Old cars shine like new at ‘King of Cars’ tribute

Jun 17, 2024

Classic cars filled the parking lot of the Onset VFW on Sunday, June 16, all as shiny as the day they were made. However, these cars weren’t kept as museum pieces — these hot-rods, dragsters and antiques were all road-ready vehicles. 

Onlookers wandered between rows of cars, accompanied by the music of the oldies from the 50’s and 60’s, enjoying the day and paying their respects to the ‘King of Cars’ Kenneth DeLuze. 

Dick Johnson won a prize for the oldest car at the show with his 1929 Model A Ford. 

Johnson said the car sat in his garage for years, before he decided, “rather than let it sit and do nothing,” he would get it out and running. 

The car doesn’t strictly follow its historical roots — it has Bluetooth, among other more modern features. However, Johnson said that driving it and enjoying it mattered more than satisfying the purists. 

“I don’t care, it makes me happy,” he said. 

Claire Smith, whose 1955 Crown Victoria took the prize for best car overall at the meet, said she wanted a car she could have fun in and enjoy. 

Smith’s brother had one back when they were new, and she always thought it was a nice car, she said. “It just was something we always wanted, and the time was right, and we got it.”

While the car looked to have driven straight out of the 50s, complete with a drive-through tray clipped to the window, Smith said she wanted it to be accessible for her grandkids — so, no prohibition on touching ‘Miss Matilda’.

The Onset VFW hosted the car show not just as a gathering place for lovers of classic motors, but also to honor the king of them all. 

Kenneth A. DeLuze Senior, also known to family and friends as “the King of Cars,” passed away at the age of 80 toward the end of May. He owned and operated DeLuze Collision Center in Weymouth, and was an active member of the Onset VFW. 

The event raised funds through raffles to support scholarships in his honor for students of Upper Cape Auto Body. 

Onset VFW Commander Ben Baptiste said that Andre Smith, who runs the post’s events, first suggested holding a car show. 

Kenneth “has become family to the VFW,” said Baptiste. “So given the situation with him passing… we thought it would be a good thing to create something that would be good for his legacy, and then also partner that up with the VFW.”

Kenneth’s daughter Darlene said the VFW approached the family about the car show about six months ago.

“My hope was that he could make it and be here, we had a golf cart all set, but he’s looking down on us today, and so proud,” she said. 

The family and the VFW hope to host the car show on an annual basis.