Show is a wheel good time

April 18, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

Clear Spring - Gene Hershey bought a red 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible in 1962, but a couple of years later, while raising a family, decided it wasn't a family car and sold it.

Then in 1998, long after the car's latest owner was killed in Vietnam, Hershey bought it back.

His car, and numerous other classic cars, trucks and motorcycles, along with new muscle cars, are on display today in Clear Spring at a car show, that began Saturday.

"I tried to buy the car years ago and his father said his son was missing in action and he'd never sell it," Hershey said of the previous owner.


Finally, after 34 years, he and the Impala were reunited. Having sat in a garage for decades, the car was in relatively good shape, but Hershey and the former owner's brother still spent hundreds of hours restoring it.

Hershey had kept two of the original hubcaps above his garage, and put them back on. He restored the entire interior and exterior, and has since won around 100 trophies.

As Hershey spoke, a man approached and asked the car's selling price. Although Hershey said he doesn't intend to sell, he took the man's business card and tucked it in his wallet.

"You're in such a list (of hopeful buyers), it wouldn't be funny," Hershey said.

Later Hershey, 59, said he and the Impala will part ways only if someone offers him an outrageous sum or if he finds himself in financial trouble.

When he was younger - Hershey first bought the car when he was 17 - he often took it drag racing. Now, he cruises around town and takes the car to shows.

He said he has no plans to upgrade to a new muscle car. "I show the young bucks what a real cowboy looks like," he said. He wears his cowboy boots legitimately; he's a dairy farmer in Shippensburg, Pa.

Elsewhere on Clear Spring's carnival grounds, Keith Rist, of Hagerstown, sat in a patch of shade behind his green 1968 Pontiac Firebird convertible.

Rist had a similar car, only a hardtop, when he was a teenager, but was forced to sell it to raise tuition money.

"I found this one on the Internet up in Canada," Rist said. "I drove up last winter in that huge snowstorm, much to my wife's chagrin."

He'd previously traveled to Michigan and Georgia looking for such a car, but with no luck.

"I almost gave up," he said.

Now, he talks every week to the former owner, who restored the car after stripping it to its frame.

This car might just stay in the family. Rist said his 2-year-old son has taken a shine to it.

"Every time he opens the garage door, he jumps into it," Rist said.

Frank Kimble Sr. was judging the cars. He looked at their body, fenders, doors, lights, upholstery and other aspects.

"There's a lot of good cars here," said Kimble. "You just don't go anywhere and see them really."

Dennis Miller's 1970 Chevrolet Nova may have one of the more interesting paint jobs - light purple with specks of glitter.

"I bought it like that," said Miller. He added a sticker to the glove compartment door that reads, "Get in, sit down, shut up and hold on."

Miller, who takes his car every Saturday night to a cruise-in, said that he constantly adds touches to the Nova. Now, he's putting chrome on the motor.

"You never get done," he said.

Walking around the cars and peering in windows were cousins Addison Starliper, 9, and Dylan Bricker, 10.

Starliper described the cars as "awesome."

"They just have a big engine. They got NOS (Nitrous Oxide Systems) and everything," said Starliper, who added that his favorite was a red El Camino.

Bricker hadn't narrowed the cars down to a preference.

"I like them all," he said.

If you go

Spring Classic Car, Truck & Craft Show

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today

Food and crafts also available

Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co. carnival grounds, Big Spring Road

Admission is free

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