Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Section

Berman Car Collection & Dinner

Berman Car Collection & Dinner

Tampa Bay
Sunday, February 26, 2017 - 10:15am
Venice
Florida

By Ben Berman: On February 26th sunny skies and moderate temperatures greeted over 60 members of the Tampa Bay Section who gathered for a tour of the garage housing the cars owned by members Len and Ben Berman. The building was specially constructed to house 19 of the automobiles owned by the two brothers, both members of the Section. The collection of cars have no apparent theme other than the fact that they appeal to their owners, but each car has a story associated with it. For example, the oldest car – a 1947 Oldsmobile model 78 sedan – has beenrestored to duplicate the car owned by the Bermans’ grandmother when they were children (see the letter reprinted below containing another Tampa Bay Section member’s reminiscence of 1940s Oldsmobiles sparked by this car). Also included is Ben Berman’s first new car, a 1972 Buick LeSabre Custom convertible, now showing 204,000 miles on the odometer, and Len Berman’sfirst new Mercedes Benz, a 1976 450 SL roadster. Four additional Daimler Benz cars are housed in the garage, two of them Mars Red 2007 550 SL roadsters, which are the only identical cars the brothers have ever purchased. They were ordered from the same dealer on the same day but delivered two weeks apart. Then there is a 2006 CLS 55 AMG, a low production model unknown even to many MB enthusiasts. Although a number of manufacturers are represented, a preference for Daimler Benz cars is indicated by the presence of five Mercedes Benz models. Many of the cars were purchased as collector cars from locations around the country. Len’s 1961 Pontiac Bonneville convertible and 1966 Lincoln Continental coupe were bought in California and driven, untested andunfamiliar to their new owner, cross-country to their new home in the east. The newest car, a 2016 Rolls Royce Dawn convertible, was purchased based only on pictures and telephone conversations with a dealership in Chicago. After a tour of the garage and a short history of each car on display, we adjourned to a local restaurant for an early dinner and more discussion of cars owned past andpresent by Section members. Dear Ben and Len, A note of thanks and appreciation for the Berman Car Collection Tour. Unfortunately a family engagement meant that we could not attend the dinner at Robbi’s which we assume was every bit as enjoyable as the car show. Which brings up the issue of the ’41 ldsmobile. When I was a child, 4 years old, my mother purchased a ’41 Oldsmobile sedan with a radio. It was promptly exchanged for a blue Oldsmobile without a radio and with hydramatic. My mother, being 5”1”, probably had difficulty shifting the car and, at her close friend’s insistence, traded for the automatic transmission. The result was a mother, two daughters and a son who as children,sang a lot. The next family car was a ’47 Olds, green, 4 door, standard sedan (not a “fastback” like yours!), automatic transmission and NO RADIO! We continued to sing. My father had an accident with it. The car was repaired and we continued to sing. My older sister, just learning to drive, let it roll down a hill, backwards (a great story for another day), the frame was straightened, and we continued to sing. My mother had an accident, her rear door caved in, the car was fixed and we continued to sing. The car was sold before my twin sister and I could have at it. I still remember a photo of the car, on a country road, with my sisters and I sitting on the hood with snow piled upon both sides, higher than the car itself. Wisconsin winter!! Anyway – thank you Scott (and Colleen) Lowry.

Photos by Dave Hutchinson