AUBURN – There are textbooks made of paper, and then there are textbooks made of wood and metal.
Chuck McCarthy has one of the latter.
As the 50-year-old Barrington, Ill., man sat in a lawn chair behind his 1930 8-95 Auburn phaeton Saturday morning in Auburn's Eckhart Park, people dropped by to study it and take pictures of some of its most intimate parts.
McCarthy's wasn't the shiniest car among the scores on display during the pre-parade gathering at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, which had the historic cars winding through town.
But it was one of the most authentic.
And that makes it an open book for those in the process of restoring their own cars, its owner said.
"It happens every time I take it out," McCarthy said of the interest his black sedan was generating.
"There's no better sample or model than a car that's still together."
McCarthy says his, which he bought in 2005, is one of only six remaining from the original 554 made at the Auburn factory. He believes it's the only one in the world that's remained totally unrestored.
McCarthy said his neighbor, Bob Anderson, found the car in 1979 in a barn in Ottawa, Ill., where it had been sitting since 1952. Anderson brought it home, and began collecting originals of the parts it was missing. But he never got started on the work.
"The first time I saw this car, I was probably 15 or 16 years old. I always liked it," McCarthy said, adding that when his neighbor moved on to other automotive projects, he got his chance.
It actually took very little to get the phaeton back on the road, McCarthy said.
Some work on the fuel pump and carburetor got the vehicle roadworthy in a matter of hours, a testament to its quality, he said.
Anderson had picked up some missing accessories, including a distinctive round mirror and headlights, that add some shiny touches today.
The worn interior shows the car's age.
The original floorboards – and, yes, they're made of actual wood – show in the back seat area, but that only adds to the authenticity, its owner said.
"I don't plan to restore it, McCarthy said. "I look at it that we're just the keepers of history. My goal is to just maintain it and keep it running.
"I think it still looks good."
Unlike some antique cars which hardly ever are driven, McCarthy said he drives the phaeton quite often – sometimes by Anderson's house.
"Every time I drive it by, he gets a big smile on his face," he says.