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Frank DiPaola and Richard Pepe
Their story. A Tale of Two Car Shows

 In September of 2002, Richard, who at the time was a New York City Police Officer, came to the Monterey peninsula for the first time to visit his friend and former Los Angeles Police Officer Frank DiPaola. It was the first opportunity Richard had to get away from New York in  almost a year since the attacks on the World Trade Center. Richard was standing on the corner of the north tower that day when it fell. But as he says “It just wasn’t my time. I think the man upstairs has something more in mind for me”. 

While here, Frank planned a whirl wind of things to do showing off the very best of Monterey. Richard thought that a complimentary round of golf on Pebble Beach that Frank had arranged was the pinnacle of his trip, but it was on one of his last days when frank took him to see Fr. Emil at the Carmel Mission. It also happened to be the 1st anniversary of 9/11. After a private prayer service Fr. Emil took Richard and Frank for a guided tour of the Basilica and the grounds. It culminated when Fr. Emil allowed Richard to ring the church bells. “Something just came over me and I fell in love with this very special place”. Richard returned to New York and a few years later retired from the NYPD. But he always talked about his trip to the Mission.

Frank DiPaola and Richard Pepe


 Both Frank and Richard are car guys. Frank has bought, owned and sold more cars than he can remember. It’s his hobby, and his passion. Richard, on another trip out in 2003 was cruising around with Frank and saw a 1964 Mercury that he just had to have. They made a deal on the spot and the car was his. But back in New York, Richard didn’t have a garage. So Frank offered to take care of it for his friend here in Monterey. Richard would visit the car and Frank while out on business. He was always saying that this place is so special. The mission, the cars, good friends, there needs to be a way of combing them all. 

In 2005 Richard was back out for Car Week. He fell even more in love with the area. Then one day he saw something on the internet about a blessing of motorcycles that was taking place somewhere in Europe and that’s when he got his idea. To use Franks connections with cars, and to have a blessing of the autos at the Carmel Mission.

Frank and Richard bounced around the idea for a few more years but it just never seemed to get any traction as they were both working on various other projects. Then in 2011 a Knights of Columbus council was formed in Richard’s parish in New York and he suggested having a blessing of the auto’s as an event. Even though his parish parking lot is no Carmel Mission courtyard, it was a great success and the following year he invited Frank to come for a visit and help him out with it. Little did Frank know he would wind up running that event after Richard had a heart attack the day before the show. Richard recovered quickly and was forever indebted to his friend. He then set out on a way to try and pay back his friend. He decided that he had to help Frank put on a similar event at the Mission. 

So after a full year of planning, and hours upon hours of long distance phone calls and emails, together, Frank and Richard were able to organize the 1st Annual Carmel Mission Classic held during car week in August of 2013. The event was a huge success and was the talk of car week. Richard and Frank were so excited about the event and how it helped out the Knights of Columbus charities and the Mission itself. Finally, there dream had come true.


Frank DiPaola:
Richard Pepe: