Welcome to the Eugene Bernshtam Classic Car Collection. I’ve been a collector of vintage cars since 1994, and a member of the Ferrari and Lamborghini clubs of America. For 25 years, spotting and restoring classic cars has been a hobby of mine, and it’s both relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. I find it relaxing because of all the meticulous work that goes into tweaking engines and banging up the chassis; I find it exhilarating because nothing beats going down an interstate at full speed, with the windows down and the Rolling Stones playing on the stereo.
Here are some of the cars that I’ve collected and restored through the years:
Buick Roadmaster 1947. Known as much for its sheer power as it was for its iconic bumpers and front grille, the 1947 Buick Roadmaster (also known as the Buick Eight) was a child of the war. Compared to the 1939-41 editions which did not skimp on the chrome trim, the 1947 model was a bit muted when it came to ornamentation. It did make up for the lack of decoration with its sweeping, stylish lines and fine interior finish, with two-toned, woodgrain instrument panels available on all models except the convertibles. I must admit that among the cars that I’ve restored, this took the most time and effort. But whenever I drive it, it takes me back to a time when things were much more gentle.
Dodge Polara 1964. I’m a really big fan of convertibles, and I’ve driven and restored quite a few, including a Mercedes-Benz Karmann Ghia. But as far as convertibles go, nothing quite matches my 1964 Dodge Polara. At first, the color got me interested, then the dual headlights got me hooked. It doesn’t have much in the way of curves, but the solid construction, full-face front grill, and masculine styling makes it a legend among convertibles. And I’m lucky to have found it. Since then, my Polara and I have had many epic moments together.
Bentley T1 1970. Ask me any question about Italian supercars, and I’ll be able to answer you correctly right away. However, I’m not the biggest British car fan around. At one point, I wasn’t able to tell the difference between a Bentley and a Rolls-Royce. All that changed when I found a Bentley T1 in a magazine. While the mid-60s T1s were practically Rolls-Royce clones, these two-door wonders featured an understated front grille and a lighter styling, and this understatement made them appealing to buyers who liked the performance of a Rolls-Royce but did not want to be too conspicuous. Like me, my Bentley T1 is the ideal town car – proper, quiet, yet dignified.
Chrysler Cordoba 1975. I have owned and driven a Ferrari and a Lamborghini, but I won’t be pulling your leg if I told you that my dream car has always been the 1975 Chrysler Cordoba. Designed as a personal luxury car, the Cordoba put more emphasis on ensuring a safe ride and comfort for its drivers and passengers. It features center armrests and storage compartment, plush seats available “even in soft Corinthian leather”, and luxurious accouterments that surpassed those of its competitors. It was, and still is, a car worthy of a conquistador.
Don’t forget to check back on the Eugene Bernshtam Classic Car Gallery for more pictures of my vintage car collection!