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Unique vehicles part of Martinsburg Cruise-In's appeal

June 20, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The types of vehicles on display at Sunday's second annual Martinsburg Cruise-In ran the gamut, said Jeff Curtis, executive director of Main Street Martinsburg, Inc.

Take Allen Bond's 1968 Mack firetruck, for example.

The red pumper truck originally was owned by Citizens Fire Co. in Tyrone, Pa.

They don't build firetrucks like this anymore.

At the rear of the firetruck is a wide metal step where firefighters stood as the crew rushed to a fire.

Standing on the back of a firetruck eventually fell out of favor after incidents of firefighters falling off, said Bond, of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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"OSHA took care of that," said Bond, referring to the federal agency that enforces workplace safety standards.

The firetruck also has an open cab, which made it easier to spot hydrants when arriving at a fire scene, Bond said.

But that feature - which made rushing to fire scenes on winter nights a chilly experience - also disappeared, Bond said.

Bond was one of about 200 vehicle owners who showed their classic wheels at the Martinsburg Cruise-In, which is designed as a way to celebrate Father's Day, West Virginia Day and revitalization efforts downtown. About 150 car owners participated last year, Curtis said.

Car owners registered their cars at the former Martin's parking lot on Raleigh Street then cruised their vehicles in a parade that headed downtown.

Car owners parked their vehicles along Queen Street, which was blocked off to allow the public to view the autos.

The show was not a competitive event, but rather a chance for owners to enjoy a day together, Curtis said.

Ed Tull sat in a folding chair watching over his 1948 Ford Coupe.

The car was built before power brakes or power steering.

Steering a 1948 Ford Coupe wasn't too bad, as long as the vehicle was moving, Tull said.

The challenge was trying to turn the wheel while stopped, Tull said.

What the car lacked in steering and braking, it made up for in speed.

Its flat-head engine made for one fast car, and moonshiners preferred the 1948 Ford Coupe because it could outrun a police car, Tull said.

Olin Pryor was showing his 1929 Ford Model A Phaeton, which is a rare vehicle because few were made.

The classic car was sporting a dark-blue paint job and its flawless chrome trim sparkled in the sun.

The car sold for $316 new.

And the selling price now?

"I ain't going to say. They're not cheap," said Pryor, of Martinsburg.

The Cruise-In was set up like a downtown festival, with tables along the sidewalk on Queen Street to give spectators a place to sit and eat food offered by street vendors.

Shops opened their doors, and the M.L. Blues Band played from the bed of a truck near the intersection of Queen and Burke streets.

Jeff Sandlin said the town should organize more events like Sunday's Cruise-In.

Sandlin said the Cruise-In was the "only thing to do in this town. The whole town will be here today because that's it."

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