Who Am I?

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        I guess I should start with who I am and why I am doing this.  My name is Tom Wilson and I purchased a Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe 2+2 from a neighbor in 2001.  At that time, the car had not run in over 10 years and since then the longest trip it has taken was the 2 mile tow truck ride it took to get to my house.  Through this blog, I plan to document my journey towards getting this car back on the road where it belongs.

        I grew up loving cars.  Having been raised in West Los Angeles, I have had the opportunity to see wonderful examples of automotive exotica on the local streets and even in High School parking lots!  The first Ferrari to enter my life was that of Keith Richards, who moved into the neighborhood with his navy blue Dino.  I think I was more impressed by the car than the rock star!  My dirt biking friends and I hung out at Steve McQueen's house, so were always looking at his cars (though honestly, at that time I was more interested in his motorcycles).  Soon after that, Road & Track showed the new Berlinetta Boxer (yellow over black) and I knew it was only Ferraris for me.

        My biggest influence, however came from outside the Ferrari world.  When I was young, my minister, Paul Woudenberg was a restorer of Rolls Royce and Model A Fords.  Some of you may know him as the announcer at the Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance for the last 25 years or so and the author of the Illustrated Rolls-Royce, Bentley Buyer's Guide.  My brothers and I loved riding in his cars and talking with his neighbor, Phil Hill, about the cars in their garages.

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        Paul shaped my life in many ways; only one of which was in the area of cars.  I will always remember him showing me the difference between a real Rolls Royce Grill and a fake.  His passion for this piece of metal was infectious and I was intrigued by the idea that a single person lovingly made and "tuned" each vane, unlike the machine stamped vehicles that my family drove.  Paul instilled in me a lifelong appreciation for things that were built significantly better than they had to be.  One couldn't ask for a better mentor than that.

        Throughout the years, I have worked on my own cars to some extent, but have never had the opportunity to do a restoration.  I assumed I would start this hobby with something less than a Ferrari, but the opportunity arose so I grabbed it.  A block party conversation with a neighbor's mother led to my discovery of GTE # 4247 on blocks in her back yard.  Tom Shaughnessy had been nosing around, but she wanted to find someone who loved the car as much as her husband had.  She found me and I don't think that I have disappointed her!   

        My first call after finding the car was to Paul, who told me the car was not an easy introduction to this hobby, but if I did my homework and listened to others, I could do it. An internet search for GTE's lead me to www.tomyang.org, a wonderful site devoted to the restoration of vintage Ferraris.  Tom thought I could do it as well, so a 1963 Ferrari moved into my garage.  Since then, I have been absorbing information from Tom's site, reading anything I can get my hands on, meeting with other restorers and fixing some of the simpler things on the car.

        I am now at a place in my life where I feel I should begin the restoration in earnest.  I will photograph and write about my progress as I go along and will ask for advice frequently.  By doing so,  I hope to not only create a device for me to remember how to put the darn thing back together again, but also to create a tool that will help other people to restore their own cars. 

        So now, I guess it's time to jump into the pool and see if I can swim!


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This page contains a single entry by Tom published on September 15, 2007 5:23 PM.

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