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Councilman ready to ramble

July 03, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

This time, Ardie Winters is going to ride in style.

He and his wife, Charlotte, rode a bicycle built for two in the 1947 parade celebrating Waynesboro's 200th anniversary. Fifty years later, they rode the same bike in the borough's 250th anniversary parade.

This week Winters, 87, a Waynesboro Borough Council member, was tuning up his two-tone 1959 Rambler custom four-door sedan that he plans to drive in the WaynesboroFest parade Friday morning.

His passengers will be his fellow council members.

The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. at Waynesboro Hospital and runs west to Cumberland Valley Avenue. It will take about an hour for the 60-plus entries to make their way down Main Street.

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Winters said he is the Rambler's third owner. He doesn't quite remember when he bought it. "Twenty or 30 years ago," he said.

One of a small stack of sales slips in the car's glove compartment shows that he had it inspected in 1976. He had to get it inspected again this week to legally drive it in Friday's parade.

Winters rarely drives the 44-year-old pride of American Motors anymore. He logged about 15 miles in the car last year.

Winters has owned four Ramblers. The best was a red 1960s station wagon, he said. It also was the fastest - so fast that Charlotte got stopped for speeding in it once, he said.

"She said she would never buy another red car," Winters said.

Before he bought the 1959 Rambler, "It had been sitting under a maple tree in Zullinger (Pa.) for a couple of years," Winters said. "It was running. I paid $400 for it."

Other than new paint for the hood and roof, the car hasn't had any major renovation work.

Chrome drips off the front end. Its jutting rear fins are anything but subtle. The paint is faded, a little rust is creeping through in spots, the interior is shabby in places and duct tape holds the vinyl-covered panel to the front passenger door.

The six-cylinder engine turns right over. The carburetor, which isn't quite right (Winters says it may have some water in it), causes the motor to sputter when the car is idling. Once on the road, the car seems to run smoothly.

The automatic transmission is controlled by push buttons. The electric clock doesn't work, but the big AM radio does. Winters flipped on the switch and turned the dial as Perry Como was easing his way into "Hello Young Lovers." It seemed appropriate given the car and the moment.

"A lot of people ask me why I keep this old car," Winters said. "I like to monkey around with it. I like it because it makes me feel young again."

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