Wednesday, November 30, 2016

John Hawkinson died without selling his car collection, and here is the last look at the great little collection he had before it was auctioned off

this 1920 Fire Engine is known locally as Samantha, and was returned to the Saranac Lake FD in his will

John “Hawkeye” Hawkinson lived a simple life in a farm house with no running water, no electricity and little insulation.

Widely known as Hawkeye, a nickname give to him by a camp counselor for his accurate aim, as teen he worked summers at Lone Pine Camp, driving and maintaining the 1933 REO Speed Wagon that was used to take the campers on mountain climbing trips.

The story of Hawkeye’s cars is the story of an eccentric collector of “all things beautiful” who shunned his family’s fortune for a simple, solitary life in the Adirondacks. Hawkeye was a master mechanic and an accomplished artist, photographer and writer. He was also a colorful character, perhaps best known locally for driving through Saranac Lake in midwinter with the top down in one of his Packards, wearing a raccoon-skin coat and smoking a corncob pipe.

His grandfather Amos Whitney co-founded the machine tool company Pratt and Whitney

Inside his barns were rows of beautiful 1920s cars, ackards, Buicks, Cadillacs and Pierce Arrows , as well as three American LaFrance fire trucks — one each from Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, which he willed back to those fire departments, and had been keeping in good running shape in the meantime. He was working up the Saranac Lake fire engine for the 125th annivesary of the SLFD at the time of his death.

some of the collection were a Packard roadster, a 1919 Mack truck, a 1930 Cadillac V12, two carriages, a sleigh, a 35-foot ladder truck and most vehicles are from the 1920s. Nothing newer than ’31. The oldest one was a 1919 Linn tractor

“Chasing Classic Cars” will focus on Hawkeye’s 1930 Minerva, with a Hibbard and Darrin body,      at 10 p.m. March 7, 2017 on Velocity.

Hawkeye's collection of 43 classic cars have been sold with the proceeds split between the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the New York Historical Society.

This house was one he had moved to this location, and since it had no electricity, when the coldest winter days came around it wasn't unusual to find it barely warmer inside than out. He once had a diabetic issue, and his life was saved, by the coincidental visit of his former nurse... who is now the managing editor of the Las Vegas Tribune


  1. As I mentioned on another blog where I saw this article, this simply makes me weep.

    1. that he passed away, or that he lived like it was the 1920's? I admire him, for being a collector with good taste and not a hoarder... he even had an occassional "open house" for the car collectors and neighbors to stop by and chat about old cars, and he sounds like a friendly guy who often would drive and show his cars, helped out local kids, and donated the proceeds of his estate auction to charity. Exceptional fellow, really. I'm only miffed that effing Wayne Carini is using this as a tv show episode. That SOB rubs me the wrong way every time I read about him

    2. I guess I feel that way because he had no family to pass his collection to, but then again if the proceeds from the auction went to charity I certainly can't be sad about that. As for Carini, I've never seen any of his shows.

    3. Just curious why Wayne rubs you the wrong way. SOB is a harsh term. Do you know Wayne?

    4. Nope, don't know him. I don't know Trump either, or a number of people that spend so much time on tv that you either like them, or not. Know what I mean? Knowing them, that isn't necessary. Would it change your mind to know them? Actors, politicians, spokespeople, etc? Maybe.
      You're curious? Well, I simply don't have the time and motivation to explain it.
      Go figure it this way, I'm a cranky, middle aged, Navy submarine vet, and been around the world. I earned my right to be opinionated, and I made my own website (this one) to share my view of things.
      I'm not right all the time, and I'm not wrong all the time.
      But I'm going to be honest about all of it, and when I'm wrong, I may not know it, and my mind may not be changed, in fact I may not give anyone else the time or consideration to waste my time trying to persuade me that I'm wrong. I'm not Ghandi.
      As for harsh? well, you're wrong there. Or you've led a sheltered life that I wasn't lucky enough to get to share, and my way of referring to people I don't like because they rub me the wrong way exists on a scale you will not find polite.
      How you refer to those that rub you the wrong way is your prerogative, and there seems to be no reason to me to take umbrage at my self censorship use of an acronym when I decided not to spell it out.
      I'm shocked you seem to have missed I said "effing Wayne Carini"
      You really oughta avoid sailors and Navy piers if you're serious about finding the term SOB harsh, just my two cents.
      I've been posting for 10.5 years and 27.5 thousand posts, and you're either not a frequent reader, or you've ignored my rants and grouchy persona that occasionally pops up

    5. I just realized, you didn't comment on the post, on the collection, on John Hawkinson, or the blog. You've only questioned my language about Wayne Carini. That's odd

  2. FYI Wayne is a very approachable nice guy that is dedicated to the preservation and education of all things cars. As an avid car enthusiast myself it irks me when self entitled folks such as yourself (Jessie) feel the need to spread such unnecessary and unwarranted vitriol.

    1. I see, let me make sure I have this correct... I'm self entitled? Wayne isn't.
      Also, you come to tell me that in your opinion, my opinion is unnecessary and unwarranted.
      Let me know if you are smart enough to see the contradiction of telling other people that your opinion is more important than theirs, especially when telling them they are self entitled.
      I see clearly now, I should have asked you, to tell me what my opinion ought to be.
      Guess what? I can easily tell why you are his fan. I bet you are sure that by informing me that I'm irking you, by telling you that Wayne irks me, but the irony is completely not clear to you that you've just replaced me as the worst douchebag with an opinion on this page. Congrats! You win this round, and I'm happy to lose to one of Wayne's sycophants. It proves that you can't understand shit, but jump right in and become the asshole.
      OMFG. That's rich.

  3. Wow. This really got off track... Sometimes less is more.

    1. What got off track? The collection? The post? The comments? Please elaborate. You are among like minded people, so, feel free to speak out