Cars loom large at borough Fourth

July 05, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL


Chambersburg might not have a parade for Independence Day, but that doesn't mean local residents don't celebrate.

Despite blazing sun and high heat Monday, Memorial Park was crowded with people picnicking, watching a soccer tournament, playing volleyball and miniature golf, and admiring the antique and classic cars on display.

Municipal Pool held Dollar Days, and hundreds of people took advantage of the low admission price, swooping down the slide into the swimming pool and entering their children in a race in the baby pool.

Later in the evening, a flag retreat and a concert of patriotic music attracted a crowd. A fireworks display ended the holiday, and people flowed from the park, creating the town's annual traffic jam.


In the early afternoon, people walked around the park watching owners polish their antique and classic cars, many of which sported flags.

Five young boys clustered around a 1959 Chevy Impala two-door convertible with wide white-walls.

"Look how big the trunk is," one of them said.

The 19-foot-long car has a huge trunk. Gene Hershey of Shippensburg, Pa., purchased the car in 1962 as a teenager. He and his wife, Carol, went on their honeymoon in 1963 in the car, then he sold it in 1965 because "it wasn't a family car," and they had two children. "Cars didn't mean nothing then," the dairy farmer said.

The next owner of the bright red car was a young man who soon afterward was killed in the Vietnam War. The soldier's father stored the car, taking it out occasionally for an inspection sticker, Hershey said. The most recent sticker, dated 1982, still is on the windshield. Hershey repurchased the car in 1998 and restored it. The car has its original 348 engine, which has been overhauled, and a three-speed floor shift. It has 89,000 miles on the odometer.

Another bright red car near Hershey's Impala belonged to Fred Adams of Fannettsburg, Pa., in northern Franklin County. A Corvette enthusiast since 1964, Adams said he has had 12 Corvettes, "one at a time." The 2005 Corvette he brought to the show has 2,200 miles on it. He said when a car "gets 30,000 miles on it, I trade it off."

Twice, Adams received Best of Show at the Corvettes at Carlisle (Pa.) event, one of the largest Corvette shows in the nation, competing with more than 100 other cars.

At 87, Adams claims to be the oldest driver of Corvettes in Pennsylvania. A retired teacher, Adams belongs to two Corvette clubs and attends about 30 car shows a year. He's also proud of his rare 1957 Chevrolet Nomad wagon.

Carol Wirth of Chambersburg sat under a striped umbrella with her cooler close at hand. Nearby, her husband, Herman, chatted with other car enthusiasts about his 1930 Model A Ford. He recently drove the two-tone green vehicle to Indianapolis for the Model A Restoration Club Meet, where he and 700 other Model A owners drove their cars around the Speedway.

The trip to Indiana took him a day and a half, mostly on secondary roads, at 45 mph. The car didn't overheat or lose any oil, he said, despite the heat.

"It was 100 degrees in Ohio, and there's limited air conditioning in these," he said. "Mr. Ford fixed it so we could catch a little (breeze)," he added, demonstrating how the windshield opens a few inches.

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