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Restorations join tricked-out wheels in Rouzerville

July 12, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

ROUZERVILLE, PA. -- Richard Beard's vehicle stood out Sunday among those with powerful engines, amplified sound systems, decal-covered hoods and plush leather interiors.

Beard, of Smithsburg, cranked the engine of his 1917 Ford Model T before he was able to drive it -- at no faster than 40 mph -- to the car and truck show held on Pa. 16.

Beard's wheels were named Lions' Choice Truck at the sixth annual event hosted by the Rouzerville Lions Club at Hooverville Elementary School.

Bryan Wetzel of Waynesboro, Pa., won Lions' Choice Car for his 1923 Ford T-bucket, and Joe and Carol Weaver of York Springs, Pa., took Best of Show from participants' votes for their 1936 Ford tow truck.

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But there was no shortage of modern-day vehicles on display, as people showed off shimmering Corvettes and tricked-out trucks.

Event organizer Doug McCleaf said 112 vehicles were registered, making the show the largest to date.

"We're just tickled. We definitely made more than we did last year," McCleaf said, saying the 2008 event yielded $2,000 for Lions Club projects.

About 15 volunteers helped organize the show, which drew vehicle owners from Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Afternoon awards recognized 30 cars and 10 trucks that received votes from other participants.

Beard spent three months restoring the black Model T that now carries the label "Beard Produce Truck." He noticed a device thought to be used for a scale, then created an area in the back that shows off how fresh fruits and vegetables could be sold from the vehicle.

Beard bought the rusty truck in Carlisle, Pa., and became its third owner.

"It was all gray. It needed work," he said.

The truck does not have gauges, and Beard must use a stick to determine how much gas he has put into the tank. Kerosene lamps are affixed to the front, the horn resembles one for a bicycle and a metal box against the engine is designed to heat food while driving.

Brandon Lowe of Fairfield, Pa., also showed off a restored Ford. His car came from a Ford Motor Co. dealership in 1978 and was owned by his father.

Lowe started the restoration during his freshman year of high school and completed it in time for his graduation last fall. He saved money for components, and did the mechanical work and painting himself.

"I never thought I could do something like this," said Lowe, who hopes to study automobile mechanics in Pittsburgh.

Car enthusiasts are often surprised to see an 18-year-old driving into shows, but they offer praise for the amount of work, Lowe said. Classmates and teachers were also surprised by the restoration, he said.

"They didn't think I could get it done. The day I brought it to school to show everybody, they were really shocked," Lowe said.

Bob Ranck of Newburg, Pa., spent two years restoring a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle that reminded him of one from his past. Now that the bright blue car is complete, he has started working on a 1969 Chevelle with his wife, Doris.

"Every bolt and nut comes off," Bob Ranck said, saying that restoration starts with the car's frame.

The Rancks made a list of possibilities when they were choosing a color for the 1966 Chevelle, then allowed their grandchildren to vote. Bob Ranck preferred the blue, but wanted to give democracy a try.

"It still came out my way," he said.

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