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Collector likes to raise the roof

May 12, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
Car collections can take many forms from concentrating on pre 1940 to collecting just coupes or trucks. For Bill Reese of Canfield, the niche is in collecting rag-tops. Reese began his collection 20 years ago when he purchased his very first classic car, a 1967 Camaro SS convertible. “It is a rare car,” Reese said. It was one of the first made on August 15, 1966 in Norwood, Ohio. I’ve been told it is the oldest Camaro convertible still living.” The sleek blue runner has a four speed connected to a 350 cu. in. power plant. Reese obtained the classic machine and was satisfied with just the one at the time. As the years went by, Reese had the desire to add to the collection. Around 2000 he began looking to grow his collection, but he already had his sites set for what would be next. He wanted a Triumph TR-6. For close to three years he traveled and checked out over 100 Triumphs and then he ran across the one he truly wanted. Although he wouldn’t give the exact location, he did say he found out about one that was presently being stored in a barn. It was a white 1976 Triumph TR-6 convertible with very, very low mileage on it. “A woman owner had obtained the car in a divorce settlement,” Reese said. “She never drove it because she couldn’t drive stick.” Reese made the deal and the little white ride came home to join the Camaro as Reese’s second rag top. It was virtually ready to go and show with very little restoration needed. Over the years it performed and saw occasional car shows and cruises. This year Reese decided it was time to make his rag-top collection a three-some, but the third charm was not going to be much of a classic, but more of a new machine. “I had always wanted a new convertible,” he said. He made the trip to Stratton Chevrolet in Salem where he found the perfect ride in a 2011 Camaro SS/RS convertible. He said his wine red new toy was number 66 off the production line. As of the end of April, the new toy had been in Reese’s collection less that four weeks and it already had 51 miles on it. Reese now has a triple choice when it comes to putting the top down and heading to area cruises and car shows. That choice is down to two for one upcoming event that Reese plans to attend. On June 10-12, a special car show is scheduled for the Oshawa, Canada, GM plant where the Camaro and Firebird convertibles were once built and where they are now being manufactured again. Reese said anyone who owns a Camaro or Firebird and holds the car’s registration, are invited to the show. For Reese, owning two Camaros that were both built there has him wondering which to take. “I’m not sure which one to take, probably the new one,” he said. Whichever one he takes, he will be hoping for some clear skies and warm temps so he can put the top down. As for the next addition to the Reese rag-top stable, his wife JoAnn had some input. “She is saying no more,” Reese said, “but you never know.”

Article Photos

Bill Reese and two of his classic convertibles, a 1976 Triumph TR-6 and a 2011 Camaro SS/RS convertible.



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