Chuck Stoner begins a restoration job by stripping a classic car down to its bare bones, leaving nothing exposed but cold metal.
Long before a car is ready to fire its engine at an event like the Street Rod Nationals East -- being held this weekend at the York Expo Center -- it is often dismantled, rebuilt and painted a custom shade unlike any other it is parked near.
This week, as hot rods rolled into town, Stoner spent time in his York shop working on a car that will be in next year's show.
A 1948 Chevy has had its bumpers removed and replaced with roll pans, the hood has been smoothed and decked, and the back half of the front fenders are now fabricates.
It takes about three to four months to
Stoner has worked on a lot of cars for a long time -- the shop has been in business since 1949 -- but he said he really likes this '48 Chevy.
"It's special. I like the body lines on it. This car has a lot of character with the body lines. It just flows," he said.
Running his hands along the seamless body of the car, Stoner said he gets a sense of fulfillment.
"You basically start with junk and turn it into something where people wonder how it got that way," he said. "I like going to a show and saying, 'I did that car,' knowing what it looked like when I started."
He also likes to see the colors.
Showing off: At the Markets at Shrewsbury on Wednesday night, more than a hundred hot rods showed up for the weekend event's Kick-Off Cruise. Dozens of the cars were blue, but they were all a different shade. Dutiful owners propped on the hoods as Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" played in the background, adding to an atmosphere car enthusiasts describe as a "brotherhood."
"It's very relaxing. You meet other people with the same hobby, and you learn what each other used to fix up a car," said Siebert Lowe, a Loganville man who was showing a 1968 Dodge Super Bee.
Lowe was accompanied by his son-in-law Brett Jones, also of Loganville, who was showing off a souped-up 1988 Chevy Monte Carlo.
Jones said the two will bypass the Expo Center this weekend in favor of parking in front of Pizza Hut on Route 30.
"I'll grab a pizza and watch all the cars go by," he said.
More than 4,000 specialty vehicles will drive into York this weekend for the region's largest car show, which is estimated to infuse $7 million into the local economy, according to Anne Druck, president of the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"It really turbocharges our tourism economy at the height of the summer season," she said.
The boost is largely a result of the event's three-day stay. On average, most travelers typically spend just two days here, she said.
But many visitors stay much longer than three days.
Fred Richter on Sunday set up his RV and trailer carrying two street rods at the corner of White Street and North Highland Avenue.
"I'm always the first one here," said Richter, who has attended the show for several years. His visits always include stops at Alexander's Family Restaurant on Carlisle Road, he said, and this year he's showing a 1923 Ford T Bucket and 1977 Chevy Nova.
"It's always an enjoyable weekend. The people are great, and there's a real buddy system here. If anyone needs anything, we help each other," he said.
Camped nearby was Clark Bates, who arrived Wednesday after a short trip from Abbottstown.
Bates has been attending the car show since 1984, and this year he's showing a 1932 Ford coupe and Model A sedan.
He said he arrives early to ensure he gets his favorite spot on North Highland Avenue, along the side of the Expo Center.
"Everybody has to go past us. We'll see every car," he said.
After the show is over, Bates, like Stoner, will begin working on his next car -- a 1934 Ford roadster.
But for the next three days, it's just about enjoying their favorite hobby, the sights, sounds and people.
"It's almost like a friendship before friendship even starts, simply because you have liking cars in common," Stoner said. "It's seeing the craftsmanship and hearing that noise. A pretty body isn't nothin' until you hear the engine fire up."
-- Reach Candy Wood all at 505-5436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.