After two years, thousands of dollars in donations and several auto body shops, the Cinnaminson Township Police Department’s DARE car is finished and ready to hit the streets.
The 1989 Firebird has been completely transformed from its red, white and blue days in the ’90s to a silver-bodied spectacle complete with flames and a Pirate logo on its hood.
How did Officer Michael Czarzasty, who heads up the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in Cinnaminson schools, react when asked if he liked the outcome of the refurbished vehicle?
“Uh…yeah,” Czarzasty said with a smile.
When Czarzasty, a 10-year veteran of the police force here, wanted the department to restart the DARE program, he was encouraged by Lt. Tim Young and then-Acting Police Chief Steve Fowles. Czarzasty goes into Eleanor Rush, St. Charles and Westfield Friends to talk to the kids about drinking and drugs.
Part of Czarzasty’s goal with the DARE program was to fix up the car, which still had its design from more than 10 years go.
Czarzasty worked to solicit local businesses to help with the program and the car, and called on nearly a dozen auto body shops to work on the power train, exterior and interior of the vehicle.
The result is a Firebird with 18-inch chrome BOSS 338 wheels, a 3-inch straight pipe exhaust with flame throwers, custom interior, an in-your-face Cinnaminsom Pirate airbrushed onto the hood and an Xbox 360 with Kinect System in the truck.
“It’s designed to keep kids interested in the program,” Czarzasty said. “We want to keep it as fun as possible.”
The program itself has already been a big hit with the middle-schoolers in town; last month, Czarzasty headed up a culmination carnival for the kids complete with a rock climb, DJ and more.
Lt. Tim Young said the department “absolutely, 100 percent” wanted to support Czarzasty and DARE.
“He pretty much started this with an empty filing cabinet,” Young said. “But, we could not have imagined how good he would do so fast. He did a fabulous job.”
Young calls Czarzasty’s dedication to the program, “so much more than a car.”
“We are very impressed with what he’s doing and proud of the fact he did this,” Young said. “He took it and ran with it.”
The car will not only be used as a teaching tool for Cinnaminson students, but Czarzasty will drive it in Riverton’s Fouth of July parade on Monday. It will be featured in auto shows in Philadelphia and Ocean City, MD.
Czarzasty said the car is a symbol of what kids could have if they work hard and stay away from drugs.
The focal point of the vehicle is the Pirate on the hood, with braids hanging by his ears and a blade between his teeth. It was Fred Sicoli of Killer Kreations in Philadelphia who donated his time and work for the vehicle.
“He made it come alive,” Czarzasty said.
Other local shops who donated work to the car include: Lenny’s Towing in Delran, Michael’s Auto Body in Cinnaminson, Auto Sun Roof in Cinnaminson, Walmart in Cinnaminson, Meineke in Cinnaminson, Arizona Design Company, Clear Star Media/Finishline of Maple Shade, and Menace Audio.
“The idea was to go big or go home,” Czarzasty said. “The kids are going to love it.”
The DARE car is sponsored by:
Lenny’s Towing & Truck Service, Delran
Michael’s Auto Body, Cinnaminson
Auto Sun Roof, Cinnaminson
Clear Star Media/Finishline, Maple Shade
Killer Kreations, Philadelphia
Menace Audio, Philadelphia
Cinnaminson Police Association
Haines Farm & Garden, Cinnaminson
Hathaway’s Restaurant, Cinnaminson
Georgetti’s Market and Catering, Cinnaminson
Whistlers Inn, Cinnaminson
Jug Handle Inn, Cinnaminson
The Merion, Cinnaminson
Delanco Savings Bank, Cinnaminson
Rosvold’s Pharmacy, Cinnaminson
Long’s Automotive, Cinnaminson
Pep Boys, Cinnaminson
Sleep Inn, Cinnaminson
Sam’s Club, Cinnaminson
Lynn Mechanical, Cinnaminson
Hunter’s Farm Market, Cinnaminson
Susquehanna Bank, Cinnaminson
Tom Craig Radiator Warehouse, Palmyra
Charles Mothershed, Delran
Frank Pizzo, Delran
Jayson Sharkey, Pennsauken