Alchemy of the Heart

Some people collect Edgar Allen Poe first editions, others hoard delicately tinted Depression glass. Bridgeport’s Barnum Museum once hosted an exhibit of a proud collector’s Victorian hat pins. But some of the best collections in our towns are hidden behind garage doors. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some of these venerable (and often priceless) antique cars taking the road on a sunny Sunday, with the proud owner at the wheel. They range from Edwardian high-wheelers with polished brass to extroverted Camaro pace cars and snarling Ferraris in the one color favored by true aficionados — red.

Collectors show off their prizes at events ranging from casual local shows to more formal French-derived concours d’elegance, with only the most exclusive marques invited. Greenwich’s well-organized event is a popular stop on the national concours schedule, and now Westport has joined the ranks with its own Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance.

But these Cinderella balls happen only once a year, feeding the collectors’ need to share their treasures with the world. Car collecting is an addiction, and chances are if you see one vintage vehicle, the enthusiast has others lurking at home. Let’s shed some light on our neighbors’ hidden treasures, and their unique obsessions.

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