Known for his creations such as the Extremeliner, Aeroliner Sport and Thunderroad, Ken Fenical, better known as Posies, has earned his reputation in the industry as someone who is always pushing the envelope with his creativity and ingenuity.
Ken (Posies) Fenical’s shop is located in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.
Posies’ inventiveness within the Street Rod community can still be seen to this day. He was the first person to realize that the aftermarket tube and l-beam axles didn’t cut it when using conventional springs. In 1968 he developed the Super Slide Spring to be used on standardized axles and it’s still popular today.
During my time with the Champions Auto Shows in the Seventies and Eighties I heard numerous stories about his unusual creations as well as his interesting character and unique personality. For example, who adds a LaSalle grill to a A36 Ford and mounts it upside down! Posies did.
I first had the opportunity to meet Posie at SEMA in 1999.
Each year at SEMA, Street Rodders magazine holds an awards banquet. This is an event that I really enjoy and make an effort to attend every year. This particular year (1999) as they were introducing The Street Rodder of the Year, in rolls the EXTREMELINER 1937 Studebaker built by Posies. At this point there was no question who won the Street Rodder of the year for 1999, Ken Fenical.
Later that evening I introduced myself to Posies and congratulated him on receiving the award,
little did I know that this first meeting would develop into a wonderful friendship for years to
Each year while on my way to the NSRA (National Street Rod Nationals East) in York Pennsylvania I make a point of stopping by Posies’ shop, there is always something interesting happening.
I can remember wandering through the shop and coming across a fixture table with a maze of round tubing, metal channeling and bar stock, tacked together and running every which way. I asked Posies what it was and he replied “that’s the chassis for the AEROLINER SPORT.” Surveying the room, looking for scaled drawings or even a concept drawing, I found nothing. He quickly realized what I was thinking and pointed to his head and said “it’s all in here.”
Bruce Kaiser, a well-known artist from New York State, known for his limited edition prints of Sammy’s Playland, Burger Bob’s and Merc’s Burgers eventually did a concept drawing of the AEROLINER.
Posies’ attention to detail is outstanding. When it came time for the design of a hood ornament for the AEROLINER Posies hired Carole Simons, a model and founder of Community of Courage, a non-profit organization. Simons posed for artist David Daniels to create a sculpture.
I was fortunate enough to be in attendance when the AEROLINER was unveiled in the Flowmaster booth at SEMA in 2005.
While visiting Posies’ shop on another trip to the Nats East, Posies asked where I would be staying for the night after I had said I had to be on the fairground first thing in the morning. He mentioned he had a cabin in the woods and had been planning on spending the night there and he would like for me to be his guest. I promptly canceled the hotel I had already booked in York.
The cabin is located in the timbered hills of Mount Gretna PA. Mount Gretna is known for the hundreds of historical cottages, some dating back to the late eighteen hundreds. The cottages were built to provide summer residence for attendees of the numerous religious meetings in the area. Posies designed and built his cabin over a 6- year period. The very unique cabin is typical of Posie with no wasted space, tables, bed and beds not being used disappeared into walls.
Posies first featured a vehicle at Performance World in 2002 with the EXREMELINER 1937 Studebaker. In the following years he also showed Backdraft, 1941 Willys, ThunderRoad 1929 Ford pickup and the AEROLINER 1935 Ford.Posies was old school when negotiating a feature appearance. A handshake was good, no need for a formal contract. Performance World would, at their cost, provide custom papers for all feature cars crossing the border. Not Posies! He would say “don’t spend the money”, I will just tell the border guard that it’s my car in the trailer and I’m going to a car show in Toronto and that’s exactly what he did, without issue, every time.
I can remember being in the lobby of the host hotel at the NSRA Nationals in Louisville Kentucky and Posies says “come with me, I want to show you the future.” It’s early evening and he leads me to the parking lot behind the hotel.
This was when the rat rod was just gaining popularity. There was a group of people gathered around a Model A Rat Rod. The engine was out of the car and there were parts spread all over the parking lot. It was a young crowd and Posies said “stand back, watch and listen”. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was going back in time. I was reminded of growing up in the fifties when there was less pressure, you made do with what was available and you weren’t concerned about having the best wheels.
Posies stated that he didn’t necessarily agree with some of the things the rat rodders were doing but you had to appreciate the thought process, the honesty and passion behind it plus he had a strong “I don’t give a damn” attitude about what other people thought. He knew that this would lead to some spectacular cars being built by these same people. You look at the rat rods still being built today and they can compete with the best builders in the country. In fact, some of the well-known shops are turning out their own version of a rat rod.
As I watched, I realized that the girlfriends were helping and getting their hands dirty as well. I also noted that the younger generation seemed to have a language all their own.
Unknown to me, promotors (owners) of a new indoor show, to be held in the Fort Washington Expo Centre in Philadelphia, were in attendance at the Performance World Custom Car and Truck Show at the International Center in Toronto. In 2006, Posies suggested that they take a look at Performance World as he felt that it was a well run and successful show. Posies was also a feature at the 2006 show with his AEROLINER Sport.
A week after the show in Toronto I received a call from Philadelphia. The owners of the Mid-Atlantic Rod & Custom Car Show wanted to know if I would be interested in coming to Philadelphia as their guest and to critique the show. I took them up on their offer and it turned out to be a very interesting weekend. There, I was able to see a number of new vehicles, renew old friendships and pick up some great ideas for Performance World.
Their feature cars and celebrities were outstanding!
I spent the weekend hanging out with Posie, Tory Trepanier, Boyd Coddington and Don Gartlits,
how cool is that?