Cars I Could’ve, Should’ve, Kept

Memoir of a Life Restoring Classic Sports Cars


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About the Book

A small business owner and lifelong lover of classic sports cars, Jackson Brooks began in the early 1960s to purchase, restore and enjoy a long succession of rare automotive beauties, many of which are million-dollar commodities in today’s market. Not so much a collector as an enthusiast and entrepreneur, he recounts in this well-illustrated memoir how he found and selected the cars, some of which were on the verge of the scrap-heap, the process of restoring them, the challenges he confronted along the way, the ones that got away, and always the hunt for the next vehicle to spark his imagination.
The cars, primarily sporting machines, include 8C-2.3 Alfa Romeos, a Jaguar SS100, three 1953 Ferrari 250MM Barchetta racers (of 13 built), a 1922 Mercedes Targa Florio racer, a Type 57 Bugatti, a 1929 Mercedes SSK (one of 33 built), four Talbot Lagos, and a 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton among many others, with particular concentrations on Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. Often the sale of one, after restoration and use, financed the purchase of the next, and the text includes the purchase and sale prices as well as approximate present-day market values of the cars. Few people have enjoyed so much hands-on experience with so many of the world’s most desirable automobiles.

About the Author(s)

Former business owner Jackson Brooks is retired and lives in Loveland, Colorado.

Bibliographic Details

Jackson Brooks
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 263
Bibliographic Info: 160 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2810-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8313-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. The 8C-2.3 Alfa Romeo      5
2. The Jaguars (and a Few Others)      18
3. The De Mola Bodied Alfa      30
4. The 6C-1750 Gran Turismo Con Compressore      35
5. The 250MM Ferraris      38
6. The 1959 410 Superamerica Ferrari      54
7. The Lusso Berlinetta Ferraris      60
8. The Maharajah’s 2.9 Alfa Romeo      68
9. The 1922 Targa Florio Mercedes      72
10. The 1957 Gullwing Mercedes      79
11. The SSK Mercedes      84
12. The 1953 212 Inter Ferrari #0289EU      90
13. The Talbot Lagos      99
14. The Type 57 Bugatti      111
15. The 1949 Type 166 Ferrari Barchetta      120
16. The Alfa Romeo Disco Volante      128
17. The 1930 6C-1750 Alfa Romeo Zagato Spider      137
18. The 250 GT Boano Ferraris      151
19. The Fire Alfa      157
20. My Last 8C-2.3 Alfa Romeo      165
21. An Idyllic Interlude      173
22. The Nash Healy      186
23. My Packard Education      190
24. The Austin Mini Cooper S      208
25. The Twelve-Cylinder Pierce Arrow Club Brougham      214
26. The 1937 Supercharged Cord Phaeton      221
27. The 1939 Alvis Speed 25      232
28. Cars I Admired but Never Owned      244
29. Conclusion      247

Index      251

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “delightful…quite enjoyable”—The Prancing Horse
  • “fascinating account of his decades as a car restorer. Each restoration challenge and his experience with each car after it was finished are covered with enthusiasm and in intriguing detail…describes each job in a way that makes its special problems vivid…any enthusiast w ill enjoy this marvelous book”—Vintage Sports Car Club
  • “some of his cars are, by today’s standards, the very cream of the crop…possessed of an artist’s eye…describes a good 30 of these in detail, and many more in passing…one of the enlightened few books that recognizes the fact that not all Lucas (or Smiths) parts are created equal”—The Flying Lady