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Restoring Antique Treasures for Posterity

The title “Custodian of History” suits Pat Phillips to a tee.

When he’s not at work helping clients with aviation-related issues, practicing attorney Pat Phillips can usually be found restoring antique cars and planes.

For Pat, giving these treasures a new life has become his lifelong passion. He became interested during early elementary school. “My dad was a fan of older cars, especially the Model T Ford. He learned to drive one in about 1925 and two years later, bought a 1927 Model T Touring car. I was always fascinated with mechanics and tinkering,” he shared. “If my dad and uncle were working on a restoration, I was there.”

When the car was once again ready for restoration while Pat was in high school, he and a friend, Bob Frock, took it apart nearly down to the frame. Later, during college at UF, his father acquired a 1929 Model A Roadster with a rumble seat. “I worked holidays, taking the body off the frame, sandblasting it and putting in new parts, then putting the body back on, painting it and replacing the old cloth top,” he recalls.

His interest continues to this day. Pat has restored everything from a 1924 Model T Roadster and 1925 Model TT Ford truck to a 1930 Model A Ford Phaeton — not to mention a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub, which he’s flown for the last 10 years. “You put them together part by part, buying or acquiring parts as you go,” he explained. “It’s like installment payments. When it’s restored, it’s paid for.”

“I feel like I’ve become a custodian of history, and try to get everything restored back as original as we can. There’s so much history behind these antique cars and older airplanes. The cars in particular, because they put a miracle on the road and helped build America,” he observed.