14 May 2016

Business Adventures

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a car collector and my life story has been interwoven with cars for as long as I can remember.

I learned business and sports from my mom, who was really competitive. My dad, though, was all about cars and hobbies; he wasn’t an athlete or into sports. I kind of split their worlds.

One vehicle that has really shaped my life is a 1933 Ford pickup. It was an agricultural vehicle that was delivered — and probably lived most of its life — in Benzie County, Michigan.

Dad paid $500 for that truck. It was probably worth $50, but he restored it himself in our garage. I’d stand out there with him and he’d give me tools or nuts and bolts to hold as he worked on it.

The pickup was just a vehicle we had around. It was never meant to be valuable. All of the old cars my dad brought home were just cars. He thought you could get more car for the buck that way than if you bought a new one.

One of my earliest car memories is of sitting on the bench seat of that Ford, reaching over to honk the horn and watching Dad shift gears. It was the first vehicle I ever drove on a public road. I was 11, and we were out at Glen Lake and I drove it down to the little Dairy Bar. Boy, was Mom mad at Dad.

In 1984, I started a business with that truck. Using my lawn-mowing money, I planted a 600-tree apple orchard on some land at our house. When they started yielding fruit, I was playing high school football, and I thought I was going to make a ton of money, which I did not. I played football on Friday nights, and in the fall, the farmer’s market started early Saturday. And the whole thing about selling apples at that market was to get a good stall. And to get a good stall from management, you had to drive something cool like the 1933 Ford, so I used the old truck to deliver my apples.

I have many memories of this old truck, which is also the first vintage car my oldest daughter drove. I said to her, “If you learn to drive this you can drive anything.” I’m also hoping it will be the first old car with which my other daughters — and maybe their daughters — start their own lifelong adventures.

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