Louisville ‘trader’ eyes Troy Kiwanis’ Car Show

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Mike Knapp spent much, actually most, of Memorial Day “touring” the local area in his 1931 Phaeton Classic with the American Flag waving.

A phaeton is a style of open automobile without any fixed weather protection, which was popular from the 1900s until the 1930s. It is an automotive equivalent of the horse-drawn fast, lightweight phaeton carriage.

For Knapp of nearby Louisville, the Phaeton Classic is one in a long line of automobiles he has restored or given new life.

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Knapp, a retired truck driver, has had a lifetime love affair with cars, trucks and motorcycles but, always, fickle affairs.

“I’m not a collector,” Knapp said with a smile. “I’m a trader. I get one vehicle restored and trade it for another. For me, that’s the fun of restoring vehicles. I don’t restore a vehicle to put it aside and look at it. I want to trade it for something else to ‘tinker’ with.”

And, when Knapp is tinkering, he sometimes takes liberties with the project.

“I took the rumble seat out of one ‘roadster’ because I wanted the grandkids to ride,” he said. “They were young and needed to be in the car with me.”

There is nothing Knapp likes better than finding a car, truck, motorcycle, or even a tractor, that he can “tinker with.”

A resto-mod is a classic car that has been restored but modified with modern parts and Knapp has done a few of those. Actually, there’s not a lot that he hasn’t done with vehicle restoration.

“I like taking something and making it better or different,” he said. “But, what I like most is trading one thing for another. Trading is what I do. As soon as I finish one restoration, I start looking to trade and start something else.”

And, Knapp said, he has yet to regret any trade that he has made.

Knapp plans are to participate in the Troy Kiwanis Club’s The Best in Alabama Car Show” on Saturday. Who knows? He might be in a trading mood.