Monday, April 21, 2014
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Funeral home owner restores classic cars

funeral car, 11/7/13

Buck Kamphausen talks about his 1957 Pontiac Sky Chief ambulance, which is one of about 250 classic cars he owns. Kamphausen owns Fairfield Funeral Home and Skyview Memorial Lawn in Vallejo. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

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From page OSF3 | December 12, 2013 | Leave Comment

FAIRFIELD  — Buck Kamphausen has a love of classic vehicles that finds its way into his various business endeavors.

He owns Fairfield Funeral Home and Skyview Memorial Lawn in Vallejo. He can make vintage hearses available for those who want them as part of a service.

He owns the USA World Classic Event Center in Vallejo. Vintage vehicles provide part of the decor. Altogether, Kamphausen and business partner Josh Voss own about 250 classic cars. Going to an auto auction for him is a chance to buy.

“I have the illness – my hand goes up,” Kamphausen said.

He’s quite familiar with auctions. He’s also involved with RM Auctions, a classic car auction company. The company recently sold a 1967 Ferrari Spider for $27 million in Monterey.

Collecting classic cars is a hobby for Kamphausen. It’s a hobby a successful businessman on the other side of 50 can enjoy. Kamphausen keeps the type of vehicles he grew up with in prime condition, even after they have long passed from being familiar sights on the road.

He keeps his classic cars in various buildings in Vallejo. On a recent day, he brought a couple down to Fairfield Funeral Home.

One was a 1957 Pontiac Sky Chief ambulance – a station wagon complete with a siren that still sounds and red lights that still work.

“It’s custom-built,” Kamphausen said.

Kamphausen bought the old ambulance about 20 years ago from the Yakima Downs race track in Washington. A placard that came with it says it was used until 1988 to carry injured jockeys.

Although Kamphausen owns funeral homes, he’s also familiar with ambulances. He drove one as a young man in his hometown of Littleton, Colo.

The other vehicle was a 1929 blue and white Packard used as a hearse. Kamphausen was uncertain of its history.

Kamphausen’s interest in restoring cars dates back to his days in Littleton.

“When you grow up in farm country, you learn how to fix stuff,” he said.

Kamphausen recalled the Coleman Motor Co. in Littleton. He remembered mowing the lawn for the president of Coleman Motor Co. He also remembered, as child, watching the workers at the foundry pouring metal for axles and other parts.

Coleman Motor Co. is long-gone, but Kamphausen’s sister found a 1938 Coleman snowplow in Colorado. Kamphausen restored the snowplow and in 2012 brought it back to Littleton. He hadn’t been there in 50 years.

The visit merited coverage by the Littleton Independent. A photo shows a smiling Kamphausen, his sister and Voss, in front of the orange snowplow.

For Kamphausen, his hobby of restoring classic vehicles has links not only to his various businesses, but also his entire life.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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