Enjoy your classics while you can

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I also chatted recently with Jim Hery, owner of Chalfant Motor Car Company, a classic car restoration business in Belfast, Tennessee. It was at the Concours d’Elegance of America that I was admiring the big aqua blue 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I that Hery was polishing (see photo).

I asked if he was the car’s owner. He wasn’t, he said. But he had recently completed the car’s restoration, and he told me the owner’s story.

The car was shown at the concours by Helga Knox, who’s husband, George Knox Jr., died just a few months earlier.

Hery said George Knox Jr. had been in the equipment rental business. According to Knox’s obituary, his passions included classic cars — he was an original member of the Antique Car Club of Chester County — flying his Piper Cherokee (he also once flew a hot air balloon over the Alps), wildlife and domestic animal protection, and volunteering for missionary trips and doing equipment repair in several central African countries.

Hery said that Knox had collected 50 classic cars and planned to restore them after he retired. Sadly, he added, the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease meant that when it was time for those cars to be restored, Knox didn’t even know they were his.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.