Life’s work, dreams can be enjoyed by all auto enthusiasts

It was the direct result of the community column that I have had the privilege of writing for the Tribune: I received a large manila envelope in the mail via the Tribune office. Inside was a note from my Cousin Jim whom I had not seen or heard from in about five decades. He had been reading my community columns. He’s related to me in that my Grandma Katherine and his Grandma Salome were sisters. That makes us second cousins. I knew Jim and his siblings quite well when we were kids.

The other contents of the envelope included a compendium of his family’s history, and a catalogue for TP Tools & Equipment. After reading a bit, I came to understand the connection between TP and his family history.

I gave Cousin Jim a call. He invited me to join him and his wife, Holly, to go for a drive to Canfield to visit his sister, Cousin Nancy – we used to call her Punkin – and her husband, Fred, to see their TP Auto Museum and the TP Tools and Equipment business. The business portion is mainly devoted to abrasive blast cabinets and related auto restoration equipment. Fred is the founder of the business and the museum, and Fred’s son Robert and wife Tina now own and operate the business under the name of Tip Plus Corporation.

What a great Saturday afternoon it turned out to be! After meeting with Fred and Nancy, our tour guides, in the immaculate TP Tools showroom, we continued on to see the auto museum. There are about 50 cars there – all beautifully restored. Since all of us in our little group are of the same generation, it wasn’t much of a surprise to me to see that most of these award-winning (including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance) restored automobiles were reflective of the era when all of our tour group members were in our teens and early 20s. I think my favorite was a 1948 Cadillac convertible resto-rod or maybe it was the 1952 Pontiac tin woody or .

Although Fred has seen to the restoration of the cars, Nancy has had a very active hand in designing the displays and making sure that the decor throughout was in elegant good taste. Fred has also collected and restored antique roll top desks that are actively used in the office areas. All were in oak and the oak woodwork and file cabinets throughout were beautifully integrated with the desks.

After seeing all this jaw-dropping display of devotion and enthusiasm for mostly 40s- and 50s-era cars, Fred and Nancy treated Holly, Jim and me to a great lunch. We returned to the business area of the facility, and Fred and Cousin Nancy honed my regard for their love of their life’s work

After seeing all this, and finding out that you don’t have to be related to get a free tour of the museum, I was all the more impressed. Fred, who is a little older than I, hasn’t lost any of the spark that a true enthusiast has, and Cousin Nancy is quite supportive of and participative in the entire museum / tools and equipment idea.

Fred is kind of an alter ego of mine. If only I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve . Oh, well, just think, I can enjoy the fruits of all his labors without any of the hassle and heartache he must have experienced to make his dream come true.

If you and your family would like to spend a great half of a day seeing and learning about beautiful old cars, go to:

Mumford, of Warren, can be reached at