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Vehicles show real class

June 15, 2003|by BONNIE HELLUM BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Traffic was rerouted through downtown Chambersburg for several hours Saturday so owners of street rods, vintage cars, motorcycles and classic cars could show off their vehicles.

The third annual Cruisin' Main Street, sponsored by the Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts and the Downtown Business Council of Chambersburg, brought more than 120 shiny vehicles, all obviously loved and well cared-for by their owners, to downtown Chambersburg.

A 1993 Gold Wing Trike motorcycle owned by Blaine and Betty Niswander of Chambersburg sat on the town's center square. The Niswanders have ridden it to Texas, Missouri, Michigan and New Hampshire.

"It's comfortable," Betty Niswander said. "It has all the comforts of home except for a roof when it's raining."

She said the driver steers the vehicle.

"You don't lean, like with a motorcycle," she said.

David and Beverly Sword of Greencastle, Pa., brought their 1966 Olds Cutlass to the show. David Sword said they have had the car for almost 30 years. He restored it after using it as the family car for many years.

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"It got to be part of the family," he said.

The car has 216,000 miles on it.

A pink 1957 Chevy Bel Air owned by Johnny Martin of Upper Strasburg, Pa., sat along South Main Street. Martin said he bought the car in 1968, drove it for five years, then stored it in a barn for 25 years. He started to restore it in 1999, finished in 2000 and has put 23,000 miles on it since then.

"My wife wouldn't let me sell it," he said. "It's registered in her name.

"She had the paint mixed 'til she got the color she wanted," he said.

The Martins have driven the car, known as Pink Panther, to Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. It boasts air conditioning and carries two stuffed pink panthers in the back seat.

Gerald Wingert of Fort McCord, Pa., stood beside his 1929 Ford Model A with a 350 Chevy engine and 700R overdrive transmission. He said he bought the vehicle three years ago and refurbished it with a new dash, red-and-gray crushed velvet front seats from an Eagle Talon Turbo, back seats from a Chrysler minivan and a steering column from a 1978 Chevy pickup.

"This was part of my growing up," Wingert said. "I got hooked on street rods when I was 14, and I was 54 'till I finally got one."

He has put 12,000 miles on the Model A in the past three years, and frequently takes it to car shows in York and Hagerstown. He has also participated in the street rod nationals.

The car has two gas tanks. Wingert said he can go for about two hours on one eight-gallon tank.

Anne Finucane, gallery director for the Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts, said 121 cars and motorcycles were registered for the show and thousands of people attended to admire the highly polished, lovingly restored vehicles.

"This is a great way to get people downtown," she said. "Everyone loves to come and see the great cars and motorcycles.

"And we finally had a sunny Saturday," she said.

She added that many of the car owners will not take their vehicles out in the rain, so there was some uncertainty about whether the show would take place.

"It stopped the streak of 12 rainy Saturdays, so it's got power to it," she joked.

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