Photo Essay: Ye Ole Carriage Shop
Over the summer, my parents and I were invited by a mutual friend, Lloyd Ganton, to go see his collection of rare automobiles and vintage items he called “Ye Ole Carriage Shop." He had been asking us to come for a while but the timing never worked out. Since COVID-19 hit, we had absolutely nothing going on and we were jumping at the opportunity to get out of the house, and this was a safe activity that we could partake in. So we masked up and drove the hour drive to Spring Arbor MI, just outside of Jackson.
We pulled up to a modest building filled with garages and went in thinking we would see 10-15 vintage cars and be on our way. But once inside, we realized it was so much more. There were seven large rooms, each filled to the brim with classic cars and many more vintage memorabilia items. There seemed to be not a bare spot on any wall; everything was completely covered with memorabilia.
Lloyd and his wife Judi excitedly greeted us right as we pulled in the driveway. Lloyd was dressed for the occasion in a car shirt. Even the welcome room was completely covered in license plates and toy cars.
Lloyd has been collecting cars for over 45 years, and he created this small museum so he can share his passion with the public. It was a two-hour private tour, and it was so wonderful to see him talk about and show us something he has worked so hard on and put so much love and dedication into.
He is most proud of his collection of automobiles that were manufactured in Jackson MI, which used to be the automobile capital of the state until Henry Ford put Detroit on the map. Jackson used to have 25 auto-manufacturers. There are 24 different Jackson-made cars, Lloyd has collected 18 of them. There are also numerous other vintage cars throughout the museum.
All cars had beautiful details to them. They appeared as works of art compared to today’s manufactured vehicles.
My personal favorite car is a 1957 red convertible. It was my favorite because of the story that goes with it. Lloyd gave us a tour of the museum with his wife Judi, who also shares his passion for collecting.
He proposed to her, and she told him she would only say yes if he could get her the specific red convertible. He initially gave her a pedal-car version (which is another set of items that they collect), but she was not satisfied with that in the slightest. He finally did get her that car, and they have been happily married ever since.
Apart from automobiles, Lloyd and Judi also collect pedal cars, vintage toy cars, and many other types of vintage memorabilia.
There was even a glass case of vintage cameras.
Our final stop on the tour was the Coca-Cola collection room.
There seemed to be more vintage Coke items in there than in the actual Coke Museum I visited in Atlanta. Lloyd’s Coca-Cola museum is one of only three in the country. Complete with a 1915 soda bar, I really felt like I had stepped back into time. Judi met Lloyd when she took a tour of the Coca-Cola museum in 1992, and their mutual love of collecting vintage Coca-Cola items is what started their relationship.
I didn’t even know where to look, there was Coca-Cola everywhere all over the room. Coca-Cola lamps, calendars, tablecloths, and anything else you could think of.
My parents and I had so much fun exploring the museum, it brought a lot of joy to all three of us to escape the stress that 2020 had brought. It felt like we stepped back into the 20th century where none of our problems existed and we all got to be little kids again, exploring a new world.