The Story of the Downshifters of Brooklyn

asI know it

In the Flatbush section of Brooklyn New York, the Downshifters of Brooklyn Car Club became a reality. Membership was somewhat limited but they would still drag race up and down Flatbush Avenue in front of Arasmus Hall High School, or on the Beltway..As the sun faded out the blue color of a 1961 Chevrolet, so did it's members. Getting married, moving to other areas, getting jobs out of town, etc the Downshifters of Brooklyn disappeared like a Gil Hodges home run at Ebbets Field.

Somewhere in the 1980's one of the original members moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, and decided to revive the car club and the Downshifters of Brooklyn re-emerged. The membership was kept to under 20 and most of the time 10 was the optimum number. They started meeting at Biff Burger every Friday night and became a fixture on the classic car shows that were held there. All members had cars except one who was a member for over 20 years and never had a classic car.

In 2001, they decided to hold a car show at the Bay Pines Veterans hospital. As could be expected the proceeds were a little slim starting off around 4-5 thousand dollars reaching as high as 8 thousand around 2006. I do not know the exact numbers but starting in 2007 the proceeds rose into the teens even tho it rained for 3 years straight. In 2009 the show produced some $22,000 and in 2010, another $18.000 was added. The 2011 show was held at Biff Burger due to construction at the hospital and the proceeds dropped a little. The 2012 Show was back at Bay Pines but the proceeds fell dramaticly All of the shows proceeds were given to The Veterans Recreation Fund at Bay Pines to facilitate last wishes and outings for the Veterans who were in the hospital.

In conjunction with the Bay Pines car show the Downshifters also participated in the Memorial Day show at the Tampa Veterans Park and many other car shows that benefitted our military. The club attended Honor Flight in Punta Gorda, Toys for Tots in Ft. Myers, Bradenton, and St. Petersburg, just to name a few. If there was a need the Downshifters were there to help any benefit. In 2010 the Downshifters won the Golden Eagle Award for the Southern Region of the United States. This award is presented annually to the car club that conducts the most outstanding community service program in their region.

The beginning of the end of the Downshifters of Brooklyn began in late 2012 just months before the Bay Pines show. The most productive member was told to leave the club by it's president, and one of his minions emailed another the same proposal. When it was learned that the two productive members were thrown out, three fourths of the others were more scarce than a 1924 Cole on a Sunday afternoon drive. Another car club took over the Bay Pines Veterans Show and now the club was down to 5 members and only 4 cars. At least if they wanted to attend a car show they could all go in one car.

The Downshifters of Brooklyn did a mulitude of work that benefitted their community. Members formed lasting relationships that continue today, many Veterans were granted last wishes as a result of the Bay Pines show, and like a sand castle being washed away with the tide, it's gone.