Richard Douglas with sons Lloyd (L), Asa (C) and Zeb (R). Photos by author.
Richard Douglas is a big fan of our $5,000 Challenge series, as it drives home the message that one doesn’t need to be wealthy to purchase a collector car. A carpenter by trade with a wife and three sons to support, Richard’s own budget to shop for a collector car was limited to $4,000. That was enough to purchase this 1960 Custom Imperial four-door sedan, which Richard, accompanied by sons Lloyd, Zeb and Asa, recently drove five and a half hours from Hermon, New York (on the Canadian border) to attend a Hemmings Cruise-In.
Richard found the car in Rhode Island about two month back, buying it from a seller who’d purchased the car at auction. Unfortunately, there was little documentation on the Imperial’s history, but as Richard tells us, “Someone obviously took good care of it for a lot of years.” Body panels are straight with no evidence of repair, nearly all of the chrome trim is intact, and the few spots of rust appear superficial. While some would lobby for a fresh coat of paint, others would argue that the car’s Light Mint finish (a respray over the same original color) looks just fine with a bit of patina.
Since purchase, Richard and the boys have been busy working on the car, replacing front brakes, brake lines, lights, mufflers, windshield wipers and even the gas tank. We asked Richard about the tires, and he admitted those were new as well, changed after suffering a low-speed blowout. In total, Richard estimates he’s sunk about another $1,500 worth of parts into the car since bringing it home.
He’s also passing mechanical skills, and the love of old cars, on to a new generation, one that’s all too often accused of lacking interest in any cars, old or new. Perhaps the Douglas family is the exception to the rule, or perhaps there’s more interest in affordable old cars among the younger generation than we’re aware of.