Where They All Came From
Living in Southern California during the nineteen-forties and building a hot rod out of a 1936 Ford Sedan, I fancifully developed a love of old classic cars. I bought a black 1925 Auburn limousine for $18.00 that my buddies and I drove to the football games, dressing like gangsters and carrying beer and wine past the security guards hidden in a violin case.
I recall finding a magnificent old 1915 Renault taxi cab in the back of a garage and begging my Dad to loan me the eighty dollars for the owner who wanted to sell it. My Dad thought I was crazy and refused to loan me the money. In another instance, I tried to buy a beautiful Pierce Arrow Limousine, but the owner wanted more than I could afford and took it out to his ranch where he cut off the rear end and used the magnificent old car as a pickup truck, an occurrence that was quite common in the old days.
Years later, when driving through the Colorado countryside, my wife, Barbara, said, "Look! There's a 1946 Ford club coupe like I had in high school." The car was sitting in the front of a farm with a For Sale sign on it. I paid $400 for it and drove it home, where my son and I restored it in the street. This was the first car of my collection. It still sits among the more exceptional additions that came through the years.
After the Dirk Pitt books became bestsellers, I could afford to buy the more exotic examples of classic autos. I purchased a 1955 Rolls Royce that my wife liked because it was new the year we were married. Then came a 1926 Hispano Suiza cabriolet that I bought at my first classic car auction after I had three martinis. As more cars were added I had to buy a warehouse. One side holds the classics while the other displays fifties convertibles.
When I was saddened by not being able to buy the beautiful Pierce Arrow and saving it from mutilation, I never dreamed that one day I would own over 100 exotic cars just like it, and saved fifty by having them restored to the condition they were in when sitting on the dealership floor.
Someday they'll be looked upon as mechanical masterworks of art and receive the admiration that is given to the Van Goghs and Rembrandts.