Japanese Fire Truck Heats Up Popular Car Show

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Lake Worth resident Jamey Gerardi in his 1987 Nissan Atlas Fire Truck.

The siren wailed so loud passersby covered their ears but when they looked around, the source of the racket was a surprise. Even at a big car show like Cars and Coffee Palm Beach.

FFC Logo New Car“What is that?” asked one incredulous car enthusiast as the boxy-looking truck rolled by.

The 1987 Nissan Atlas fire truck oddity is the proud possession of Lake Worth balloon artist Jamey Gerardi, who let the siren rip as he drove past rows of more traditional eye candy like Lamborghinis, Porsches and BMWs.

“I found it on a website,” Gerardi said grinning. “I thought it would be fun.”

Florida Fine Cars met up with Gerardi to take a closer look.

Quirky Fire Truck Is Curiousity

The vehicle has less than 10,000 miles on it, the engine is situated BENEATH the front passenger seat, and the steering wheel is on the right.

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Jamey Gerardi lifts the passenger seat to reveal the vehicle’s engine underneath.

The truck has a four-speed manual column shifter, a full back seat, a rear bench seat, a rear storage shelf and an old cast iron bell with a clapper.

Gerardi bought the truck because it had low mileage, air conditioning and was really unusual.

Because the steering wheel is on the right, people are constantly asking him if it’s legal to drive (yes). They also want to know how he got it to the United States (it was shipped).

Gerardi waited about two months for delivery and has been having a blast with his new ride ever since.

“I think it will be a fun extra car. I like the reactions people have to it,” he said. “It’s fun to see people smile and have people check it out. It didn’t cost a lot of money, it’s super rare and no one else has it.”

Gerardi also owns a 1974 Volkswagen Thing and a Japanese market Toyota 4-wheel drive 1987 Master Ace Surf van. He figured the quirky fire truck would fit right in.

“I just like weird cars,” Gerardi confessed.

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Florida Fine Cars offers 1,500 quality used cars priced thousands below retail at its four locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach, just north of Palm Beach International Airport, and in HollywoodMiami and Margate. Stop by and drive home a ride that will turn heads!

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Auto Enthusiasts Enjoy Dog Day Afternoons at Car Meet

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This gallery contains 12 photos.

NORTH PALM BEACH — Nico Marin cuddled his fuzzy tan puppy and smiled as passersby made their way past pricey Porsches and Lamborghini’s to “ooh” and “ah” at his pooch. The 17-week-old Shibu Inu with the curly, wagging tail was … Continue reading

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.

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