Let’s set the stage. It was a hot and humid day in Delaware County. Mid-June 2020, the Delco Cruisers gathered at Middletown Presbyterian Church in Media for their monthly club meeting. Attendance was moderate, wish I could say the same about the bugs nipping at our legs. This was the beginning of a different “normal” for the country; the pandemic was now affecting how we meet as a group. Usually we meet inside, have our organized meeting and then shoot the sh#!.
Being outside disrupted our normal meeting in a good way. Members did not get their “normal” seats and some began to converse before our scheduled meeting. I saw this as a positive interaction. After the conclusion of club business several members gathered discussing this and that, mostly vehicle enthusiast driven conversations ensued. There were several groupings of members; I did a lap around the tables, looking for an interesting tidbit or two. Tony, one of our board members called me over to check out a picture on another member’s smart phone. And with that, our story begins….
The phone just happened to belong to one of the Delco Cruisers original charter members. Charlie Schmidt, a lifelong car enthusiast with a story. I asked to see the picture on his phone, as it turned out there were many. (See image set 1 below) Both curious and encouraged by Tony I decided to put this article together.
Hopefully you checked out image set 1. As it turns out, Charlie, whom I may refer to as Chaz, has an interesting hobby, plastic model cars. Not just the humdrum snap, glue and go idea of the hobby I remember as a tyke. Chaz gets into it! Using spare parts from past builds, mixing engine combinations, swapping out wheels, even going as far as making body, door and pillar mods for custom looks! It does not stop there; some of his creations have dents and damage, depicting them as if they could be real. Real is the feeling you get as you check these out. (See image set 2 below) The attention to detail is exceptional, forget classic paint, Charlie now uses fingernail polish for these custom rods. Be sure to check out the wood bed in the light blue 1957/8 Chevy pickup. Who said you had to throw out used bamboo Wawa coffee stirrers? Chaz is a talented guy. Let’s step back and look at Charlie’s life….
A former resident of Parkside, PA, Charlie grew up with the drive of a car enthusiast. I visited Charlie and met his wife Nancy at their current home in Brookhaven, PA to check out his collection of model cars and come away with some insight into the hobby. As it turned out, Charlie had a very colorful past. His love of plastic model cars began as a child; he would visit Simmonds Hobby Shop in Chester, PA and was quickly engaged in the hobby, entering some local store contests with his work. Right out of High School it was all business as Charlie joined the Air Force. His employment history includes a 50 year retirement back in 2013 from Ed’s Auto Body in Upland, PA.. Charlie revived his love of plastic model cars towards the end of his employment and continues it today.
I hope you enjoyed this look into an interesting Delco Cruiser club member. Keep in mind if you read this and are not a member, you can apply for membership by visiting our website- www.DelcoCruisers.org , and if you do, don’t bother Charlie, none of his creations are for sale!