View Full Version : Studebaker Gives Man Ticks.

07-04-2009, 06:28 AM
Interesting article, but I knew the tick aspect would grab you;)


Accumulated, if Not Curated
CAR collections, by nature, are a reflection of their owners’ interests. There are sports-car collectors and muscle-car collectors. There are collectors devoted to Italian makes, and there are those who reserve their affections for a single brand.

Then there is Lenny Shiller of Park Slope, Brooklyn.

An inveterate Brooklynite (“If I never leave Brooklyn, I’m happy,” he says), Mr. Shiller owns 57 classic cars and trucks. His holdings also include 11 vintage motorcycles and scooters, and because he doesn’t much care to drive, he has around 100 bicycles.

Though his vehicle cache covers a boggling range of sizes, shapes and makes, there is a logic to his acquisitions.

“The one thing you won’t find here is what everybody else has,” Mr. Shiller said on a recent afternoon, the black 1951 Hudson next to him gently confirming his point.

“I don’t want ’55 Chevys or ’59 Cadillacs or old Mustangs,” he said. “Anyone can have those. I really want things you don’t see.”

And so in his 12,300-square-foot garage, sniffing distance from the notorious Gowanus Canal, you’ll find curiosities like a 1947 International KB-6 soda truck (with period-correct seltzer bottles), a 1961 Messerschmitt KR200 bubble car and a 1954 Packard ambulance.

The garage would be indistinguishable from the other concrete industrial buildings around it, except that Mr. Shiller often leaves the door open, offering interlopers a peek inside.

The building was once an oven for the California Pie Company, Mr. Shiller said. When the bakery went out of business a truck repair shop moved in; Mr. Shiller bought the place from the shop’s owner in 1996.

“What’s amazing about this building is that it peaks at 30 feet, and it has no columns,” he said. “It’s all steel-truss construction and a concrete-slab roof.”

Mr. Shiller said the collection started slowly. Until 1986, he owned but six cars. When asked what they were, he took off across the open floor.

He is tall and has long legs that enable him to cover quite a bit of ground with each stride. He quickly disappeared into a corner. His voice echoed across the cavernous shop.

“The ’36 Chevy was given to me,” he said of the black car he had stopped at. His first car, the Chevy, belonged to his grandmother and was stored in her barn in the Catskills until it was given to Mr. Shiller in 1967, “not without a lot of prodding.”

He paid for his next car, a 1954 Mercury Monterey two-door hardtop that belonged to a 99-year-old retired lawyer. It had 19,000 miles and cost $250, he said.

The cars and trucks are packed tightly inside the dark space. Mr. Shiller seemed adept at maneuvering his lanky body between (and sometimes over) the vehicles, easily covering the few steps from car No. 2 to No. 3.

“Another neighbor on the same block where I lived in Flatbush had this Jaguar,” he said, hovering over a beautiful red sports car. “It’s an XK120. And he saw me — keep in mind, it’s 1968, so it’s only a 15-year-old car — so he saw me working on the other cars, and he said, ‘You know, this car has been sitting in my garage, I’m never going to get to it, you can have it.’”

Mr. Shiller paused for a moment. He said he had stored these cars, too, in his grandmother’s barn.

“I was very busy at that point in my life,” he said. Educated as an economist, he disliked office work and gave up that career to renovate houses in Park Slope. He did that from 1970 to 1980, which was when he started buying property.

“My goal was to have enough passive income — although it’s not totally passive — to be able to do this,” he explained. “So now, financially, I can do it.”

He continued the tour. “From 1968 to 1986, I kind of fell into three more cars, including this ’55 Bui

07-04-2009, 06:53 AM
I like his definition of TLC- Time Labor and Capital.

Jamie McLeod
Hope Mills, NC

07-04-2009, 10:12 AM
WOW!!! I think I know where that building is? Never knew it had all those cars inside. Nice story!!!

1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

07-04-2009, 11:22 AM
quote:Originally posted by FlatheadGeo

WOW!!! I think I know where that building is? Never knew it had all those cars inside. Nice story!!!

1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

Well... drive your Champion over there and introduce yourself!;) Then maybe we can get some pics to go with the story.;):D

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/december%2006/HPIM0234.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

07-04-2009, 12:56 PM
Hopefully, now that the story's out, no one from the City will come around and tell him to move it...

Great story, Jeff. Thanks for posting it!


Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard

07-05-2009, 11:51 AM
Been to his place a number of times. He also has other garages with other cars and stuff stored.

What they did not say is that he supplies cars for movies and ad campaigns.

Quite a collection

Aussie Hawk
07-05-2009, 04:54 PM
My '62 Hawk gives me ticks too, facial ticks when I think about all the money I'm spending on it :D