It wasn’t until about seven years ago that Bob Allen embraced his love of classic vehicles, and once he finally did so he went all-out.
He now has seven classic vehicles at his Shilo-area property, including two trucks and five cars.
Allen’s retirement and the death of his wife of 40 years, Francis, took place within a short span of each other, prompting him to seek out a hobby to fill his days.
"You always dream of having a hot rod when you’re younger, but you’re raising a family and working and you don’t have time," he reflected in one of his two garages on Thursday, adding that he started purchasing vehicles "just for something to do."
His first foray into classic vehicle territory came with his purchase of a 1932 Ford car, which he rebuilt from the frame up with friend and fellow classic vehicle enthusiast Rob Rose.
If what he’d heard from its previous owner is true, the vehicle was used as a mud bogger in the past and was not in the greatest shape as a result.
Now immaculately preserved in one of two large garages on his property, it took a great deal of work to get it into the shape it is today, with Allen describing "everything" as having been re-done.
"It’s not a powerhouse by any means, but does the job," he said of the straightforward vehicle, which is complete with a Chevrolet engine and a Lincoln rear end.
Another one of his frame-up rebuilds, a 1937 Chevrolet car, is situated in the same garage.
His in-laws had the vehicle on their farm for about 40 years, during which it was exposed to the elements and degraded to the point of requiring a complete rebuild.
He undertook the challenge for his daughter, Sandra Boyes, with the now-completed vehicle serving as a reminder of her mother.
The rust on this vehicle was fairly extreme, requiring careful sandblasting as well as the employment of wire brushes and sandpaper to bring it down to its original metal.
"Lots of time and lots of elbow grease," Allen described.
In his second garage, Allen houses a 1974 Challenger and a 1971 Cheyenne half-ton.
The Cheyenne has a "lot of motor to it" — a configuration that’s far from original and puts out more than 700 horsepower.
Regardless of owning a vehicle primed for racing, Allen doesn’t take to the track, preferring to build and maintain his vehicles rather than risk damaging or outright breaking automotive components by pushing them to their limits.
His current project is his nearly-complete Challenger, which he got from his brother, Ron — a fellow car enthusiast from Carberry.
Allen has already sold a 1970 Corvette and another 1974 Challenger from his ever-changing collection of classic vehicles, and attends a Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., every summer.
One of his garage’s walls houses a shrine to his accomplishments in the local world of classic car hobbyists, including a number of awards from the area car shows he frequents.
While Allen is not a member of any of the local auto clubs, preferring instead to remain in his "own little world," he said that he still enjoys attending auto shows where he can speak with like-minded people about their shared passion.
It has been a rewarding hobby, he said, affirming that it has most certainly met his goal of filling time in a meaningful and fun manner.
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB