All revved up

Springfield Sun - - NEWS - By M. English For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

CON­SHOHOCKEN >> When this driver pur­chased a brand new 1991 Toy­ota Supra, I had no idea that lowslung white car would spark so many stranger-ini­ti­ated con­ver­sa­tions — on park­ing lots, at stop lights, in gas sta­tions. You name it. But nearly 27 years (and a mere 70,000 miles) later, the Supra and I are still besties, and those ran­dom chats have in­creased in fre­quency: What kind of car is it ex­actly? Would I sell it to them? Would I take their num­ber and call if I ever de­cide to sell?

One park­ing at­ten­dant even asked whether I’d swap it for his new BMW. Wait … what? Maybe the bet­ter ques­tion is “why?”

Some peo­ple have said it’s a good-look­ing car that’s rarely seen. Oth­ers say they’d gut it for rac­ing. Many of the queries have come with sto­ries. One man waited for me to park out­side a lo­cal con­ve­nience store be­fore telling me about his late son, who had owned the same model be­fore to­tal­ing it in a lethal crash. “I haven’t seen one since and … couldn’t be­lieve it when I saw you pull up,” he said.

What at­tracts peo­ple to cars? Ap­par­ently, ev­ery­thing un­der the sun …

Take the di­verse de­mo­graph­ics that make the Con­shohocken Car Show — and the mul­ti­tude of other car shows and mee­tups that take place in the area — suc­cess­ful year af­ter year. Con­shy’s 16th an­nual Car Show is sched­uled for June 3, and its vol­un­teer or­ga­niz­ers have no rea­son to be­lieve the blocks-long show­case will be any dif­fer­ent.

“These shows bring out peo­ple of all ages, be­cause they let some young guy show off the 2000 mus­cle car he’s work­ing on, and they let an old guy re­live his youth two gen­er­a­tions ago,” one spokesman rea­sons. “They speak to all ages.”

The bor­ough car show is spon­sored by Mayor Robert Frost’s Special Events Com­mit­tee and will take over Fayette Street be­tween Third and Ninth av­enues from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cars, trucks, mo­tor­cy­cles and emer­gency ve­hi­cles — an­tique, clas­sic or con­tem­po­rary — all are wel­come. Check-in is set for 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Ninth Av­enue. Pr­ereg­is­tra­tion is $15; day-of, $20.

The show’s spon­sors are John Kennedy Ford, Bryn Mawr Trust, Mur­ray Kia, Ameriprise Fi­nan­cial, Coll’s Cus­tom Fram­ing, Schank Print­ing and Don-len Tro­phies. Thanks to their largesse, some 70 tro­phies and “special tro­phies” will be awarded, and all ex­hibitors will re­ceive dash plaques and T-shirts.

Ac­cord­ing to or­ga­niz­ers, the show rou­tinely draws be­tween 200 and 300 ve­hi­cles from “the en­tire Philadel­phia re­gion.” Also on tap for the event: ap­pear­ances by the Phillie Pha­natic from 10 to 11 a.m. and the South Philadel­phia String Band from 11 a.m. to noon; on­go­ing mu­sic cour­tesy DJ Dale Sherry of Sherry Pro­duc­tions; a 50/50 raf­fle; a va­ri­ety of au­to­mo­tive-re­lated ven­dors; and “all kinds of food and drink from the nu­mer­ous lo­cal restau­rants along Fayette Street.”

In ad­di­tion, the show will in­clude dis­plays and demos by Destolfo’s Pre­mier Mar­tial Art and — back by pop­u­lar de­mand — the “fam­ily friendly” pin-up models, who “make for ter­rific photo op­por­tu­ni­ties” in their 1920s/1930s mo­tif dress.

One or­ga­nizer says some of the day’s most in­ter­est­ing mo­ments stem from im­promptu con­ver­sa­tions with ex­hibitors:

“When you walk the street and talk to peo­ple, some of the sto­ries they tell are fab­u­lous.

“For ex­am­ple, how this is their first car from when they were teenagers and they never got rid of it or how it was their fa­ther’s or fa­ther-in-law’s and they’re keep­ing it up. What they’ve gone through, the money they’ve spent, to restore these things. Like how some guy found an orig­i­nal tie rod out in Ari­zona for $120 and had it mailed to him. Or how some­body else found an orig­i­nal fender for his ’55 Chevy out West for $500. Peo­ple love shop­ping for car [parts] out West be­cause of the weather. They don’t get snow, so there’s no salt on the roads, no harsh win­ters like the ones that can de­stroy metal here.”

Of course, lo­cal his­to­ri­ans like the late Wil­liam Collins (au­thor of the Times Her­ald’s pop­u­lar Un­der the Spread­ing Maple Trees col­umn) and con­tem­po­rary his­to­rian Jack Coll have re­minded to­day’s driv­ers that road con­di­tions in the bor­ough were once un­re­li­able year-round.

“Bill Collins did a col­umn in 1964 about Joseph Mcgrath of Con­shohocken ob­tain­ing his driver’s li­cense in 1900 and go­ing on to teach a num­ber of the res­i­dents back then how to drive the ‘horse­less car­riage,’” Coll says. “By 1904, car­riages with mo­tors strapped onto them were part of the bor­ough’s land­scape. But the dirt roads back then would have been ter­ri­ble, es­pe­cially when it rained, and you had these gul­leys on Fayette Street that could be 6-foot across and, maybe, 4-foot deep … that peo­ple had to nav­i­gate.” If it rains on June 3, there prob­a­bly won’t be gul­leys, but the Con­shohocken Car Show will be rescheduled for June 10.

Ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at 484-680-0893 or 610-825-7072.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — CON­SHOHOCKEN MAYOR’S SPECIAL EVENTS COM­MIT­TEE

Cars line Fayette Street dur­ing last year’s Con­shohocken Car Show. This year’s event is sched­uled for June 3.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — CON­SHOHOCKEN MAYOR’S SPECIAL EVENTS COM­MIT­TEE

Con­shohocken Mayor Bob Frost stands in front of the Philadel­phia String Band as it per­forms at last year’s car show. The group will re­turn to the 2017 show June 3.

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