Bill Hoy wanted to put away some money to pay for his five children’s college education. But instead of a bank or a brokerage house, Hoy is stashing his money in his garage. “I saw that the price of muscle cars was going down. It was the time to buy,” says the owner of Skyline Pool and Spa in Menlo Park, Calif. “One car per kid per year would be my saving for their tuition. That’s how this all started. Instead of keeping money in the stock market, I decided to have fun.”

Hoy began with a little fun, a 1970 Mustang Boss 302. “When I started, I had the idea that I was going to buy a car and my son and I would restore it,” he says. “I buy the cars at auction.”

Today Hoy has a lot more fun — 22 cars worth. It’s something he’s able to share with his 13-year-old son, Joseph. “We go around to auctions and buy cars. We’ve become very close over it; my son’s gotten real knowledgeable about cars.”

Occasionally, Joseph even gets to practice his driving skills on one of his father’s cars. “We have a Cobra at the warehouse and I can’t fit in it. So when we need to move it, he moves it,” Hoy says.

Hoy, who is also co-director of the annual Pool Industry Expo in Monterey, prowls classic auto auctions throughout California looking for good deals. It’s not enough that a car be inexpensive.

“Every car I buy, I enjoy driving,” he says. “There are some cars I’m just not a fan of, so I wouldn’t buy them even if it made financial sense.”

Hoy’s taste leans toward Fords, especially Mustangs, and Chevys, with Corvettes a favorite. Lately he’s picked up a Ferrari F355. “That’s a very fun car to drive,” he says. “I was going to sell it in a month but I drove it once and I understand why people drive Ferraris now.”

Most of the cars Hoy buys are driven rarely, if ever. “I would love to drive that first Boss 302 I bought, but it’s way in the back of the warehouse,” Hoy says. That car and most of the others are moved only when necessary to get to another car or to load it on a trailer bound for an auction.

“At the beginning of this my wife would say ‘What the hell are you doing?’ She couldn’t understand that we buy cars not to drive, but to look at them. Now she gets it,” Hoy says.

Now Hoy’s wife Carol is involved enough that she has a favorite car. “At the last auction in Monterey, I bought a ’65 fully restored GTO. I’ve always loved the GTO,” Hoy says. It turns out that Carol likes the car too.

“My wife’s favorite color is purple,” Hoy says. “And this GTO is basically a light purple color. She actually drives it every once in a while.”

The collection has gotten big enough that Hoy is considering spinning it off into its own business. He started a company called West Coast Classic Motors. “We’re going to do a little retail operation and see how it works,” he says. “It might lead into another business. Right now it’s for fun and for the kids.”

Hoy’s main line of work, pool construction and service, has been picking up. “Fortunately, I’ve stayed in the service business. That carried us through the harder times. I wasn’t hit as hard as some other builders,” Hoy says. “Did my sales go down? Definitely. Did I have enough sales to keep going? Yes. This year started slow but it’s ending with a bang. Things are really picking up.”

The prices for classic cars are also improving. That has led Hoy to consider selling some of his cars, but he doesn’t mind.

“When you take a car to auction to sell it, that’s part of the fun — the adrenaline rush,” he says.

Chasing cars

  • Two of the biggest classic auto auctions are run by Mecum and Barrett-Jackson. Many of these auctions are televised. Auction companies often charge a premium to get cars on the televised portion of the sale.
  • The 1965 GTO came with a 389-cubic-inch engine, with various power options. There were 75,342 of them built.
  • The 1970 Boss 302 Mustang developed 290 horsepower and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. It did the quarter mile in 14.6 seconds at 98 mph.
  • A much rarer Boss, the Boss 429, can sell at auction for $200,000 to $250,000.