and lesbian car clubs abound throughout the United States. Ever wonder
why? It’s no secret that the LGBT community has always had an appreciation
for the exotic or stylish — so it should come as no surprise that
there’s a fairly sizeable number of gay vintage car collectors — many
of them right here in the Carolinas.
So what prompts an individual to spend inordinate amounts of money on an
auto of yesteryear, when they could get a brand new one for less?
“Because it’s something distinctive and different. Who wants
to drive something like everybody else has on the road when you can drive
like this?” Says John Fryday, as he opens his garage door to reveal
a stunning sultana white Lincoln convertible. “It’s a form
Fryday is an architect at the firm of Fryday & Noone. An avid fan of
vintage cars, he’s the proud owner of a 1961 Lincoln Continental
“That was the first year for that body style,” says Fryday. “I
always wanted one of these because my neighbor — a woman named Josephine
who lived across the street — had one and I thought it was just the
deal. She actually let me drive it to my prom when I was 16.”
Fryday’s sensibilities as an architect clearly lend to his appreciation
for the striking design of the car. “The style and the proportions
are just remarakable,” he offers enthusiastically. “When you
put the top down, it’s like an aircraft carrier.”
For the uninitaited, Ford Motor Company produced The Lincoln Continental
convertible sedan in the same basic body style as Fryday’s — with
chariot or “suicide” doors, as they’re often referred
to — from 1961 to 1969.
“There were some changes over the years,” Fryday explains. “With
the grill and headlight and taillight design. They lengthened it in ’64
and in ’66 changed the lines somewhat — but they basically
kept the image of the car.”
According to Fryday, the car originally came from Connecticut, but he purchased
it from a friend in Atlanta.
“I had the engine redone, took off all the chrome and had it repolished
and had the car repainted.” He also had the seats recovered in turquoise
metallic leather. All in all, Fryday estimates he’s invested somewhere
in the neighborhood of $20-30,000 on the car.
Like most vintage car collectors, Fryday has another car he uses as a daily
driver and only takes his convertibIe out on special ocassions. “Josephine — I
named her after the woman across the street — never goes out in the
rain and she stays garaged most of the time. I usually take her out once
a week or so.” In early September Fryday drove the car to Ohio — for
a competition held by the Lincoln Continental owner’s club — where
Josephine captured the coveted Lincoln Trophy.
A vintage car enthusiast to the core, Fryday recently announced the formation
of a car collector’s club for gays and lesbians in the Charlotte
area. You can get more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Lindsley manages the Dilworth office of Urban Realty. He also renovates
homes in Charlotte’s inner city area. Both he and his partner, hairstylist
Joey Hewell, are fans of vintage cars. When the two spotted a champagne
pink 1961 Cadillac Fleetwood on Woodlawn Rd., they knew they had to have
“We got it in February,” says Lindsley. “It originally
came from Vermont, but the guy who bought it decided he didn’t want
to put any more money into restoring it.”
The previous owner’s financial woes turned out to be a coup for Lindsley
and Hewell — they got the classic car for a steal — $3,000.
“It was a great deal and the car’s in fantastic shape. It runs
good — but
it’s going to need some body work. So far all I’ve done is
install dual exhaust.”
The car is a stark contrast to the subdued lines of Fryday’s Lincoln.
With an oversized toothy grill, massive, sharp fins jutting off the rear
and an overall length of more than 18 feet, the car is truly a sight to
“You just don’t see things like this on the road anymore,” says
Lindsley. “It’s incredible and so much fun to drive.
Like Fryday, Lindsley also owns another car that he uses for business. “I’ve
been taking the Cadillac out once on the weekends or so,” he explains. “We
haven’t had the air conditioning repaired yet, so it wasn’t
so comfortable to drive when it was really hot. Now that we’ve got
cooler weather, I like driving it around a lot more because you can put
all the windows down.”
Cadillac first added rather lumpy tail fins to their product in 1949. As
the decade progressed the fins became larger and sharper, culminating with
the 1959 that featured outrageously large rear fins with dual torpedo-shaped
taillights. The following year the topedo taillights were replaced by a
slender light that followed the line of the fin, stacked over two round
lights on each side — one for braking, the other for back-up. By
1961 the fins were somewhat smaller and the lights beneath them had been
repositioned horizontally. It was 1965 before the classic fin disappeared
“I love this car,” says Lindsley. “It’s like art
on wheels. Everytime I drive this car downtown I get offers to buy it and
other people who are into old cars — it’s a lot of fun.”
Brooke Smith is a sales manager for a wine distribution company. If there’s
ever a blight on grapes and the wine-making industry falls by the way — he’s
got another career waiting in complete car restoration. We’re talking
top to bottom, inside and out — including rebuilding the transmission
and the engine.
Smith puchased his 1968 BMW 1600-2 from a previous owner in Concord.
“I got it for $700 back in 2001,” he recalls. “It had
been sitting in Gastonia, prior to that, for about 20 years,” Smith
2000 that owner had started to restore it. They took out the engine and
interior, but never finished.”
The Concord owner only had the car a short time, before reselling it to
Smith, who began a complete restoration project that would eventually take
about two years and cost around $15,000.
“It cost me a lot less because I did almost all of the work myself,” he
explains. “I prepped the body for painting, put in the interior myself
and the engine and transmission.”
Like Fryday, Smith’s fondness for older cars dates back to his childhood.
“My mom had a 1972 BMW 2000,” he recalls.
Ever wonder how a wine salesman learned how to do all that mechanical stuff?
“My mom’s boyfriend at the time worked on BMWs,” Smith
and my mom eventually broke up, but we all stayed friends. So I learned
how to do all of this, mostly, from just watching.”
From 2001 to 2003, Smith spent weekends and some evenings after work restoring
the car to its original grandeur.
“When I was finally done and actually driving the car, it was such
a great experience because I put so much work into it — it was a
If you see Smith on the road there’s no possibility you’ll
miss him — the car was repainted in its original issue color: an
extremely bright orange, labeled by BMW as “Colorado Orange.”
Smith’s next project is another vintage BMW for his partner.
“It’s a 1972 BMW 3.0 CSA. We’ll repaint the body to the
original polaris silver and do the interior in dark blue. We paid $3,000
and fully restored it’s valued at $30,000.”