By: Mike DeWitt
At its base, a car is a machine built of metal with an ability to transport people from point A to point B. However, cars — especially classic cars — are never seen at their base level. For some, cars are an expression of individuality. A way to make a statement on their own personality and interests. For others, cars are a model of engineering at its finest and how far that engineering can be pushed.
For Dom Federico, cars are works of art.
“I just love them, and when I got this car and I looked at that fin,” said Dom with his finger pointed towards a fin on a beautiful teal 1961 Cadillac Convertible, “All of a sudden I realized that what I really was doing wasn’t collecting cars, but collecting art. Each one of these is an art form, if you look at the faces of each one of these cars, each one is completely different.”
Dom and his wife have been collecting art since 1973 with the goal focused on every car as an individual. Their private garage houses more than 30 unique and classic cars, but simply filling the garage was never the focus. Instead of seeking out cars one by one, Dom waits until the cars “find him.”
His approach stems from Saturdays in August during his childhood where he would take his bike from one car dealership to another in hopes of seeing the new cars set to be unveiled and introduced in September. Throughout August, the new cars would be in the back with high canvas coverings on the chain link fences to conceal the cars. Dom would climb the fences just to get a look at what was in store for the next year, and when the right car came along, it left an impact.
“When the ’63 Corvette came out, I stayed in the showroom for hours. I couldn’t stop looking at it because of the artwork of it,” he said.
Those late summer Saturdays led to an infatuation that couldn’t be quelled with a single car. What started as one car eventually became two, and then three, until one day Dom finally came to the realization — thanks to his daughter — that what he owned was a little more than an extension of a normal garage.
“When I got to 10 cars, my daughter who was 8 at the time, said to me, ‘Dad, we’re in double-digits.’ And it hit me.”
Dom’s interest and passion had become a collection, something worthy of sharing with others around him. His garage has hosted parties and charity events with the cars as the main attraction, but one of his favorite showcases is the 28th Street Metro Cruise and on the red carpet at DreamWheels!. Since the inception of Metro Cruise in 2005, Dom has only missed one year and loves sharing his artwork with people who truly appreciate cars.
Lately, Dom’s participation in Metro Cruise has shifted towards being an annual member on the red carpet at WKTV’s DreamWheels!. This year he plans on bringing his ’79 Ferrari.
“We had been to Metro Cruise multiple times in the past and actually stopped going because it became too crowded to even drive cars. With DreamWheels!, we can still drive our cars and show them off. It’s kind of like a tradition now.”
Make sure to check out the “DreamWheels!” show which will broadcast live Saturday, Aug. 27 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Pal’s Diner, 6503 28th St. SE, and Rogers Plaza, 972 28th St. SW. The show will air Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. on WKTV Channel 25.