PORTLAND – Everyone, it seemed, had a different favorite car.

Kelly Carpenter of Portland, for instance, had her eye on old pickup trucks and a Ford Mustang.

Tanner Berry of Cape Elizabeth, however, fancied a Datsun 280Z. “It’s got the best engine restoration I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Carpenter and Berry were among car lovers and gearheads at the first “Calling All Cars” show at the Portland Motor Club on Saturday. Organized by Portland Police Chief James Craig, the event attracted some 85 vehicles, including muscle cars, classics, new cars and state and local police vehicles.

There were also raffles, a Text-and-Drive Obstacle Course where visitors experienced the dangers of behind-the-wheel phone tapping, car detailing demonstrations and a Burn-Out Event, at which a 1965 Plymouth Belvedere drag car burned rubber.

The cost to have a car in the show was $15.


Classics at the show included a sleek and silver 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, a long and low Lincoln Continental Mark III from 1969, a 1969 Chevrolet Corvair convertible with a rear-mounted engine and a 1971 gunmetal-gray Ford Bronco.

The Bronco was Ross Littlefield’s truck. The Standish resident inherited it from his father and spent 4 1/2 years restoring it, work that included replacing every body panel with panels salvaged from other Broncos.

“It’s been in the family 40 years. It used to be a plow truck,” said Littlefield.

Attendees voted on their favorite car, naming a restored 1928 Hudson Tudor owned by Louie DiBiase best of show.

“The kids love the nitrous bottle,” said DiBiase, 56, of Portland, pointing to a cylinder mounted on the center console between the Tudor’s front seats.

With the push of a button, DiBiase said, the tank can release 150 horsepower, supplementing a 430 horsepower Chevrolet power plant.


“It’s quick,” he said.

Awards were also given for the best vehicles in 13 categories: sports cars, street rods, tricked out vehicles, trucks, teen-owned vehicles, motorcycles, pre-1950s cars and autos from each decade since then.

Judges included Craig, The PortlandPress Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram Executive Editor Scott Wasser and Stephanie Reaves, a Bar Mills resident who has been a motorcycle racer, test car driver and driving instructor with Richard Petty Driving Experience.

“It’s nice to see this here,” said Reaves, adding that car shows are generally more common in the southern and western United States than in Maine.

She called car shows a forum for personal expression where owners can show off different paint jobs and customization.

“It’s a way for people to express themselves in a creative way,” she said. “It lets people become individuals.”


Calling All Cars was organized as a way to reach out to Portland-area young people and raise money for the department’s youth programs.

The show is similar to one Craig organized when he was a captain in south Los Angeles.

“It was an idea I had as commanding officer at a station in Los Angeles (and) it worked well,” said Craig, who owns a 1970 Pontiac GTO and a 2007 Corvette Z06. “I thought, why not do a car show in Portland?”

Raymond Ruby, Portland police youth services officer, said the department will use proceeds from the event to buy uniforms for the Police Explorers, a program for youths interested in becoming police officers. The money will also be used to buy equipment for youth sports teams sponsored by the Police Athletic League.

“This is what is going to help us sustain our programs and help them grow,” he said.

Staff Writer Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or:



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