Classic Car Memories

$100 Monthly Winner

We would like to read your stories about cars, trucks and motorcycles you have owned in the past, or maybe still own. We want to know the make, model and year.

For example: 1939 Buick

A. H. is used to seeing classic cars come and go at her house because her husband, J.B., enjoys collecting. One day, as she looked out the window toward the garage, she saw a light yellow 1939 Buick that her husband had just brought home. In an instant, she knew that this car was different from the rest, and she went immediately to the garage for a closer look. The reason the Buick caught her attention was because earlier that same day, A. had received a box of old family photos from her cousin. Many were ones she had not seen before, including two showing her mother, as a young wife, standing in front of the family’s 1939 Buick sedan. Except the color, it was nearly identical to the car that J.B. had just purchased. The picture was taken before Anne was born. As if by magic, the car and the photos arrived at the her house on the same day. “It was such a treasure to receive old photos I’ve never seen,” she said. “My dad loved cars, and he always had a new one.” The Buick is but one of many cars in J.B.’s collection. Most of them are Fords, including several Model As, but he has one Chevy and a couple of Chrysler products. “I can’t tell you why I like Fords so much,” he said. “I just do.” Looking over his collection is like walking down memory lane. The pickups, sedans and sports cars span decades. One of his oldest is a 1913 Metz. J.B. ticks off the details of each vehicle as he walks through his garage. Some are restored, but many are still original, which is what he prefers. I suspect one reason why J.B. likes Model As so much is because his father, bought one for $75 in 1959. It has particularly powerful magnetism for J.B. because he still has it. “In 1960, my brother and I painted it. After that, dad drove it perhaps 100 miles, and then he put it in the garage, where it sat.” Years later, he decided to have it restored. “I tried to have it constructed exactly as it was,” he said. “I even saved all of the original upholstery to show what the car was compared to what it is now.” An appreciation of automotive history is evident in the H’s car collection, but the family connection to a couple of their cars makes it even more special. 1917 Detroit Electric Hybrid gasoline/electric cars are all the rage these days, but alternative fuel vehicles are almost as old as the automobile itself. M. 1917 Detroit Electric is an excellent example. It has a “Cinderella” coach aluminum body, curved glass windows and seats that look like they belong in a parlor. The Detroit Electric was built from 1907 to 1939 by the Anderson Carriage Company, Anderson Electric Car Co., Detroit Electric Car Co., and the Detroit Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Company. More than 12,300 Detroit Electric Cars and 535 trucks were built. Somewhat more than 100 are still in existence. M’s car sat in the Smokey Mountain Car Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN, for 40 years until it was sold at auction. M bought the car last year in a non-running condition. He had to restore many of the parts. Sixteen six volt batteries provide 96 volts of power. He made one bow to modernism. He has a battery charger on the vehicle so that he can recharge it anywhere. The interior is tall and spacious. A gray cloth bench faces forward while two small swiveling seats are mounted near the windshield. Two tillers and a brake pedal operate the car. The large tiller is for steering and the small one operates the electric controller. Top speed is about 35 mph and a range with a full battery is 80 miles.