Man in Glenmont has lifelong passion for restoring cars

August 09, 2018 05:40 PM

GLENMONT - They've turned your head at one time or another -- a classic automobile at least 40 or 50 years old, cruising down the street and looking like it just rolled off the showroom floor. Restoring those old beauties is a labor of love, but is that love affair running on empty? One local man still gets revved up about it -- despite changing times.

Peter Geist still remembers the first time he saw her. She wasn't exactly a looker. She'd had a hard life. However, underneath the rough exterior was something that spoke to Geist and his brothers too. So they saved all their pennies and when Geist was just 13 years old, they brought her home. It was a 1940 Ford Deluxe.

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"My brother and I went down there and bought it. We started working on it. About five years later, we had it done," explained Geist.

The boys worked at a body shop near their home and learned a lot. So much that their childhood project became a national show winner.

More than 40 years later, Geist is still at it. Geist Brothers Auto in Glenmont also repairs new cars, but maintains a strong focus on restoring classics.

Old pick-up trucks are among his personal favorites.

"When I was in my early 20s, I was working on those for customers and I couldn't afford to buy one," noted Geist.

He says that is what typically lies at the root of fascination with old cars and trucks -- nostalgia. It's something you wanted, but couldn't have from your youth.

"Guys our age wish they had a '67 Camaro or a '67 Mustang or something. Back then, you're a kid. Most kids can't afford something like that, but then when you get older and you can afford it, a lot of guys find one, redo it, just a love for the cars," pointed out Geist.

They just don't make them like they used to -- not just the cars though. When it comes to restoration, Geist worries younger generations don't have the same passion for it.

"A lot of the young kids, they don't want to take the time to learn. They don't want to start from the bottom. They want things to be quick and simple," explained Geist.

Now 61, Geist says even his own children have chosen other lines of work. They saved their pennies for something else -- and he's okay with that.

Whether he's restoring muscle to muscle cars or keeping vintage wagons rolling, Geist still enjoys sharing his passion with others.

"When you get something done and it's starting to look like something and it's almost done and the customer is getting excited about it, it's good to see them roll out of here all finished," he acknowledged.

That first love of his -- the old 1940 Ford, now belongs to another man. However, he still gets to see her and take her out sometimes.

After all these years, it still gets his motor running.

MORE INFORMATION: Classic car restoration


Jerry Gretzinger

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