Bob LaBine: Arcadia Car Paradise

  • story by David M. Brown
  • posted on 05/2010
  • posted in: Great Garages

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize: “Women ‘accessorize’ their outfits, so men should be able to accessorize their garages,” says Bob LaBine of Phoenix’ historic Arcadia neighborhood, whose name recalls an Ancient Greek paradise.

He and Cindy built their garage 1997–1998 — and attached their house. Still, the original garage could only hold seven cars, so in 2003 they added space for a motorhome, a double-deck trailer and more cars.

Adding on meant more walls to cover, so that provided for more memorabilia. Many of the plaques and trophies on the walls are from the Great Race, at which they won the Rookie Division in 2001 and Sportsman’s division in 2005 with their ’55 T-Bird and were Grand Champions in 2007 with their ’28 Model A Ford Speedster.

He and Cindy — B & C Racing — even have manikins, which, well, man the garage. “So many people come in and either start talking to them or are scared of them and jump,” Bob says. As he and Cindy travel the country and back roads, manikinless, they find lots of additions. “It helps to have a big trailer or lots of cargo space in the bottom of the motorhome to store these new treasures,” he says.

Here are their four-wheel treasures, as described by Bob:

1955 T-Bird — “About 1995, Cindy was saying how ‘cool’ it would be to have a 1957 T-Bird. Our birthdays were coming up, and the auctions were in full swing in Scottsdale. On my way to the auctions for the day, I spotted a T-Bird parked on one of the corners before entering the auction area. Not knowing too much about the ‘little birds,’ I stopped and started talking to the gentleman.

Four hours later, I was the proud owner not of a ’57 but a 1955 T-Bird. After all, we were both born in 1955. The car cost $2,695 in 1955, a little more in 1995.

The person I bought the car from let me keep it in his garage the weeks leading up to Cindy’s birthday. The day of her birthday, Cindy’s best friend, Yvonne, and I picked up the car and brought it back to the office. We all had lunch and then proceeded to open the usual gifts.

I gave Cindy a model T-Bird. She didn’t think that was too funny — definitely not what she had in mind. I then told her to look in the trunk. Out fell a key. We all walked outside, and there in the parking lot was our 1955 Goldenrod Yellow T-Bird. She was happy!

While at the auctions in 2001, I came across the Great Race display, and before the auctions were over, I entered ‘The History Channel Great Race.’ We finished first in our division as Car #73 (that was the year that both Cindy and I graduated from high school).

After being in six Great Races and numerous regional races, Cindy knows she made the right decision to be part of the support team instead of the navigator: no time to shop and look at the scenery if you’re the racers. When we are not on the race and traveling the country, we stop in some of the towns that have hosted us on Great Race. When coming through on the race, we don’t have much time to enjoy what the town has to offer.

1961 Corvette — “A good daily driver. I have owned it for about 12 years. It is one of the rarer Vettes, with a 283-c.i.d.V-8 and dual-quad carbs. Also, the cove is fawn beige — the same as the car. Most of them had contrasting white coves. This car was featured on ‘Wealth TV’ one year when we were in San Diego doing a car show. Cost in 1961 was $4,170.

1981 Corvette — “It’s the first ‘sports’ car I could afford and bought on my own; it cost $16,273 back then. I had owned Trans Ams and Camaros, but this was taking it up a notch. I loved that car, and as so many of us do, we regret selling them.

As Cindy and I were traveling the country and going to auctions, I came across my current 1981 Vette out on a back lot. I could see from a distance that it was what I had had almost 30 years ago. This one has 13,000 original miles on it. It is a pleasure to drive and reminded me why I liked it so much the first time I had one.

1966 Mustangs — “All of our cars are two-seaters. Once in a while you need a car that will seat more than two. So we bought the two 1966 Mustangs. The Arcadian Blue one ($3,708 new) is okay for daily driving as it has factory air. We hauled this car in the trailer and used it as a support vehicle on one of the great races.

The Nightmist Blue Metallic ($3,380 new) had a frame-off restoration. I drive it around town and put about 400 miles on it a year. This car was featured in one of the advertisements for Wal-Mart products a few years ago.

2003 Ferrari F1 360 Spider — “I bought the car and put it in the garage. When Cindy came home, one of her friends saw it and asked whose car it was, so I said it was ‘Mine….Ours.’ She asked who the Mineours were. It didn’t take long for her to figure out that it was Mine, but, as all good husbands say, ‘It’s Ours.’

So, next time you go to the auction or are out to get a new old ride and bring it home, remember to tell her it is ‘MineOurs.’ Works for me every time.”

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