Shelburne resident Don Batchelor currently owns a 68 Ford Galaxy, but from 1959-1981, this retired now 70 year old mechanic has owned over 120 cars in his lifetime and he has the stories to go along with them.
Classic Car owners have a rich life filled with experience and a secret kind of joy within themselves producing addictive adrenaline every time they find that next project, deal, adventure, never knowing what will cross their path next.
Batchelor knows this to be true and admits, “The whole thing is addictive and it gets into your blood and you just can’t leave’m alone!”
Batchelor regrets selling a few of the cars he’s owned over the years. “I wish I had kept my 28 Model A Ford that I bought for $18.50, and my 35 Ford that I picked up for $50.00. People today can’t believe these things happened. There weren’t as many regulations back then. See, I’d fix it up then I’d be on to my next project.”
With no pun intended there is always wheeling and dealing going on in a classic car lover’s world and just how did Batchelor acquire a 58 Meteor? He swapped a table top record player for it of course!
“In 1962 I working at the Dundalk Garage when a young fella came in with a 58 Meteor he had run off the road, bending the front wheel. He was actually angry with his car so I made a deal with him when he noticed I had a table top record player he liked. He walked away carrying the record player and I got a car!”said Batchelor.
Batchelor repaired the car and later sold it for $150.00!
And the fond memories don’t stop there, Batchelor continues, “ After I was married, I found we needed a car so because money was tight I bought a 1955 Ford for $5 with no motor in it. I went to the auto wreckers and got a 6 cylinder motor for $10, took it home, put it together and we drove that car for 6 months”, said Batchelor proudly proving how innovative and creative young men had to be back in the day when money was scarce.
Batchelor has so many stories he is working on a book and has documented every car he has ever owned. He did share one last tale regarding the porcelain gas sign he now has featured in his garage.
“I was a young man when my uncle sold some property where he had a log house sugar shack. I went to pick up some wood for him and noticed this big sign just mounted on the back of a door. I thought it was interesting and I brought it home,” Batchelor chuckles at the memory, “Come to find out my uncle was very angry I did this because he was using the sign to bar the doors closed in an attempt to keep porcupines of all things out of the sugar shack!”
Classic car lovers will tell you the next great find can be found just about anywhere so you have to keep your witts about you. Happily rescued, Batchelor purchased the sign from his uncle and did indeed return to the sugar shack and found a different more appropriate solution to the door problem, after all, you just can’t have porcupines getting into the sugar shack now can you?!
Written by Alex Sher