Surf City Garage sending 20 cars to Mecum’s Indy auction

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Tim Miller’s passion for cars traces to his father’s brand-new 1958 Chevrolet step-side pickup truck. Miller was a child when his father bought the car, but it’s the vehicle in which Miller learned to drive.

Miller still has that truck, though now it has a Corvette powertrain and four-wheel disc brakes.

By 1970, Miller was old enough to drive legally and used money he’d saved from his summer jobs to buy a three-year-old Pontiac GTO with, of course, a 400cid V8 and 4-speed transmission.

Fast forward — which Miller did while drag racing his GTO on various Southern California strips — and Miller has a successful commercial-building construction business and a growing car collection that he houses in Huntington Beach, California, in what he calls the Surf City Garage.

Grown to include more than 130 cars, and a successful car-care-product business, Miller, like so many collectors, has run out of room and is sending 20 of his cars to Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic auction, May 15-20 in Indianapolis, where the Surf City Garage Collection will be offered at no reserve.

The Surf City Garage cars scheduled to cross the block include nine Pontiac GTOs, five of them Judges (one of those a 1971 “pilot” car), four of them GTO convertibles (and one of those an unrestored 13,000-miler). There’s also a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, and Plymouth Road Runner, a 1970 Plymouth GTX, a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro RS convertible, a couple of early Corvettes, a pair of ‘57 Ford Thunderbirds, a ’55 Chevy Bel Air resto-mod, and Plymouth and Ford woody wagons.

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Miller started the Surf City Garage as a place to restore and store his cars collection, but it has begotten its own car-care product company. Miller collected not only cars, but a staff of people to help him restore and maintain them. When the crew expressed its displeasure with the available car-care products, Miller hired a chemist to develop detailing cleaners, waxes, etc.

At first, the Surf City Garage crew would simply hand out samples to other collectors and at SoCal car shows, and by 2007 Surf City Garage launched its own retail brand of car-care products.

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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 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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