Real Wheels: Car Room

April 19, 2013

LIMA — Car enthusiasts love to talk “car talk.” Because he knows this, Bob Montgomery, of Lima has built a room just for “car talk.”

“This is a room shared with my friends. We all have the same interests,” Montgomery said.

The room is housed in a garage, that just so happens to store Montgomery’s 1956 Chevy 210 and his 1967 Chevy Station Wagon.

Montgomery raced in his younger years, and a lot of his friends did too. He had a lot of photos stored in a dark box, in a dark closet. One day his daughter told him they needed to get those photos digitalized. She helped him with the first collage featuring his car, himself and his racing. From that collage, sprang other collages, featuring his friends, their cars and their families.

“I try not to say ‘I.’ This is for all of us,” Montgomery said.

That, however, was just a stepping stone for Montgomery. He became interested in researching past car clubs from Lima. He found plaques, photos, newspaper clippings and people that could tell him the history of these clubs. One person actually gave Montgomery his car plaque from the old days, which Montgomery has hanging from a 1932 bumper on a wall in his room.

Montgomery’s research did not end there. He decided to find out as much as he could about local racetracks. This research included race booklets, photographs and newspaper clippings. Montgomery himself raced on most of these tracks. He has photos of race drivers, such as Bill Breese, Chester Cary, Phil Steiner, Ron Adams, Gary Pahl, Jim Halker, Frank Selvaggio, Rodger McClain, Bob Hampshire as well as himself standing beside their cars or on the tracks. He has photos of the tracks themselves in the good ‘ol days, and photos depicting the end of these tracks, with the track going back to sod.

“I’m very fortunate to have done some of the things that I have done. I don’t want to forget it,” Montgomery said. “This is the real deal,” he added looking around his room.

Montgomery and his car friends meet once a month in his room, looking at the memorabilia and recalling memories of the past.

“When they come, I have as much that belongs to everybody. We sit around talking cars, enjoying the company of one another,” he said.

If Montgomery doesn’t have a photo of someone’s first car or the car they talk about the most, Montgomery goes to extremes in trying to locate it for his friends.

“It’s difficult, like looking for a treasure,” he said. “Face it, cars have done a lot for people. From the time before they could drive to now. Guys come here and share their stories and good memories. That’s what it’s all about sharing, caring, exciting and thrilling for some. Cars are only one part of the story. Going to drive-ins, driving through King Burger with your girlfriend, sitting next to them on a bench seat. None of these bucket seats you see today! You get to visit and talk about stuff. Memories are priceless. If you have the positives in your life, how fortunate are you.”

They also talk about the one that got away.

“Mine was a 1961 Chevy Bubbletop. I bought it, sold it, bought it back and sold it again,” Montgomery said.

Of course, that’s another story.

Montgomery did share the details of his 1956 Chevrolet 210. He bought it in September of 2009. He calls it a restorod, with up to date motor and transmission, air conditioning, power brakes, power steering and power seats. The conveniences of a newer car and looks like the hot rods of the past. The ‘56 was just one of many of his favorite year cars.

His love of cars started at an early age. If it didn’t have “wheels” it was not of interest to him. He always said that if it didn’t have a motor in it, on it or around it, and didn’t have a sound with a big attitude, then it wasn’t for him.

Montgomery says he was always drag racing with a muscle car of some type. He’s owned a few different ones over the years. He adds that it’s more about the camaraderie that comes with having and attending car shows these days. The people that you meet and the relationships that are built are priceless.

“What can I say? It’s all about cars, friends and heroes,” Montgomery added.

He has a neon sign that says just this in his “car room.”