Nothing revs these locals’ hearts like their prized vehicles
2004 BMW M3
Linda Robertson fell in love with the black 2004 BMW M3 convertible the first time she saw it on the showroom floor of a local auto dealer.
“When I asked a salesman about it, he shook me off, saying it was too much car for me. I was so insulted, I left. He didn’t realize I grew up riding motorcycles, including a Harley,” said Mrs. Robertson, 68, owner of One on One Fitness near the Andree Clark Bird Refuge.
Several months later, she was driving back to Santa Barbara after picking up her daughter in Venice Beach when she saw the same car at a stoplight.
“I decided I had to have the car,” Mrs. Robertson said. “I pulled over at the next possible place, called the auto dealer and made an appointment to buy it the same day.”
A different salesman opened the showroom doors and drove it outside.
“The car had a gorgeous throaty sound. My heart was pounding. I was so excited. I got in it and drove on the freeway. The car had a lot of get-up-and-go. I thought, ‘Oh, man, this is the car for me.’ When we got back to the showroom, I wrote a check. This was a dream come true,” said Mrs. Robertson.
“I have had other cars, but this one is the best. Fifteen years later, every time I look at it, I still think it’s the best-looking car I have ever seen. People can’t believe it’s a 2004 either.”
ERICK MADRID/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS
1954 Chevrolet Pickup
After seven or eight years of diligent searching, Sophie Calvin found exactly what she wanted — a bright red 1954 Chevrolet pickup. The owner was an older man who lived with his wife on a vineyard in Northern California near Petaluma.
“He had a stroke and was downsizing, but he wasn’t about to give the truck away for a low price. He was a tough negotiator. Others had tried to buy the truck and failed,” said Miss Calvin. “Finally, I persuaded him to sell it to me even though I had only seen pictures of it. Fortunately, I had a friend living near him. He looked at the truck for me and told me, ‘If you don’t buy it, I will.’ “
In March 2016, everything fell into place with only one problem — how to transport it to Santa Barbara. With the help of her mechanic, Kurt Kimball, owner of Granny’s Garage, arrangements were made, and now Miss Calvin and her two dogs, Buck, a rescue yellow Lab, and Bean, a miniature Australian shepherd, are living happily ever after.
“I’m a residential designer who does a lot of gardening, and the dogs are always with me,” said Miss Calvin, who grew up in Montecito, where she lives.
Everywhere she drives, there are reactions to the truck, the majority from older men who say wistfully, ” ‘I had a truck like that once,’ and they want to tell me their stories about the trucks.
“The first time I went to the Upper Village in Montecito, I left my truck parked in front of the post office while I did errands. When I came back, there was a note on the windshield that said, ‘This is the most beautiful truck I have ever seen. If you ever want to sell it, let me know.’? I didn’t recognize the name and didn’t follow up because I never plan to sell my truck,” said Miss Calvin.
Several years later, she decorated it for Montecito’s 4th of July parade and afterward met the person who wrote the note.
It was the Rev. AimÄe Eyer-Delevett, rector at All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito.
2005 Mercedes-Benz E-500
Dee Smith will be spending most of her time as the new engineer on the train at the Santa Barbara Zoo, but when she isn’t working, she hops in her 2005 pewter Mercedes-Benz E-500 and visits family and friends in the Bay Area or Santa Fe, N.M., where she lived for 14 years before moving back to Santa Barbara in 2002.
“I went to UCSB from 1972 to 1974, and then I moved to Santa Fe,” said Ms. Smith, 62.
A Toyota Highlander SUV was her vehicle of choice before she decided to splurge on the Mercedes, which now has 180,000 miles on it.
“When I bought it, I thought it might possibly be the last car I’ll ever buy,” said Ms. Smith. “I like to keep my cars for a long time.”
In addition to her volunteer work with Meals on Wheels, she drives to practices and performances with the Prime Time Band.
“I play the piccolo and the flute,” said Ms. Smith.
2000 Mercedes-Benz 320
Since Katherine Wolfe bought her silver Mercedes-Benz 320 in 2000, she has racked up 188,000 miles on it, which is why Ms. Wolfe lovingly refers to it as “Good, Old Grandma.”
“I’m in my car most days carrying equipment for my job as a massage therapist and for physical therapy for older adults. On weekends, it’s filled with sports equipment like snowboards and big, old surfboards,” said Ms. Wolfe, who also likes to hike and play pickle ball.
“Cars and I are friends. I grew up in cars. I come from a Navy family. We frequently drove from the East Coast to the West Coast and back and everywhere in between,” she said.
Ms. Wolfe was on top of Mammoth Mountain snowboarding when the News-Press called her to ask if it was OK to use her photo with her license plate visible.
“It is fine to run the picture with the license plate. If I plan to rob a bank, I’ll make sure and use a different car.”