Conversations With People We Value #552024-06-20T19:37:51+00:00

Cars We Love & Who We Are

More than the polished parts and hard to find pieces, the special interest vehicles people collect embody the character of each owner. “Cars We Love & Who We Are” profiles individual special interest vehicles and the proud owner committed to its preservation.

Conversations with People We Value

Talking with skilled professionals who support our passion for collectible automobiles.

Roads We Remember

Some roads discovered far from home reward us with a once in a lifetime driving experience. Others are old friends revisited to elevate our spirits and celebrate the joy of life behind the wheel.

Conversations With People We Value #55

So the friendly hostess at the Tom Quick Inn in Milford, PA says, “Oh yes, three blocks down, turn right and go a short ways. It’ll be on your left. Mr. Helms sells all kinds of real old cars there.” Her words possessed a genial warmth that clearly communicated this man’s position as a long time and respected member of the community.

With my penchant for exploring blue highways and back roads, a “Sure do” response when asking local folk about knowing any interesting neighborhood car people fires the passion I possess for the car culture and, certainly demands investigation.

Meet Mr. “T,” Dave Helms, a life-long vintage Ford enthusiast and the go-to guy for Germans looking to buy a Model T.

This Mr. “T” Sells 100-year Old Fords to German Car Enthusiasts

Dave Helms with his T Roadster pick-up

In a split second, mid-20th century memories of gas stations from my youth rushed to mind. In pulling into Dave Helms’ Gulf station in Milford, PA, I had crossed over the iconic pressurized black air hose of yesteryear. Its analog age purpose, to trigger a bell alerting a pump jockey that a new customer had pulled in. That bell alert, once a ubiquitous element of Americana, now found itself scarcer than a red, crank “Tireflator” dispensing free air.

Finding a space to park, I pulled up alongside a 1918 Ford Model T Runabout. Apparently in fighting trim, it appeared ready to confidently sputter down the country lane bordering the station.

Inside Dave’s Office

The station’s front glass door hung open propped by a kitchen chair. Positioned to its right stood the cage housing Dave’s prize chicken, Henrietta. I breezed through the open doorway. Henrietta a champion egg layer, pecking for food on her cage floor, seemed nonplussed by any human foot traffic. Through the door and no more than three steps in, I found myself immersed in a living archive recalling 100-years of American car culture.

Clean and organized though festooned with black and white photos of family and yesterday, the office of Helm’s Service Station and Antique Autos clearly reflected the man who built it all, Dave Helms. A spry 75-years of age, Dave’s workday at first appeared to me to alternate between doing paper work at his organized desk, chatting with his […]

By |June 20th, 2024|0 Comments

Conversations With People We Value #54

A passionate car guy with a generous heart, my friend Bob never can seem capable of saying “no” when a friend needs a hand. Though he may not admit to it, I feel comfortable saying that Bob brings a wealth of knowledge and savvy to the table thanks to decades in automotive public relations, marketing and wrenching as well as years as a respected concours judge. Recently a friend reached out to Bob for help in creating an online listing for a vintage Jaguar. Being comfortable with the process as Bob had listed other cars before, he dove right in. Within 4 weeks of posting the ad on Hemmings Auctions the Jaguar had sold…but on eBay. Unfortunately Bob had never listed the car on eBay.

Bob’s distressing experience provides a painful cautionary tale for online sellers and buyers alike.


When Car Rustlers Stalk eBay, What Does eBay Do?

Bogus Jaguar Mark V listing on eBay

Striking in its subtle two-tone grey livery, this 1950 Jaguar Mark V Drophead Coupe did not project the conventional vintage Jaguar image of the lithe 2-seat English sports car proudly boasting seductive feminine curves that cloaked the power and speed of a jungle cat. Not so this Jaguar. Stately and elegant with seating for five, this finely finished Mark V screamed (Assuming one can scream with quiet dignity) high end motoring luxury ideally suited for cruising along country lanes in transit from the townhouse to the country manor. Powered by a 6-cylinder engine of pre-WWII design delivering 126 horsepower, its performance, though not spirited, could be described as adequate.

The Mark V’s handsome upright stature draped with voluptuous fender lines and rear fender spats would fit easily among spirits of ecstasy and flying Bs of the period. Its handsome presence would attract more than a few admiring glances.

Its three-position drophead convertible design allowed the car  to be driven with the top fully erect, fully stowed or partially retracted to expose the front seats like a sedanca. A lavishly trimmed interior featured a full gauge array set in a highly polished burled walnut dash. As well, burled walnut trim adorned a warm and inviting interior bedecked in rich Connolly leather and deep wool Wilton carpet.

Treasured for many years, the time had come for the Mark V to change hands.

Charged with the responsibility […]

By |June 6th, 2024|8 Comments

Roads We Remember #11

Like a tour in a time machine through a beautiful natural yesterday, traversing the Blue Ridge Mountains and its foothills presents a calming feast for all the senses. Years back Elaine and I favored including the Blue Ridge Mountains as part of our backroad adventures. Some years later, during Covid, Elaine had the opportunity to acquire a secluded deep forest retreat in Nelson County, VA just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway. It presented a once in a lifetime chance to stop and stay for a while rather than grabbing the fleeting glimpses captured during past drive-bys. Located on 16 wooded and isolated acres it promised a full immersion into the magnificent beauty of the Blue Ridge. Three years later we love the Blue Ridge and we are leaving. Why?

Loving but Leaving the Blue Ridge

Loading up and leaving

Rattling down, the rolling cargo door slammed shut triggering the clatter of the self latching lever. With a reassuring snap a keyed master lock secured the load. Packed to the gills the U-Haul box truck stood ready for the journey home.

Bird songs filled the air. The surrounding paulownia trees brimmed with pale violet springtime blossoms. Nestled amidst the beauty, the U-Haul truck packed with belongings presented a seeming anomaly in this bucolic wonderland destination. Counter intuitively to what one might expect, Elaine and I had opted out of this woodland adventure in paradise that resides in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

At the Blue Ridge Parkway’s northern origin the picturesque 105-mile Virginia Skyline Drive concludes at Rockfish Gap. There it tees-up the Parkway’s 485 miles of glorious natural beauty, rich vast forested expanses and breathtaking views. Situated at the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway resides America’s most visited natural destination, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rockfish Gap overlooks the rushing Buffalo Creek that traverses the soon-to-be sold 16 acre spread. It lies no more than 10 minutes from where the Blue Ridge Parkway and Virginia Skyline meet.

View from Rockfish Gap

A great place to be a horse

Gravel crackled under the heavily laden truck as it eased forward in a slow descent from the elevated perch where the recently sold home sat. In the […]

By |May 18th, 2024|8 Comments
Drivin' News Quiz
Here’s this week’s question:
What modern day car brand started as the Swallow Sidecar Company?

Answer to last week’s question:
A rumble seat is a folding seat in a pre-war car located where the trunk is normally found.

About the blogger

Burton Hall has written for an automotive client list that includes Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Maserati, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Peugeot and Volvo. He has also written for The Washington Post, AutoWeek, Corvette Monthly, Jaguar Magazine, BMW Magazine,, Hagerty Magazine and numerous auto restoration buff books.

He is a member of the Society of Automotive Historians and the Historic Vehicle Association.

As a classic car hobbyist, He owns a 1961 Corvette that he bought in 1967, a 1953 Jaguar XK120MC Drophead Coupe that he restored after finding it in a barn in 1980, an original 1953 Golden Anniversary Ford F100 pickup that he purchased from the original owner and a 1951 MG TD that presently serves as a planter and centerpiece in his garden. All are great drivers, except the MG which has a few bugs.


06/06/24 – When Car Rustlers Stalk eBay, What Does eBay Do?

05/18/24 – Loving but Leaving the Blue Ridge

03/28/24 – Collectible Car Fair for Kids and Teens

03/14/24 – A Sharp Engineer’s Insights Inspires a Quantum Leap in Methanol Injection

02/29/24 – Betraying the Brand or Smart Business? Part II

02/15/24 – Betraying the Brand or Smart Business? Part I

02/01/24 – The Black Adder VI, An Outrageous Hot Rod Bentley

01/18/24 – Defining Collectible Car

11/23/23Amish Buggies, Where Worlds Collide but No One Crashes

11/09/23 – An Old Car Guy Goes Face-to-Face With Facebook Marketplace

10/26/23 – What’s a Burton

10/12/23 – Carvana Confusion – Dude Where’s My Car?

09/28/23 – Mobility Matters – Navigating life in a wheelchair

09/14/23 – MG Shatters Records on Hitler’s Salt Flats in the Shadow of WWII

08/17/23 – In search of the 7th Royale (Part 8)

08/03/23 – In search of the 7th Royale (Part 7)

07/20/23 – In Search of the 7th Royale (Part 6)

07/06/23 – In Search of the 7th Royale (Part 5)

06/22/23 – In Search of the 7th Royale (Part 4)

06/08/23 – In search of the 7th Royale (Part 3)

05/25/23 – In Search of the 7th Royale (Part 2)

05/11/23 – In Search of the 7th Royale (Part 1)

04/27/23 – Charlie Ross, Gooding’s Master of the Auction Rostrum

04/13/23 – Trapped by a Forest of Trucks

04/03/23 – Hundred-year old Bulldog, Beloved but Doomed?

03/16/23 – Read the car, not the book and other words of wisdom that pave a path to Pebble Beach

03/02/23 – Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda with one of America’s most important cars

02/16/23 – A Silver Ghost story. Real or Fake. You decide.

02/03/23 – Fanfare for an uncommon man. A decorated soldier passes at 98.

01/19/23 – Dr. Fred Simeone’s Mona Lisa car legacy.  Part 2.  Fascinating backstories of cars he preserved.

01/05/23 – Dr. Fred Simeone’s love, vision and priceless racing legacy   Part 1

12/08/22 – Driving to history, Visiting America’s oldest tavern and the man who saved it

11/24/22 – How to manage down a classic car collection

11/10/22 – Saving the farm, Barry Wood’s beach club in the Blue Ridge

10/27/22 – When the collection outlives the collector, a daughter’s  point of view

09/29/22 – Benny Bryant’s 50-years of building Blue Ridge beauties

09/15/22 – Visiting a community built for car enthusiasts

09/01/22 – Reaching the heights of her dreams on the wings of a deHavilland Beaver

08/18/22 – 35 Below, 16 Dogs, 13 Days. Angie tackles Alaska’s Iditarod.

08/04/22 – Let’s create a Concours d’Elegance. OK…How?

07/07/22 – Applying Miles Collier’s archetype versus portrait conventions in assessing the restoration of my 1961 Corvette

06/23/22 – Does original matter anymore?

06/09/22 – Judged the 32 most historically significant cars in America. Do you agree?

05/26/22 – Hagerty automotive heritage dream conference. Gone for good?

05/12/22 – A Devin’s 47-year journey from scrap heap to Pebble Beach

04/28/22 – Hot Road Missionary and his monster machines

04/14/22 – The monster truck that nearly crushed Volvo

03/31/22 – Drank with Arlo. Dated Alice. Tuned Evel’s motorcycle. They call him Pinto.

03/17/22 – Mr. Thomas’s forest of old Porsches, VW buses and more

03/03/22 – Taking the Skyline Drive to explore the dusty attic of Virginia car culture

02/17/22 – Return of the Zipper King

02/03/22 – Karaoke, Elon Musk’s new weapon to fight driving doldrums

01/20/22 – When blue highways turn white

01/06/22 – Blue highways, back roads – If not now when?

12/09/21 – Hot rod love, family style

11/25/21 – Cars & Caffe’s Tony Boniello is always looking to brew up something new

11/11/21 – Randy the Rodfather and his Green “T” hot rod

10/28/21 – Provenance – Uncovering your car’s backstory

10/14/21 – Comparing classic car sales platforms

09/30/21 – Evolution of the new car brochure (Part II)

09/16/21 – A hot rod life defined by abundance not lack

09/02/21 – The man they trust to rebuild history

08/19/21 – Bring what you love

08/05/21 – Exploring our power within

07/15/21 – Evolution of the new car brochure (Part 1)

07/01/21 – The sputtering Mosquito and the Virgin Loretto

06/17/21 – Raymond Loewy’s 1970s Soviet world car adventure

06/03/21 – 90 GTOs, 30 Corvettes and counting

05/20/21 – An inspired venture to preserve American craftsmanship and vintage Airstream trailers

05/06/20 – When the find is the barn

04/22/21 – Man Cave Garage Sale unmasks Covid boredom

04/08/21 – The odd couple in Vinny Plotino’s garage

03/25/21 – Lemans 1978 – A young man’s memories

03/11/21 – A Sherman tank’s incredible journey from Nyack, NY to the final episode of M.A.S.H.

02/25/21 – Jaguar Archive – Preserving the soul of the brand

02/18/21 – Carried away by Bring a Trailer

02/11/21 – Hollywood dentist Dr. George Schweiger’s fantastic stable of future classic car rentals

01/28/21 – And then, Nuccio Bertone signaled for his personal Miura

01/21/21 – Behind the wheel of a time machine

01/14/21 – Wurst Kase Motorsports

01/07/21 – Singing the CarGurus no title blues

12/24/20 – Rebuild it and they will come – The life of Carburetor Steve

12/10/20 – A Volvo Christmas Classic – “It’s a Vunderful Life”

12/03/20 – Carnucopia II – Classic Car Food Drive

11/26/20 – Vintage Cord binds father and son

11/19/20 – NY Route 9D – A sure cure for Covid boredom

11/12/20 – Confessions of a demolition derby survivor

11/05/20 – Sons of Danger – Mad Men on wheels

10/29/20 – VW Bug restoration is no joke. Ask Jerry Seinfeld

10/22/20 – Guatemala and back in a Karmann Ghia

10/08/20 – A classic Corvette and a soldier’s old letters connect to a kid brother’s memories

10/01/20 – American Pickers meets Hunger Games on a country road

09/24/20 – Crash course for an underage driver

09/17/20 – Playboy Bunnies in the rearview mirror

09/10/20 – The journey is the reward

09/03/20 – More than the next chapter, it’s the next book – Life 2.0

08/27/20 – Old School Larry

08/20/20 – In celebration of a life off the leash

08/13/20 – Asleep at the wheel – Rest Stop Recovery

08/06/20 – Rt. 17A – A sweet ride to Sugarloaf

07/30/20 – What’s a”Vineyard truck?”

07/16/20 – The woman picks up where the girl left off

07/09/20 – When time and other things stand still

07/02/20 – Drive-In movies, Back to the future

06/25/20 – Mystery of the vanishing Indian Motorcycle sign

06/18/20 – Dagavar’s Jaguar, the truth at last

06/11/20 – TAKE-OUT, Lifeline to the future

06/04/20 – Henry Hudson Drive

05/28/20 – CARnucopia Food Drive Results

05/21/20 – CARnucopia

05/14/20 – Collectible Car Culture in a Pandemic

05/07/20 – Austin Healey? Nope, It’s Austin’s Crosley!

04/30/20 – Storm King Highway

04/23/20 – Children We Love

04/16/20 – Mustang Madness Revisited