Racing is in the blood of Osceola Mills native Bud Garvey.
As a boy, he’d tag along with his sister and her husband to watch races at the tracks in Houtzdale, Tipton and Jennerstown.
When he was old enough, he was the one in the driver’s seat, and later in life, he began reconstructing them.
“Once I saw the race cars, I just thought, boy, I’ve got to do that,” says Garvey, 73, who now lives in Fairhope, Somerset County, and maintains a race car museum in his Clearfield County hometown.
Bud’s Vintage Racing Cars is at 808 Fairview Road, just outside Osceola Mills. Admission is free.
Over the years, Garvey has amassed a collection of 31 cars.
The one he’s working on putting together now — it’s from a kit and just needs a body — will make No. 32, though his museum is bursting at the seams and one of the cars will have to come out to make room for the new addition.
Each of the cars he has on display has its own story.
For instance, there’s a 1933 Plymouth coupe. The lore, as Garvey was told, was that this car was so good that its owners were going to take it apart.
It had won the feature at the Houtzdale oval, and then the old Tipton track a few days later.
It won a third at the track at the old Ebensburg fairgrounds a few days later, and that’s when, the story goes, the owners were going to dismantle it.
But the grandstands caught fire, which sidetracked any thought of taking apart the car at that moment, and the owners drove it away.
Garvey later got it from Tyrone Auto Salvage.
Garvey rarely has to pay for a race car these days, he said.
Many people like the idea of donating it to him so he can restore it to its former glory.
“After I did three of my own cars, people started seeing what I was doing,” he said. “People would give me cars.”
Garvey’s first race was in 1959 at Houtzdale, and he jokes he didn’t do so well.
It took him a few years to get a win under his belt.
Within 10 years, he had his racing legs. He’d captured three of four features one night in Houtzdale in 1969 and returned to do it the next year.
He said a Pittsburgh racing writer once told him his feat was equaled in Pennsylvania only by legendary race car driver Mario Andretti.
“Of course, he was in a different class,” Garvey joked.
— Mike Dawson