Friends, family remember man with knack for restoring cars during Mike Kline Memorial Car Show

September 22, 2012|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI |
  • Tony Kinzer, 44, of Boonsboro, checks out the engine of the 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 that his late friend Mike Kline helped him pick out at the Mike Kline Memorial Car Show & Bike Bash on Saturday at Cancun Cantina West in Hagerstown.
By Alicia Notarianni

“That’s Mike. He was a good guy,” Tony Kinzer said, indicating a framed photograph propped against the windshield of a classic car.

The Mike Kline Memorial Car Show & Bike Bash Saturday at Cancun Cantina West drove home the idea that “Mike” was far more than a framed image.

He was a friend, brother and son with a knack for restoring cars that lives on in memories and stories.

Roy Michael “Mike” Kline grew up in Fairplay and graduated from Williamsport High School in 1986. He owned and operated his own auto restoration business, Rockyhill Restorations, and drag raced for fun. But he had hard times, too.

“Things got out of hand,” said his father, Roy Kline of Fairplay. “He committed suicide. I guess he figured he couldn’t take it anymore. He was 42.”

Kline died Dec. 7, 2010.

Kinzer, 44, of Boonsboro, choked up as he spoke of his deceased friend. Kinzer said he knew Kline since the third grade.

“We were pretty tight. We all grew up and ran around on this Dual Highway together,” he said.

Kline helped Kinzer pick out the 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 he displayed Saturday at the show. Kline passed away before the car was fully restored, then Kinzer stepped away from classic cars for a while. When he was ready to return to the hobby, Mike Kline’s younger brother, Jason “Jake” Kline, picked up where he left off.

“I’m trying to fill those shoes, but it’s hard,” Jake Kline said.

The 36-year-old St. Thomas, Pa., resident said it was nice to see friends and family come out in remembrance of his brother.

“It’s a nice surprise,” he said. “It’s going on two years now. You think people have forgotten. This is a nice reminder that his memory is still there, that his old friends are there to stay. They’ll stand by, stand close with the family.”

Mike Kline’s friend, Dave Sprecher, a security manager at Cancun Cantina, came up with the idea to have a car show in his honor. The two went to school, worked on cars and drag-raced together.

“The funny thing is, he painted his dad’s truck in 1985. I have my ’52 Ford panel truck. We’d be be-bopping around back when we were kids saying my truck would beat his dad’s truck, his dad’s truck would beat my truck,” Sprecher said. “We never raced them. We should have. Yeah. It’s crazy.”

As adults, the two worked together for 18 years at D.M. Bowman, Sprecher said. Then, they worked together again when Kline began doing part-time security at Cancun Cantina.

“We do bike bashes here,” Sprecher said. “After he passed there was just this ... ‘Man, we ought to have something for Mike.’” The obvious something, he said, was a classic car show. Cancan Cantina owner Neal Beard supported the idea.

“I thought it would be a good idea to honor him as an employee and as a car enthusiast,” Beard said. “He did classic car restoration top to bottom. He was one of the best.”

Beard said there were about 35 cars and 75 motorcycles registered at the show and about 150 people in attendance. Radio station 101.5 Bob Rocks played music outside while Crossbonz played indoors.

Casey Standifer, 44, and his wife Karen, 45, of Falling Waters, W.Va., attended the event. Casey Standifer said Kline was the first person he met when he moved to the area in fifth grade. Kline painted his car, which was parked among a row reserved for those worked on by Kline.

Casey Standifer’s father, John Standifer of Boonsboro, pointed out the row.

“The best-looking ones are the ones Mike painted,” he said.

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