A random memory
Warning: completely random reminiscence!
As a car-loving boy in the 1950s I was lucky to grow up in Manhattan. You wouldn't think a mid-sized town in the center of the US would be a center for rare cars, but it was.
Three main causes:
(1) K-State had lots of engineering students who liked strange cars. Some of them even built their own plywood sports cars.
(2) Officers from nearby Fort Riley liked to live in Manhattan. At that time the Army's main activity was in Germany, and many of the soldiers brought home interesting cars that weren't officially imported. (I remember a Messerschmidt
, a Rovin
and a Lloyd.
(3) Quite a few professors had 'old money' and could afford to indulge hobbies like classic car collecting. Judging from the people I knew, I'd guess that 1/4 of the profs had inherited wealth. One of those old-rich profs regularly drove a 1936 Cord and a 1955 Mercedes gullwing. His wife drove the kids around in a 1954 Imperial limousine.
The old-rich tendency disappeared around 1970 when tenure spread its evil claws; after that, professors had to be more like hard-charging corporate executives and less like scholar-hobbyists.