Saturday, September 10, 2016

Collecting cool stuff is so much easier than having a bunch of cars. And this stuff doesn't leak oil in your driveway.

My wife bought me this painting a few years back for my birthday. I saw it in a local consignment store and was attracted to the dark moody appearance. I don't know what the artist was trying to convey but I thought it was whimsical that the two little bunnies are hiding in the camp when it looks like an entire army was out in the woods looking for them.

This is a print of an iconic image. These steel workers enjoying their lunch back in 1932. These were real brave men that had to work hard for a living. They were probably happy to have a job during the Depression. My maternal Grandfather worked for the railroad as part of a section crew in the Bay Area during that time

This is especially appropriate this week. I found this large snow globe displaying key features of the New York City skyline. Of course it includes the World Trade Center towers and a subway train runs along the base. I found this at the Alameda Antique Fair, a couple of years ago. It was brand new, in the original box, originally sold by Saks Fifth Ave. We should never forget.

This book is one of my most prized possessions. "Boy gets Car". Written by Henry Gregor Felsen in 1960. Felsen wrote a series of teen hero car books in the late Fifties. "Hot Rod", "Street Rod"," Crash Club" are some of the best known titles. In most of these cautionary tales the car loving teen ends up in a lot of serious trouble. "Boy gets Car" is a more innocent story. For me this books distills the essence of the love that I and other teen aged boys developed for tired old cars. At least this one has a happy ending.

Luckily, I found a copy of this edition.
I first discovered Felsen's books when I was in third or fourth grade. A paperback copy of "Hot Rod" was available in our classroom lending library.  I read that book and was amazed. This story gave witness to the dreams of escape and adventure that I was craving along with Bud Crayne, the young hero.

A few years back Felsen's daughter Holly, was trying to arrange a new printing of "Hot Rod". In order to gauge the audience for the new release, she posted a message on the H.A.M.B. (Hokey Ass Message Board), a well known site for old school car nuts. She was asking for pre-sales to ensure that the book could get printed. She was overwhelmed by the response. Not only were sales brisk but so many car guys posted how they were touched and affected by her Father's books. She had no idea of how important her Dad's writing was to a generation of gearheads and how these stories were still vividly remembered and cherished. Felsen's books are our dirty fingernail literature.

Of course I ordered my copy. 
Another huge influence on my early mechanical thinking is the classic tale of "Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel", written in 1939.  In this story,  Mike has a proud history of achievement built in partnership with his trusty shovel, Mary Anne. After a career of success this team is relegated to the sidelines, all the jobs are going to the new diesel shovels. They are dejected but unbroken. They accept the challenge to dig the foundation of a new town hall in just one day. It's a close race but they accomplish their goal. This story really means a lot to me, and I find myself misting up a bit just writing this. I know that there is an allegory important to me contained in this story.

To me this story defines the bond between man and machine. Especially in the terms of the  Hot Rodder/Old Car guy. We see the value in what is considered obsolete, old machinery that has a proud history and is fully capable of delivering respectable performance today. But it depends upon a caring heart and a capable committed hand. I found this cool little Mike Mulligan alarm clock.

James Dean? We all like old cars because we all wish were that cool. When we're behind the wheel we can pretend!

Isn't this beautiful. This is a radio lamp from the late 1920's, a gift from my youngest Daughter. I had a couple of early floor console radios from this era that would fit this period exactly. I decided to go with the '40s radio/phonograph and let these old radios go. You can't keep everything.

Gotta have Art  Deco. I also managed to sneak a Jaguar in here! That's a brochure displaying the 1991 Jaguar line up.

Her's a close up of the card my Wife made for my 54th. Birthday. I am very lucky to have such a very
talented family. Yes, that is an old Jaguar oil fill cap.

Well, it looks like it's going to take one more installment to finish up with my collectibles. After that it's time to get back in the garage.

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