The car hobby is a great world but one of its biggest enemies is found in the demographics.
There are a fair number of car guys in their 70s and 80s who worked hard to get to a point where they are comfortably retired so they have the time and the resources to hit the car show circuit at a very leisurely pace.
Every car club on the planet faces this problem but over the last few weeks the local car community lost two owners who define the term “car guy”.
Don Durand and Nelson Smith were totally committed to the world of old iron. I met both of them early in the MyStarCollectorCar days so they both contributed to the then-meager inventory of MSCC owner’s stories.
Nelson was a quiet guy and he had a few questions—he wanted to know why I wanted his story and where it was going to appear. This was almost ten years ago so the Internet was still growing but it hadn’t expanded to the point where a guy like Nelson was a daily user. He was pretty happy with paper magazines so Nelson knew he’d have to get someone to show him the story when it did get released.
Despite that obvious limitation, Nelson turned out to be a big fan of MyStarCollectorCar and he would steer me to a story if he thought it would make the grade as a good MSCC owner’s narrative.
There was another Nelson story that was never done—it was on the schedule but it was never told. He drove his beloved old Chrysler to a lot of shows and used it for a lot of daily errands but unfortunately this car flew under the MSCC radar.
Nelson was definitely proud of the Chrysler but he did give MSCC this story about his ’59 Ford—the same car the Chrysler replaced.
Don Durand came into the MSCC world a year later than Nelson. I’d seen his ’68 Chrysler convertible at a few shows but never really talked to him until 2010 when I cornered him about his big C-body convertible. Don was another quiet guy but like Nelson, he was really friendly.
Don was also a detail guy so he had the full story behind his Chrysler—it was an easy story to write.Here’s the MSCC link to his Chrysler story.
He told me about his other car (at the time) and it was another great story because he’d bought it brand new. Don was so proud of this car he went on TV to talk about it rather than paraphrase him you can read about his ’62 Pontiac in this MSCC story or you can see him tell it in this video.
Don brought a scrapbook along to many shows and it was incredible. He remembered every detail about every car he ever owned plus he took pictures because he was a great photographer. I thought this was a slam dunk MSCC story so I did this Don “auto” biography because it was a story that needed to be told. Here’s the MSCC link to Don’s car history—it’s a great read.
Don was fearless in his Chrysler because he’d hit the freeway in rush hour traffic and not even blink. His only condition was that he didn’t like to expose his old iron to bad weather so if it got ugly he was the first guy to leave.
The old car world is a close one so I looked forward to seeing these guys after a long winter but unfortunately we’re going to be down two class acts in 2018.
By: Jerry Sutherland
Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post, Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.
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