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MIXING OLD AND NEW
AUTO DEALERS WANT TO MAKE THE2003 BUFFALO AUTO SHOW SPECIAL - IT WILL BE THE CITY'S 100TH ANNIVERSARY DISPLAY OF NEW CARS

The Buffalo Auto Show will blend the old with the new for its 2003 edition.

The show, organized by the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association, will mark its 100th anniversary by displaying some vintage cars alongside the newest models. The show will be held Feb. 5-9 at the Buffalo Convention Center.

Show organizers and dealers gathered Wednesday at the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum to start the countdown to the show.

"I think the biggest deal for the dealers is, it jump starts our spring season," said local dealer Jim Ball. He is serving as this year's show chairman, with Lisa Marong as co-chairman.

Paul Stasiak, the NFADA's president, said the group's research shows that Buffalo's is the fifth-oldest auto show. The city was once home to factories of carmakers such as Pierce-Arrow and Thomas Flyer, and at the time of the 1903 show, more than 20 auto dealers and "motor carriage" companies were operating here.

To celebrate that heritage, the upcoming show will contain a small re-creation of the 1903 auto show, which was held at the former Elmwood Music Hall, said James Sandoro, executive director of the car museum. He plans to display some 1903 vehicles from the museum's collection, such as motorcycles and a Pierce Motorette.

Details on which new and concept cars will be displayed at the show won't be known until closer to the show dates, organizers said.

The NFADA has selected Gilda's Club of Western New York as the charity to receive a portion of the gate receipts, plus other donations made as a result of the show. Gilda's Club is opening a house on Delaware Avenue near Canisius High School that will be used by families of cancer patients.

Kids Escaping Drugs, which was the charity supported by last year's show, received a check for $20,000 at Wednesday's event. The funds will support the expansion of the organization's Renaissance Campus in West Seneca.

Stasiak estimated that automobile dealers in the region donate about $1 million to charities each year.

"People don't realize the impact dealers make in Western New York," he said.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

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