Florida Fine Cars Backs Autism Initiative

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Miami resident and Florida Fine Cars customer Luis Gomez poses next to a 2016 Corvette z06.

WEST PALM BEACH – Used car giant Florida Fine Cars sponsored “The 7th Home Show Munch, Mingle & Much More” in a show of support for Autism Speaks Palm Beach County.

The nationally recognized non-profit organization received a portion of event proceeds to fund advocacy and support for individuals who are diagnosed with autism. The funds also go towards research into the cause and early intervention. A 55-inch television and several other items were raffled to raise money.FFC Logo New Car

“Our whole goal is to connect with the local businesses and families and let them know there are resources here,” explained Melissa Dinuzzo, manager for Autism Speaks Palm Beach, as she passed out brochures about autism and answered questions. “We want to promote acceptance and understanding and also promote our March 4th Autism Speaks Walk to raise money.”

Autism Speaks Offers Family Support, Community Outreach

Florida Fine Cars signed on as a sponsor because the family-owned auto dealership is active in the community and a strong supporter of not-for-profit organizations.

“Autism Speaks is a lifeline for families with autistic children. It provides education, outreach and a huge array of resources for families who may otherwise feel frustrated or alone. It was an easy decision to become part of this worthy event,” said Jamie Suid, marketing director for Florida Fine Cars. “Helping kids is what it’s all about.”

About 2,000 local residents attended the event at the Meyer Amphitheater in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach.

According to the Autism Speaks website, the organization is “dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.”

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Increasing Autism Awareness and Acceptance is Organization’s Goal

Dinuzzo said events like the Jan. 13th one are important for increasing awareness about autism and helping to reduce stigmas that often result due to a lack of knowledge.

The event also provided a chance for Dinuzzo to plug the upcoming March 4th Autism Speaks Walk to raise money for the cause. The annual walk is a major fundraiser for the not-for-profit organization.

According to Dinuzzo, one in 68 children are diagnosed with autism and more than 70 million people worldwide are on the autism spectrum. The cost to care for a child on the spectrum is estimated at approximately $65,000, she said. Therapies such as physical, speech, and applied behavioral analysis are commonly used, she noted. Costly medications may also be part of treatment.

“You can look at someone on the spectrum and they look just like everyone else, but they might lack the eye contact,” she explained. Individuals on the autism spectrum may have a wide range of symptoms, skills and levels of disability. Those who suffer from autism may have ongoing social problems that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

“We want to be that puzzle piece that connects the community to resources,” Dinuzzo said.

Shop Florida Fine Cars at Four Convenient Locations

Florida Fine Cars offers nearly 1,000 quality used cars for sale priced thousands below retail at its three locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach, just north of Palm Beach International Airport, and in Hollywood and Miami. A fourth location recently opened in Margate. Stop by and drive home your dream car today!

#autismspeaks #floridafinecars

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Model Builders Club Draws Crowds at Cars and Coffee Palm Beach

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Admirers check out the detailed models built by the Model Builders Mafia hobbyist club at Cars and Coffee Palm Beach.

PALM BEACH GARDENS – When Sunrise auto enthusiast Joe Collazo works on a car, he dons magnifying glasses and wields tweezers. The work is delicate and he likes to concentrate.

“I’ve built all kinds of cars, trucks, and bikes,” Collazo said proudly, as car buffs surrounded him at a recent Cars and Coffee Palm Beach to admire his handiwork. “I enjoy working with my hands putting cars together.”FFC Logo New Car

But the cars he and his friends assemble aren’t for driving. They’re miniatures created by the Model Builders Mafia, a group of about 50 hobbyists who love to build and customize model vehicles.

Model Car Builders Create ‘Wow’ Factor By Customizing Kits

On this day, about 75 models were on display. And the buzz they created was impressive.

Florida Fine Cars caught up with Collazo at the Palm Beach Outlets Mall to find out more about how the detailed models are built, how much time is involved and what drives the Model Builders Mafia to create.

Collazo, a baker at a Publix store in Coconut Creek, has been building models for about seven years. So far, he’s constructed about 300 and has no plans to stop.

He’s a detail guy who loves to customize.

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Replica of the “Fast and Furious” Toyota Supra.

One of his favorites is a replica of the orange 1995 Toyota Supra from the movie, “Fast and Furious.” The sleek hotrod draws plenty of “oohs” and “ahs.”

Details Come From Discards

“When you open the hood, there are hoses and fuel lines,” Collazo said, pointing out the detail. “Usually when people throw out old appliances, I yank all the wires out.”

Those wires are reborn as engine parts for the model cars Collazo assembles. The result is incredible detail.

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Joe Collazo shows off the 2010 International Pro Star tractor replica that took 80 hours to build.

One of his most stunning creations is a 2010 International Pro Star tractor. The red and white model truck has a red cellphone in the front and a tiny CD on the dashboard. A pet monkey stands on the passenger seat near a minuscule and very authentic-looking McDonalds Happy Meal box.

Collazo grins when he describes how he created the Happy Meal.

First, he bought a real Happy Meal, unfolded the box and laid it out flat. Then he photographed it, shrunk the photo on a computer, printed it out and re-assembled it. The result was a perfect copy.

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Monkey (right) sits to the right of replica Happy Meal box Collazo made. The cell phone and CD are visible on the center console.

“It took a couple hours,” Collazo confessed. But that’s part of the fun. The way he figures, he invested at least 80 hours in the Pro Star tractor.

“It was a labor of love,” he said. “I just enjoy building them. It keeps me out of trouble.”

Boca Raton resident Gary Mitchell is another model building buff. But he’s very choosy about what type of cars he builds.

“I usually deal in Fords. I’m a one-make model builder,” he chuckled.

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Hobbyists from the Model Builders Mafia customize model kits to create realistic replicas of cars, trucks and motorcycles.

Mitchell drives a 2009 Ford Mustang and has been building model cars for 52 years.

He figures he’s built around 100 so far, but he’s not exactly sure. He likes customizing his models as well.

“It’s something to do on a rainy day or to kill some time,” Mitchell said. “Whatever you want you can add on to a car. Ignition wires, brake lines, detailing.”

West Palm Beach resident Julia Acosta was completely impressed. She is hoping they can build a model of her red 2013 Scion FRS.

“I think they are super cool. I asked them if they make custom replicas of cars,” Acosta said. “They have my car but they don’t have the body kit right. I’ve seen model cars but never in this detail.”

For more information about the Model Builders Mafia, go to www.modelbuildersmafia.com, or contact Adam at 954-304-5502 for more information.

Florida Fine Cars Offers a Huge Selection of Quality Used Cars at Tiny Prices

Florida Fine Cars offers nearly 1,800 quality used cars priced thousands below retail at its four locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach, Margate, Hollywood and Miami. Our new Margate dealership at 5300 Copans Road just opened in February 2018.

Used car shopping has never been so easy. Stop by Florida Fine Cars today and test drive the car of your dreams.

#floridafinecars #modelbuildersmafia #miniaturecars #modelkits

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