Hoarder of History

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.

1930 Model A

1936 Chrysler Airflow

1953 Hudson Hornet Twin H Power

1959 Buick Le Sabre. The age of fins—the bigger the better.

1949 Pontiac Silver Streak

1949 Pontiac Silver Streak logo

1951 Ford Victoria hood ornament

1952 Buick 8 Special 2 Coupe

1952 Buick 8 Special hood ornament

1955 Ford F250 pickup. These trucks have been around a long time for a reason. Our 1971 F250 never fails us, and many older ones are still on the road here.

Driver’s seat in 1954 Studebaker truck

1954 Dodge Royal V8 hood

Who knew VW bugs were stackable? Handy when space is tight.

1961 Studebaker Lark VI

1950 Nash Airflyte

He has a system, honest.

On break in the early ’60s in Escondido, CA

Hogan today, just as cute as ever

You don’t want to be messing around in the lots when Hogan’s not there!

Shepherd on guard

Hogan’s artistry in building stairs. These were made from recycled bricks from a torn-down building.

Hogan’s T-shirt says it all

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95 responses to “Hoarder of History

  1. damn sexy dude…..

  2. Ha ha ha Ann! Guess what, I was thinking of you as I wrote this and our discussions about aging and passion. He’s a 69-year-old KID!

  3. Quite the collection indeed. Hope they can be restored.

  4. I enjoyed your comment on Bill’s Wildramblings and came for a visit. I did not know I was going to see so many cars. I did not recognize many because I did not grow up here. My first car was a 1939 Simca-Fiat that my father had bought for my mother after the war to entice her to drive. She never did. The car was stored for decades in the country. Then I asked my mother to give it to me for my 18th birthday. She did. It made a big impression when I parked it on the Champs-Elysées, in Paris. Memories…

  5. For me, Hogan is one those individuals who turned his passion into a lifestyle -he is faultless. They are a dying breed, sadly; men and women that think with theirs hands. Some call them ‘characters’ , others refer to them in less than flattering terms. To me they are part maverick, part freedom fighter and a Practitioner of Practical Thinking – a true “Child of the Wind”.

  6. What an amazing blog! Posts like yours are one of the main reasons I spend far more time blogging and reading blogs than on Facebook which doesn’t allow essay length pieces. That Hogan is an amazing dood and I love how you describe him as a ‘curator of an era’.

    I don’t remember how I discovered your blog but sure glad I did. And those cars are amazing. He must have an enormous yard.

  7. Oh don’t get me started on Facebook! Yuck!

    Hogan has about 4 acres and every inch is devoted to cars, garages, and gardens. It’s quite something to behold.

    Thanks for reading!

  8. Thanks for the incredible backstory of Hogan as a companion to the pics. He doesn’t look like he’s aged much since the 60’s!!! Incredible.
    While reading, I was thinking that it is people like Hogan who are the real historical treasures, and not the cars.

    • I think that sometimes too, that some of these treasures the desert or woods or fields produce are the actual inhabitants. You must see a lot of folks like these in Namibia too—people who are born to be one with the land.

      Sure beats sitting around whining like many others his age I know.

  9. I’ve always been a cougar, no joke. This guy is an Eastwood type and you know how I feel about HIM!

  10. What a great post and some amazing photos.
    Hogan sounds like the kind of person who does what he does because he wants to. A philosophy so many of us are too frightened to adopt.
    PS. I’m with him on the cell phone approach!

  11. I like having a cell phone (no land line though), it’s all that other crap people have on them that’s so detrimental to having an actual conversation. Seeing people constantly texting, checking Facebook, Twitter, etc., reminds me of people in a mental hospital madly pretending to have a life. IMO, it’s a twisted way to live. You never really have their attention.

    Thanks for writing!

  12. A wonderful testament to a man dedicated to preserving a little corner of history. My very first memory is of my father washing a 1952 Hudson Hornet that he got rid of in 1955, so I was probably about 4 years old. But the car I liked the best of all these beauties is the 1959 Buick LeSabre! If they had of made the rear wings just a little wider it might have flown.

    Wonderful photographs. You take great pictures and write wonderful words. This was a lot of fun.

  13. I’m angry at car companies for not making the new cars look like the old ones. There are a couple of commericials now that show all the models throughout the decades, and end with the newest one – which is so BORING compared to the classic ones. Then they end with some tagline like “a century of luxury,” when really it should be “clearly, we’re not as good as we used to be.”

    • You know I honestly can’t tell one from another. If I ever had to identify a car in an emergency, I couldn’t. They all look the same. And I hate them all because they all still suck up gas which we go to war over, making it impossible to afford gas here in third world America.

  14. That’s a great hobby and probably requires more creativity than a lot of so-called art forms!

  15. I think he likes to think of it more as a business than a hobby, but we know better!

  16. Really good photographs and Hogan sounds like a guy I’d like to meet. My first car was a 1941 Ford sedan. It was falling apart when I bought it, but I loved that car. Hope all is well with you in Arizona.

  17. Hi Jack, good to hear from you. You and Hogan would get along great, two men bound to the land they love. Hot, cold, dry, wet, doesn’t matter. He gets his work done and never complains.

  18. The funny thing is that I feel like I already know you and Hogan. I have family in Prescott and grew up spending every winter break in the mountains, loving every moment. One of my uncles actually borders on being a hoarder. I suppose the severity of hoarding is based upon the size of space you occupy and the conflict it brings with those you love. Fortunately, he has been graced with a larger home in the past several years. That being said, he has thousands of watches, guns, Hot Wheels, and other “necessities” consuming his home. His real love, however, rests with cars and airplanes. If he met Hogan, there might be no going back for him. Whatever his shortcomings, I love that you appreciate Hogan and acknowledge the significance of his possessions, rusted and decrepit as they might be.

  19. They probably already know each other!

    That’s so cool that you have a connection to Arizona, and now another!

    Hoarding’s not so bad as long as it’s not animals, then it’s evil. Hogan’s cars are mostly behind a tall block wall (built by Hogan, of course) but as he runs out of room the cars are starting to spill out into the street. If you can call it a street, more like a dirt path with some houses that leads to the desert. Seems to work for him, he’s not bothering anybody. You’re right that it depends on your lifestyle—if you lived with a nonhoarder, it wouldn’t be for long. And I suppose that most hoarders, like Hogan, would choose the cars over the wife! Umm, I think that already happened long ago…

  20. Isn’t it an expensive hobby? I know you discounted some hobbies as mundane but I wouldn’t think car restoration is an affordable hobby for those with low end budgets.

    • That’s why they sit there in his “museum”…people buy the cars for parts to restore their own passions. Parts for these old cars are hard to come by, people get very excited when they find some old car door or something they need!

  21. Fascinating! I’d love to read more about Hogan. It is great to see somebody looking after our heritage. It would be great, educationally, for Hogan to share his stories. I for one would find it amazing! Those cars are beautiful too, does Hogan do any of them up?

    • Hi Katie, I wish I tell you more about Hogan’s past but he’d kill me!

      He does occasionally restore them himself, but mostly he just loves them as they are. He always has big plans for them, but he’s realistic too.

  22. Old cars are great. Just need a lot of room to store them 🙂

  23. This is real history, i like the collection of the autos. Besides, there is need to start a moving museum of the Bugs, Pontiacs and the like. This is nice.

  24. Well everyone collects something and there are a lot of mini hoarders out there besides the big hoarders. His happens to be cars and I think it’s cool that he wants to restore them so they don’t end up in a landfill.

  25. There is something about seeing how the shape and size of cars has changed over the years. I was looking at a mustang and a malibu at my car repair shop today and was amazed at how much space there was for the engine. You can actually see through to the ground in spots.

    • You have a car repair shop? All kinds of cars?

      You’re right, the engines of newer cars are packed in there so tight they’re hard for regular mechanics to work on. And more computer parts, etc. Hard to get to the part that needs work, and hard to know how.

      Wish they’d stop making cars that use gas though, I’m very upset by all these wars over oil. We have the technology to stop this, but the powers in this country prefer to keep us poor and dependent. My partner and I both drive old cars (his is a 40-year-old F250!) and I will never buy another car that uses gasoline. I’m hoping our cars will last us for the rest of our lives.

      Thanks for writing.

  26. Well this is a mystery how all these new folks found me! WordPress was down yesterday, did it magically reach more people when it went back up?

    • You’re on Freshly Pressed today!

      What a great collection of cars. Over here on the East Coast where it’s all damp, these treasures are few and far between. Glad those cars ended up in Arizona so they could last out the decades!

  27. Great story!
    I believe the car you have listed as a 1959 Nash Airflyte is actually a 1949.

    • Thanks! That was a typo, I meant to type 1950. I looked at the ’49s online and they don’t have that gas tank on the left. I’ll double check with Hogan. Thanks for bringing it to my attention—I hate mistakes!

  28. There is nothing like nostalgia. I think that’s what Hogan is all about. I haven’t even met the guy and I like him already!

    • He’s a dying breed that’s for sure. Shouldn’t use that expression though and don’t mean it literally! He’s a piece of work for sure and we’re certain he’ll live forever. Thanks for writing.

  29. Congrats you’ve been freshly pressed! Great to see a blogging buddy get the nod. Love the post!

    • I had no idea until just now—couldn’t figure out all the hits! It’s an honor…and can’t wait to tell Hogan, though he’ll have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about!

  30. I really enjoyed this. =)
    Hoarding is a bad thing generally, but hoarding with a purpose – hoarding out of love, rather than out of fear – can be good, as this post shows. Good work.

  31. Hoarding animals is one of the most evil things in this world. But other stuff, if it’s not bothering anybody, seems eccentric but not harmful!

  32. Great story and great cars! One of my photo classes once took a trip to a vintage car lot. We had a blast.

  33. Old cars were built so much differently than today. They just had more character. I’m glad Hogan has a hobbie he enjoys. I guess the real thing beats building model cars.

  34. Hello
    Je découvre votre Eden … magnifique reportage.
    Dommage que ces vieilles dames carrossées soient vouées à l’abandon et squattées par la rouille.
    Merci pour ces délicieux instants de partage.
    Amicales pensées de Suisse.
    Talbot K74

  35. He’s a hottie!

    Great collection, too. I’m a car enthusiast myself and while I haven’t had the chance to get my hands on a classic yet, doing so is certainly on my list for the future.

    I have so much respect for folks who pursue their passions regardless of what others think. His love for the hobby is clear, and you’ve done an excellent job of conveying the emotion. I hope he continues just as he is for many more years. 🙂

    • We hope he lives forever, can’t imagine the neighborhood without him! He’s a fixture around these parts. Yeah he is a hottie, and a gentleman too.

      Restored classic cars are really expensive, so maybe you could fix one up!

  36. I love the old car thing! My Dad is very similar only his passion is vintage VWs, which are few and far between here in Central Ohio. The dogs are beautiful too- the one German Shepherd (though he’s a boy) reminds me of my GSD/Belgian Malinois mix-Miss Clara. Nobody comes on our property without Clara’s permission! Great pics. You just have to love guys like Hogan, and appreciate their collections.

  37. Really nice car collection! I am prone to collections myself, always have been. I’ve got too many guitars, comics, movies, books, coins, anything that I can sift through and collect (not to hoarder degree but actual collections). I think it started in my youth. My dad had EVERYTHING in his man cave down in the basement and I just remember always feeling very tranquil there, surrounded by what many people would just call junk. It was peaceful in a way – would be interested if other people prone to collections had an early experience similar to that.

    • You’d be very comfortable in southern Arizona, where everyone has their piles of stuff. I dare not call it junk, because they’ll tell you they’re going to use it for something! We have our own collections in our yard too, looks like crap to me but my partner tells me “don’t touch that! I need it!”

      Yes a comfortably eccentric basement is sure a lot more fun than a sterile one.

  38. The Compulsive Writer

    Hoarder of history… I love that title. Reminds me of my brain. 🙂

  39. The cars are beautiful, I fell, I’m in love with old cars. I’m from Brazil.

    Congratulations!

  40. He sure makes 69 look good! He has a Sam Elliott vibe going there….
    Goodness, if those cars could talk, what a story they could tell.
    Congratulations on Freshly Pressed:)

  41. You’re welcome. The reason I know is a 1950 Nash Airflyte was our family car until the early 60’s. Automatic transmission and the seats folded down into a bed. My father took us on vacation in it, NY to Florida, before the Interstate system, and our family of five slept in it all the way!

  42. This is a very nice piece – linked here off the WordPress main page. One thing that is missing in our very mobile culture is that we don’t see the people who have lovingly accumulated the things they love. I remember the basements and garages of the “old folks” in my neighborhood growing up, and sadly, that just isn’t seen as often anymore. Those people had been in their homes for years, nowadays we seem to have to pick up and move too often to let our junk settle!

  43. Jeeeeez…
    So many beauties here…
    Its really a pity that just leave them there…
    it would be really nice if they could be shinning again…
    Really hope that could help this cute mate~!

  44. Oh, those rusty cars make my heart ache. They look fantastic!!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  45. Awesome cars!!

  46. Great post! I thoroughly enjoyed your account of an unusual man’s many unusual passions. And the photographs are a treat too! 🙂

  47. Ford Model T in 1931? My dad had a 1929 Model A.

  48. All credit to him – having a passion and a purpose is fantastic and congrats to you on being FP 🙂

  49. Nice! Love the cars. Beautiful. Hope they can be restored…

  50. There’s a beauty in abandoned old tech – I’ve just come back from Poland, where I ended up photographing rusting old steam (and diesel) trains. In our more environmentally-conscious lands, end-of-life disposal is something to be tightly regulated, and controlled, so that neither the environment nor anyone foolish enough to wander into a junkyard and start fooling around get hurt. It makes for a nicer, safer life (for some), but we lose the appreciation of the visual qualities of decay.

  51. Bravo Mister Hogan! Petersen’s in Los Angeles, and Beulieu in England, allow us fall in love with exciting, as-new cars from decades done but not forgotten. But these dear old crates, patiently sitting and waiting, in their work-worn glory, for whatever is around the corner, are equally charming.

  52. O-M-G

    I have to show this to my husband. We’re gear heads here! We have our own little “hoard” of cars. My husband would have a field day there amongst all those beauties! And probably buy half of them (or at least wish he could). We appreciate the beauty of those relics.

    Ugh, you’re killing me!

    Great post!

  53. Holy Ben Hur and his chariots! I live in a concrete jungle (Hong Kong) and I would KILL and MAIM to refurbish any one of those motorcars – just to see the me-rollin’-you-hatin’ faces on those Ferrari and Lamborghini owners here. I’m a biker (a fringed leather jacket, no less, but alas! no sideburns!) and if I’m moved to want, to desire, to crave, to [choose the words you like best] to have one, then these motorcars are REAL BEAUTIES. Oh, heck, I won’t be able to sleep now …

  54. FYI – I’m loving your blog!

  55. What an amazing collection – I love old cars! When I was 16 (1966) my parents gave me a 1948 Rover which I used to drive to work everyday. One day whilst driving along the main highway to the city of Perth to work, the bonnet sides flew up and jammed against the sun visor leaving me without any view of the road! After hastily stopping got helped out by a great guy and was on the road again. I can still smell the inside of that car! Now live in Portugal and do animal rescue!

  56. There´s an entropic beauty over pictures like these!
    As much as i like the cars i their rest and storytelling!

  57. People like that just add a little flavor to life. Like you I hope my next car doesn’t run on gas. I want a solar car!!! I’ve had a hybrid since 2004 and many people made fun of me for not driving a minvan or SUV. I’m perfectly happy driving my little hybrid around town and only having to go to the gas station once a month. Great historical pics you took.

  58. Pingback: It Was the Best of Junk, It Was the Worst of Junk « A Clean Surface.

  59. This is a great post – I really enjoyed the photos! I live in FL and every month or so I pass this area outside of Sopchoppy that looks like a junk yard – all these gorgeously rusted old cars sit there on the side of the road. I stopped to take photos once, and I’ve seen many do it since. Now I wonder if it’s something similar – an insightful collector who appreciates the beauty of them all rather than what I’ve always thought them as – a random junk pile of antiquated beauty. Ah well. Thanks for opening my eyes a bit 🙂 Take care!

  60. Just like you I never liked dolls, but I am not in love with having too much of any thing unless money. I would love to be a hoarder of money and would many other folks?

  61. Of course. People who say money can’t buy happiness are full of sh*t. If I had money I would spend my days figuring out who to give it to.

  62. Debra–

    Your blog is wonderful! Reading some recent posts today, I decided to subscribe–not something I often do. Being one of those people you allude to in your “About” page–underachiever, according to my own elderly parents–I’m entranced.

    I read this entry about Hogan back in March when WordPress featured it on their homepage, bookmarking it for later because I was in the process of moving my household from Michigan to California.

    Now I’m settled and back to work. I’m going to write a proposal and if there’s editorial interest where I’m hoping to find it, I might be asking you to do some facilitating with Hogan.

    BTW, I came through Bisbee for the first time in 2006 when I did a travel story along the US-Mexico border. This was before all the craziness. It’s unbelievable, what’s happened since.

    Here are a couple of links to my recent stuff:

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/22/once-more-with-loss-of-feeling-michigan-to-california-on-a-suzuki-sv650/

    http://baggyparagraphs.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/ben-powell-goin-nowhere-in-mid-america/

    Yrs.,
    Ronald Ahrens

    baggyparagraphsatgmaildotcom

  63. Hi Ronald, thank you and nice to meet you. You’re an excellent writer!

    Motorcycles are very, very popular here, along with old cars which people keep running for 50 years. If you need information from Hogan, I’m sure he’d oblige—the man lives for vintage cars.

    Yes things have gotten crazy here in Bisbee. It’s awful to be so disappointed in your home. Thank you so much for writing.

    Debra

  64. Hey Debra, we actually met Hogan a few years ago the first day we dropped in to see Belle Starr at her Silverado Ranch over near Douglas. We could sense right away he was a nice fella. We spent a fair bit of time around the Silverado over the following month trying so very hard to help Belle but we never did see Hogan again. We did look for his car place near Naco later but we didn’t find it. Small world eh:))

    HOGAN
    http://thebayfieldbunch.com/2009/12/to-day-we-met-belle-starr.html

  65. Hi Al, wow, great pics of Hogan on your post! He’s such a good friend and generally helpful person. We’re on the honor system with him, we help him and he helps us.

    Oh do I have stories about Belle—I should email you with updates. Wow it sure is a small world. If you come down this way again, let’s meet up and go see Hogan! His car lot is hard to find.

  66. hello,

    i tried to get onto the website (http://hogansclassiccars.com/) but it seems not to work anymore. is it discontinued?

    • Hi Pieter, yes it is discontinued. You can reach Hogan at 520-432-5190. He closed the website after years of people demanding large series of pictures from all angles inside and out, we email them, then never hear back from them again. The best way to reach him is by phone. He’s got quite a collection. Thanks for your interest.

      • ok, thanx for letting me know. i have had contact with him before by email, but i gues that one won’t work either anymore with the website being down.
        about the pics: for long distance buyers it is sometimes important to see pictures of what is being bought. so it’s kind unavoidable if you sell (or buy) online to deal with picture sending.

        • He also has a personal email but does not check it regularly. Best bet is phone call. We understand that people need to see pictures, but it’s a time consuming endeavor (cropping, sizing, etc.,) and people rarely respond. No matter how many pictures we send it’s never enough. Hogan is getting older and we try to respect his choices regarding his allotment of time. But damn he’s got some amazing vintage cars.

  67. Very nice write up. I am going down that way tomorrow and was wondering if visitors are welcome?

    • Sorry, I couldn’t find your blog. Do you live nearby?

      • Yes, I live in Hereford. I went to meet Hogan today. I took a friend of mine that is 78 years old who has been restoring cars on Moson Road for 32 years. Listening to those two talk was like having a history lesson on cars. I loved it. Hogan and his wife are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Thanks.

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