I used to think that if a person’s passions didn’t include rescuing animals, abused kids, oceans, forests or swamps, that somehow those passions were not valid. Many people collect items that seem useless to me, Hummels or baseball cards or beanie babies or dolls. I have always hated dolls.
Hogan’s passion for old cars began when he was a kid in the ’50s. He spent his youth in California and moved to Bisbee 30 years ago. He bought a piece of property and has been packing it with old cars ever since. The house is the least of his priorities, it serves him in the same way a bear uses a cave.
Hogan doesn’t care much for material things unless they form part of a primitive machine. He owns a vintage car lot, but freely admits he’s a hoarder. At first you think his only obsession is cars, but then find he’s a master gardener and avid reader of nonfiction. His house is scruffy like most are around here, but his yard is full of robust trees and flowers, all lovingly tended by a man who much prefers outdoors to in.
He’ll drive 300 miles to pick up a car he likes. The idea behind the vintage car business was to restore and sell them, but mostly they just pile up in his lots, and other collectors buy them for parts.
Hogan is a welder, mechanic, builder of block walls and creator of amazing railings, gates, and brick stairways. He has no fear of broken things but hates computers. We’re on an honor system here, if we need help he’s there for us, and in return we keep his computer running and I photograph his cars and email to prospective customers. He helps everyone from elderly neighbors to friends in need. He often forgets to eat and weighs the same as he did when he was a teenager. I have never seen him sick.
His younger days were full of adventure, traveling the world and jumping out of airplanes for colorful reasons. But his main passion has always been cars.
Last week I spent a day roaming the lots with my camera. It was then I realized the importance of his passion. These fragments of history could have easily ended up in a crusher or rotting in a field. But they are safe, and his grown children (who do not live here) will inherit them and have promised not to destroy them. But he has no plans to retire. He’s much more than a car buff—he’s a curator of an era.
Here are just a few samples of the hundreds on cars on his lots. He can be contacted at hoganheck (at) gmail (dot) com or through me.