home. When I landed, I called my father and he told me he bought the Mustang and put my name on the title.”

By day, Livadas works full time at Draper Labs. He’s also the deputy director of Emergency Management Services in Pepperell and is a part-time firearms instructor. But according to his wife, “every night it’s warm enough he is working on his cars. He loves to buy them, fix them and then sell or trade them.”

In August, Livadas will judge at the Annual Northeast Chevelle and El Camino Regional in Sturbridge, Mass. With many years of car experience and a trained eye, he says he will evaluate every car in great detail. “Judges will look at 1,000 different criteria from exterior chrome to the seat upholstery and door locks,” he said.

Cruise nights are a great way to socialize, network and to get leads for hard to find parts, said Dolly Livadas. Livadas “cruises” about three times a week during the summer and depending on the weather. “This has been a tough summer, Mike has a good thing going at Scotch Pine but the rain is not helping.” Livadas predicted that by next year Blood would have a good following for his Cruise Nights, “he better add some more parking”.

The Cruise Nights run through Sunday, Aug. 30, and go from 5 p.m. to duck at Scotch Pine Farm, 87 Elm Street, Pepperell. For more information call (978) 877-9764.

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