Luigi finds a Soldier on the 4th!

by Louis Borda


Last week, Luigi celebrated our nation’s independence by crossing the Walt Whitman Bridge and heading east to the SHORE. Whether it was a tractor trailer driver honking his horn while giving me the thumbs-up sign, or a teenager reaching outside her parent’s minivan to snap a cell phone photo, Luigi cruising on the expressway was quite a site! We shared Pacific Avenue with the famous jitneys in Atlantic City and “Watched the Tramcar” in Wildwood.

Along the way we met many former and current South Philadelphian residents, but of course Luigi was busy “checking out” the other cars. He spotted a 1972 Lincoln Continental in the parking lot of the Sandbox Motel in Wildwood and before I knew it, we were talking to the motel’s owners Joe and Rita D’Urso. As it turns out, Joe and his wife Rita grew up in South Philly near 15th & Dickinson. While Joe explained the Lincoln belonged to a guest of the motel, soon I found myself sitting by the pool listening to his “car that got away” story.

It turns out Joe served nine years in the United States Army and while stationed in Ethiopia between 1963 and 1965, he also had a little car that was a “blast to drive and real attention getter”… a 1959 Fiat 500! When I asked him what he remembers most about the car, he shot back, “I never forgot that car. It was green and white, had suicide doors and was just a really fun car! I still regret not bringing it back home with me … especially now with the price of gas these days!”

So, if you are in Wildwood during the summer months, stop by to see Joe and Rita at the Sandbox Motel on the corner of Park Boulevard & Cresse Avenue. Expect free coffee and donuts and ask for the Fiat Discount! You can also pickup the latest South Philadelphia Public Record there! Ciao for now!

Where can you see Luigi this week?
On Saturday, Jul. 12, he will help the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate Italian Heritage Night by escorting Phil­ly’s Singing Chef, Franco Borda, to sing the national anthem and dancing the Tarantella with the Phillie Phanatic! The game is on Fox29 at 3:55 p.m.

Send your car stories to luigi@phillyrecord.com.