Got My Kicks

On Monday, I drove over to the Spomer Classics building on Oxford Street to interview Marv Spomer about his upcoming "Show ‘n Shine" event. I pulled into his parking lot in my humble little Kia Spectra; I left more than a hour later wishing I had an entirely different vehicle.

Anyone who hasn’t been inside the Spomer Classics museum is missing something big-time. And the place is not just for people who love old cars, either – though of course that’s a big part of what Marv has got to show there. Let’s just say that stepping into the building is akin to stepping back in time.

It’s not hard to marvel over such vehicles as the 1957 Corvette that Spomer has been been refurbishing for the last five years. (It can take a painfully long time to get rare parts for vintage cars, he explained). But though the shiny vehicles from yesteryear are wonderful, it’s the neon that makes the place.

Everywhere you look, there are glowing signs beckoning another era. Signage for the Edsel – the legendary automotive bomb – and the classic DeSoto brand, large Pontiac logos … gosh, I wouldn’t know where to stop (though it’s strictly an American-made display). There’s Coca-Cola neon, too, and implement signs – as cars and implements were once commonly sold at the same place. Walking around the musuem couldn’t help but give me a mental image of taking an evening drive through a town along Route 66, back in the day, or remind me of the great Disney movie "Cars," when the ficitional Radiator Springs – located along the "Mother Road" – has its neon relit for the first time in a generation.

Spomer, as it turns out, is a Route 66 fan, and would love to drive America’s legendary highway sometime in the not-so-distant future. Exploring 66 is probably a lot further down the road (pun entirely intended) for me, but I do have a book on 66 I intend to drop off at the museum in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I’d be more than happy to settle for hearing about Spomer’s experiences, should he complete his adventure.

That’s another thing, by the way, that should be added about the Spomer Classics experience. If you go, make an appointment for a guided tour.

It’s one thing to walk into the place and see all the cars and neon – not to mention such things as vintage-wrapped candy, oil cans, pop bottles and office equipment – surrounding you. But Marv, if given ample time, has fascinating stories to tell about nearly each and every little artifact. And his enthusiasm about sharing them is contagious.

The hour I spent at Spomer Classics Monday, its friendly proprietor told me, was nothing in terms of what he could – and would be willing to – share with me about what he had. (And he wasn’t bragging, it should be stressed. He seems to have a genuine affection for talking about this stuff with others, and hearing their stories, as well.) I told him I’d definitely be back.