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Best Ruin Repair
Boltswagon Car Care
399 W. 11th Ave.

Your VW hasn't been tuned up since the Partridge Family was a hit (the first time around); your Volvo is a Swedish meatball. Rick Mera's eighteen year old shop specializes in foreign affairs.

Best Place to Buy an Auto
H.M. Brown & Associates
6081 S. Quebec St., Englewood

Last year H.M. Brown & Associates automotive brokers bought 1,200 cars--which begins to explain the good deals they can get for all the rest of us who can't stand the thought of dealing with car dealers. But the hands-on service is what really counts: After discussing what you want, the Brown crowd will find the car (used or new), get the cheapest deal possible (their fee is 2 percent of the final price) and even have the car delivered. What a way to go.

Best Comeback
Ice cream trucks
The 23-year ban of ice cream trucks from Denver city streets means an entire generation of Colorado kids grew up not knowing the pleasure of delivered-to-your-door desserts. But the Denver City Council wisely decreed in February that the next generation shall not be similarly deprived. This summer the bells are chiming once again. Let freedom ring--and give us that Drumstick.

Best Place to Study the Classics
Soneff's Master Garage Inc.
2165 Curtis St.

John Soneff loves old Hudsons, the American-made cars that went out with ducktail haircuts and "I Like Ike" buttons. He loves them so much that he's Denver's Hudson king, having bought so many spare parts from a long-defunct dealer that he and his staff at Soneff's Master Garage Inc. could probably build you a new Terraplane from scratch. Soneff can sell you an already-assembled Hudson--or one of the dozens of other lovingly restored classic cars that sit like pampered children in his cavernous 1947-era garage, everything from Model A's to drop-top Caddies and cherry Corvettes. That's vroom service!

Best Place to Take an Indian
Harry's Motors
965 Santa Fe Dr.

At Harry's Motors, the "motors" stands for "motorcycles"--and this proud establishment has seen its share. Founded by owner Harry J. Tagaris's grandfather back in 1927, the place remains a happy hunting ground for bikers who favor Indians, the stocky American two-wheelers that roared across the landscape before their builder went out of business in 1953. Tagaris's family sold Indians for a quarter century, and the store still has boxes of original parts to prove it. Harry and his crew will restore your vintage Indian to like-new condition, even tracking down stainless-steel spokes and other rarities. But you may have to hang on: Thanks to a recent boom in the vintage-cycle market, the shop is booked up to a year ahead.

Best Place to Buy Wooden Indians
Pro Tint
1398 Wadsworth Blvd.

No, that's not a misprint: Pro Tint, which specializes in automobile- and home-window tinting, is the exclusive Denver headquarters for wooden Indians and totem poles made by Ralph Gallagher, a 68-year-old Navajo from Prescott, Arizona. Gallagher, whose work is on display at the Smithsonian, chose this unlikely setting to market his wares for a simple reason--he's a fishing buddy of Pro Tint owner Galen Foster. These gorgeous, colorful artworks are not all that expensive (they range between $150 and $300), so be the first on your block to own a Gallagher original.

Best Wood
Centennial Wood Inc.
985 S. Logan St.

Centennial Wood Company is as rough-hewn as its raw and beautiful wares, with hand-built storage shelves, the musty, sweet smell of sawdust lingering in the air and a caboose sitting out front. Inside you'll find bird's-eye maple, white pine, mahogany and red oak (a specialty), along with dozens of other domestic and imported hardwoods. Fine woodworkers will also find paneling, fancy moldings, plywood and veneers. The staff is well versed in woodlore and wisdom, and they'll mill and cut your wood to order for the asking.

Best Hardware Store
True Value General Hardware
660 S. Broadway

Use any excuse that's handy--tell your spousal unit you need to get a part for that veeblefetzer--and journey to the delightful General Hardware any Saturday morning. The prices and stock are good, but the banter is great--and it's free. The friendly wisenheimers who troll the aisles looking for lost customers are eager to b.s. (or exchange barbs) with just about anybody who comes in the door.

Best Used Tools
Charlie's 2nd Hand Store, Inc.
2227 Larimer St.

Harold and Dorothy Rosenblatt have been selling everything from claw hammers to pneumatic drills at Charlie's 2nd Hand Store for 48 years. And their well-stocked emporium of previously owned implements, now overseen by son Steve and son-in-law Ron Shiroff, can still set a handyman's heart to pounding. Operating under the longtime family motto, "We buy anything that doesn't eat," Charlie's has a dazzling array of merchandise on the shelves, a lineup that's drawn raves from the construction workers building nearby Coors Field. But don't make the mistake of the misinformed bargain hunters who, Shiroff says, call the store asking for "wedding gowns or this, that or the other. It's tools," he says. "Just tools."

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