An unabashed devotee of The Simpsons, Fred Phillips is living the slightly-north-of-American dream. Nestled away among the snow drifts of Calgary, his astonishing automotive collection is one of the best kept secrets in the hobby. From muscle cars and supercars to mid-century Italian coachbuilts and historic racing cars, Phillips’ collection is incredibly diverse. Upon first glance one might opine that there is no method to Phillips’ collective madness. Not so. The theme is quite precise—Phillips buys what moves him. And lately he’s been getting moved to the tune of six to eight new acquisitions a year; most recently an ex-Le Mans 1962 roundtail Abarth Simca 1300, an all-original ex-Max Balchowsky/Cary Loftin 1968 Bizzarrini 5300 America, a 1986 Ford RS200 EVO, and the ex-Mickey Thompson 1955 Kurtis 500X.
However, things have not always been so carefree for Phillips who grew up in the home of a single mom who kept him and his brother and sister clothed and fed on just $400 a month. Education was stressed by his parents and Phillips attended Mount Royal University where he studied computer programming—still, his destiny had long before been sealed. If there was a single defining automotive moment in his life, Phillips says it happened when he was just 13. He vividly recalls the sound of a muscle car rumbling down the street and his astonishment that an 18-year-old family friend knew with certainty that it was a ’68 Charger. Phillips said, “I couldn’t believe that he knew exactly what that car was and I wanted to be like that guy. During college I was always monkeying around with cars to make some spending money. I was making good bucks cleaning cars and reselling them. Finally one day I said to myself, ‘Why would I be a computer programmer? I absolutely hate this.’ So, at the end of college I never wrote my final exams because I knew I was living a lie. Of course my parents weren’t very happy with that decision.”
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