chenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy came up with the kindest words he could on Saturday for the fan favorite entry into the second annual Ugly Car Contest in Schenectady.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” he said about Liz Faulisi’s 1994 Honda Accord.
The car was a big hit at the show because four years ago, when Faulisi got the car, her parents let her paint it however she wanted. The result was a two-year process that involved Faulisi, her friends and family painting phrases, icons and designs all over the car, including the roof, where there is a green and orange peace sign.
Only a few spots of the car’s original white coat remain untouched, with even the hubcaps and tires painted over.
A pink flower was painted on the right mirror and “ouch” was written on a spot where the car hit the family garage. The rear right passenger door has a blue and purple checkerboard pattern. A purple elephant, a rainbow and blue moon were painted on the hood. The phrase “Never Say Never” is written across the back bumper.
Liz’s parents, Rob and Kathleen, who brought the car to the show on a lark, said it embodied her spirit. “She’s a redhead artist,” explained Kathleen.
The car was a favorite in the community and well known by all Liz’s high school classmates, who were constantly clamoring for a ride. Rob said the car was responsible for a lot of head turning, but everyone who knew it, loved it.
But now that Liz is at college in western New York and is becoming an adult, her parents are looking to sell the vehicle, which sits at home all winter. “She needs a car for interviews,” Kathleen said. “And maybe this isn’t the vehicle for that.”
They don’t know what it will be like trying to sell the distinct sedan. Rob is confident that it will find a home without needing a new paint job. “We’ll find the right person to buy it,” he predicted.
The rest of the show, which was held in parking lot on Nott Terrace near State Street, felt like any other car show that has popped up this summer. There was a steady stream of blaring classic rock music, rows of well-kept and loved cars and a few vendors selling foods and some crafts.
One of the unique features was a competition to fit as many children as possible into a MINI Cooper. Utilizing the car’s sunroof and one particularly small child, 11 children were squeezed into the vehicle. The total easily exceeded the expectations of McCarthy and the event emcee, who were both only predicting single digits.
The day was a real treat for McCarthy, who showed off a love of cars. Lamenting the fact that he had never owned one, McCarthy said, “I love a Chevy Corvette.”
Stopping by an AMC Gremlin, he noted that an aunt of his had owned one of these two-door super-compact cars. “It’s a unique profile,” he laughed. “Once you see it, you always remember it.”
McCarthy added that it was good that the event, which has grown since its inception last year, raises money for local charities.
All proceeds from the contest benefit the Schenectady Kiwanis Youth Service Grant fund and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The Schenectady Kiwanis sponsors the show.