Zen and the Art of Collecting Old Cars

Adventures in Toyland

by Bruce Valley


Zen and the Art of Collecting Old Cars is a delightful read written by a man who took great pleasure over the decades finding, purchasing, owning, restoring, caring for, and driving numerous collectible cars and trucks. 

The vehicles in turn provided Bruce Valley a diversion from his US Navy career that, literally by the time he retired, had posted him all over the world as he went from flying rescue helicopters in Vietnam, to test pilot, and eventually a desk in the Pentagon. The enjoyment he found in his truly eclectic mix of cars—acquired, owned, and driven the world over—were his source of Zen, that mindful awareness that helps release or ease stress as one becomes lost in the tasks at hand. 

Valley’s stories tell of more than his diverse car interests as they also reflect his curiosity, thus learning and reading, and general interests. His writing indicates he’s a well-read man with a poetic bent. An aside, he’s published a modest tome of poetry titled Rye Harbor, Poems of the New Hampshire Seacoast most of which, the Preface indicates, were written, “largely on my military knee board while sitting in the alert status in the cockpit of my Sea King rescue helicopter aboard a naval vessel three miles off the coast of (then) North Vietnam. 

Valley’s cars ranged from Lamborghini to Lincoln, Cadillac to Chevrolet (Corvette to Cameo Carrier), Packard to Pontiac, Ford to Studebaker, Mercedes and more. His hobby participation always included memberships in clubs and attendance at their various shows and other activities. Some of those experiences and adventures are shared on the pages along with an insert containing primarily color photos of some of those vehicles. 

And that, as every active hobbyist can confirm, contributed to these words written by Valley, “The cars themselves bring a unique and fulsome richness into your life…[but] at the center are relationships…with other hobbyists, buyers and sellers, restorers and tradesmen, parts businesses, specialty providers, and especially the personal friends…

Every automotive-enthusiastic reader will easily find similarities to their own old car experiences just as did notable hobbyist Jay Leno who subsequently wrote a cited commendation: “This book brought a great many fond memories back to me. It’s a ‘must read’ for those of us who truly love the automobile.” 

Your commentator wholly concurs. For the pure pleasure and enjoyment of a good read about people, places and old cars, get yourself a copy of Zen and the Art of Collecting Old Cars.

Zen and the Art of Collecting Old Cars
Adventures in Toyland
by Bruce Valley
Great Life Press, 2020
268 pages, 3 b/w & 29 color illustrations, softcover
List Price: $25
ISBN 13: 978 1 93394 47 8

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