Steeltown Garage makes old cars ‘beautiful’

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Birdsboro’s First Street is a candy-colored vintage car for an open house celebrating the Steeltown Garage, a hot rod and car restoration project founded in November 2020 by friends Mark Denlinger and John Detwyler on Saturday. It was full.

“I’ve been in this business for about 20 years,” said Denlinger, 36, of Akron, Lancaster County. “I wanted to start my business and do something a little different from where I worked before, and I wanted to have a little more to say about the quality.”

Denlinger has been working on cars since the age of 12 and takes pride in metalworking which “looks like nothing happened”.

“I like to take something really raw and make it look new,” he said.

The Steeltown garage is located in what was once the Detweiler family body shop. Detweiler was a Denlinger customer when the two met in 2018. The pair decided to start a business together after learning how similar their automotive tastes were.

“The industry is so hot right now that it’s very popular right now,” said Detweiler, 42, of Birdsboro. “Starting a new business is a challenge. After all, it’s about playing and starting a business during a pandemic. “

“We have been blessed,” Denlinger said.

“It’s a lot of effort and dedication,” Detweiler said. “It’s not for everyone. It’s like you’re married to the car from start to finish. It doesn’t happen overnight.

To prove their claim, they showed the 1964 Ford Falcon, which they have been working on since it opened. It was the owner’s first car, which he bought when he was in high school and has loved it ever since. The owner wanted to restore it completely, so Steeltown took it apart and gave it a new frame.

“We only used the body and put a new frame on it,” Denlinger said. In restoration terminology, this is called “restore”. The goal is to make the Falcon run as fast and efficiently as a modern car.

“He still loves this car,” Denlinger said. “It’s like a part of him and his story.”

The open house included a barbecue at Ogre’s Swamp N Grill in Lebanon, a drink from The Angry Anvil in Birdsboro, and a soft serve ice cream maker in the garage.

“The car seems to appeal to everyone,” Denlinger said.

His friend Mark Cribler warns Denlinger that the kid leaned against one of his projects with his sweaty arms.

“We have to get rid of it,” Criblear says.

Criblear, 37, of Martstown is impressed with the quality and attention to detail of SteelTown components.

“During the short time that they’re here, they really feel like they’re growing up really fast,” he said. Their names are known and people see what they are doing and want to be a part of it. “

In Steel Town, family and business go hand in hand. I still have a photo of my back when it was the Detweilers body shop, and a photo of John working in a car with his dad and grandfather.

“I learned a lot from my grandfather about how he treated people and helped them in the community,” he said.

“We like to take a lot more time than other stores, take care of our customers and be fair to them,” said Denlinger.

Mechanic Mark Alexander keeps a photo of his daughter Ruby May’s baby in a tool cabinet. Now 3, Ruby May runs with her own toddler-sized toy hot rod. Eventually John and “another Mark” became a family.

Alexander, 36, of Boyertown, said: “It’s more than just a job. After working a long time to make an old car look like a new car, just seeing customers driving your car makes you appreciate your work. Some people don’t like to drive, others like to show off. “

Alexander had a passion for his uncle’s cars.

“I love that old cars do unexpected things,” he said. We see it as an art form that is almost like a craft. “

Steel city garage

Location: 721 W. First St., Birdsboro

Phone number: 610-780-0162

Website: https://steeltowngaragepa.com/

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are required on Saturdays. Close on Sunday.

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Mark Alexander works on a Chevy ’62 dashboard in the Steeltown garage in Birdsboro. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    The 1964 Ford Falcon that Steeltown Garage is working on. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    A 1940 Ford truck being restored by the Steeltown Garage in the Steeltown Garage in Birdsboro. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Carolyn Callahan polishes Bronco’s tailgate for a coat of primer in the Steeltown garage in Birdsboro. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Mark Alexander works on a Chevrolet 62 dashboard. .. (Ben Hasty-Reading Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Karolyn Callahan polishes the Bronco’s tailgate to prepare the primer. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Karolyn Callahan polishes the Bronco’s tailgate to prepare the primer. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    From left to right, Steel Town Garage co-owners Mark Denlinger and Mark Alexander working on the Chevy ’62 dashboard. Steel Town is a Hot Rod store for custom builds, maintenance, and classic car mods. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Mark Alexander works on a dashboard for ’62 Chevy. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Dunkerns TIG welds in the 1964 Ford Falcon transmission tunnel in the Steeltown garage in Birdsboro. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    The Steel Town garage sign inside the store. Steel Town is a Hot Rod store for custom builds, maintenance, and classic car mods. (BENHA STYÑ EAGLE READING)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    A 1964 Ford Falcon and a 1940 Ford truck in the garage in Steeltown, Birdsboro. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Mark Alexander works on a Chevrolet 62 dashboard. .. (Ben Hasty-Reading Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Dunkerns TIG welds in the 1964 Ford Falcon transmission tunnel in the Steeltown garage in Birdsboro. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Dunkerns welds TIG in a 1964 Ford Falcon transmission tunnel. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    Carolyn Callahan polishes Bronco’s tailgate for a coat of primer in the Steeltown garage in Birdsboro. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)

  • Ben Hasty – Reading Eagle

    From left to right, Steel Town Garage co-owners Mark Denlinger and Mark Alexander working on a Chevrolet 62 dashboard at the Steel Town Garage in Birdsboro. (Reading Ben Hasty-Eagle)


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