"My wife was very upset," he said with a laugh.
So off he went to find another '57 Chevy.
Doug Roberts of Albany looked admiringly at Villani's car and a handful of others during the club's recent picnic at the Crossings in Colonie. Roberts is somewhat unusual in that he belongs to the club but doesn't own a classic car. He joined after the Richardsons, whom he knew from work, assured him that "having a car is not necessarily a big thing."
But that doesn't mean Roberts doesn't want to own a car someday. Recently retired, he bought a camper and then a truck to haul it. Once those are paid off, he hopes to get a classic car, probably nothing newer than 1970, although he hasn't settled on a make and model.
"Some of the old cars, I just love them to death," he said.
The appeal of the club, he said, is seeing just what every owner does to make his or her car a little different from the rest. Everyone is more than happy to talk to him about the modifications they've made and what cars they think might be a good fit for him.
There was a time when Joan Richardson would have felt lost in such conversations. But after marrying her husband, she came to enjoy the classic car scene as much as he does.
"We just like the camaraderie," she said.
Guptill's is the perfect place for that camaraderie to grow, according to Bob Richardson. For one thing, there's a lot of space, including a grassy area where owners can display their cars. Beyond that, it's fitting to hold the cruises at a roller rink, considering that skating was a huge part of people's childhood.
"It's perfectly in the era," he said. "We all went roller skating. It's just all part of the nostalgia and the memories."
Admission to the cruises is free, although the Cruisers ask for one non-perishable food item (or cash) to help support the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. There is live music, and ice cream and other food is sold at Guptill's Coney Express. Cars as old as 1985 are welcome at the August cruise; the Sept. 13 cruise is also open to cars from any year with after-market customizing.
For information, visit www.capitaldistrictcruisers.com.