Frank Graszl was introduced to the world of automobile restoration by his good friend, Wyatt Lock.man. The two built their almost-40-year-old friend.ship from their shared passion, which turned into an ongoing pursuit for Graszl until he lost his battle with COVID-19.
Graszl met Lockman at Graszl’s garage that he built in 1976. It only took a few questions about the memorabilia covering the garage walls to get the conversation flowing.
With years of experience prior to Graszl, Lockman began working on automobiles when he was just 16. At 18, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served in Motor Transport from 1952 to 1962. Following that, Lockman bought a space in Mansfield, which became Wyatt’s Garage from 1975 to 1990.
Although Lockman is now almost completely blind, his extensive knowledge makes him a sought-after restoration consultant. “Wyatt is one of the best auto mechanics in the country,” Graszl said. After being introduced to the world of antique cars by Lockman, Graszl took to starting his own collection of automobiles – which favors 1950’s Oldsmobiles.
Among his collection was a 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Convertible, with a buttery yellow exterior. Like many of Graszl’s other automobiles, such as a 1936 Packard Super 8 Convertible Coupe Roadster Senior Series, the 1950 Oldsmobile features red rims which “makes the car look a little smarter” according to Graszl.
The Packard got Graszl in a bit of trouble over the 17 years he took part in the show and parked it near the gazebo in Central Park. The car was chosen to win the Mayor’s Choice award, but in the process of looking into the car, police found that Graszl had never paid the parking meter.
When it was time for Graszl to accept his award, a police officer stood in and presented Graszl with a ticket for all the 17 years he had parked for free.
A faithful restyled 1954 Studebaker Commander Coupe never got Graszl in trouble and was one of the most coveted cars in his collection. A rare sight, Harley headlights, 1965 Corvette wheels, 1933 Bonneville 9-way power seats and a triple-plated chrome 1962 Chevy engine made the vehicle one-of-a-kind.Lockman’s favorite from Graszl’s collection was a 1951 Mercury Sedan with flawless original paint. As the second owner of the car, Graszl bought the “Merc” in 1988 from the previous owner who had not driven it in 16 years. Graszl estimated he owned 350 cars over the years. The walls of his garage bear license plates from the many vehicles he drove and admired. Along with other vintage memorabilia, every artifact carried a special story and produced a gleam in Graszl’s eyes that only a true car lover can possess.