Profile: John Moulton, the Little Car Show mentor.
- View SourceJohn Moulton knows the ins and outs of cars.
It would probably be no exaggeration to say John Moulton has never seen a car he didn't like. Since his youth, the San Benancio Canyon CA resident has bought, sold, stored, restored, and raced autos.
As the owner of JAM Engineering Corp., a company he co-founded with James Miller in the late 1970s, Moulton has developed original equipment replacement engine parts and marketed Weber and Holley carburetor conversions for more than 30 different models of German and Japanese cars and trucks.
He's also actively involved in Marina Motor Sports, a nonprofit that has provided family-oriented automotive related activities at the Marina Municipal Airport there since 1995. The events the group brokers include autocrosses for car clubs, go-kart racing, driving schools and automotive swap meets that are held twice a year.
An unabashed "gear-head," Moulton can appreciate the problem of owning too many cars and not having enough space to store them. A number of years ago, he was also inspired to create an auto storage business on California's Monterey Peninsula.
"I have one person whose car I have been storing for 15 years and I have never met him in person; he lives back east," Moulton said.
The most noteworthy car he has ever kept under lock and key for its owner was a 1919 Duesenberg. It was the first one ever built and it was stored in the area by the owner for a long time. The car is now being totally restored in Santa Cruz CA.
In his spare time, Moulton, 63, puts his home automotive shop to good use working on his own vehicles, which include an XKE 1970 Jaguar, 1959 Morris Traveler, 1934 Ford coupe and a 1954 summer-green Kaiser two-door sedan.
Moulton uses a stacking arrangement to store his vehicular treasures and he tries to drive each one at least once a month if not more often. He'll also take some of them to events such as Cherry's Jubilee or other car shows. Moulton is a member of the board of the annual Laguna Seca car weekend that attracts car aficionados from all over the West.
Besides his involvement in Cherry's Jubilee, Moulton created The Little Car Show that runs in Pacific Grove CA during the Concours week. Open to vehicles under 1,500cc and electric cars less than 1,000 pounds, the unusual event has proven popular. The August show always draws a variety of Crosleys, as well as Austin Healey Sprites, Nash Metropolitans, Fiats, Citroens and similar autos.
Moulton remembers receiving his first motorcycle when he was 12 and getting his first car two years later, although he had to wait awhile before he could drive it. That didn't stop him, though, from taking the car apart and putting it back together again.
Calling his tastes "pretty eclectic," Moulton said he's owned sports cars, motorcycles, antique autos, hot rods, and other vehicles.
"I can't afford to have them all at once," he explained. "I'll buy a car, put my touch on it and then sell it."
Finding cars to buy is no problem. Although he keeps an eye out for a vehicle by watching the paper, online sites and magazines, Moulton laughed and explained that once a person gets a reputation for doing what he does, sellers seek him out more often than not, or people give him tips on where to find an auto.
Besides selling his own reconditioned cars, Moulton occasionally acts as a broker for the people whose cars he stores if they wish to unload one of them.
Moulton owned his own service station in Pacific Grove CA before he spent 33 years as a model-builder at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey CA.
He used his mechanical and technical expertise to create the hardware the students often designed as part of their thesis projects. These objects ranged from propulsion systems and components to special wings and blades for aircraft.
Since his retirement in 2000 from NPS, Moulton said the paperwork involved with all his auto-related activities and businesses has kept him pretty busy, but he still finds the time to rebuild an engine or tinker in some other way with one of his cars.
Having just finished rebuilding the engine for his E-type Jag, Moulton had just fired it up to make sure all was well before he reinstalled it. An on-and-off again project that has lasted more years than he wanted to admit to, Moulton laughed and said he's just about ready to give the car back to his wife to drive.
With this project completed, the Morris station wagon out in the barn adjacent to his garage will probably receive more of Moulton's attention.
Explaining that he won't be building any cars from the "ground up" anymore as he once did, Moulton still can't resist modifying or rebuilding the vehicles he does own.
"I've jokingly told my friends, 'At our age, we need to start a support group to wean ourselves from doing this kind of thing,' " he said with a laugh. "Yeah, I think car restoration is a sickness!"
Also forwarded to our West Coast Crosleys affiliate site.