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Motorcycles appear for first time at Mid

July 31, 2005|By GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

Vanilla ice cream and hot fudge, Ozzie and Harriet, coffee and donuts. A few perfect couples.

Awesome motorcycles and sweet cars might be another fine pair, said Tom Ward, president of the Mid Atlantic Impala Association and director of the fledgling United States Muscle Car Federation, both based in Winchester, Va.

"The lines get blurred, you know. It's bikes and cars, cars and bikes, they can coexist together," said Ward, 35.

While Saturday was the fourth year for the Impala Association's car show, it was the first year that the show also boasted motorcycles. The show was on the grounds of the Williamsport Red Men club off Md. 68.

A total of 213 cars were being judged Saturday, and 25 bikes.

Hampton Wedlock, 50, of Hagerstown, was helping the judging of the motorcycle contest.

"A majority of them are Harleys," Wedlock said. And most of those bikes were newer, but with plenty of upgrades.

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"Nice-looking bikes. They're classy bikes," Wedlock said, pointing to a nearby one. "He's got every nut and bolt chromed."

Carroll Webber, 66, of Martinsburg, W.Va., was showing off a recent purchase of his: an American IronHorse chopper, built in Fort Worth, Texas, and improved somewhere in Alabama before Webber got ahold of it.

The white paint was trimmed with blue and red flames, and reflections gleamed off the shiny, metallic chromed parts. Even with the motor off, you could almost hear it.

The handlebars - complete with inset .44-caliber bullet ends - jutted up into the air, and the seat sat at about knee-level.

"It's not the most comfortable ride ... but I enjoy it," Webber said.

The cars took up the majority of Saturday's gathering. There were all sorts of classes, new and old, but generally speaking they revolved around classic American muscle models, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

Eric and Laura O'Dell, who live near Annapolis, made the trek out here to show off their black and gold 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.

"What did it for me was the movie 'Smokey and the Bandit,'" said Eric O'Dell, 32, referring to the high-speed flick featuring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and a car that looked a lot like the O'Dells'.

Ward was making the rounds judging some of the show classes. The difference between the best-looking and the next-best is boiled down simply, he said.

"Quality. Quality of the workmanship," Ward said. "You can tell when someone takes their time and does it right. ... You can tell when they take a little pride in it. And you can also tell when you don't."

He was working on a group of cars from the 1950s. The winner would be a restored 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, with shiny turquoise paint, a chrome carburetor, polished radiator, chrome valve covers and a gleaming, orange engine block, the traditional color for Chevy motors.

The next class was a little more difficult. A Lincoln, a Plymouth and a Ford from the 1940s looked pretty similar in workmanship, the body styles were similar, and there were few flaws.

"A lot of people say, 'Ain't nothin' to it.' But it's a whole lot harder," Ward said, "when you're out here having to make that decision."

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