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February 19, 2014 at 7:02 PM

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Northwest Wanderings | A weakness for historical beauties


ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Dave Thompson's second favorite car in his collection is this 1930 Studebaker Dictator yellow cab his granddad drove in Spokane.

If car collector Dave Thompson gave away one vehicle to each family in his hometown of Sprague, Lincoln County, he'd still have 30 left.

Though most are classics or antiques, the recipients would inherit a project since only 20 of the 160 cars run.

The vast majority are stored in two fields in Eastern Washington.

Thompson's favorite is a 1938 Packard convertible he keeps in a barn.

His second favorite is a 1930 Studebaker Dictator yellow cab driven by his granddad in Spokane.

The windows are cracked and the driver's inside door release does not work.

But, the outside handles function and a simple reach-around through the passenger window solves the problem.

He has a rare 1940 Packard "woody" that came from Yellowstone reportedly used by photographer Ansel Adams.

The body is an ash frame with mahogany panels.

Thompson says of 250 made, only a dozen still are left.

He has brands long out of business: a 1925 Star, a 1955 Hudson Hornet Hollywood, a 1936 Essex, a 1946 DeSoto and quite a few Studebaker Larks.

For Thompson, the collecting is "more of a social thing."

He's traveled to Chicago and California to trailer back vehicles.

"Cars hold the history of their time. Cars are sold based on their beauty."

Eventually he wants to weed down the collection "and concentrate on the '20s and '30s."

He says, "I get them. I study them. I'm fascinated by them. I don't know what I'll do with them.

"It's a weakness."

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Thompson believes only a dozen 1940 Packard "woodys" like this one remain. The body is an ash frame with mahogany panels.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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