11 April 2017

Car restoration heaven is for sale in Canada

The property listing calls it a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” For the right auto mechanic/restorer however, it’s more like an opportunity that could last a lifetime … and then some.

Canadian classic car enthusiast Mike Hall is selling his five-acre property in Tappen, B.C., for $1.45 million (about $1 million in American dollars), and the sale includes a lot more than a renovated home, beautiful scenery and slower pace. Located 430 miles northeast of Seattle, the property is zoned for auto salvage and comes with approximately 340 vintage cars and trucks, a 900-square-foot restoration shop, a 1,200-square-foot steel building and enough materials to build an additional 8,000 square feet of covered space.

“I started accumulating cars when I was 20,” Hall told Driving blogger Alyn Edwards. “First it was 50 cars. Then the collection grew to 100. I bought more and more. It’s easy to buy them when you’re working. It’s like an addiction. With 100 cars, 200 seemed better, and now it’s well past 300.”

Hall, 60, has traveled often during his long career as a rock scaler (removing rock from cliffs above highways to protect the cars below). Nicknamed “Rasta Blasta” — a nod to his dreadlocks and rock-blasting career — he often tows cars home. But when Hall’s collection grew to 200 cars, his wife declared there was no more room on the farm. So Hall bought the five-acre parcel that he is now selling. The cars are right at home there; the property is next door to the White Post Auto Museum.

“I see a rusty piece of sh** and I see what it could be,” Hall told Jalopnik. “That’s a dangerous disease.”

According to Driving, Hall recently agreed to a new five-year rock-scaling contract, so he won’t be retiring anytime soon … meaning he’ll have even less time to tinker than he does now. “I’m 60 years old and won’t live long enough to restore these cars,” he said. Hall values the vehicles at $500 to $35,000 (Canadian) apiece. They range in age from a 1926 Chevrolet roadster pickup to five 1991 Chevrolet Firefly convertibles. There’s plenty of Mopar muscle — Dodge Coronets and Super Bees are among the massive inventory. Hall also has a 1966 Pontiac Beaumont SD with V-8 engine and four-speed transmission, one of only 45 built, and hundreds more vehicles ... some run, some don’t. Hall insists he won’t piece them out. “I don’t sell parts, only project cars.”

A year ago, Hall listed the property and vehicles for $1.19 million, but he has added 40 cars since. He admits there hasn’t been as much interest as he expected, but Century 21 listing agent Hudson Purba remains optimistic. “It’s not just purchasing the cars, land and buildings,” Purba said. “It is about a lifetime opportunity to spend time doing what people like: restoring vintage cars and living in one of the most beautiful parts of B.C. That value is more than the asking price.”

Hall certainly sees it. In fact, he told Driving he still has second thoughts and constantly fights the urge to keep buying — sometimes unsuccessfully. “I’m still buying cars. It’s like a sickness that I’m not getting over.”

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