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Griswold Christmas car look-alike popular around the region

Cody Conner (Williamsport) purchased the vehicle this past May

If you’ve noticed an old station wagon with wood paneling and a “full” Christmas tree on top around the area, odds are it wasn’t being driven by Clark Griswold, but rather Williamsport resident Cody Conner and chauffeur, Jonathan Weaver.

Formerly the car of a neighbor, Conner had expressed interest in the car.

He was contacted by the owner’s son after his father’s passing.

“He (his son) asked me what I was going to do with it and I explained to him that I wanted to fix it up and drive it,” Conner said. “I spend a lot of time around the Waterville and Pine Creek area so I thought it would be something nice to drive on a Sunday up that way. He sold it to me, I want to say it was for around $500. So, I got a very good deal on it.”

The family had previously received and declined numerous offers to buy the car for demolition derbies or other destructive uses. Conner reassured the family that the car would be properly preserved and well-treated.

After the purchase, Conner quickly got the car back into working order with the expertise of South Williamsport mechanic Terry Snyder, of Strobel’s Garage.

The station wagon, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the now-iconic vehicle featured in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” proved to be a recognizable and photo-friendly sight once Conner and his friends got their hands on the perfect Christmas tree.

“(A couple of my friends and I) were over in a business meeting and we talked about putting a tree on the roof,” said Conner. “We couldn’t find anywhere to get a Christmas tree. I reached out and put it on Facebook looking for an 18- to 24-foot Christmas tree… The only place that actually had one was up towards Mansfield.”

Workers at Spring Brook Century Farm, 4781 Lamb’s Creek Road, Mansfield, did everything that they could to help him and his friends find the perfect tree for the car, Conner said.

“When I called him and explained what I was doing, he was very excited… They waited for us, cut the Christmas tree down — I mean, they were great,” he said.

“…So I went up with some friends of mine and picked the Christmas tree up and then brought it back and we had numerous pictures being taken going down the road. After that, we decided to throw some lights on it during the night and it’s kind of just taken off since,” said Conner.

Between community members seeking photos with the classic Christmas car and those hoping to go for a ride, Conner and Weaver have been keeping busy.

“I never expected it to be the way that it turned out, with as many shares and likes and comments and calls about taking people to Christmas parties and chauffeuring them around to local establishments,” Conner said.

While it hasn’t gotten stuck under any lumber-bearing tractor trailers lately, it has certainly made the local rounds, being a hot topic chauffeuring riders around Williamsport and areas further out, such as Hughesville, State College and Blossburg.

“I’ve had numerous text messages, messages on Facebook, asking for family photos. I had a photographer reach out to me wanting to use it as a backdrop for her Christmas cards for next year,” he said.

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