An old, but certainly classy field
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS The 1951 L85 Mack combination pumper and snorkel truck on display at Sunday's Tamaqua Street Machine Association car show is the only one of its kind remaining in the world. The truck is owned by the Schuylkill Historical Fire Society. Shown explaining the truck's features are, from left: Luis Negron, Pottsville; Joe Kufro, Barnesville and Glen Boris, Frackville.
World-class rarity was on display Sunday and car fans converged on Lewistown Valley to witness it.
The 24th Annual Tamaqua Street Machine Car Show took place at Heisler's Cloverleaf Dairy Bar in Lewistown Valley with an all-new appearance and new attractions.
The prized vehicles were classy and most were old, but it was new attractions and many firsts that stole the show among the 30-class field.
A main attention-grabber was the 1969 Chevy Camaro big block with 2300 horsepower, pro-charged and supercharged by Frank Soldridge of New Tripoli. Soldridge operates PSI Motorsports.
The car holds the title of world's fastest by the National Muscle Car Association's Fastest Street Car Shootout Competition after competition held in March in Bradenton, Fl.
"We're fuel injection specialists. We do performance and dyno turning," said Soldridge.
For the first time, the Schuylkill Historical Fire Society (SHFS) set up a display at the north end of the show field, showcasing rare and antique firefighting apparatus.
Of particular interest was a 1951 L85 Mack combined pumper and snorkel truck from Forest Lake, Pennsylvania. The truck provides an elevated master stream for use in firefighting.
"It's the only one left in the world," said Joe Kufro of Barnesville, a volunteer with the SHFS. The society acquired the truck one year ago and Sunday marked the first time it was displayed at a car show.
"It originally was built for Paoli and then used in Kimberton," explained Kufro. "It's worth about $40,000."
Also on display was a 1984 Hahn pumper from the Polish American Fire Co. of Shenandoah and a '54 Mack aerial from Glen Dale, West Virginia.
For volunteers Glen and Michelle Boris of Frackville, who are members of both the SHFS and the Tamaqua Street Machine Association, the day was hectic. The couple attended the event in support of both organizations and tried to help each one as the day unfolded. The two said the day went well.
"Being that we're in our 24th year, it goes pretty smooth," said Michelle. "We have the kinks worked out."
The show included a flea market area, car corral of vehicles for sale, door prizes, and plenty of special attractions.
For those with a penchant for the unusual, the Tyson family of Andreas showcased yet another first for the show - a custom '78 Ford LTD equipped with the latest in ghostbuster equipment. The station wagon features roof-mounted lights and elaborate, high-tech innovations that challenge the mind. The car was a multiyear project for Daniel, Marlin and Linda Tyson, who demonstrated that creativity has no bounds.
"It was finished last October," said Daniel, explaining that the car was created in support of the Clamtown Haunted House hosted by Boy Scout Troop 755.
TSMA President Mark Blasko said his organization was delighted with the good weather, the turnout of hundreds of cars, and the overall success of the autumn car show since returning to its roots in Lewistown Valley a few years ago.
"There is significant competition in every class," said Blasko, "and we present first, second and third place awards in each class."
Another first was the addition of a live band at the show, a group called Uncle Smiley. A DJ also entertained the crowd.
Adding to the new look was a revamping of the show field with an altogether new layout.
"We're trying to change things around," said Blasko, so that if a car owner brought the same car to this year's show as last year, he likely found himself located in a new location on the field.
Special awards included best of show for stock, best of show award for modified, longest distance award, 24th car registered award, first, second and third club participation, hard luck award and oldest production car.
The TSMA is a nonprofit organization whose members display classics, muscle cars, antiques and street rods at many local and national events. The group supports local charities and conducts five or six cruises each year along with popular car shows during Tamaqua Summerfest and the Tamaqua Heritage Festival.