Most of us go through our daily lives with nothing to collect but memories and dust bunnies. A select few of our numbers have the interest, time and resources to pursue their collecting passion with things that you can either ride in or on.
Perhaps the most prolific collector example worldwide of both is comedian/talk show host Jay Leno. His collection is legendary within the motoring community. His claim to fame, and perhaps an indication of his collector nuttiness, is he never resells a piece. The subsequent result fills up industrial size warehouse, and totals many millions of dollars in rare cars, trucks and motorcycles.
For the other non-mega rich, the collections, but not the passion, is a little more humble. In our own town, there are a crazy few that have invested time and effort into building their own private collections.
One such person is Curtis Borziskowski. In the motorcycle circles of Gander and area, Curtis is well known for nothing short of an exceptional collection of Kawasaki Triple cylinder 2 strokes. When Kawasaki first introduced this design in 1969 it was literally and figuratively miles again of any competition. It could do a quarter-mile drag in 12 seconds flat. To the uninitiated, a 12 second quarter-mile for a motorcycle back then was like aliens dropped something off on the way to another galaxy with a note attached saying: “Here give this a try, if you dare.” People dared and the bike was an instant legend. Even motorcycles now, with the exception of a few, can do a 12 second quarter-mile mile drag. Curtis has nine. That’s right nine. His pride and joy and most valuable is a 1972 HZ750 — the first year for that production model. Value…an estimated $20,000. But that’s not all. Also in his collection are a total of 19 bikes ranging from a 79 Peugot (France) to my personal favourite, a 1979 Kawasaki Z1R. Very rare indeed.
During our ride around town in his 1973 Dodge Charger — he also collects muscle cars — I asked him simply, Why? “I love to collect” the very humble man said. I suggest politely there’s more to it that that. “I suppose it started way back when I sat on Dad’s knee and drove a 1969 Monaco. I was hooked from there. I started to collect model cars (die cast and also a very impressive collection), and it expanded from there”.
It was a real trip for this writer just having a look and talking about similar die cast cars we have in common. Perhaps we all have a similar story of what turns us on to have such a keen interest in something. An obsession? Personally, I think not. To me an obsession can be unhealthy to a point where it takes over your life. With collectors it’s different. It’s their escape to their happy place. This is a common theme with the other collectors I have met and have become friends. Derrick Hefferton, manager of Hickman Motors, has a very impressive collection of muscle cars. Another collector and perhaps the most impressive I know for detail is Todd Smith. His Datsun 250z with a small block Chevrolet engine is museum quality. Owner of M&R Automotive, Brad Melendy, also has a few fine cars in his livery.
You’d be very surprised how many collector nuts there are just in our area.
For a glimpse into this world the ideal spot is a car/bike show. An opportunity is presenting itself on the Festival of Flight weekend at a charity car/bike show. Yes it’s true, I’m biased (organizer) and would like as many as possible to visit the show and help raise funds for the Newfoundland Autism Society. We’re keeping it simple. Just cars/bikes and some like-minded people getting together to enjoy our mutual interests. Take your time and have a chat with a car/bike collector. Take a glimpse into their world and find out what keeps them in a state of perpetual motion.
Tip: I always have a bottle of speed wax handy after I wash and dry my toys (vehicles). It’s a fast and efficient way to apply a quick shine between regular waxing. Give it a try. You can thank me later.
Wayne Lorenzen is a Gander native who works with Navcanada, and in his spare time keeps busy with family, friends and staying active with karate, swimming, windsurfing, biking, motorcycling, and racing. You can find him at www.sidewaysmotorsports.ca, or follow him on Twitter @sidewaystarga. His column will appear every two weeks.