Everyone has a story about how their life became entangled with beautiful collector cars – here is mine. My grandmother lost her first husband in a tragic accident in 1925. She remarried about 12 years later to Ted Billings. He was my fathers step dad and eventually my step grandfather. In 1946, Ted went into the fresh water marina business in Worcester, MA. Around 1950 he purchased a large lot of land and built a home and marina in Shrewsbury, MA on Lake Quinsigamond. My father purchased a lot next door. My father worked at the marina until 1960. I was born in 1951 and grew up with all things boats; Chris Craft inboards, Thompson lapstrake boats andJohnson outboard motors. The fresh water boat business was dull in the winter, with little to do. The crew was laid off and my grandfather Ted needed something to do. He had an idea that he wanted a 1935 Auburn speedster in 1956, which then was an old used car. He located three Auburns for sale: a 1935 Speedster, 1934 Cabriolet, and a 1935 Phaeton all for $900.00. He sold the 1935 Phaeton to one of his workers and the 1934 Cabriolet went to Al San Clemente a boat customer and friend. My grandfather restored that Speedster and joined the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg club and the Classic Car Club of America. By 1960 boat customers were wondering if my grandfather could restore a car for them, so the second business started. I lived right next door so that was my world, cars and boats. By 1969 the cars took over and he left the boat business. I started working as a kid after school helping out where I could. I learned all aspects of restoration there. Here are a few pictures from the 1950s. The first one is of Billings Marina in 1956. You can see the 1934 Auburn cabriolet in the yard which my grandfather sold to Al San Clemente a young lawyer just out of law school. Al is still with us at 89 years old and he became a lifelong car collector having owned and still owns a very nice collection. The next picture is of my grandmother probably in Ohio with my grandfathers first Auburn speedster in 1958. The last picture is of my grandmother and her sister( my great aunt) in 1958 next to my grandfather’s Auburn Speedster on Main St. in Auburn, Indiana, at the Fall Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg meet. The cars across the street are brand new or close to it. More pictures of the shop and cars later. Wray

34 Auburn

Nana and aunt Fan in Auburn 1958 2edit

Nana edited