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How did I become interested in the Playboy car?
As a young teenager, I became very interested in the life stories of Abbott and Costello, the famous movie and television comedy team of the 1940's and 1950's. I collected lots and lots of movie posters, comic books, videos, and still photos of the team while at that age. At the same time, my two older brothers were busy tinkering with various odd, old cars in our family's driveway. Such less-than-mainstream cars as a 1953 Porsche, 1959 Jaguar XK 150, and Fiat 600 were their project cars at the time. We thought we could name every car that drove down the street.
One day around 1974 I purchased the photo shown above of Lou Costello posing in an unusual car. Neither me nor my brothers could identify the car. It frustrated us for YEARS until around 1991 I finally found a book that answered my question. Lou Costello was posing in a Playboy car!
From that moment on, I vowed that someday I would own a real Playboy car. In late 2001 I found one for sale in "Hemming's Motor News," a well known collector car magazine, and bought it sight unseen.
I also presently own some other unusual cars, including a 1964 Amphicar, a 1956 BMW Isetta, and a 1967 Sunbeam Alpine.
It is a privilege for me to own one of these extremely rare cars. Mine is car #34, pictured above. It is a good driving car in show condition and has the optional spotlights.
When I purchased the car in late 2001 from an owner in North Carolina (who also restored car #77), the hood ornament and other brightwork pieces were missing, the bumpers were the wrong bumpers, the Playboy emblems were gone, and the car hardly ran.
With the great help of several people, including the grandson of one of the original founders of the company, another gentleman who actually worked for the Playboy Car Company back in the day, a local retired car dealer/collector, and other countless mechanics, craftsmen, and collectors, I was able to assemble these missing parts and get great advice to get the car running properly again.
Copyright Ed Howard All rights reserved.