Meet Your Neighbors: Osgood developed interest in cars

As a boy, Earl Osgood was too small to participate with his peers in athletics.

So he found another interest - cars.

"I've been into cars since I was 8 years old," he said.

"I lived in farm country and a neighbor had a 1926 Dodge 4-door sedan just sitting around.

"I bought it for $5, took off the doors and made it into a clubhouse for my friends.

But it was in running condition and a I later put a bed on where the body was because it could haul hay that way."

"When I was 10, the guy I'd bought it from wanted to buy it back as he needed (the equivalent of) a tractor real bad.

I said $15 and he agreed."

Osgood saved money earned on a paper route a few years later and bought a 1935 Ford coupe for $150.

That was while he was in high school in 1943 and he used that car until 1947 when he sold it after being drafted into the military.

Osgood went on to a 25-year career as a general contractor in Michigan following a tour of duty in the Navy.

But it was during his Navy days that he developed another interest; collecting and/or building scale model cars.

"The first ones I made were of balsa or pine," Osgood said.

"Plastic kits and some full metal body cars came out in the mid-1950s and I went into them."

Osgood estimates he had assembled a collection of 450 model cars by 1986, when he sold the collection.

The native of Jamestown, N.Y.

also got into restoring cars in 1968.

Among the 11 cars he has restored over the years are a 1925 Stutz, 1937 Oldsmobile, 1941 Chevrolet, 1955 Thunderbird, and Mustangs from 1969, 1972 and 1989.

Osgood began to build a second model car collection in 1987.

That collection now totals 350 cars (not counting Hot Wheels) including nine Ferraris and what he said was the first car made – an 1886 Daimler Benz with a 1-cylinder gasoline engine.

He pointed out a 1948 Tucker sedan in a display case.

It is of metal construction and has its engine in back and luggage compartment in the front.

"They only made 2,000 of them and I bought that one for $150 about 10 years ago," he said.

"In 1985, I nearly bought a full-sized one in Phoenix for $6,700 (at an auction).

I put in my bid but didn't get it."

"Today, the car sells for between $600,000 and $900,000."

After more than 10 years of building his second collection, Osgood sought something new and different.

He found it in 1999 at a time when he had found about everything available in model cars.

His new love was model airplanes.

Osgood, who moved to Kingman from Lake Havasu City in 1994, has planes from nearly every nation that got into aviation.

There are models from Japan, Germany, France and Russia in addition to the United States.

They include helicopters, biplanes from the early 1900s, single-wing propeller-driven aircraft from World War II, and jets.

He has a Wright Brothers 1901 model, plus the first planes of the jet age built by Germany.

They include a Horten 229 and modified Messerschmidt 262 that could reach a top speed of 600 miles per hour.

"If World War II had continued any longer than it did, Germany would have wiped out the British and Americans with their jets," Osgood said.

"Fortunately, we bombed out their aircraft factories (before they could begin mass production)."

Osgood's aircraft model collections numbers 145 planes.

There is a story behind every car and plane in his collection, he said.

Asked if anyone seeing his collection for the first time calls him an overgrown kid," Osgood said, "All they say is 'Wow.' But I'd like to be an overgrown kid forever."

Neighbors is a feature that appears Monday in the Kingman Daily Miner.

If you have an interesting story you'd like to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397 ext.