The long building with the high ceiling at 126 Northern Blvd. in Chinchilla, PA, has always been associated with the automotive industry.
It was built in the early 1950s as a place for washing the carrier trucks and trailers that brought cars to the area from the East Coast assembly plants of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
Since 1958, the building, which is painted flat white, has been the only home of Abington Body Shop. The proprietors---there have only been four, two brothers and then two spouses---have made a business from pulling out dents, replacing sheet metal that was crumpled by a crash or corroded by age, and repainting and restoring cars and trucks to a condition similar to when they were new.
“This place has been here 60 years,” said Todd Chambers as he worked in the shop alone on a recent Saturday afternoon. He and his wife, Kathi, purchased Abington Body Shop in August 2017. “We felt we needed to keep it running. Keep it open.”
On a frame rack behind Todd, raised off the floor, was a 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne. It was rammed at an intersection and its passenger door was damaged. The car is too new to have been trucked to the area on a carrier that was washed in this building, but old enough that Chambers had to find a used door from a specialty supply house in Massachusetts.
All makes and model years are serviced at this body shop.
In front of the old Chevy was a 2015 Nissan NV cargo truck with a high roof. It had just been repainted in the paint bay at the back of the shop and wore a brighter shade of white than the color on the outside of the building. A generator company had retained Abington Body Shop to fix some dents and repaint the truck.
“We do anything from a small fender repair up to a major collision,” Todd said.
In 1958, Robert “Buzzy” Jackson and his brother James went into business together and opened a body shop on busy, pre-Interstate 81 Northern Blvd. For the next 42 years, they worked on a forgotten number of cars and trucks that had been towed, dragged, flat-bedded or driven to their garage.