Three Seattle-area collectors will lend their cars for LeMay show.
LeMay — America’s Car Museum defines a master collector as “a dedicated enthusiast whose passion for cars knows no bounds.”
Area residents Peter Hageman, Al McEwan and Glenn Mounger fit that description. All collect rare cars and have played a role in shaping the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Some of their historic dream cars are part of the “Master Collectors” exhibit, on display through September at the Tacoma automotive museum.
Though they’ve collected many cars over the years, the three share their first love, as well as a car that has special significance now.
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Describing himself as “an antique dealer who dabbles in vintage automobiles,” Hageman co-founded the Kirkland Concours (now the Pacific Northwest Concours d’ Elegance).
Born in the Netherlands, Hageman grew up in Redmond and lives in Kirkland. He inherited the vintage-car bug from his father and bought his first car, a 1927 Packard, at 13.
Among Hageman’s favorite cars is his 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL coupe, often called a gull-wing because the doors open upward like wings.
As a young man, he saw his first gull-wing at a Seattle Mercedes dealership in the early 1960s.
“It looked like a spaceship,” he says. “It left a big impression.”
Hageman sees it as one of the world’s first supercars. “When it first came out, it was a 150-mph car,” he says.
Redmond resident McEwan, a retired Boeing aeronautical engineer, grew up in Adawam, Mass., where he could name the vehicles that drove past his boyhood home.
Ken Purdy’s “The Kings of the Road,” a 1949 landmark book about vintage cars, had a huge influence on him. While in college in the mid-1950s, he heard about a 1930 Cadillac V-16 for sale for the then-lofty sum of $300.
“I came up with a scheme and bought the car,” McEwan says with a chuckle. “I towed it on the end of a rope back to the fraternity and was nearly laughed out of the house.”
In 1972, McEwan bought a European-built 1930 Hispano-Suiza H6C d’Ieteren Freres Transformable (convertible sedan). He and his wife drove it this year on the annual Pebble Beach Motoring Classic, a 1,600-mile caravan they lead each year from the Kirkland waterfront to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
“I referred to the car as the Hope Diamond,” he says. “I knew I was getting a very special car, but it was going to take a great deal of attention.”
Mounger grew up in Magnolia and is the son of the founder of Pacific Trail Sportswear.
Mounger had loved cars in high school, but it was a 1941 Cadillac convertible, purchased in 1972, that made him a bona fide car buff.
“It kind of became the car that put me on the path of being a car collector,” the Bainbridge Island resident says.
When he first saw it in the late ’70s, Mounger’s 1932 Packard 903 Coupe Roadster belonged to an East Coast collector.
Impressed with the stately roadster, Mounger asked the owner to let him know if it ever came up for sale.
“It took 30 years to get that call, but it was worth it,” Mounger says.
Today, Mounger and his wife, Mary Lynn, belong to at least a half-dozen car clubs.
“The car hobby has taken us all around the world,” Mounger says. “We’ve been able to see and do things that you only dream of.”