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Greg Selvidge: A Car Barn That Started Slowly in Bremerton
Written by David M. Brown01/2010
Greg Selvidge was born outside of Bremerton, Wash., an hour ferry ride south of Seattle. With Mount Rainier in the background and Puget Sound just to the north, scenic Bremerton is home of the well-known Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which continues its longstanding role in the nation‚Äôs security. Greg worked there as a young man.
When he was in high school, Greg and his brother poked around in and worked on a ‚Äô40 Chevy convertible. ‚ÄúWe lived out in the country, and, at that time, you could drive when you were 13,‚ÄĚ says Greg, a Scottsdale resident who also spends time at his other home in the Edmonds area of Seattle. He attended the University of Washington and served as a chaplain‚Äôs assistant in the U.S. Army.
That early initiation into cars remains with the entrepreneur and inventor. He created the California Car Duster, for instance, as well as poster display racks in gift stores. He also formerly manufactured outboard motor boats under the Craig Craft name.
Greg and his brother later customized a ‚Äô48 Plymouth and then heavily modified a ‚Äô51 Henry J and a ‚Äô39 Ford convertible. That last vehicle, with a chopped top, was a cover of Hot Rod magazine.
He then customized a ‚Äô41 Hollywood Graham ‚ÄĒ one of many Grahams he‚Äôs done. That car won the well-regarded Barris Award in 1997. Among its many unique features: a convertible top and windshield and front suspension from Ford Mustangs, a Chevy Corvette LT1 motor, landing lights from a Lear jet and a front-end reminiscent of the Chrysler Prowler. He sold this vehicle to fellow car lover, actor Eddie Murphy. He‚Äôs also sold some of his custom creations to Home Improvement‚Äôs Tim Allen.
Both of his homes have extensive car garages, with collector automobilia on the walls. In Seattle, he even has a car museum. Both of his garages have items such as original Tonka Toys and lots of neon. In the Scottsdale garage, with its checkered-flag floor, he made a desk from the front end of a ‚Äô65 Caddy and a clock from a P-38 airplane. Here you‚Äôll¬†also find images of woody wagons, a Firestone sign ‚ÄĒ even Santa napping on a sliver moon. He‚Äôs¬†also replicated a nostalgic gas station and has a car wash for his cars.
‚ÄúWith my cars, custom and otherwise, I‚Äôm a perfectionist and look at every detail,‚ÄĚ Greg says. ‚ÄúMy joy is to make each of my cars interesting and to share them with others.‚ÄĚ Now that he‚Äôs semi-retired, he spends much of his time working on, talking about and thinking about cars.
This month, Greg shares some of those with us:
‚ÄĘ1965 Lincoln Continental Convertible ‚ÄĒ ‚ÄúI bought it five years ago from a guy in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York, so I‚Äôm the second owner. It‚Äôs white on black with a black top and suicide doors. It‚Äôs got the 460 four-barrel and just about every electric option you can think of. I call it my ‚ÄėAirporter‚Äô because I pick people up from other parts of the country with the top down in the middle of the winter ‚ÄĒ and they‚Äôre from some real cold places. Really makes a statement.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĘ1965 Ford T-5 ‚ÄĒ ‚ÄúMost people won‚Äôt even know this car, although they‚Äôll recognize it. It was sitting in a barn in Washington when I purchased it; I‚Äôve rotisserie restored it. This was the Mustang export car to Germany: It‚Äôs a black-on-white fastback with the high-output 289-4-barrel. Ford added extra-tough suspension to handle the roads there, and it‚Äôs got the original Blaupunkt radio. Ford rebadged the early Mustang as a T-5 for overseas sales. This was Ford‚Äôs name for the Mustang project. They couldn‚Äôt use the name ‚ÄėMustang‚Äô because of existing European trademarks. The car didn‚Äôt work out in the export market, but this is one of few in this great condition that I know of.‚ÄĚ‚Äô
‚ÄĘ1965 Corvette Convertible ‚ÄĒ ‚ÄúThis is all original, yellow on black with a black top. It has the 327-c.i.d./250-horse engine and automatic. It‚Äôs all power, with power brakes and windows and air conditioning. It belonged to Gabriel Dell, one of the original ‚ÄėDead End Kids‚Äô that made all of those films years ago. He was a buddy of Steve McQueen and Humphrey Bogart. I picked it up this past June in Hollywood, and I‚Äôm not going to do anything to it but drive and enjoy.‚ÄĚ And,
‚ÄĘ1940 Ford Convertible ‚ÄĒ ‚ÄúThis is my favorite car, all black. It‚Äôs got a new frame with independent suspension and disc brakes. I put a Corvette Z06 block into it, bone stock, so I can take it anywhere. The interior is leather out of a Bentley. Five years ago, it was a hulk from New York.‚ÄĚ
Greg‚Äôs also got a 1968 Ford GT 350, two ‚Äė98 Prowlers and an orange-on-gray ‚Äô08 Challenger, which he says is one of the best new cars he‚Äôs ever had ‚ÄĒ good news for beleaguered Chrysler.
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