This article, and the largely rubbish snaps that accompany it, is about a character who calls himself Spiderman and lives up a mountainside in Scandewegia. He owns what is surely the ultimate man-cave.

Firstly a little background. This is a (very) private collection, not open to the public, and therefore not signposted. A giveaway is the 1950’s gas station by the roadside, complete with pumps, signage and a store stocked with period parts. The pumps don’t work but that doesn’t stop the odd stranger pulling up and thinking they’ve arrived in a Hitchcock film or Hopper painting. The man cave is up the hill behind it…

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The building itself could be mistaken for a firestation, an angular 2 story concrete building with a roller shutter door, a weathered brown Daimler Double Six on a trailer outside being the only giveaway that it houses something special. Inside the man-cave you are  confronted by a pistol toting Lara Croft model standing guard over a row of classic 50’s Americana, a Chevrolet hearse complete with dismembered rubber limbs on the dash, and countless boxes of what Spiderman’s missus calls ‘junk’ stacked everywhere. It takes a moment to take it all in. Parked in front of a wall of vintage refrigerators are a pair of black and white Ford Thunderbirds. A lovely white Porsche 356 squashed next to a Willy’s Jeep with surfboards on, Jukeboxes, prams, ancient TV sets, illuminated by petrol station signage and period petrol pumps.

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One of the few cars registered for use on the road (and not blocked by quadruple parking) was a white Mercedes 190 SL Roadster, the one with with twin Solex carbs and a reputation for rust, far too sensitive to be exposed Scandinavian weather. Spiderman clearly likes his Mercs although they hardly ever move. He owns around 65 cars but only has one car battery. He quietly acquires the vehicles purely on the strength of their styling and history, and other fascinating old stuff too, bicycles, alarm clocks, pianos and a whole mezzanine floor of pinball machines. The fizzing valves and blinking bulbs adding to the surreal atmosphere. I particularly liked the juxtaposition of a ‘53 Cadillac Fleetwood (Elvis’ first car) and a near-identical ‘58 model next to it, parked together to illustrate the latter model’s safety feature of rubber tipped spikes on the heavy chrome bumper. A beautiful detail and typical of the method in Spiderman’s madness.

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It was hard to get decent photos as you can see, not only on account of my cruddy camera and lack of skills, but because of limited space. Aside from the cars, every nook and cranny was rammed with clobber; Roller skates, stuffed birds and a full scale model of Luke Skywalker’s Land Speeder. And this is only the first floor. I squeezed between a dentist’s chair and antique roulette wheel, and descended the spiral staircase, bashing my head on a collection of art-deco lighting hanging in the stairwell…

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Downstairs houses the bigger stuff. Firstly a long row of near identical ‘70s Mercedes W114 saloons, touch-parked, once perfect but now with a thin veneer of dust. You have to climb over them to see the next treasure. A NYC Chevrolet Malibu Cop car, complete with old school radar gun, wireless, lights and all the gubbins left behind from when it was last in service. An airstream trailer blocked in all the above, and that in turn was blocked in by an American Fire Truck, all chromed and kitted out for fires in another time on another continent. It wasn’t all Americana though, a stunning silver 1953 E-type sat quietly leaking oil onto the otherwise spotless floor next to a beige Mercedes W123 class Ambulance and a meticulously hand painted recreation of Lennon’s Roller. I loved the ‘70s Mercedes V8 saloon previously used as a courtesy car at the Rockefeller centre. There were boxes of vinyl, hairdryers, analogue amplifiers, telephones and old school arcade machines everywhere. The toilet had mannequins re-enacting a fight scene from some obscure film and a model wearing a troop tracksuit once prized of breakdancers and other 80’s kids like me.

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Buried behind a pretty Austin Healey 3000 was a rare 1951 Beetle with split oval rear screen and ‘shin vent’ in the wing, a tatty Trabant and an Oldsmobile I couldn’t identify. Sat behind all this was a Mercedes 600 Pullman previously owned by the Shah of Iran. It was once of the few cars parked such that I could slither into it. I sat in the back and admired detail such as the switchgear for the hydraulically operated windows, the silver ice bucket and, rather ominously, a pistol holder. This one had velour rather than leather interior and reeked of an opulent, corrupt life in times gone by. Other owners of this rare machine included Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Idi Amin and the King of Cambodia. Every car in the man-cave had a fascinating history, a beautiful detail or was simply something that every bloke should own for reasons pre-programmed into our primitive brains. Spiderman is an interesting character, a modest family man with little interest in the driving characteristics or investment value of his hoard. Like us, he just loves cool stuff, there is no rationalising it.

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On leaving I spotted a huge packing case labelled “From : Zululand Taxidermy” and asked Spiderman what was inside. “Half an elephant” he said. Rather fitting, for the ultimate cave-man.

 

For those who still need some inspiration, there’s this; The Man Cave Book

4 Responses

  1. Terry Bookwitt

    Wow. Just … wow. I’d kill for just one of those motors! Like that 356 covered in junk! Amazing stuff. You should include a regular man cave feature on Motorpunk!

    Reply
  2. J.Penny

    You guys should try to find Chuck Stoddard, Former owner of Stoddard Imported Cars, He has or had an amazing collection of Porsche’s and more. I was a former employee of his, and once in awhile he would have one at the dealership.

    Reply

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