Lost in the Fifties
Carol Zarudenec Smith for local2 sault ste. marie
December 8th, 2012 at 1:22pm | Last Updated at 2:29pm
Everywhere you look there are several wonderful pieces to enjoy; lots of old tin trucks and cars plus old cap pistols and leather holsters; memories of his childhood. He has posters and photos of Betty Boop, Happy Days, I Love Lucy, John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Bob says he’s stuck in the fifties. He loves the music, the TV shows, the movie stars, of course the cars and the simpler time of growing up in that era.
All kinds of things from the fifties have their special place in this room and around his house including a sign that says, “Fifties Forever.”
His basement is full of nostalgic items from a five cent parking meter, a glass table covered with classic model cars, to gas pumps.
His favourite recent finds are a Texaco tanker and fire truck that he bought from e-bay, however, most of his purchases are from travelling around to find just the right thing to add to his enormous collection.
There are replica models of the black ’55 Chevy and ’32 Ford Deuce Coupe (yellow hot rod) from American Graffitti with a sign that says, “Where were you in ‘62?”On display are shelves and shelves of classic model cars and trucks and Harley Davidson beer cans.
His wallpaper border is of Coca Cola bottles with their trademark name. As Bob says, “I have tons of memorabilia.” The main attraction is Bob’s 50s hot rod bar. This bar is full of shelves stocked with glass wear and mugs pertaining to old vehicles. Coke and Route US 66 napkin dispensers sit on his bar. He has a mini juke box like the kind you played as a teenager in the Princess Grill along with a big black pay phone hanging on the wall next to the bar. Remember making a call for a dime? Car name insignias BelAir, MonteCarlo, Mustang etc are attached around his wooden bar for decoration. He even has Chevy emblem mini lights around the top of his bar. Many things were special finds on road trips, mostly at swap meets in Canada and the United States. I have never seen anything like it!
Steering wheels and license plates from old cars cover part of another wall. Mini floor model juke boxes, Harley Davidson and 7-UP signs can also be seen as I looked around. His collection not only consists of all these remarkable things but he also has the dash of a 1951 Dodge hanging on another wall. Tail lights, both round and square, from various old cars circumvent the ceiling of his room. Over here is a filled glass coke bottle. Over there is a speaker from a drive-in movie pole.
Stationed here and there are items from old gas stations like a metal Texaco Gas Pump, a Coca Cola glass bottle dispenser, a metal Prestone anti-freeze thermometer, air dispensers, original full cans of STP Oil (a donation from a friend) and a Harley Davidson Gas Pump. Another of his wonderful friends made him a wooden 1933 Chevy Coupe. That will always have special meaning. It has taken years to fill his Coca Cola room but Bob enjoys every treasure he found. I think I could spend a week in this room and not see everything it holds. It is totally awesome!
In his front porch/sitting room is the wall of death; a reminder of all the vehicles he sold with a little regret I‘m sure. A green John Deere push pedal tractor has its own special spot. A glass display case features a replica of every Canadian Tire delivery truck ever made. Bob is especially proud of that collection as he used to work for Canadian Tire when it was located on Queen Street and the Service Department on King Street. "King Street was just the back enterance to the main store. It housed the tire shop on one side and the repair shop on the other side. Cliff Taylor ran the tire shop. He's now the owner of Total Tire on Bruce Street" states Bob.
Drinking glasses with antique cars on them hold a prominent place in a wire rack.
He also has a few push peddle cars; one he restored and one he left original that he is proud to own. From what I can tell, anything that tickles his fancy, he gets. He is fortunate to have a very understanding wife, Eunice, who also shares his enthusiasm for his rare collection.
Bob is also a unique crafter using headlight pots to make clocks. One of them has even found a home in New Orleans. It’s a nice extra hobby. Makes me wonder where he finds the time to do this with going to swap meets, attending Barrett Jackson’s car auction in Phoenix, Arizona last year, attending car shows during the summer plus every winter you’ll find him working on his latest project. He just completed a 1969 Camaro SS that he’s very pleased with. This winter he’s restoring a 1967 Camaro RS-SS. So as you can see, Bob is what he and others call him, “Car Crazy” (whether it’s a toy or life-size) but he’s happy and wouldn’t change a thing.