When a 15-year-old Ashley Spangler Jr. bought his 1936 Ford pickup, he worked with a group of local guys to fix it up.

It was supposed to be the first car he'd drive, he said.

"And then it came to a halt," said Spangler, 53, who eventually put the years-long project on hold to focus on his wife, children and house in Dover Township.

But he reminded himself that it would get done someday, he said, and created a special fund for the pickup.

About five years ago, Spangler brought together his original crew and spent the next couple years upgrading the pickup, he said. His two sons, 14 and 19 years old, gave style input, Spangler said.

"Sometime, someday, it's gonna become theirs," he said.

Two years ago at the Street Rod Nationals East Plus, the car barely made it in and out of the gates, Spangler said.

But at this year's show, it was ready, and it was one of 50 cars chosen by rodders and community leaders to be shown off at the awards ceremony.

The National Street Rod Association held the 41st annual event, which brought 3,388 cars to the York Expo Center, from Friday through Sunday, said Jerry Kennedy, special events director for the association.

This weekend's sunny, warm weather brought thousands of people to York from all over the country, he said: The rodder with the longest trip drove 2,200 miles from Arizona.

"This is one of the most picture-perfect weekends," Kennedy said.

There were two new features this year: the U.S. Postal Service's unveiling of the Hot Rods Forever Stamp and the Pinstripe Jamboree & Charity Auction.

The stamp event on Friday was a hit - and the stamps sold out, Kennedy said. They will be available for purchase at post offices nationwide as long as they continue to sell, he said.

And the auction, the first of its kind at the event, featured volunteer pinstripe artists who auctioned their work for a cause. The artists, who nicknamed themselves the "Brush Brigade," donated all proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The auction raised a total of $12,542.50 - enough to grant four wishes to local children with life-threatening illnesses, Kennedy said. He hopes to continue the fundraiser next year.

For Matt Trostle, 18, of Mountville in Lancaster County, this weekend's show marked the largest car show he'd ever been to.

"Biggest I've been to is 300 (cars), so it's a little step up," he said.

It was Trostle's first year showing his own car.

He started working on the 1934 Ford pickup when he was 13, he said, and he and his grandfather built the "rat rod" from different parts. Trostle said he enjoyed chatting with fellow rodders about all the cars.

"It seems like no one's really a stranger here," he said. - Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.