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My Old Car Interest, circa 1966/67


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Some of my friends doubt me when I say I have been interested in old cars all my life. Perhaps started when I was 10 helping my mechanic Dad in our backyard garage in the mid 50's as he rebuilt somebody's car engine. In second year at School of Architecture (actually 4th year university) in fall 1967, we were given a 3 week project "Select anything you want as a project to conceptually design, should show your interest, and have a future possibility etc....". I found these 54 year old drawings recently stuffed in a tube.


Having a strong interest in old cars and DYI/self service, I recall seeing 2 local service stations getting rundown and for sale, back to back sorta on parallel streets. I thought "why not buy both, and merge the lots, and create a "self service old car repair/restoration facility", where people like all of us could go, take our cars, rent a bay for a few weeks etc, and "heaven for us old car guys". A gas pump operation/corner store type thing would provide some cash flow to help make proposal viable, and would keep a knowledgeable mechanic on hand for consultations. So I proposed renovating both stations and adding 2 semi-circular sets of service/repair bays focused on a central courtyard, where cars could be displayed from time to time. These are some of the felt pen drawings used for my final presentation to the team of design professors. Many of the cars sketched were owned by friends (1934 Ford, Datsun 240Z (or 1600?), and AMATI was created as a business name, I wanted something  that would be read the same from either side of the sign tower and sound a bit exotic. Aww.. the enthusiasm of youth, I'm about 21 at the time. What was I driving then you ask? That's my Corvair engine powered grey '59 Karmann Ghia at the pumps on left on main floor plan.  


Anyone interested in taking this project on!!







Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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I see you were strongly "influenced" by European sports (& racing) cars of the era with few "old" cars sprinkled in between and didn't have much regard (respect ?) toward space required for "painting and bodywork". 😉


I grew up in a society were this type of DYI center “concept" was already in active use 40+ years ago when I cut my teeth as a hobbyist in (vintage) automotive rebuilds/repairs/restorations. 


Most of us ("kids" at the time), especially city dwellers, didn't have access to our own "household" garages or workshops, so many formed small groups, i.e. chartered/registered car clubs and as such jointly leased larger industrial buildings/garages/shops, which were then evenly divided between "club members" whom each paid monthly "rent" for their "own" space, although some with more means and/or cars, could/did opt and pay for two or more spaces. 


Anyone caught doing something stupid like "un-authorized borrowing" of someone else's equipment/parts/tools or slacking too much with their monthly rent payments, etc could find their cars/parts/tools "evicted" and in some "hard cases", their a**e* kicked.


Of course, some of the biggest benefits I recall being that there was always someone nearby for advise or assistance, should any be needed, not to mention lifelong friendships that most of us still maintain and cherish, even if thousands of miles apart.


This "concept" is still quite popular and very actively used among younger car enthusiast over there and even many of my old friends still keep and/or work on their "hobby" cars in such places.

Heck, some of them now own those types of buildings/properties and lease them to younger generation car guys, just to help keep enthusiasm/flame alive.


Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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  • 4 months later...

Thanks for sharing your very well done drawings. I wish that there was a DYI auto shop available to me now. I suppose that liability concerns in a state like California pretty much rules that out. I like cars form the '60's, had a '66 and a '67 Riviera. 

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