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The Boniface Picnic

By Carl Goodwin

Once every fall, before the weather gets too cold, Dr. Ray Boniface stages a car show benefit for breast cancer research. It’s probably the most interesting show in the Cleveland area, with better cars and a nicer venue than the local British, Italian or German Car Shows.

This one is in Poland – Poland, Ohio – and it features Italian cars almost exclusively. On a quiet side street is the house of Dr. Boniface on a few acres with three out-buildings. The entrants filter in. The two Ferrari Lussos are already there, as is the Daytona. Chuck Hazle drives up in his silver 330 GT. An almost identical one follows him in. They are having ignition troubles, which provide shocking results to those trying to diagnose the engine miss.
The good doctor’s son’s direct entrants into areas that include the island, the tennis court (nearby, anyway) and the hill. Everything is arranged in a very casual, comfortable way. Newly arrived entrants walk over to a registration table where they pay $15 each. Spectators pay, too. The money goes to breast cancer research at the new St. Elizabeth hospital in Youngstown, Ohio. Directed by professor Nancy Gantt, the hospital serves eastern Ohio.
This is a show without judging or prizes. People circle the cars, talk to each other, look over the machines….Earl Gibbs’ gold Lamborghini and one other one, the Lancia Rally Car, the Lancia Zagato and Flaminia Convertible…Richard Gent’s Maserati coupe…the black Alfa Giulietta that Joe and Jean Wehrheim bravely drove, top down, from faraway Rocky River…the terrific Ferrari 212, resplendent in dark red paint and light tan interior.
The host of this gathering, Ray Boniface is an interesting one himself, a WWII infantryman providing reinforcement for soldiers who fought the Battle of the Bulge, he put himself through college selling Leica cameras, lenses and accessories. Ray’s most recent acquisition is a beautiful Touring-bodied Alfa Romeo 2600; next to it is the earlier AR 2000. These cars have a wheelbase longer than a Ferrari California. On the other hand, there is Ray and Mary Graham’s Fiat Bianchini As well as two diminutive Fiat 500s owned by Dr. Boniface. “Don’t forget the Lancia B24,” Chuck Hazle reminds us, “the 275 GTB, Maserati Merak and Fiat Dino.”
Somewhere in the middle of all this, a light lunch is served by a caterer hired for the occasion and later people begin to filter out. But one thing is sure – they’ll be looking for the Boniface car show when next year rolls around.

For further details contact Bob at [email protected]. Images of the event can be viewed at http://www.velocetoday.com/archives/14251 and arocdetroit.org
 
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