Collector’s 175 cars, including Shelby Cobra, lost in Texas wildfires

Old Cars Weekly contributor Greg Riley, who is displaced with his family during the Texas wildfires, pointed us to this Houston Chronicle article that reports Bastrop car collector John Chapman lost more than 175 cars to the blazes. While Chapman and his family are unharmed, the article identifies an aluminum-bodied Shelby Cobra, 1957 Chevrolet truck, 1966 GTO and 1947 Studebaker truck among Chapman’s losses.

Riley said his family was given 5 minutes to vacate their home, giving them only enough time to grab a computer and move his collector cars to a nearby elementary school in hopes of saving them.

16 thoughts on “Collector’s 175 cars, including Shelby Cobra, lost in Texas wildfires

  1. Curtis (curt) Morelock

    John,
    I love old cars – I’ve had a few myself… couldn’t afford to continue!
    I’m a WW II vet and I felt like crying when I read of your loss…I’ll
    think of you for months and hope you will have happier days ahead!
    Old Car Buff,
    curt

    1. P. Kaltenborn

      The worst part of these “tragedies”is the loss of something irreplacable – the cars. However, feelings should not run too deep for the owner(s)-there are many nonmaterial things in life more valuable than a car collection. Car collectors’ can afford the loss..

      1. M.F.S.

        So glad this family is all well and safe. To bad P that you don’t understand not all collectors have lots of wealth. Many have worked, bought, sold, and spent hundreds of hours bringing an old car back to life. The joy is in the beauty and the restoration of a piece of history, and his piece of history had to be left behind. I’m so sorry for your loss Mr. Chapman. Any loss of a piece of history like an old car is a tragedy.

  2. mike orang

    i feel so bad for you,its always been a nightmare thought for me,mother nature as i have many many myself,so sorry about your loss,glad you and your family are safe!!

  3. Linda M Landowski

    Oh no, I’m so sorry. I’m a Car Lover myself! Cars are in my Blood. You think that’s why I got Cancer? Anyway I know how I feel about my cars even though it doesn’t run and has a chunk of oak holding it up! But please know others like me throughly understand and care. For anyone that has any cars.. There’s great stories! Like when I met my Husband to be on Christmas Eve, 76. He was 18 & I was 16. He bought a ’55 Chevy.. From A boy I went to school with! I only have one month up on that car. It was driven for our Wedding. And we had our children in that car Etc.. There’s love & History. But you will always have your Memories! Unless you have “Chemo Brain” like me! But if they’re insured hopefully you can get some new replacements.. I don’t have much to speak of. But the Love of cars is Great. Sending you my sincere Care! Best of Luck rebuilding! If there’s a will there’s a way. Take good Care! Most of all I’m glad you and your family are safe!

  4. Robert B, Kessell

    My heart goes out to you and your family. My wife and I have had the great pleasure of seeing your collection . We have many great pictures and will enjoy them for ever.
    We are happy to hear that you and your family suffered no harm.
    Take care.
    Bob & Jan

  5. Jay HIrsch

    “sprinkler system, fire retardant material”

    If I had 175 cars they would not be a in wooden structure or any inflameable building

    Seems to me there is lot more smoke here than just the fire

  6. Joe

    John,
    Wow, I can’t imagine your loss !! I have had quite a few collector cars over the years, but 175 all at once is devestating !!! Glad your ok, and hope you had insurance !!
    Joe B
    Concord, CA

  7. Tom Collier

    Being a collector car and truck buff myself, I can only pray that something like this doesn’t happen to me. If I can be of any help to you, let me know.
    Tom Collier
    TC Truck Parts

  8. Peter Jakstas Sr.

    John,
    My heart goes out to you I know a little of your pain. Many years ago my 1927 Peter Pirsch Fire Truck went up in flames at the Volo Auto Barn. If I can help in any way please let me know.

    Pete
    Fox Lake, IL.

  9. Bill

    Its not only the value,or the fact that they can’t be replaced (an antique has a life of it’s own),But the sweat ,tears ,time,and skinned knuckles add up to a love for object no one else understands, and that loss can’t be replaced. Sir I cry with you……

  10. James

    Mr .C I am devastated for your lose. I have 2 old cars. and can not begin to think of how I would feel if something like that would happen to them. No matter the number 1 or 100 a lose is a lose. Thank Jesus Christ your alive and ok.

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