Jerry Robinson / Harwood, MD
Luckily, Hurricane Irene, which slammed into the northeast this past August, left Jerry Robinson’s shop intact. It would have been a shame to see these nostalgic collectibles scattered all over the Atlantic seaboard. Not in the photo is a pair of equally nice Chevys, including a Tropic Turquoise ’66 Nova SS Jerry obtained more than a decade ago—and that has undergone a complete upgrade from its 283/Powerglide roots to a 365hp/327 version with a TH350 trans and 3.73:1 gears. The Nova earned a Silver certificate at the ’10 National Nostalgic Nova convention. The other cruiser is an original 350hp version ’69 SS 396 Chevelle with factory air and a bench seat. While the cars are great, it’s the shop and all the accoutrements Jerry has added that give his man cave its character. He backed the cars out so we could get a better look at the shop.
1. On the far left wall is a turquoise rear-end shelf Jerry bought at a yard sale, which used to be a display shelf at a Hallmark store. Below it is a pair of bubble gum machines he bought at a flea market. Jerry got the 55-mph speed-limit sign as a birthday present. Guess how old he was?
2. Jerry says the traffic light blinks if you push the button. Next to it is an authentic Texaco rag can and a reproduction Coca-Cola cooler. In the display case are about 20 pedal cars and other machines he’s collected.
3. Our favorite part of Jerry’s shop is the restored ’73 Big Indian four-player pinball machine purchased for a paltry $300 almost 40 years ago (the same restored machine would now cost you more than $3,000). The cash register to its right is from the mid-’40s and can ring up no more than a $5.99 purchase. The slot machine is a ’48 model he bought from his uncle. On the next shelf up is a circa-1925 wood cabinet radio that his aunt gave him, and it still works.
4. The tall, red cabinet is a Budweiser promotional iPod tower that his son won and that eventually found its way into Jerry’s garage. To its right is the requisite shop refrigerator that we’re guessing is stocked with Diet Snapple and Canada Dry.
5. What appears to be a bright-yellow panel near the ceiling at the rear of the shop is actually the discharge ducting for the combination heating and A/C unit. Those turrets are directional outlets, so either heated or chilled air can be directed as desired. Jerry decorated the duct with photos.
6. Out of sight in this photo along the far right wall is a collection of Gulf Oil (remember No-nox?) and Mobil signs, along with several wooden cabinets Jerry bought at surplus for $500. What we really liked were the three stacked plastic bins arranged three wide in a floor unit covered with a stainless steel bench top. There is a lot of stainless steel in this shop, mainly because Jerry has picked up and laid down 40 years as a commercial sheetmetal worker. Next to the overhead door is a Craftsman air compressor and a Bio-Circle parts washer that uses a biodegradable cleaner to keep the pieces shiny.
7. In the center stall of the three-car garage is a Bend Pak midrise lift that Jerry says is great for quick work on the cars. If you look up on the ceiling, you can see the directional lights that also make working on those Chevys easier. Also bolted to the ceiling is what Jerry tells us is a portion of a panel from a NASCAR Craftsman Truck. Style points if the panel has wheel marks on it.