Car Enthusiast Extraordinaire
Posted on February 12, 2020
Bill Habeger, President of B.H. Gold Insurance Agency, is a respected San Diego philanthropist; his generosity was recognized when he received the 2015 Huntington’s Disease Society’s Guthrie Award. He is also one of the region’s great car enthusiasts with a collection of more than 20 classic vehicles, ranging from a 1923 Model T to a 1991 Bentley Continental convertible.
The collection originated from “four cars plus an airplane that were in the family,” says Habeger. In addition to the Model T which belonged to his uncle, other vehicles include a 1932 Chevy Roadster and a 1968 Mustang convertible, both from his uncle, a 1948 Chevy sedan his grandmother bought new, and a 1939 Piper Cub that hangs above. The latter was also his uncle’s, a plane Habeger flew in numerous times in his youth. He also has a soft spot for Rolls-Royces. He owns five, including the 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Hooper Limousine.
But Habeger’s interest is not only personal, it’s decidedly local. His spectacular 1931 Chrysler Imperial, winner of the Honorary Chairman’s Award at the 2014 La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, was purchased from another San Diegan, Carol Swimmer, whose husband, Chuck, found the car “all beat up in the back of a lumberyard in Hawaii,” Habeger says. “He’s the one who had it restored.”
Speaking of his exquisite 1949 Cadillac convertible, Habeger says, “I bought this one three or four years ago from Papa Doug Manchester.” Habeger also has a 1927 Chevrolet firetruck purchased from Manchester, while his stunning 1936 Cadillac was originally built for James Copley of Copley Newspapers.
Still, others he simply had to have, including his immaculate 1967 VW Microbus, one of his wife Alice’s favorites. All in all, it’s a collection that offers Habeger a sentimental journey before he ever leaves his garage. Bill Abrams
Photo by Vincent Knakal