In Memory of a Ford Fanatic

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 to him.
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.
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