Is There A “Car Gene?”
The more time you spend with a true car enthusiast, the more you have to wonder if it’s not more than a love of all things automotive; it’s in their blood, they’ve caught the bug, or there really is a car “gene” and some of us are born with it. This seems to be the case for Jerry Hammer, owner of Collectible Cars of Arizona, Inc. (CCOA) and GM Obsolete, a company specializing in GM parts for vintage automobiles. “I really can’t say when it started.” Jerry told HA. “I’ve loved cars for as long as I can remember.”
Jerry began collecting and restoring full-size GM convertibles in the early 1970’s. He recalls his first restoration project was a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. His interest and knowledge for automobiles continued to expand. In 1986, he left the family business to pursue his passion and founded California Collectible Cars & Parts, which quickly became one of the leading parts suppliers in the county. It wasn’t long before he expanded into automotive restorations, specializing in Cadillacs and limited-edition production convertibles. His talent for restoration was displayed through his cars when they received numerous first place awards at top, judged events. This included best of show awards as well as AACA junior and senior first place awards. His automobiles have set numerous world records at public auction. Jerry’s restorations have been featured in many automotive publications around the world. In 1989, he sold California Collectible Parts and relocated to Phoenix in 1995; however, his attempt at retirement was short-lived. That car “gene” surfaced and led to the formation of Collectible Cars of Arizona.
“What we currently do is very specific. I maintain a self- owned inventory of approximately 25 cars for sale. In order to accept a car on consignment, it must meet certain criteria as well as being exceptional in quality. Some sellers are unrealistic with respect to the value of their vintage car. I take a personal interest in helping my clients determine a realistic value for their automobile based upon quality as well as current market conditions. Prospective buyers who are looking to purchase a collector car are asked to first come and inspect what we have for sale. Then they are able to understand the difference in quality between what we have and what others might be offering.”
While his shop stays busy working on cars he owns, CCOA performs private restorations for a select cliental. Jerry told us, “When customers want to talk about a restoration, the common questions asked are ‘how much? and how long?’ Working on vintage automobiles is challenging and quite often the total amount of both time and restoration required may only be determined as the restoration proceeds. I believe there are three ways to accomplish a task; the wrong way, the inexpensive way or the proper way. We believe in doing restoration the proper way. Quality workmanship doesn’t come cheap and neither does it adhere to a schedule. Prior to proceeding with any client’s restoration project we have a detailed conversation regarding their expectations and my philosophy with respect to restoration. I conclude all those conversations with that well known/true quotation ‘The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten’.”
You can visit Collectible Cars of Arizona Monday-Friday between 8am and 5pm at 2602 West Encanto Blvd in Phoenix AZ. The 15,000 sq. ft. building houses the showroom, parts department and shop. There is also a current inventory of classic and vintage cars for sale on their website; www.ccoarizona.com. Have a question or comment for Jerry? He can be reached at 602-253-8081, or firstname.lastname@example.org.