Larry Welsch, a Garden Spot Village resident since May 2012, has been buying and selling old cars since he was a teenager. It was a hobby that quickly became a side business, even as he worked full-time.
“I was always interested in old cars; I never wanted a new car,” Larry says. “Buying and selling old cars became a no-brainer when I bought my first car and then sold it for a profit.”
He and a high school friend began to buy and sell hard-to-find parts for hot rods and street rods through stalls at a spring flea market in Carlisle and at the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Hershey Fall Meet.
“Over the years we met a lot of people and made lots of friendships. It became a family affair—my wife, my son and daughter and even my mother-in-law
helped us run the stalls.” Larry still sells parts at the Hershey Meet each fall. Larry has bought, fixed and sold 110 cars since that first car at age 19. He says with a smile, “I’m not a sitter or a reader. I like to keep busy. My wife, Cynthia, has been a saint. She even bought three cars; she knows how to spot a good deal and knows whether or not I can flip it for a profit.”
The couple traveled across the country to car shows, flea markets and more, buying and selling cars and parts. “I don’t like to do the same show twice,” Larry says. “We’ve traveled all over—from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Phoenix, Arizona, to Burlington, Vermont.”
Larry likes to find cars he can drive and enjoy. “If I can’t drive a car because I’m afraid of getting a scratch, I don’t want to own it,” he says. “I don’t need artwork that takes that much room. Plus, the cars we enjoyed the most were the cars we drove everywhere.”
He’s currently working to restore a 1937 Cord, a luxury car built in Indiana by the Auburn Automobile Company. He purchased the car from a dealer in South Dakota in the fall of 2017 and had it shipped to New Holland. He works on the car three days a week in a garage he rents. He joined the Metal Shop as soon as it was established and says, “I made 50 percent of the car’s body parts that needed to be replaced in the Metal Shop. When it’s finished the car will have a 1937 body with 2019 everything else.”
In addition to restoring cars, Larry also works at Musselman Lumber in New Holland, where he has been employed for 21 years. He handled outside sales for 15 years before retiring from full-time hours and now works just on Mondays and Tuesdays, estimating project costs for contractors and homeowners and delivering products to job sites as needed. “It’s a perfect
opportunity,” Larry says. “It’s only a mile from my home and even working part-time, I get some benefits.”
Larry and Cynthia moved to Garden Spot Village in their mid-60s from Kinzers, Pennsylvania. They reached a point where they wanted to downsize from their three-acre property. After visiting a number of communities, they settled on Garden Spot. The mix of people, the location and everything else just felt right.
At first Cynthia questioned whether Larry could continue his car business at their new home. “I just rented a garage and moved everything with me,” he says with a smile.