For the love of big, old cars
A few years ago, Ted Furth traded in his day job to pursue his passion - buying, reconditioning and selling big 1950s, 1960s and 1970s Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Buicks, Cadillacs, Chryslers and Dodges. Photos, story by Fritz Busch, The New Ulm Journal
Ted Furth can't get much more in love with older, big cars. Not muscle cars. He wants the type that can be bought and sold for far less money. Mostly four-door sedans, hardtops with an occasional two-door convertible thrown in. "I've been car crazy all my life," said Ted Furth who lives with his wife Tamara on her family's original farm site just east of the Sigel ball park. "As a 13-year-old, I remember telling my dad I wanted a 1939 Chevrolet a neighbor down the street had," Furth said. "I started buying and selling old cars as a hobby," he added. "It's still fun for me. I still feel lots of passion for it, every day when I get up in the morning."
Each summer, Furth takes several of his cars to some of the world's largest antique vehicle shows in the Upper Midwest. "It's the joy of meeting other gentlemen that share your passion and swapping stories," Furth said. "I may sell a car or two at a show and buy one to bring home." Storing several dozen cars in insulated sheds on the farm site, Furth lists his business as Ted's Tuna Boats on several web sites including oldride.com, AntiqueCar.com, Craigslist and eBay Motors. He gets e-mail queries and phone calls from people he doesn't know and others he met over the past few decades in the vintage car business. "Since they're available at reasonable cost (his average car price is about $4,400), lots of people buy and enjoy four-doors," Furth said. "I'm kind of like a matchmaker. People ask me to find them certain types of cars. I know who to call to find them. For me, it's not just about money. I have a deep love and appreciation." He has shipped late 50s cars to several european countries. "Some people there are crazy about old cars with big (rear) fins," Furth said "Chevrolet Impalas and Caprices from the 1970s are popular with inner-city customers who convert them to low-riders or put large, chrome wheels on them.
Furth would rather work with old cars than new ones. "Newer vehicles are full of sensors and plastic. I'd rather work with chrome, steel, big leather seats and wrap-around glass," he added. "It keeps me going when I sell a car to someone and they drive off with a big smile on their face."