WALDWICK, N.J. — Mechanic Chuck Wanamaker III of Mahwah has been out making a national splash again with some of the classics in his 100-car collection.
He and his father, Chuck Wanamaker Jr., who own two shops in Waldwick, took to the road for the Keystone Big Show East in Washington, D.C. last week.
The product placement event attracted 300 vendors and 8,000 shopowners from the U.S. and Canada.
They all have one thing in common: they just love working on hot rods.
The Wanamakers brought six cars to the show — a ’63 Impala, ’67 Camaro, ’68 Camaro, ’69 Camaro, ’67 Chevy Nova and ’55 Chevy.
Most came back with a story.
Father and son did a live install for the public on the ’63 Impala.
“We show people how easy and user-friendly the products are,” said Wanamaker III.
Why three Camaros to showcase? Easy. The model turns 50 this year.
The ’55 Chevy saw action, too, because of TV celebrity Rutledge Wood, co-host of “Top Gear” on The History Channel..
He stayed with the car one full day as he signed autographs and took pictures with fans.
The father-son car collection, which spans vehicles from 1928 to 2008, is kept in a garage in New York State.
It includes a 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler that Wanamaker III has owned since he was 15.
Why so many cars?
“It’s been a bad habit,” Wanamaker III quipped. “You buy one at a decent price. Then you buy another one.”
Some cars are in better shape than others, he said. But, in some cases, an owner sells just to be able to say his work on a car is done.
“No hot rod is ever done,” Wanamaker II said, with a smile.
No car is ever done. I don’t care who builds it.
He and his dad enjoy fixing what they buy. And, if they buy them right, he added, they can afford to keep them.
“Hopefully, we’ll make money on them someday,” he said.
“But, in the meantime, we don’t have to sell anything. We just collect and enjoy them.”
And share them at shows, so other people can enjoy them, too.
As with the Keystone Big Show East, their participation in shows is a labor of love.
The Wanamakers own two locations in Waldwick — Waldwick Auto Service Center on West Prospect Street and Franklin Auto Care on Franklin Turnpike.
The family business goes back another generation: the late Chuck Wanamaker Sr., born around 1915, had a Colonial station on Franklin Turnpike that no longer exists.