Story by Eric Davison
Photos courtesy Dale Powers
Over the course of his life Dale Powers searched out, owned, repaired, restored and driven too many cars to be either recorded or described. They have included, Jaguars, including an SS100, Porsches, Fiats, a Sprint car or two, MGs and just about anything else that is interesting.” What an automotive life!
While Powers aims to downsize, it is questionable as to how far he will go. He did sell the last two cars, his Deutsch Bonnet and a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II. Plus, there was the mother of all garage sales that all but emptied out the 5000 square feet of space that housed cars, a lift, parts and a lifetime’s collection of tools. The aim of all of this was to enable him and Marcia to move into something smaller and more easily manageable.
Dale is, after all, past 80 and while he looks like the firefighter he once was, able to carry a fair maiden from a burning building, the fact of being 80 makes restoration a chore and not a comfortable hobby.
So, with all of this in progress, what next?
There is still the chase, the finding of the rare and unusual.
Case in point. Nearly 60 years ago when working part time for a salvage yard Dale found a ’57 Porsche Speedster. It was headed to the burn pile, minus engine and transaxle. But, at the last minute Dale found a buyer who would be happy to have it for $50.00.
Then, a recent edition Sports Car Market arrived in his mail box and with it the story of a Porsche Speedster, a barn find, that brought $350,000 at auction. This was action too good to let pass without at least an inquiry ot two.
Dale called a friend who specializes in Porsches. The friend could supply an appropriate engine and gearbox and would do the heavy lifting on the restoration.
Then Dale discovered was that not only was the $50 Speedster still around after more than 55 years but the owner now had about 40 more old cars piled up in a shed. A bonanza? No, the owner, another 80 year-old man was going to retire and restore them all. One per year.
His plan precluded selling the Speedster to Dale.
When Dale pointed out the obvious, that an 80 year old man probably didn’t have the time left on earth to restore all 40 cars, the man said he understood that.
‘Why then, not sell the Speedster?’
A straightforward answer that Dale Powers understood all too well:
“What would I have to look forward to?”
“But I will tell my son that if he has to liquidate the cars, I will tell him that the Speedster goes to you!”