"Dad Started It!" A Hobby for Three Brothers.
“My brother is signing up with Grundy, pretty much as we speak,” wrote George Blackshaw, in an e-mail to Grundy Worldwide’s marketing department. “He had been with another company for his specialty vehicles. I have been enjoying and passing along e-mails stories to him, since I have been with Grundy. We both agree that they are very interesting, informative and inspiring at the same time. Not to mention an occasional pretty woman pictured, like in the VW bus story recently… Nice.”
George continued to say that it is not only he and his youngest brother Tom, “the baby of the family,” who collect specialty vehicles; his other brother, Jim, is a car collector, as well. George is the oldest of the brothers.
He explained that it all started with his father’s passion for restoring old cars, when they were little kids.
After reading a little bit of the history behind this family of car collectors, we contacted George and asked if he would share a little more about his involvement in the collector car hobby, so we could feature him, his cars and even his brothers’ cars in the Grundy Weekly Reader. He was more than happy to set aside some time to talk to us.
“Well, now I’m 58-years-old,” says George. “But, in the early ‘50s, we would drive around with our father and try to identify all the different cars on the road.”
He says that back then, various makes and models were on the road, from several different decades: the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. He says that his father, also named George, was the expert in identifying the vehicles that passed as they cruised around town.
It was not long before the boys picked up some of their father’s knowledge and became experts in their own right.
George says that he became interested in collector cars at as early as 5-years-old. He says that today, he looks back at pictures of his own son, covered head-to-toe in black from the black sandpaper he used to help Dad out, while working on cars. George is sure that he had been in similar situations as a young tot, himself. Cars were his family’s world.
By the time he was 16-years-old, he had his own 1957 Chevy utility vehicle—a 2-door Suburban. He mentions that he probably would have owned cars before that age, but his father was a stickler about not letting their yard turn into a junkyard, with three young boys who loved working on cars.
But, when the time came for George to have his own car, his father helped him paint his Suburban “Mustang Green” with a “Shoreline Beige” accent color. George notes that his father was a painter-extraordinaire, while recalling his dad’s work on a 1942 Chevy pick-up that was painted “Carriage Black.”
“Anyone who is familiar with that paint knows that it is very difficult to paint,” says George. “But, it came out looking like a mirror. It got a lot of compliments and attention.”
He adds that his father often told him “I make rust shine.”
George says that, as a teenager, his “Mustang Green” ’57 Suburban often caught the eyes of bystanders. He adds that all the “wows” inspired him to stay involved in the hobby, saying that he loves the attention that his cars have received over the years.
And, he has owned quite a few collector cars. “Without exaggeration, we have owned hundreds of vehicles between the three of us,” says George.
He goes on to say that when he learned that Grundy was interested in speaking to him, he called up brother Tom and discussed all the different cars that the trio has owned, since they were young. George says that Tom mentioned that he has easily owned over 45 cars; George says that while he got married young and had children, that did not stop him from owning around 35 cars, himself; George and Tom speculate that Jim has probably owned upwards of 100.
“He was always trading,” says George, commenting on brother Jim’s knack for wheeling and dealing. “He’s had everything from real antique to a 1970 Hemi Super Bee.”
But, George adds that all three brothers have always been drawn to low-production vehicles, in particular. In fact, at one time or another, they have all owned a rare 1958 2-Door Yeoman Chevrolet Wagon that Jim currently has in his possession.
And today, George and Tom own matching limited edition Foose-inspired 2004 Chevrolet pick-ups. George says that the pick-up was featured at Barrett-Jackson, in January 2004, where it caught his brother Tom’s eyes. He explains that their pick-ups are rare (just like the Blackshaw men prefer their vehicles), as only 300 were produced.
George explains that the arrival of his ’04 Chevy pick-up is one of his most fond memories.
After first spotting the vehicle on the auction block at Barrett-Jackson, Tom saw the Chevy showcased at a local dealership in Long Island, N.Y.
“And, then I found one in South Carolina,” says George, who lives in Georgia.
He says that he called up the dealership in his bordering state. And, without even seeing the car in-person, he made arrangements to purchase the pick-up. He was told the truck would be delivered to his home.
George says that he remembers standing in his garage, drinking a cup of coffee, and hearing the rumbling in the distance. He says that when the Chevy rumbled itself into his driveway, hairs were standing straight up, on his neck.
“It was one of my favorite moments,” says George.
George says that his Foose-inspired ’04 Chevy pick-up is his true pride and joy, calling it a “stand-out vehicle.” He adds that he loves driving the pick-up for hobby and pleasure use and goes on to say that he loves the Unlimited Mileage feature that Grundy Worldwide offers their policyholders.
“So many other insurance companies have so many restrictions,” he says. “Grundy gives you the ability to totally enjoy your specialty vehicles. I think that’s super!”
George adds that he also finds great delight in driving his 1979 Chevy pick-up that he purchased a while back as a replacement for a ’64 Chevelle that he sold to a fellow car enthusiast who “had to have” the Chevelle.
Check out the photos of George and Tom’s matching pick-ups, along with their other specialty vehicles. George was not able to reach Jim for photos of his vehicles.
Story by: Becky McLaughlin