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Auto writer Ralph Stein

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Ralph Stein also wrote a column of vintage cars for Motor Trend. I remember particularly good article he wrote about buying a Rolls Royce located in Great Britain and having it delivered to the USA. His articles would have been in the magazines from the late 1960s.

Lew Bachman

1957 T-Bird

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Ralph Stein was a huge influence on my early car years. His story about the Welch was great.


I've told this story before, in 1976 I was looking at buying a collection of cars in North Louisiana, and in the group was a 1910 Hupmobile.  Stein had featured a Model 20 in his "Runabouts and Roadsters" book.


I was able to obtain his phone number, called him and had a nice old car discussion, and asked him some questions about the Hupp he featured, which I believe is the one in the Crawford museum (with a lot of incorrect features, by the way).


He said they were fun little cars, but why didn't I go ahead and just buy his Welch? He went on to say he was asking $30K for it.


A decade later, that money would have been no problem for me, but in 1976 I'd just paid $28K for a house, so no way I could afford it.  My understanding is that he sold the Welch a year or so later for more than what he quoted me.

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Ken Purdy was an excellent automotive writer, and I have found many of his stories in True, Argosy, and even Playboy magazine (it was the August, 1967 issue where I learned of some of the more exotic makes I'd never heard of before, like Bizzarrini.)  Unfortunately, he came down with some kind of chronic illness that left him in constant pain, and he decided to terminate his life early by his own hand in 1972.   I recall it was in a 1973 Automobile Quarterly where there was a one-page tribute to him.


Another well-written autobiography was 'The Longest Auto Race' by George Schuster in 1965; his personal account being part of the Thomas Flyer team in the 1908 New York-to-Paris race.


And no one tested and described new cars the way Tom McCahill did in Mechanix Illustrated!!!



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