Downtown garage houses classic car collection

Sunday, February 24th 2008, 10:14 pm
By: News 9

By Christian Price, INsite Team

Melvin Cooper owns more than 60 rare and classic cars. He'll be happy to show them to you, but don't ask to buy any.

"There's people that come in and tries to buy them all the time." Cooper said "I just turn them down. Some of them get upset over it. Some of them are good natured about it."

Located in downtown Oklahoma City, Mel's Towing garage houses the private collection, which can be seen from the city streets.

"I have people coming in usually 2 and 3 bunches a week when it's pretty wanting to look at them," Cooper said.

The collection includes car such as a 1954 Kaiser, 1948 Buick Road Master, and a car that never really became popular.

"I've got a little three wheel downstairs, a 1981 Freeway," Cooper said.  "That was a car that a man built out of his garage and started in production. It's just a little 3 wheel with a 1 cylinder engine in it."

Not only did Cooper's late wife like collecting cars with him, she even had her own little hot rod, which he still possesses.

"A little '48 Ford Coup. We fixed her a street rod out of it," Cooper said. "It's got a V8 motor in it. A different front end and rear end. She picked out her own paint and upholstery."

 The cars are covered in dust and debris, the results of two major catastrophes both Cooper and his cars survived. The first happened on April 19, 1995, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

"It blew out probably seven or eight of these great big windows up here completely out on the streets," Cooper said, "All the windows downstairs blew out at the front. I just couldn't keep the birds out."

After the Murrah explosion, Cooper had another setback.

"We had a fire downstairs and burnt the paint on about probably 20 to 25 cars. It made them look terrible," Cooper said.

The dust doesn't seem to bother people who look at the collection.

"I had a guy come in the other day who said he had been driving past for about seven years and never did get enough nerve to stop, so he finally stopped," Mel said.

Some people that stop in want to do more than just look.

A lot of people don't understand that these are not just cars to Mel. They're memories of special times in his life.