The collector car hobby loses a valued member.
By L. Christian Mixon
Today I learned, that after a long fight with diabetes and cancer,
Charles Pehl, died at the age of 68. Charles was a good friend of mine,
and a great member of the vintage car community.1
I met Charles about 3 years ago, and from our first conversation I knew
I had found a kindred spirit. At the time, Charles was the owner of
Action Auto Recyclers, a vintage car salvage yard in Temple, TX. That
also sold project level vehicles. Charles’ passion was the Ford Motor
Company. He told me several times of the time he traded one Mustang for
two Chevrolet Corvettes. "So I guess one Mustang is worth Two
Corvettes" he chided me ( a lifelong Chevy fan).
When I was in charge of West Coast Vintage, I was able to give Charles a
T-shirt featuring a 1957 Ford Fairlane convertible. While sitting in
his office at the yard on Hwy 36 in Temple, he related to me the chase
he went on for a ‘57 Fairlane convertible. Over 13 years, he pursued
this car. Each time he would approach the owner of the car only to be
told "It ain’t for sale". He would later see it missing from the
location and ask what had happened. "I needed ……." the former owner
would say, and then tell Charles the car had been sold. When he was
finally able to purchase the car, he said it was one he might never
sell! It was sitting just outside his office window for the first 2
years I knew him.
Shortly after I opened Collector Car Central LLC, Charles, along with
his son Darryl, opened Autotrends, about ¾ of a mile down I-35 from CCC.
I gladly made the banners for their new lot, and over the past 2 years I
have never hesitated to recommend customers to Autotrends, when I didn’t
have the car they were looking for. I always advised the customers,
Charles is a straight shooter, don’t get offended. If you are doing or
asking something dumb, he is VERY likely to tell you directly. But
above all, he is honest. He will tell you exactly what is involved with
every car he has.
My wife, Linda, always enjoyed Charles’ calls and visits. She thought
of him as a warrior, who had survived so much, and still kept doing what
he loved. He always had a kind word for her when he called or came by.
Not the gregarious taunts he saved for his male friends, but rather a
"Hey Beautiful" or "Hello Sweetie" that always brought a smile to her
face. If she ever asked, "How do we………", there was either an answer,
or someone who could address the issue there in the next day or two.
A few months ago he told me that his treasured 1957 Thunderbird was for
sale. When I talked to him about it, he told me, "I know I will never
drive it again". It has since sold, and I hope the new owner knows what
a piece of Ford history he purchased.
I sat in Charles’ office about 2 weeks ago. I was there representing a
client who was interested in a trade, but my conversation with Charles
was, as it always was, about the business. Vintage cars. What we had
sold. What we had missed. What we had seen. I helped him open the
small green bag that contained his medication, just as anyone would help
a friend, never imagining that this would be the last time I would talk
With Charles’ passing the hobby has lost a good friend and strong
supporter. I, for one will miss him greatly.
Services will be held in Belton, TX at the First Baptist Church on
Tuesday March 6th at 11am. In lieu of flower his wishes were for a
donation to the Mary Hardin Baylor Nursing Scholarship fund.