San Jose Car & Truck Show nets $8,500 for Bishop Snyder Center for seniors

Special for the St. Augustine Catholic

Steve and Pam Kerlin’s stunning 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad has won its share of class awards and ribbons at the San Jose Car & Truck Show, but never the big one. Until this year.

The Kerlins’ iconic wagon was judged Best of Show at the seventh annual event, held April 2 at Dupont Station Shopping Center and presented by Key Buick GMC Hyundai Genesis and North Florida Lincoln.

Several members of the First Florida chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, including Alexander Watkins (center with navy shirt), returned for a fifth year at the San Jose Car & Truck Show on April 2 at Dupont Station Shopping Center. 

The car show had its second-largest field with 75 vehicles competing in 11 classes. The show raised $8,508 for the Bishop John J. Snyder Community Center at nearby San Jose Apartments for seniors.

The community center, located between HUD-assisted San Jose Apartments I and II on Galicia Road, was named in honor of the late Bishop John J. Snyder, who served the Diocese of St. Augustine from 1979 to 2000. Many of the activities and services for the senior residents are held at the center.

The complex is managed by the Family Housing Management Company for the Diocese of St. Augustine.

The San Jose Apartments board of directors and staff also secured support from additional sponsors to get them this close to the $50,000 mark in total funding. The well-established show has now generated $49,124 for the Bishop Snyder Center.

“Words cannot express the excitement and gratitude for the community’s support,’’ said Alma Ballard, executive director and management agent for the Family Housing Management Company. “The funds raised will help support the operations of the Snyder Community Center and provide, wellness and nourishment for the most vulnerable – our seniors. The residents of San Jose Apartments are blessed by the support given this important fundraiser.”

With San Jose Apartments board member and car show founder Joe DeSalvo retiring after last year’s event, Jacksonville Car Culture – the group that produces the Caffeine and Octane Jacksonville cruise-in at The Avenues mall – agreed to donate its time to support the event.

“Being able to do what you love while helping others is the definition of a perfect day,” said Chris Brewer, president of Jacksonville Car Culture. “We want to thank everyone who entered their amazing vehicles, Alma Ballard and the team from the Bishop John J. Snyder Community Center, as well as the volunteer crew from Jacksonville Car Culture. Your combined efforts are why the show was incredible.

“Finally, thanks to Joe and his son, Matt (the show’s DJ), for supporting the event,’’ Brewer said. “The legacy you’ve created is inspiring.”

DeSalvo, former managing editor of specialty audience and Drive editor at the Florida Times-Union, was recognized by Ballard at the awards presentation and named honorary chairperson.

Alma Ballard, executive director/management agent of Family Housing Management Company, presents Steve Kerlin, owner of the 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, the Best of Show plaque.

“I could not be any happier with the transition of coordination that has taken place with this event,’’ DeSalvo said. “The vision for ongoing success and funding for the Snyder Center is perfectly aligned.’’

Brewer also praised the work of the judges.

“We also want to thank chief judge Dan Scanlan for guiding the team in selecting the winners,’’ Brewer said. “The judges did not have an easy job!’’

The Kerlins, who moved to the Jacksonville area in 1974, have resided in Switzerland for the past 14 years. They certainly appreciate the judges’ decision in determining Best of Show. The coveted award is sponsored by A-Coin & Stamp Gallery.

“I’m just thrilled,’’ Steve said. “It was truly an awesome honor.’’

The Nomad, affectionately known as “Nellie,’’ also took second place in the Krispy Kreme People’s Choice balloting.

Kerlin bought the Nomad in 1969 for $900 when he was stationed in Memphis with the Navy. It was eventually put in storage in 1976 and stayed there until 2008 when Kerlin’s friend, Pete Dobrie of Mandarin, who has done a lot of old-car restorations, agreed to take Nellie on as a project. It lasted from May of that year to December 2012.

“He did a beautiful job for us,” Kerlin said. “It looks 100 percent original except for the over-the-shoulder harnesses for the two front-seat outboard passengers, and the third-row brake light.’’

Under the hood, a 1989 crate truck motor replaced the original 283 cubic-inch V-8.

Here’s how Scanlan, an award-winning automotive journalist and veteran judge of the show, described Nellie:

“What can I say about Nellie, the name affixed to the front plate of this Ivory-over-Tropical Turquoise 1957 Chevrolet Nomad? It was the last of the line of a rare two-door body style that joined a semi-fastback two-door station wagon body with those great fins – the whole look finessed with the sweeping chrome trim line down each side,” Scanlan said.

With San Jose Apartments board member and San Jose Car & Truck Show founder Joe DeSalvo (left) retiring after the 2021 event, Jacksonville Car Culture President Chris Brewer
(center) and his volunteers agreed to donate resources and time to support the event this year. Joining them after a successful show that netted $8,508 for the Bishop Snyder Community Center 
on April 2 is Alma Ballard, executive director/management agent of Family Housing Management Company. The event has raised just under $50,000 in seven years.

“I looked in back at the drop-down tailgate and lift-up rear window at the spare tires nestled under the floor, and there was a beautiful scale model of this winning car inside, with the same color scheme,’’ he said.

“I love that wrap-around windshield with thin pillars, then the sweptback B-pillar that starts that almost wrap-around side and rear window design,” Scanlan said. “It’s a sleek design – to think the plain-Jane sedan delivery version of the Bel Air could morph into the Nomad is so cool.”

Scanlan was equally impressed with quality of this year’s show.

“The overall field of cars was great – so much variety, from a Japanese kei micro-pickup truck to a 1950’s Chevrolet COE (cab over engine) wrecker that still works. The lineup of Corvettes, from 1956 to now, was great. The British contingent, including a perfect Austin-Healey Sprite and a swatch of TR6s, was great as well.

“And then you had the Lamborghini in stunning black, plus that AC Cobra, all backed by some stunning new Genesis, Buick and Lincoln models from Key,’’ Scanlan said. “And best of all, the show was held before the rains came.

“Jacksonville Car Culture and show founder Joe DeSalvo have done a great job with this show, and the real winners are the people who use the Bishop John J. Snyder Community Center just blocks away,’’ Scanlan said.

As for Alexander Watkins, of Ponte Vedra Beach, the San Jose Car & Truck Show is a special outing. He and his 1945 Ford GPW (General Purpose Willys) have attended five of the seven shows.

“I and my fellow (First Florida chapter) Military Vehicles Preservation Association members have been privileged to participate for a few years now. We always look forward to this event because it is well attended, well managed, and most importantly, it supports a vital and important charity,’’ Watkins said. “And this year, three of our seven participants were awarded ribbons in what was a diverse and prestigious group of vehicles.’’

For those showgoers in the market for a new vehicle, Eric Thompson, a sales manager with the Key group, once again coordinated an onsite collection for folks to check. It’s something he looks forward to doing each year.

“The show has something for everyone, vintage and specialty models, car clubs of various makes, one-of-a-kinds, to a military display,” Thompson said. “We also bring out some of our latest models from Buick, GMC, Hyundai, Genesis, and Lincoln. The entrants are a special group of people who are generous of their time, friendly to talk to, and deeply committed to this charity.

“Thanks to Joe DeSalvo’s vision and all involved since the inception of the San Jose Car & Truck Show, we have raised almost $50,000 for the Snyder Center,” Thompson said.

Nathan Deremer, owner and CEO of Deremer Studios created a photo gallery from the San Jose Car & Truck Show. Check it out at deremerstudios.com.

Winners of the 2022 San Jose Car and Truck Show

Nellie Photo provided by Deremer Studios, LLCSteve and Pam Kerlin’s stunning 1957 Chevrolet Nomad was judged Best of Show at the seventh annual San Jose Car & Truck Show, held on April 2 at Dupont Station Shopping Center.
Classic Corvettes are always popular at the San Jose Car & Truck Show.
Presenting sponsors Key Buick GMC Hyundai Genesis and North Florida Lincoln showcased a nice lineup of new models at the San Jose Car & Truck Show, including this 2022 Genesis GV80 2.5T.