My name is Duane Saunders, for most of my life I have been enamored with cars, simply love being around them. I became of age in the early 60’s when some amazing cars came on to the scene, similarity like what is happening today. As with most people who are entering into adult life, sometimes the things we enjoy take a back seat to the realities of life. careers, growing families, houses to house the families, education expenses… before you know it, that passion you have for vehicles takes a back seat for a little while; but doesn’t have to be lost during the best years of your life…
One day I was returning from a trip, when I spotted a small car for sale on the side of the road near Mankato, Minnesota. It was a tiny Subaru that I’d never seen before. I guess I felt sorry for the neglected little car and was inspired to bring it back to life. I bought it and kept it in my company’s warehouse. Within a couple of years, I had purchased an HMV Freeway from a guy in Grantsburg, Wisconsin and a couple of beat up BMW Isettas. At last! I found passion again for vehicles that needed to be restored to their form greatness. In my retirement, this became my hobby – restoring abandoned classic cars!
As life continued and the fruits of my labor allowed me to grow my hobby, I needed more space to explore my hobby and passion. I started down a path of building my own storage space and exploring buying a few acres or an existing property and converting it into my oasis of tranquility to enjoy my passion around cars. The general contractor that I was working with actually had brought up the AutoMotorPlex and after my visit, I never looked back.
BY MYSELF OR BEING IN A COMMUNITY OF LIKE MINDED ENTHUSIASTS…
My first reaction was that I could build out a place for less and have what I was looking for! Looking into it, I began to understand the building rules, the expense of putting in the security and amenities and most importantly, as nice of a place as I could build, I would be all alone.
At the same time, I also started attending the events at the AutoMotorPlex and began to realize that it was a community of vehicle enthusiasts that was similar, if you like Disney World, having a place inside the magic kingdom that you can choose to engage when you want, or not, but regardless the show come to me!
Since buying my garages at the AutoMotorPlex (I own four) I have enjoyed personalizing it almost as much restoring the cars I have bought to fill it. Two examples I would like to highlight are my wine corks and dealership emblems.
I have become known to many as the cork car guy. Instead of repainting one of my restored Isetta cars I covered them in wine corks. It was such a hit at the shows I did a second one. I have so many corks I started to create a map that is on the wall of my garages. It’s the way I chose to decorate my space and it’s so much fun.
Somehow I ended up with a box of dealership emblems. Not wanting to throw them away as I felt they were history to me any many others I started to put them on the wall in my garage. Over the course of time, people at our public events have noticed and brought me there’s. I have even been sent a box from some amazing person that wanted to donate. No two are the same and there must be over 500 on my wall.
My family also enjoys my garage at the AutoMotorPlex. My son got married out here and my granddaughter had a high school party out here. I always inviting new people to come out to my garage and the best part is you never know what you’ll see.
I am so glad I did not do this on my own!