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August 4, 2012

Classic collectors

Antique-car owners share advice, love of vehicles

By Nelson Bradshaw
Contributing Writer On summer weekends holidays, great-looking, restored old cars can be seen on the highways at frequent car shows around the area. The owners put their classic beauties where assigned make themselves available to answer the questions of colleagues, judges an admiring public. Judges announce winners in different categories by the end of the day. In the larger sense, though, they are all winners, justly proud of their work Some of these classic-car collectors, including Donald Todd, Edward Maylock Danny Herzberg, gathered at the Rotary Club Car Show at the Cyr Center in Stamford on July 1. Todd was 21 years old when he ordered his 1967 Corvette right from the factory. He has had the car for 45 years now has kept it in great shape all the while. Todd explained his choice of Corvette: "I used to watch 'Route 66,' a TV program about two guys who drove around America in their Corvette. So, I fell in love with Corvettes." Todd said that people considering buying restored cars should proceed with caution, especially if they are not mechanically skilled. The cars are expensive, repairs can be, too. A buyer new to the game should bring along an experienced friend when shopping around for a vehicle. Sometimes sellers use paint jobs to cover flaws in cars. An experienced buyer might spot that ruse, Todd said. He also suggested joining a classic car club to learn the ropes. Maylock owns a 1965 Mustang convertible. He was 21 when he bought it in 1983. But, the Mustang is not his only classic car. He has 10 of them, seven restored already three in progress. Having invested a big chunk of his life's energy into restoring cars, he advised those who would be newcomers to the field to take it slow easy. "Join a club get to be known," he said. "Think about all the hours it takes to do this. It costs a lot, too. I spent a year working on the Mustang. I had a full-time job while doing it." Herzberg owns a black 1947 Cadillac used by Juan Eva Peron in its early years. Herzberg got it from a man who had it in his possession for a while, but had no idea of its historical significance. "It was being used to take his kids back forth to the Jersey shore, with their bikes in the back seat," Herzberg said with a laugh. Several features piqued Herzberg's curiosity. The car has no heating system, which suggested it was made for use in Latin America rather than the United States. The side windows are bulletproof, not much protection on a convertible. The car also has presidential horns searchlights on the front. Herzberg sent email inquiries to the governments of Venezuela, Paraguay Argentina. "Argentina sent a plaque certifying that it was used by Juan Eva Peron. When Juan Peron went into exile in the Dominican Republic, the car was registered to the brother of Generalissimo Trujillo I have those papers, too. I should get another plaque for that." Even when there is no story connected to them, Herzberg said, he loves old-style Cadillacs. "Today every car looks the same," he said. "But this Cadillac makes a statement. I love ventrills from the '40s '50s. That is what I collect." Larry Fort Terry Forsyth attended a car show at the New York Power Authority Blenheim-Gilboa Power Plant on July 15. Fort has a 1923 "T-Bucket" Ford. To rebuild his T-Bucket, Fort used parts from a Chevy camper, an Oldsmobile, a Mark Seven Lincoln, as well as other vehicles. He had advice for new people in the game: "Get some friends to help you." "You may want to start with a car that's mostly complete," he also suggested. "The better shape your car is in when you start, the better it will be at the end." Forsyth, owner of a 1939 Dodge truck, has a vivid memory of working with an old truck over the summers of his childhood. "When I was growing up, we had a 1939 Chevy pickup truck in our fields," Forsyth said. "I drove it. One year, while us kids were away at school, my parents sold it. Then, a few years ago, we found this Dodge truck for sale bought it. It comes in handy over the summers." There are some striking similarities between classic-car people. They all put in a lot of hours working on their cars, which are more to them than sources of beauty transportation. These vehicles take them back in time to a place they loved, or a person who taught them how to work to be proud of it. Newcomers are welcome, but advised to make friends, learn a lot of mechanical skills, join car clubs, make friends who can help them make good decisions when buying classic cars.

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