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Classic Chevys on display at convention

July 04, 2007|By CATHERINE SUDUE

Standing in front of his glossy blue 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Cruiser, John Haczewski still can remember taking his first girlfriend for a ride in one of his first Chevys.

"I took my first girlfriend and married her," Haczewski said.

Haczewski is not the only one with a story that has to do with the classic Chevrolet models that have inspired avid classic Chevy collectors and sparked national conventions. He is one of the hundreds who will be talking about the capabilities of his car and displaying it throughout the week.

The Chevy International and Worldwide Camaro Club began its 33rd annual convention Wednesday at the Clarion Hotel. Hosted by the Heart of Maryland Classic Chevy Club, the convention is the first to be held in Hagerstown.

After three years of planning, Carroll Anderson, convention committee chairman, hopes that people enjoy themselves as the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Chevy and the 40th of the Camaro will be celebrated.

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"We just want to get everything to run smoothly, and make sure that everybody that has come from all over the country has a good time," Anderson said.

Ron Brodeur, who displayed his 1964 Impala, has been collecting Chevrolets for 30 years, and owns 15 classic Chevys. Brodeur said that he is looking forward to seeing some old friends and checking out the classics during the week.

Hoping to see more than 350 classic Chevrolet cars on display this week is Bob Clark. Clark, who has owned a 1957 Chevy for 26 years, remembers when it came out.

"When the '57 came out, I was a kid," Clark said. "I was about 10 years old. Everybody was ranting and raving about the '57 Chevy ... I wanted a '57."

Clark has entered his 1957 metallic desert coral Chevrolet in six international competitions over the past two decades. He currently owns four Chevys, and is excited about showcasing his classic at the convention this week.

"It has a special paint job," Clark said. "It's not an original color ... It changes color on you depending on the sun. We had it custom blended about 10 years ago ... This ('57 Chevy) is the best one."

As a member of the Classic Chevy International Club, Clark not only will be working security during the course of the week, he also will host a weapons and tactics seminar and take guests on a tour of Antietam National Battlefield.

The rest of the week will include a trip to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., an oldies dance and bus trips to Gettysburg, Pa., and Charles Town (W.Va.) Races & Slots.

The convention ends Sunday with an awards ceremony. Prizes and goody bags also will be given away.

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