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PreWar Cars of Distinction == Hobby Legends


1937hd45

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There were several recent threads that got me thinking about the first cars that were collected by the founders of our hobby. I've been in the hobby for 48 years now and can remember many cars that were in The Great Collections, Melton, Pollock, Clark, Harrah, Waterman,Peck and others. They were the lucky guys that found the cars in their original carriage houses, garages or barns. To me they have a certain look, high end or unique features, best of the best. Some carry a 50 year old restoration today, or have been rerestored to todays level of 400 point perfection. If you were to give this group of cars a name what would it be? exHarrah, exPeck is an often read tag for some cars but I think they desreve something better. Many of the cars I'm thinking of were in the above collections and moved to others. Peck, Waterman and Clark cars went to Harrah's and many are now in private hands after the auctions. I just enjoy tracing the history of ownership of these cars, open any Ralph Stein book and ask yourself were those cars are now.

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Having an exPollard car would be very special, but they were not out and about in the hobby 50 years ago. If you thumb through a 50 year old issue of Antique Automobile how many of those cars are still in the hobby, were are they? I don't know about the Jack Passey cars, but did tour the Bothwell collection years ago, I believe the family still has most of the cars. The 45-90 Stearns that went to Harrahs and was fully restored is the type of car I'm thinking of. It is now in a fine brass car collection on the West Coast, a car that has spent more of its life in a collection than not.

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Guest Jim Dillon

Bob, I beg to differ with you on whether Barney Pollard's cars were out and about 50 years ago. My grandfather was very active starting in the forties and had numerous cars at many of the meets, and not just the local ones. I have the original signed copy from Peter Helck in his book the Checkered Flag wherein he wrote "To Barney Pollard-the man on the first Glidden Revival in 1946 who remembered history and most thoughtfully tendered a floral tribute to the pioneer who started the whole thing in 1904, Mr Charles J. Glidden-Cordially Peter Helck."

That was the same year that The Saturday Evening Post (Issue Vol.219 No.4 July 27, 1946) wrote an article on my grandfather titled "Meet Mister Jalopy". The subheading was "King of the old car bugs, Barney J Pollard is perhaps the world's biggest collector of antique automobiles...". As the article points out he may have had 300 cars although the article says that number was conservative and I also believe that number was very conservative. In those days my grandfather used to get together with the early members of the VMCCA and he was president of the VMCCA in 1950. There were at least a dozen cars that he regularly drove then and had a number of others that were capable of touring as well.

If you ever attended the old car festival at Greenfield Village during the fifties and sixties they rightfully would point out my grandfather (when he was walking around the judging field) was one of the individuals that helped in getting it all started. I attended my first car show at nine months old in 1951 and can tell you for a fact that we rarely ever took just one car to any show.

All the collections you mention were amazing and for the most part all were good friends as I have been told. All of those individuals collected and drove their cars in the same manner as my grandfather. Each of those collections had fabulous cars and certain people may have liked George Waterman's cars more than James Meltons or Austie Clark's cars or vice-versa but much of that is personal preference. They all had a bunch of great cars. -Jim

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Jim, I've been known to leave out facts or people just to get people talking, so glad you are on this Foram as well. When you start your Antique Automobile Feature could you please tell the Barney Pollard-Henry Ford story? I thought that was one of the best payback stories I ever read. best wishes for 2009. Bob

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