A Tribute to Glenn

  • Glenn H. Baechler
    Reflections from his son Kim
    Dear, Fellow Enthusiasts.
    I am saddened to inform the readers of the Commentator that my father, Glenn Baechler,
    passed away peacefully on July 23rd after taking ill a week earlier.
    My father, Glenn Baechler was born a car collector. At the age of 22 he towed home a
    1920 McLaughlin Light 6, much to the chagrin of his father. This car was to be the first
    of a collection that at one time, was considered to be the finest representation of early
    Canadian automobiles in North America. This leisure passion turned into a legacy that
    would last his entire life.
    My Dad’s love of automobiles wasn’t a hobby borne solely from the physical or unique
    aspects of the vehicles. He was resolute in ensuring that his car collecting was as much
    about preservation of an important part of history as it was about enjoyment. As an
    individual who is mechanically inclined, and an avid wood worker, most of the
    restoration work was carried out by himself. It was during the many hours of restoration
    that Dad was able to contemplate the mechanical processes of years gone by. Not only
    was the uniqueness of the cars he collected important, but the preservation and historical
    accuracy of the restoration. His restorations were made to serve as a working historical
    record of the automobile.
    To meet the objective of restoration accuracy, Dad would thoroughly research each
    vehicle. He would pursue interviewing the original car company founders or their
    children. Many of these interviews, such as Sam McLaughlin, the pioneer of
    McLaughlin and McLaughlin-Buick, and finally GM of Canada, were taped and the
    cassettes remain a part of his historical data base. The research became as much a part of
    the collection and preservation of the automobile as did the actual restoration of the
    vehicle.
    Through his years of research Dad’s sharp mind was inundated with facts and questions
    which lead to countless hours of discussion and more research. He spent considerable
    time researching the differences between Canadian built and US built vehicles. He would
    research advertising promotions, magazines, manuals, and reference books of the era and
    meticulously document the information. Personal interviews with company owners
    helped round out the research. His collection of information is extensive and included
    some of the rarest full sets of Canadian magazines known. In time, Dad was widely
    recognized as an authority on Canadian automobiles and many hours were spent
    answering telephone calls and letters, and emails, from those seeking advice about some
    aspect of antique automobiles.
    In 1976, Dad’s vast collection of reference material was compiled into the book “Cars of
    Canada” co-authored by Hugh Durnford. According to many, the book is the
    authoritative reference for Canadian built cars. I recall Dad spending many hours
  • writing, researching, and editing pages of this publication. Within our family, it was very
    clear, the intent of the authors was not to profit from the publication of the book, but
    rather to share information and hopefully correct misinformation. There is no better way
    to preserve automobiles and automotive history then to publish fact-based material.
    Over the past few years, Dad has donated much of his historical information to various
    museums so that access is available for anyone interested. Dad had not stopped sharing
    information as he continued to write articles for the Old Autos magazine on a variety of
    auto related topics.
    The antique automobile hobby did not start or stop with the restoration, research, or
    sharing of information, it was a family adventure. The shows attended, the tours, and the
    family outings led all of Dad’s children to an appreciation and sharing in the hobby. By
    the time each child was old enough to drive, we had already put in countless hours
    driving an antique car, up and down the lane-way. Shortly thereafter, each of three
    children owned an antique car – a Ford Model N, Model S, and Russell Knight. As a
    young man, I often accompanied my father to the “shop” where cars were stored and
    restored. It was during these times that Dad often spoke of the innovation, values and
    tenacity of those that led the industry. This time spent working on old cars was a time of
    great bonding between father and son.
    Every year in October, for 34 years, Dad would steadfastly visit Hershey Pennsylvania to
    attend the Hershey Regional Fall Meet. In many cases, the whole family joined him on
    the annual journey. Dad would spend countless hours loading cars, parts, literature etc. to
    trailer to Hershey. Once there, we would take turns scouring the field and manning the
    “stall”. It was a time of excitement, frustration and lots of good conversations about cars.
    From the day he brought that first car home, Dad’s passion for antique vehicles
    flourished. Although he mainly pursued the pre-1915 cars, he has owned and toured in
    some of the rarest and exquisite cars built in North America and occasionally Europe and
    Great Britain. He had participated in a multitude of North American tours and a number
    of international touring events. He had a profound appreciation for historical accuracy
    and integrity of antique automobiles. His enthusiasm was contagious and he consistently
    urged young collectors to pick-up the hobby. My father had been involved in antique car
    collection for over 65 years. When it comes to antique automobiles, he was not only a
    collector, he was a historian, an archivist, a writer, an educator, and above all, passionate
    about restoring antique automobiles.
    I hope you will join me in making sure the old car passion stays alive and well.
    Best Regards,
    Kim Baechler