LEBANON - Some people collect coins. Others collect stamps.
That may be fine for some, but not Wayne Machado of Lebanon.
He collects cars, and he's got 100s of them to prove it.
Machado, who built his first car at the age of 15, explains his passion this way: Cars - like people - are all individuals.
"You got ones that don't treat you bad, and you got ones you got to beat," he grins.
Machado, a bear of a man with a smile just as big, estimates he's got around 400 cars spread over some 15 acres on his property off Route 202 at the site of Total Enterprise, a former recycling center and energy company he no longer operates.
|Wayne Machado with one of his restored Model As.|
A lifetime Lebanon resident, he and his wife, Diane, have lived at their present home since 1986, but Machado was collecting cars long before that, beginning soon after they married in 1972.
"When we moved here and we had more room, my friends started saying, 'Hey, you can get that vehicle out of my garage now,'" Machado grins.
He's been adding to it ever since.
When the town and state began giving him a hard time about salvage laws, he made the decision to turn his collection into a museum.
Now he charges $5 admission for visitors to look at his vast collection of vehicles, all parked randomly under a canopy of evergreens in an eerily serene forested setting.
His favorite vehicle for a long time was Mercedes, so he's got about 40 of them.
He also likes Corvettes and Volkswagens, so he's got plenty of those, too.
|The '63 Corvair Monza that was a speed demon at NHMS.|
There's also a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer truck, some military vehicles and a '63 Corvair Monza that won three championships at New England Motor Speedway among the eclectic mix.
While Machado has been collecting cars for more than 40 years, his passion for fixing them began growing up on a Lebanon farm.
'Ever since I was a kid if there were two parts moved together I was interested in it," he said. "Being brought up on a farm I was always driving tractors. When they broke, you fix 'em."
After graduating from Sanford High in 1970 (there was no Noble High), he said he always worked in a garage and did his own car maintenance as well.
"I always trusted myself more than other people to fix my cars," he added.
And another thing he likes about cars?
"I can swear at them all day long and they don't care," he quips.
Machado's latest passion is the Ford Model A, and a group he's affiliated with, The Pine Tree Model A Ford Club of Maine, is starting a Model A Youth Restoration Project here in Lebanon at the site of his museum.
|The Model A dump truck to be restored.|
Machado said the effort is being undertaken to give young people a chance to appreciate history while learning a skill.
They'll be working off the frame of a Ford Model A dump truck. Any area youth between the ages of 12 and 20 can participate for free, Machado said. The instructors are all volunteers provided by the club.
Workdays are tentatively set for Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The club also awards $500 scholarships as funds become available to anyone enrolled in college or school, but primarily to students at trade schools looking to enter the auto repair field.
The club will also in some cases help pay for tools for anyone pursuing a technical field of study, Machado said.
He estimates 90 percent of the cars at his museum could be up and running with a couple of hours work, but he's not interested in doing that, although at some point in the future he said he might sell some of his newer cars, many of them 1990s models.
He hinted he also might at some point sell some parts as well, but not yet.
Right now he's concentrating on the Model A project and rearranging parts of his museum, he said.
For more information on the museum contact Machado at 207.457.1179 or email@example.com.
For more info on the Model A club click here.