World Headquarters And Beyond!
When I was younger, I never realized the power a pen really holds. Writing articles has opened the door to meeting many different car collectors and of course their beautiful collections. This time I was fortunate enough to meet Richie Clyne, the former owner of the Imperial Palace. My Father and I were invited to Lake Winnipesaukee to stay in his guesthouse in late August, which houses fourteen of his beautiful cars.
When we arrived, Richie and his breathtaking collection greeted us. Two beautiful “twins” caught my eye, the twin Duisenberg Model J’s! One was a 1932 deep red coupe while the other was a 1930 two tone green… the colors of Christmas. These were just two of the many beauties Richie owned. There were many other great cars in his collection, like the bright red Ford Model A roadster pickup, the Chevy Apache converted into a bungalow bar ice cream truck (it looked like a house on wheels) or even a “Wacky” Model T! This Model T was in the Keystone Cops silent show, where it could drive without anyone in the driver’s seat. The secret was, there was a second steering wheel hidden behind the back seat, making it so someone could drive the Model T without being seen. Also in his collection was a rare ALCO. If you were wondering, ALCO stands for American Locomotive Company. Back in the day, these train builders decided to make a touring car for their executives and select business partners, thus creating the ALCO. American Locomotive Company was so used to building reliable trains everything in the engine compartment was completely over built to perfection! Richie even had Willis Jeep with a 50 caliber machine gun in the rear!
After getting the tour of the garage, Richie asked which car I would like to run some errands in, so without a doubt, I chose the green 1930 Duisenberg Model J dual cowl phaeton! With a click of a button to open the garage door and a swift turn of a key we were off, cruising down the road with my dad in the back seat, enjoying the wind in his face. We then came to a big hill where most classics would down shift, but this Duisenberg is not your average classic. So Richie shifted into a higher gear and the torque alone powered this beast up the hill as if we were still on flat land!
Then, when we pulled in to an older gas station, it did not take long for me to realize this was no ordinary gas station. This was World Headquarters! Lake Classics (aka World Headquarters) is Richie’s shop. He calls it World Headquarters because this shop is small. Richie mostly works on his own cars here, but for some of his friends, he might make an exception. World Headquarters would be a perfect name for a big business, but since this is Richie’s small shop, the name is somewhat amusing. There were three desks in the entrance; one name plate read Riche Clyne, as to be expected, while the others read Aniece Lassiter and Bill Lassiter! I actually met Aniece at the 33rd Annual Bentley meet back in 2013 when she climbed Mt. Graylock in her 3 ½ liter Bentley. Anyway, inside the shop there was a funky looking Model A, which had been converted to a snowmobile with interchangeable wheels for skis and tank tracks on the back. Also one of the cars being repaired was the one and only Chrysler limo, but Chrysler didn’t make limos. The wife of the owner of Chrysler wanted a limo, so she placed an order for a Duisenberg. Her husband wasn’t too happy about that, so he canceled the order and had Labarron build a coach for a Chrysler. It was built in just two months! So this Chrysler is one of a kind! After visiting Richie’s remarkable shop he proclaimed that we had many more collections to visit. Little did I know we would see more collections than I could have ever imagined.
Our next stop was Mark Smith’s house. Mark had a beautiful green 1957 Jaguar 140 roadster as well as his daily driver, a ’32 Packard sedan. He also had a cool “snack car” Model T that had a popcorn machine along with other snack machines behind the cab. There was even a beautiful Model A pickup just sitting there! He had treasures tucked away in every corner as well as spare parts everywhere!
After saying our good-byes to Mark, we headed back to Richie’s house so we could go for a boat ride! Richie’s boat was gorgeous. It was so shiny that the sun reflecting off of it actually hurt my eyes. Since it was Sunday, the weekend, there were countless boats on the water making for a rough ride. Richie took us on the “Romney, Bahre and Marriot tour.” Mitt Romney owned a house on the lake, as well as Bob Bahre and his son. The Marriots, however, practically owned half of the lake. They must have owned over fifty houses for their kids, grandkids, cousins and everyone else they knew! So the reality was more like “the Marriot with some Bahre and a little pinch of Romney tour.”
When we returned we saw Richie’s neighbor Nick Dabica outside his boathouse, so we walked over to say hello. Well, it ended up being more than just a hello. Nick collects pre-war sailboats, so he showed me around his boathouse and explained every sailboat in detail. I never knew there were such a variety of sail boats! Then we headed up to his garage where he had lots of “land goodies.” They consisted of multiple Model As and Model Ts. Also in Nick’s collection was a rare 1955 Ford comet. Ford comets are not as common because they were actually built in France!
After meeting Nick, we headed to Aniece Lassiter’s house to see her collection. What a beautiful view of the lake! It seemed as if I could see miles and miles of New Hampshire’s finest! As we were walking to her garage, I noticed a dark green Mercury truck with wide white wall tires! Aniece told us that she loves the truck but doesn’t feel that white walls belong on trucks. Once inside her garage, I noticed the Wood-bodied twins (NH seems to have many twins… Duisenbergs, Woodies, what’s next? Locomobiles?) At first glance they look like twins, but they were far from it! One of the Woodies happened to be made from Birdseye Maple, which is only found in and around the great lake states and parts of southern Canada. Ford only made Birdseye Maple woodies for executives and some of their most profitable dealership owners. Aniece also had a beautiful black Porsche 356, which she claimed was plenty fast enough. Finally I saw the most familiar beauty of the bunch, a maroon and black 3 ½ liter Bentley! I still remember it from the Bentley meet with its rolling black fenders and soft black top, as it was ripping around the many hairpin turns cruising up Mount Graylock! It was fun talking with Aniece, but we still wanted to visit one more collection and it was getting late.
After saying goodbye, our tour guide, Richie, drove us to Diane Maggee’s house. When we arrived, I saw a 1909 Model T tucked next to a 1915 Ford Model T limo. As we walked into the next room, sure enough, I saw three beautiful Locomobiles one after another. One was a 1913, while the others were a 1922 and a 1925. The triplets sat there, with their beautiful finish, waiting to be photographed and gazed upon. While we were there, that is exactly what happened. I kept wondering when I was going to meet my very own twin… It seemed as if around every corner there was a set of twins or triplets!
We stopped at a local diner by the water to have dinner. As we waited for our food, we heard a buzzing, splashing sound that gradually grew louder, but something that wasn’t a car or a boat floated by. An Amphicar was the culprit! It putted on by like it owned the lake! What a coincidence, yet another unique car on a unique weekend. Then it putted by again, back the way it came! We finished dinner and drove back to Richie’s house to get a good night’s sleep for the next day!
After a well needed rest, we had breakfast and headed out to the first collection of the day. Richie said the coming collection was owned by Chuck Schwagger and was a sports car only zone. When we pulled in the driveway I saw a bright green Porsche being worked on in the garage. Walking through the door there was a surprise waiting for me… a BMW 507! These cars DO NOT look anything like your average BMW. They look more like a Porsche! There were so many cool cars in this collection that I couldn’t pick a favorite, but I have to say the ‘64 Cheetah, the OS GT, and the 1954 Allard were some of my top competitors! I was also shocked and impressed by the vast variety of Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis. It seemed like I was on the road to heaven.
When we were done dreaming we swung by the last stop of our tour. Bob Valpe’s jaw dropping collection consisted of Packards, Allards, Studebakers, a Stutz, an Indian motorcycle and much more! The Packards were gorgeous, as most Packards are, with fine pin striping and a shiny silver hood ornament! The Stutz was something else though! There it sat, with its beautiful black body showing how gorgeous a car could be! Another couple of breathtaking cars were the two beautiful Allards! I have always found Allards interesting, because of their funky grill style! Every single car was gorgeous! The collection was rounded out by the three Studebaker’s, one on a lift to conserve space, another in the driveway and the third, a sedan, the first one you see as, you walk in!
What an amazing weekend! I met lots of wonderful people and their abundance wonderful cars! I also had a great tour guide, Richie Clyne! Thank you Richie and everyone who helped out this weekend! I greatly appreciate it! I have seen many different car collections and been on many car tours, but this was definitely one of the best weekends I’ve ever had in my entire life!
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About The Author
When I was just seven years old I started judging at the world-renowned Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. Since then I have become a regular contributing author to the Classic Car Club of America New England Region magazine and I have been published nationally on multiple occasions. I am now fifteen and on the board of advisors for the Classic Car Club of America NER. From Amelia Island to the Boston Cup I have attended many car shows, tours and events along with helping in the process of planning the Classic New England CARavan for this coming September. I look forward to one day owning my very own classic and I hope to enter my vehicle in one of the various events I have attended throughout my childhood. E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org