The street rods are great, but it's the people that Bo Matschulat and so many others said keep them returning to the Street Rod Nationals East at the York Expo Center.
"No matter what places you go to, the people who have the street rods here are the nicest," said Matschulat, 68.
Matschulat has been coming from White Marsh, Md.. to enter his 1940 Ford convertible in the event for the past 30 years since he rebuilt the vehicle.
When he first entered it the Street Rod Nationals East were still being held in Timonium, Md.
Bob and JoAnn Fetrow of Newberry Township have been coming to the street rod show for more years than they can remember. This year they entered their 1934 Ford Victoria, a sky blue vehicle with bright
But the Street Rod Nationals East is not really a competition for them, said Fetrow, 69.
State representatives with the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) give awards to their favorite cars based on personal preference, said Chick Brandt, a representative from New Jersey.
This year 3,496 street rods from throughout the East Coast and beyond were entered in the 39th annual three-day event, said Brandt. All of the entrants were eligible for door prizes and up to $3,000 in cash prizes he said.
Jim Rowlett, NSRA marketing director, said that locating the show in York contributes greatly to its success.
"This part of the country is wonderful," said Rowlett. "There are so many historic things for people to do while they're here, and the city is very receptive to the street rodders. Plus the street rodders love it."
Among those who travel from states away to be part of the event are Yorkers who relish entering a show right in their hometown.
Bob Lewis, 39, of East York was showing his 1934 Plymouth sedan, a car he convinced a friend to sell him after he found it in his barn in 1943.
"It's always been a southern York car," said Lewis.
Lewis said he is technically the second owner of the car, since the farmer he bought in from in New Freedom never had the car's title. The car's first owner purchased it from an automobile dealership in Loganville that was owned by Art Glatfelter.
When Lewis bought it in 1995 he spent a year adding a motor, changing the front suspension and stripping and priming the body to get it ready for the Street Rod Nationals East in 1996.
"It was just barely street legal," said Lewis.
Jim and Hallie Elicker of East Berlin have been bringing their 1940 Ford coupe to the show for 16 years. Elicker, 60, said that he bought that car because it was the car that his wife wanted.
"You know you've got to keep your wife happy, so you get what she wants," Elicker laughed.
The couple looks forward to the show every year because it's close to home and has a lot of different vehicles that you wouldn't see at a lot of other car shows, and they plan to return next year.
- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or email@example.com.