In January of 2023, the automotive world lost a true historian and enthusiast with the passing of Dave Ellis. A resident of Apple Valley, California, Dave devoted his life to collecting and preserving the history of custom cars and Americana from the 1950s and 1960s. We had the pleasure of being introduced to Dave by Keith Christensen in 2019, and we were struck by his knowledge, generosity, and incredible collection of automotive memorabilia. Despite his encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, Dave never lost his passion for sharing his stories and artifacts with others.
Sadly, Dave passed away due to complications from diabetes, but his legacy lives on through his impressive collection and the memories he created for those lucky enough to have known him. In this edition of Memory Lane, Keith would like to pay tribute to his dear friend by introducing him to all of you: "Dave started collecting memorabilia in his pre-teen years. He lived in the heart of the custom car world in Long Beach, California, before moving to Apple Valley. In his early teens, he would ride his bicycle over to Compton and ride amongst the now famous customizers, pinstripers, and painters, such as Von Dutch, George Barris, Junior Conway, Bill Hines, and Dean Jeffries." Dave would also pop by Gene's Muffler, and Keith recalls how he would sit and watch him and his crew work on cars. "This was his start into the automotive world, even before owning his own car. He was a founding member of the Sultan Car Club and stayed active in their programs."
"After years of work in his hometown of Long Beach, Paramount, and the surrounding areas, Dave retired to the upper California desert, to Apple Valley. He carried many vintage, relic items from the area he had lived in. After buying a home, he enlarged the garage area and added to his car memorabilia inventory. Dave came into his own and started to further his collection and display all the one-of-a-kind auto items as well as pieces of the back history of his youth. Showcases and wall displays soon inundated his whole residence. From gas pumps to jukeboxes to oil cans and car parts, his collection soon became the envy of many out-of-town collectors. The trading and selling of vintage items became a retirement avocation for him. In his affable and friendly ways, Dave has left so many wonderful friends saddened by losing him. We all have an empty spot in our world as well as our hearts that he once filled. We were all blessed to call him a fine friend...."
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