Log in to your account

click to enlarge

He Loves Driving

Raised on hot rods, a California collector builds a unique garage.

toggle font increase font size decrease font size reset font

by Phil Berg

Californian Buddy Pepp doesn’t normally drive the 1922 Model T fire truck that sits in a corner of his unique eight-car garage. “It’s capable of running, but it’s a pain to get it in and out of the alley,” he explains. He keeps it because his grandchildren and the neighborhood kids love to play on it, and ring the fire bell. It’s sentimental to Pepp because he used to be in the fire hose business, and his company bought the truck to showcase its hoses in 1970. “It was all original, and built in Waverly, Illinois. It had every accessory on it from 1922, and we bought it and had it restored. It runs. It’s great, but to be candid with you it doesn’t move.”

click to enlarge

However, Pepp’s other cars are a mix of hot-rods and classics that run just fine on the highway, and he drives them weekly. Pepp grew up in the mecca of hot-rodding and car love of California, and hung out down the street of his childhood home at a gas station where the employees all had hot rods. Their 1932 Ford-bodied rides made an indelible impression upon Pepp as a youth, and their modified flathead V8s captivated him.

Some of the cars he owns aren’t related to hot rods, however, such as his Ferrari, or his rare Iso Rivolta. This passion he inherited from his father. “He had a Facel Vega, and he enjoyed their performance,” he remembers. “There has been one Ferrari in my life that I’ve always found stunning, and I’ve always loved the Dino more than any other body style. I’ve craved others, but this one you can drive anywhere.” He also likes Panteras, mostly because of their performance, and his is completely stock, a rare find.

click to enlarge

He and his wife Arlene bought their house in 1970, and it only had a small two-car garage that was original with the house until he tore the garage down in 1990 and built the new one. He built it with large steel beams covered with wood so there would be no posts, and he built a guest house above it. Arlene came up with the plan, which included a large sky window on one end of the garage to let light in. The two-bedroom guest house above it was an easy addition once the large beams were erected. “I love the fact that I have plenty of storage, a wonderful workbench, great lighting, a desk I can keep all my books and records, and a great tool closet. We really thought it all out pretty well considering the fact we don’t have a lot of space.”

click to enlarge

The custom pieces included a 36-foot wide garage door that opens to the alley, and a slightly narrower door that opens to the driveway to the street.

Several years after the garage was built, Arlene gave Buddy a fiftieth birthday present, which was a painting that spans the longest wall of the garage. The painting included special cars that Buddy and Arlene had owned. In the painting is a 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk, an Austin Healy, a ‘57 T-bird, a 1950 Ford, a ‘65 Mustang convertible, and a ‘62 Corvette, which is the only car that the Pepp’s still own. Even though he sold the other cars, replaced them with cars he found more interesting, he still can remember them whenever he’s in the garage. The image of the gas station in the painting is similar to the place where Pepp grew up, and the house in the painting is the actual house the Pepps live in. The Holiday Inn is based on an early motel in Memphis, and the diner is fictitious, an idea Arlene had. Arlene admits she had the painting in mind when she designed the large sky window, and the atmosphere contributes to Pepp’s spending most Sundays in the garage.

click to enlarge

Garages  ·  Advice  ·  Events  ·  Reviews  ·  Online Store  ·  Swap Meet  ·  Search  ·  Contact Us  ·  RSS Feeds  ·  Newsletters

© 2007 Ultimate Garages Promotions, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.