Classic cars are perfect on the north fork
It is not uncommon to see classic and exotic cars on the roads of North Fork. Locals and visitors alike drive east in their beloved cars, whether it’s for a fun outing or one of the area’s frequent auto shows, and they almost always have an interesting story to tell.
Two companies – North Fork Vintage Cars and North Fork Picture Cars – capitalize on the classic car craze, renting out gorgeous vehicles for photoshoots, commercials, TV, and movies.
Mike Malkush, a retired Jericho High School store teacher, bought his prized possession, a 1949 Ford F-1 pickup, 18 years ago. The truck, which the Cutchogue resident affectionately calls Ruby, is now something of a mascot for his business.
âI took it wherever I needed to go and it was so cool,â he said. “I’ve done auto shows, and over the years people have asked me if they could use it for wedding photos. [and other events]. ”
As Malkush’s classic pickup – and his Corvette – grew in demand, he realized there was an opportunity to make money by renting it out for photoshoots and events. . Then, five years ago, her daughter wanted several vintage cars for her wedding. âShe said, ‘Dad, could we use your two cars for the wedding, and maybe have a few more?’â He explained.
Malkush arranged for some of his friends to drive family and wedding guests to the New Suffolk beach in their own classic cars, and the idea for North Fork Vintage Cars was born.
âWhen I saw the reaction, it was almost like an auto show,â recalls Malkush. “Right there, I knew I had done this anyway, let me make it some kind of business.”
Today, Malkush rents cars for photoshoots, commercials, marketing events, and more. He is very involved in the local community, having served as president of the Peconic Bay Car Club, as well as the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council, but his cars have also been used on the fly. Malkush owns several cars, but also acts as an “agent”, finding cars belonging to other collectors for events.
He’s especially proud to have found a 1960 Aston Martin for a Tommy Bahama shoot in Southampton last summer and last month he restored a 19th century car for an Amazon Prime Cinderella screening at the Surf Lodge in Montauk. âThey wanted me to paint it white, and the price was right, so I did it myself. It was the old store teacher in me.
North Fork Picture Cars is the newest picture car company in town. Father-daughter duo Jim and Grace O’Doherty launched North Fork Picture Cars last year during the lockdown, when, like Malkush, they realized how much people loved taking photos of their family’s classic cars.
The business began when Jim, a screenwriter, comedian, and television actor, and Grace, a television producer who also studies medicine at Columbia, were staying at their East Marion home during the COVID shutdown and they discovered the ‘opportunity.
âMy father was driving through town [in his 1940s Cadillac Convertible] and people with their phones were taking pictures and I thought we could do better than that, âGrace said.
Jim has been collecting classic cars for many years, some of them appearing in TV series like That ’70s Show.
âIt started when I attended auto shows and admired them,â he said. âI met Charles Bronson – not the actor – who is a really serious car guy. He collects cars from kings and ayatollahs, and we became friends.
Jim has built up a collection of cars over the years and was excited to start using them for more than his own personal collection.
âAfter 30 years of writing comedy I’m sort of at the point where I want to plant tomatoes and drive cool cars,â he said.
Like Malkush, Jim and Grace have a collection of cars and associates that they use to find customers what they are looking for.
âI formed an alliance and we now have 75 cars,â he said. âI know the ropes and how to get these cars to shows, as well as events. The slogan imagined by Grace is that of cars of each decade for all occasions. “
Grace noted that her other two sisters have helped with some of the company’s social media and marketing.
âIt’s really cool because we’ll be at the table before everyone else sits down and we’ll talk about the business and then everyone will sit down for dinner,â she said. “It’s one of my favorite things to give up on my homework.”
And although it’s a small area, there seems to be enough room for both North Fork vintage cars and North Fork photo cars.
âEveryone knows everyone,â Jim said, noting that he and Malkush knew each other. âIt’s not about competition.