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Dave and Jeanette McCready

By Jeremy Wilson

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Have you ever wondered why classic car collectors are so passionate about their automobiles? The answer is often related to cars that were significant in their youth. Some stories you may hear begin: “It’s just the same as my first car...” or “My uncle had a Cadillac just like this one and taught me to drive in it...” or “This was my grandfather’s car...” At least that’s how many collections get started.

Collectors Dave and Jeanette McCready have many such associations. Their passion for classic and antique automobiles runs high and their history runs deep.

Jeanette is Tour Master of the local chapter of Packards International. Their daughter and son-in-law are themselves collectors and their son Mike runs Mike’s Vintage Service, a repair shop for classic cars!

An antique car even figured into Dave and Jeanette’s acquaintance: As a college student, Jeanette noticed an eye-catching 1931 Model A in the parking lot of a ski lodge and thought to herself, ‘I wonder whose funny little yellow car that is?’ Months later she met Dave and eventually learned it belonged to him.

Though most collectors begin restoring cars later in life, Dave jump started the process with a Model T while still in middle school.

“Mother speaks about my taking flashlights apart and taking toys apart and putting them back together very early,” said Dave. “And then I had American Flyer trains and built and extensive layout, but by age 12, I was through with model railroads and into automobiles. I started restoring the 1920 Model T Ford in the eighth grade, completely dismantling it, and was driving it before I was 16.”

Dave’s father was a collector who spent years putting together a Museum of Transportation. It included some 35 cars, railroad rolling stock, tracks, memorabilia from railroads, and horse-drawn devices including sleighs and buggies. One of his father’s shrewder acquisitions was a San Francisco cable car.

“A number of cable cars were up for auction and my father placed a low bid on one of them. The highest bids got the better cars and the first choice. In the end they had one car left and his $51 bid had not been filled. They said, ‘This is an absolutely stupid bid; it’s silly; we’re going to throw it out.’ My father insisted it not be thrown out as it was a legitimate bid and we got the car. It didn’t have an interior in it, but we did get a real San Francisco Cable Car. Later, we reconstructed the interior and put the lace work back in it. It was mostly restored at the time of his death.”

In high school, Dave liked the older cars and began driving “Agatha”, his 1931 Model A, during his senior year and continuing throughout college. Both the Model T and the Model A are part of Dave and Jeanette’s current collection and may be seen in detail by following the links at the top of the page.

During Dave’s college years, his family owned a 1956 Packard, which he occasionally had the chance to drive. Dave and Jeanette now own two 1956 Packards, just like his family’s. One is featured on this website (see link at top of page) and the other is being restored.

Their current collection also includes the 1934 Packard 1101 Coupe Roadster and the 1937 Packard Super 8 Seven Passenger Sedan, both pictured at the top of the page, and this Family Touring Sedan...

This 250 Convertible received Best in Class at the Classic Car Club of America‘s national “Packard Experience” (1994)...

Last but not least is a 1950 Chevrolet Bel Air, the first Chevrolet postless (Hardtop) sedan. According to Dave, the ‘50 Bel Airs were built on the convertible frame which makes them very heavy. This one is a three speed and moves right along as it has a ’52 rear end with 3.55 gear set, not the original 4.10 gear set.

In the late ‘60s, Dave became a member of the Historic Automobile Club of Oregon (HACO) and served as president in 1973.

HACO was instrumental in the creation of the Portland Swap Meet and the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance.

Al Stevens came to HACO in ’73 when Dave was President. Al had an idea for a Forest Grove Rotary Concours. It was to be a fund raiser for Forest Grove Rotarians.

“Al and I became personal friends and we worked toward making the Concours a reality,” said Dave. “That would be the first year of many years to follow.”

HACO helped out with defining the event, providing judges and was also instrumental in rounding up collector cars for that first show.

The McCreadys are members of the Classic Car Club of America and Packards International.

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