About a month ago I stumbled upon the Motor Transport Museum while in Campo, CA. It was love at first sight. A former mill tower rises to nearly 100′ and makes the museum a landmark. The mill is surrounded by wonderfully aged vehicles dating back to the 1800’s. Inside there are a dozen restoration projects underway.
There’s is no shortage of interesting things to shoot, this is a photographer’s paradise. What interests me is the dozen or so older chaps that do the work. Some of these men are as old as the cars they are working on. Their stories are nothing short of incredible. The character in their faces, stories, and hands is impossible for not to photograph.
My visit was short this time and I arrived after most the work was done. I met Frank Ball. He’s been working at the Motor Transport Museum for about 15 years. He started driving at 12 years old to help is mother run errands. His first license came at 14, and at 21 he built his first hot rod. Currently he’s working on a few projects, mostly Ford Model T’s. He made a point of starting a couple of them up for me, hand crank and all. The engines purred, he’s serious about his work and he has the talent to match. He dug out some old pictures for me. They show him as a boy and young man, he obviously had no trouble with the ladies. I could have listened to him for hours. Old things don’t capture all his attention, his daily driver runs on methane and has “all the modern luxuries.”
*About the Motor Transport Museum. The museum is open to the public every Saturday from 9am – 5pm, it may be possible to visit at other times if you call and make an appointment. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. Yearly membership is $20, discounts are available for juniors and students. Visit their website at motortransportmuseum.org
31949 Highway 94