2015 Carmel Artomobilia August 28-29
One man’s love of Italian cars has helped him create a one-of-a-kind collection here in Indiana. It has even helped him fulfill a dying woman’s last wish. Chuck, who’s participating in the 2015 Carmel Artomobilia that takes place in the Arts & Design District of Carmel, Indiana August 28-29, recently invited Artomobilia’s Jon Pitz over to share some fascinating stories and talk cars.
Italian Cars Don’t Like Winter
Chuck’s garage is filled with Alfa Romeos, Abarths, and Fiats. It is an Italian love affair that started back when he was 16. While all of his friends were buying GTOs and Camaros, Chuck spied his first car, an Abarth, sitting on a Glenview dealer’s back lot. It was a rocky start for Chuck and his first love. “Italian cars don’t like winter,” Chuck laughs.
A Collection is Born
Though he parted ways with his Abarth when he graduated from college, Chuck never forgot about it. “Like most people, the first car was the most important.” Forty three years later, Chuck found a car just like his first love and a collection is soon born.
“They’re Italian…You Talk to Them”
His garage is like many garages; filled to overflowing with boxes of tools and parts. For Chuck, his passion isn’t just for collecting cars but working on them. He understands their sensibilities. “They're Italian, you massage them and you talk to them. You make sure that they're feeling good that day. These cars absolutely have individual personalities.”
Still in Mint Condition
Chuck does have other cars in his collection like his 1967 Datsun 2000 which he bought new and has kept in mint condition. “I just get in it, turn the key and it drives. It's like a fancy MG of the day.” Still you can tell that his love for all things Italian reigns supreme in this garage. It is a passion that prompted Chuck to invest in his next car.
Working Class Car Immigrates to America
In the back of the garage sits a small green Fiat 126 which was the replacement of the Fiat 500. With a 600 cc two cylinder air cooled engine, it was an affordable car for the masses in Italy and Poland. This tiny working class car has a unique history, though – Chuck helped it immigrate to the States.
For the Love of Momma
After spotting an ad on Ebay saying the seller would ship the car anywhere in the U.S. (from Perugia, Italy) for a mere $1,500, curiosity got the best of Chuck. He tracked down the seller to get the whole story. “The guy said it was his mother’s dying wish, since she couldn’t come to America, that her car would come instead.” What car lover could turn their back on that kind of story? “I told my sons that this car is never to be sold. As long as we can, we will keep it.”
An International Friendship Begins
Where one part of the story ends, another begins. Not only did the Fiat 126 find a new American home but an international friendship began. Chuck still stays in touch with his new Italian friend, giving him reports on how the little car is doing. “Believe it or not he collects Thunderbirds in Perugia and he's got like five or six T-birds, it's the craziest thing. He calls me from time to time and says, ‘I need a coil for a 1959,’ and I find it for him. We send stuff back and forth.” Two friends united in a common love of cars.
Keeping the Passion for Cars Alive
While Italian cars may dominate the majority of the space his garage, Chuck is a true car enthusiast. Whether he is working on them, driving them or just talking about them, there is no mistaking his love for his four wheeled companions. The Artomobilia is fortunate to be able to bring collectors like Chuck together with others in the car community. Together we can keep the passion for cars alive far into the future.
Enjoy Our Ongoing Video Series
If you’ve enjoyed our interview with Chuck be sure to check out the first video in our series – Artomobilia Presents: The Passion behind the Owners for another fascinating look at a Classic car lover and his collection.
Proud Sponsor of Carmel Artomobilia
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