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Chrome, tail-fins, lavish paint - even bare steel - on display at Lake George car show

Among the cars captivating 10,000 people attending the Adirondack Nationals car show in Lake George last weekend were three vehicles customized by Bill Dawley of Connecticut (front to rear): a customized 1937 Ford Coupe dragster, a 1932 Ford Hi-Boy hot rod, and a 1963 Ford Falcon Dawley gave to his daughter Jillian when she was just a youngster.

Among the cars captivating 10,000 people attending the Adirondack Nationals car show in Lake George last weekend were three vehicles customized by Bill Dawley of Connecticut (front to rear): a customized 1937 Ford Coupe dragster, a 1932 Ford Hi-Boy hot rod, and a 1963 Ford Falcon Dawley gave to his daughter Jillian when she was just a youngster. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Donna Brayman of Argyle stood in the Lake George Adirondack Nationals Car Show check-in booth Saturday Aug. 7, apprehending people who weren’t wearing armbands, making them pay the entry fee.

She had admitted thousands into the car show that engulfed Fort William Henry for the weekend.

“This is crazy, it’s beyond belief,” she said watching the surging crowd move through the gate. “This is the craziest I’ve seen working at the car show for eight years.”

Mark Ingleston, President of the sponsoring hot rod club Albany Rods & Kustoms, said the show was meeting expectations. Later, he said that about 10,000 people attended the paid show.

The fields surrounding Ingleston and Brayman were filled with 1,500 vehicles with multi-layered colorful paint jobs — except one, and that’s the vehicle that caught Ingleston’s eye as most unique of the 2013 Nationals — a 1959 Chevrolet Apache pickup.

It’s owner and fabricator, filmmaker/sculptor/painter Chris Freeman of Hudson, had sanded down the body of his Apache to it’s bare steel, covered with specialty clear-coat. The car’s metal, with its pits and imperfections, bore Freeman’s hand-painted plain-white accents. Freeman had scavenged various body parts from other vehicles, like taillights from a 1958 Pontiac, and welded them into position with utilitarian craftsmanship. The bare, exposed springs in the Apache’s bench seat added to its raw, brutish appearance.

“I wanted people to look at the history contained in the metal — and appreciate the holidays and events it’s been through,” said the artist about the truck, which he drag races. “I’m showing off the reality of the auto industry.”

Last year, he garnered the “Best Builder Award” at the Syracuse Nationals Hot Rod Show.

Nearby, a crowd surrounded a meticulously restored 1958 Plymouth Belvedere hardtop, virtually identical to the vehicle featured in the 1983 classic horror movie “Christine” the name of the evil sedan that hunted down people who taunted its geeky teenaged owner, Arnie.

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