PALM BEACH GARDENS – Stephen Siben beamed like a proud parent as a grou
p of admirers gathered around his bright red Marlin.
The vintage 1965 beauty, a rare sighting in the world of classic cars, was a car show curiosity that almost always drew questions and compliments.
“Orphan” Cars are the Foundation for New York Car Lover’s Collection
“I like orphan cars,” explained Siben, 80, a Long Island attorney and avid car collector with a seasonal home in South Florida. “I have a DeSoto, a Packard, a Studebaker and a Hudson. I’m an insane car collector.”
His cherry red Marlin is among his favorites. Why? Because of its oddball status.
“The Marlin is a very special car – not very expensive but it’s nice,” Siben said. The Rambler Marlin (AMC Marlin) is a two-door fastback automobile that was produced by American Motors Corporation from 1965 to 1967. It was marketed as a personal luxury car and known as “Rambler Marlin”.
Its most striking feature is the sloped fastback roofline that terminates at the rear bumper.
The vehicle has about 60,000 miles on it, and was restored by previous owners. It has six-way electric seats that fully recline but no power windows.Trim packages weren’t standard, Siben explained, so when the Marlin was sold, buyers custom-ordered their car to include or exclude certain features. Every vehicle was different.
His Marlin is dripping with chrome, a feature that makes many vintage cars so appealing, Siben said.
“Look at this chrome! It’s beautiful,” Siben said, as he walked around his Marlin, pointing out the gleaming silver trim.“The new cars are very ugly but they are safer with air bags and crash bumpers. These (vintage) cars are beautiful, with lots of chrome on them. The engines are beautiful too.”
The personal injury lawyer said he’s always owned nice cars but doesn’t collect any of the vehicles that he’s driven in the past, such as Jaguars and Maseratis. Today he’s interested in cars that sport the glitz of yesteryear.
“I buy now the cars I never had,” he said.
He drives them, too.
“I go to car shows up in New York all summer and fall and then in winter I come to Florida. I have small to medium cars,” he said. “On a Sunday I take one of my cars out, with the top down, and people give me the thumbs up. I am an 80-year-old guy and it makes me feel good.”
Eclectic Vintage Cars With Chrome are Headturners
His collection changes regularly. Siben buys vintage vehicles when they strike his fancy, and then sells something in his collection to make room for the new arrival.
Right now his favorites include a lime green Plymouth Barracuda, a 1959 Edsel with a retractable convertible roof, a red 1957 Thunderbird, a black 1984 Zimmer with a red interior and two custom Ghias, a 1962 steel blue model once owned by actress Lucille Ball and a 1957 red Ghia convertible.
“I like them all,” he said laughing, when asked to single out his favorite.
One of his most unusual vehicles is a 1964 amphicar with a Volkswagen transmission and a Porsche transaxle. The vehicle has two propellors and can traverse land and water. Siben takes it in the water up in New York.
“It’s still seaworthy,” he laughed.
His car collecting hobby is part of what keeps him young, Siben said smiling. He travels to car auctions all over the country, hopscotching from South Dakota and California to Indian, Florida, Illinois and Texas. And when he sees something he likes, he adds it to his collection, which totals around two dozens cars.
His wife Sherry is supportive, as long as she doesn’t have to attend all the car shows anymore, he said.
“She retired from going to car shows,” Siben chuckled. He also agreed NOT to add to his collection unless he sells some of his existing collectibles.
“I always go shopping but I made a deal,” he grinned sheepishly. “If I don’t sell four cars I won’t buy anything.”
His take on Cars and Coffee?
“There were thousands of cars and they ran out of parking. It’s fabulous,” Siben said.
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