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Rare finds displayed at antique auto show

June 20, 2004|By JULIE E. GREENE

With an engine that runs on steam, some people might think the 1909 Stanley Roadster would have been an economical driving option.

Not a chance, according to owner Alan Kelso, 58, of McConnellsburg, Pa.

The antique takes a gallon of water to go one mile and uses a gallon of kerosene, used to fire up the boiler, every 10 miles, Kelso said.

Kelso's car was among the 700 cars, trucks and firetrucks on display Saturday at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center for the Antique Automobile Club of America's Eastern Division National Spring Meet.

The event is one of about 10 national meets the organization has each year, said Les Adelsberger, president of the Mason-Dixon Region of the AACA. The regional group, based in Hagerstown, has approximately 280 members.

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The last time the Hagerstown-based Mason-Dixon Region hosted the event was in 1995 at Mason Dixon Dragway, Adelsberger said.

The event drew antique cars from as far as Canada and Florida and thousands of people from the Tri-State area and beyond.

"I love car shows. This is a great one," said Patricia Kolb, 57, of Columbia, S.C.

Even though Kolb has a 1956 Chevrolet, her favorite is the '57 Chevy because she likes the wings on the back.

Kelso's Roadster didn't have wings, but he said a Stanley Roadster set a land speed record of 126 mph in 1906 and another went faster than 150 mph in 1907.

Kelso said he thinks his car probably could go 100 mph.

Like many of the antique car owners at the show, Kelso did some work on his, rebuilding most of the car, including the wooden body.

New Yorker Charles J. Noto bought his 1934 Packard Victoria V-12 already restored. The car - one of six in existence - was shipped to a Milan, Italy, auto show in 1934, bought by an Italian family and came back to the states in 2001, he said.

It differs from most Packards in that it has 12 cylinders instead of eight, so it has a smoother, more powerful engine, said Noto, 57. Also, the model doesn't have a rumble seat, so people sit in the back of the car like they would in a typical four-passenger car, he said.

One of the local stars of the show was a 1925 Astor taxicab made by the Crawford Motor Co. in Hagerstown, John Lloyd said.

Lloyd, 71, of Hagerstown, was one of several people who restored the car that was donated to the Washington County Historical Society by Ruby Hammond. The cab will go in the historical society's carriage house on Wednesday, he said.

The cab was used as an orchard truck before the late Dick Hammond bought it, Lloyd said.

The yellow car with red and green trim and red disc wheels has a meter almost the size of a toaster oven where the front passenger seat normally would be. A tape inside the meter recorded the day's receipts, he said.

The Astor cabs were made for use in New York and feature metal running boards used to damage competitors' cabs during the taxi wars in the 1920s, Lloyd said.

The Astor cab is the last one known to exist, Lloyd said.

"It's one of a kind, so you can't get a value on it," he said.

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