Salvatore Caico, an expert restorer of classic cars, died Sunday in his home after a heart attack, following years of heart problems and several surgeries. He was 80.
Mr. Caico was born in Rochester and moved to Buffalo with his family when he was a teenager. He graduated from Burgard Vocational High School and studied for two years at a trade school specializing in auto repair.
His lifetime passion -- and his career -- was restoring classic and antique cars. He owned Samson Motors, which operated in Buffalo for 54 years.
Mr. Caico restored the car of Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress. He also did a complete restoration of a rare 1939 Packard. That car was displayed in Main Place Mall.
For many years, he took his family to Monterey Park, Calif., for three months each summer. They crisscrossed the country in automobiles, learning about the United States as they drove.
Mr. Caico retired in 1986.
He was a Catholic, and his family took special comfort in the fact that he died within an hour of Pope John Paul II.
Surviving are his wife of nearly 60 years, Josephine Puleo Caico; two daughters, Rosemarie Hill of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Constance J. "Pinky" Fire of North Tonawanda; a son, Gary of Las Vegas; three brothers, Angelo of Kenmore, and Bob and James, both of Sacramento, Calif.; 10 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Ascension Catholic Church, 168 Robinson St., after prayers at 9 in Wattengel Funeral Home, 307 Oliver St. Burial will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.