Montclair's 4th Annual Exotic Car Rally is a Success!

Alex Catti (June 14, 2017)
On Sunday, June 11 Church Street in Montclair, NJ was a sight that you would see perhaps only in a Formula One race. This was all thanks to Hollywood executive producer, restaurateur, radio host, and philanthropist, Franco Porporino Jr. The occasion was the 4th Annual Mille Miglia Exotic Charity Car Rally, hosted by Porporino's celebrity hotspot, Fresco Da Franco Italian Restaurant.

It was a beautiful morning in Montclair, NJ on Sunday, June 11. High-end Italian cars–including Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini­–parked outside of Hollywood executive producer, restaurateur, radio host, and philanthropist Franco Porporino Jr.'s restaurant Fresco Da Franco, located at 15 Church Street. The event was a fundraiser for the Tomorrow Children's Fund, an organization that helps children who are fighting cancer, and the Hudson Valley SPCA, a no-kill animal shelter that is also responsible for enforcing the Humane Law in Orange County, NY. The day's event was sponsored by Lamborghini Paramus, McLaren of Bergen County, Alfa Romeo Ramsey, and Franco’s close friends. Participants and spectators were treated to a celebrity appearance by Paul Teutul Senior from the hit show American Chopper.

A Day of Fun for All

Over 50 Ferrari & Lamborghini rallied with the Montclair Police Department, and it was truly a sight to be seen. Hundreds of people flooded Church Street to enjoy breakfast in the town center and to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Italian automobiles. In fact, Church Street felt as if it were a slice of Italy in the heart of New Jersey. Following a brunch for members of the Mille Miglia Auto Club, the cars took to the streets of Montclair for a six-mile rally throughout the town. Following the early afternoon rally, a meatball-eating contest ensued, a silent auction occurred, and awards for the best cars were conferred. All throughout the day, people were seen chatting, sharing meals together, and admiring the cars.

The Brains Behind the Operation

It may seem difficult to imagine how one man is capable of generating such camaraderie among so many people. It takes immense planning to close a public street, schedule a police escort, and attract over $60 million in cars. Therefore, it's no wonder that in 2012 Franco Porporino Jr. was named one of the "Top 5 Men to Know in NYC" by Pinstripe Magazine. In 2015, he received the Man of the Year Award for his work as an ambassador for the "Boys of Bate Program" (young adolescents battling drug addiction) at the Integrity House in Newark, NJ–the very same rehab facility that former President Obama visited. In 2015, Porporino also received the Man of the Year Award from the Italian Tribune as a Young Italian American Entrepreneur. In addition to running his restaurant, Fresco Da Franco, Porporino manages Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner Armand Assante, and he also hosts his own radio program called Brunching with Franco, which airs Sundays at 12pm on AM 970 The Answer. All in all, Porporino is a man that has made some serious noise.

i-Italy caught up with Franco at this year's rally, and we asked him what makes him do this year after year. His response: "At a very young age, my grandmother and my mother always taught me that when you help others, good will come to you. We all have certain things that bring us joy. Mine is changing people's lives and bringing a smile to their faces. When I speak to the adolescents at the Integrity House, I know I am not getting through to all of them, but if I can change even just one life in the program, then I know I made a difference. The most rewarding thing I have received from my philanthropic work is when I had a young boy walk into my restaurant one day and say to me 'Hey Franco. How are you?' I said, 'I am good. Do I know you?' He said, 'You don't remember me?' I said, 'I don't. Forgive me, so many people come through this door.' He told me that he wanted to personally thank me. When I asked him for what, he said my speech at the Integrity House changed his life. He graduated the program, is sober, and is now on the right path. The rally is not a bunch of guys that want to show off their wealth. It's a car rally and a group of guys that truly want to make a difference. Changing a life and making a difference is what it's all about, and we did just that this past Sunday!"