WARWICK, RI — Sean McCarthy was 12, a regular BMX rider when he first spotted the splash of color atop the DPW building he learned were the cars from Rocky Point’s House of Horrors.
“They were on the roof, anddisintegrating,” McCarthy said.
Wednesday morning, heunveiled the latest example of his painstaking restoration project for thetwo-person cars — the red and yellow Frankenstein car — ondisplay at Warwick City Hall.
McCarthy started his renovation project inJune, he said, with the permission of MayorJoseph J. Solomon. Altogether, the project took 80 hours of work over thecourse of six months, he said.
There was some literal paininvolved in the painstaking part of the work, he said. Paint chips got stuck inhis eyes a few times. Sanding disks shattered sometimes. There was also somewelding involved.
“It’s not as easy as peoplethink. It’s a lot of work,” McCarthy said.
He learned a lot of how towork with fiberglass, sanding and painting while watching his dad, Dave, anauto body mechanic.
“He taught me everything Iknow about sanding and painting,” McCarthy said.
He said some people havequestioned whether the art on the car is the original, and he assures them itis. He sealed it with a gel coat that will protect the art from fading andcracking, but that’s all that’s been done to the image of the Wolfman.
“The artwork is 100 percent from 1985,” McCarthy said.
The restoration wasn’t hisfirst attempt. When he asked Solomon to take on the project, he already had arestoration of one of the cars under his belt. He had worked on one of the yellowand orange colored cars, this one featuring The Creature from the Black Lagoon.He’d bought it from a collector for $1,400, taken out of his savings. It was inbetter condition than his latest project, but his work impressed Solomon enoughto land him the job.
“I was very intrigued,excited, when young Sean came into my office,” Solomon said. He said Sean’swork on the car speaks for itself, and the city will be commissioning him to
“Sean, as you can see, did awonderful job with this car,” Solomon said.
There were eight cars thatran through the House of Horrors, McCarthy said, two orange and blue cars with The Wolfman onthe front, two blue and red, with Planet of the Apes and Star Wars/Darth Vader,two red and yellow with frankenstein’s monster and The Mummy, and twoyellow/orange cars with The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The ReptileWoman on them.
Now, there are only six left,McCarthy said. Solomon said the next cars to be restored may be put on displayat sites around the city, such as the Warwick Public Library, so that peoplecan enjoy and relive the park’s history.
But the restoration workisn’t paid. Not in the normal currency, but in the enjoyment and excitement hesees in people who remember riding the cars in the House of Horrors inWarwick’s famed Rocky Point Park.
“That’s my payback,” McCarthy said.