Ed Glinski collects for his father. He doesn?t say so, but talk to him for an hour, and it?s as plain as the assortment of old auto bumpers and hubcaps arranged?not strewn?across his front yard in the Marycrest neighborhood of Downtown Las Vegas.
Bob Glinski, Ed?s father, was a car guy, and a prominent one, at that: He started Las Vegas? first Mercedes, Rolls-Royce and Volvo dealerships, building on the Dodge Plymouth lot he opened in Boulder City in the mid-?50s. Coincidentally, Ed Glinski?s first collection was of model cars and trains. While he was in Germany in his 20s, studying to be a certified Mercedes technician, Ed?s parents threw out the models he?d assembled and painted by hand as a kid. When he found out, he was devastated.
So, he began again. Model cars turned into real car parts: unusual hood ornaments, grills, hubcaps. Glinski went to work at his father?s dealership on Boulder Highway, moving into a small house around the corner on St. Louis Avenue, across from the Showboat. He took to hanging his finds on the chain-link fence around his place. Special pieces should be arranged like art, he says, admired. This distinguishes what he does from hoarding.
Eventually, during strolls around remote parts of the state, Glinski would graduate to non-car things?a huge antique mine lantern, a steel wheelbarrow, a blacksmith?s forge?and develop an affinity for items frozen in time by neglect and rust. He would move to a more spacious home off Oakey Boulevard and set up his collection around the backyard pool, where it forms a landscape of arrested historical moments. He likes gazing out and imagining the items? former lives while sipping beer on the patio.
His favorite pieces are the grills?in particular, a 1930s Peterbilt tractor grill that he nearly injured himself single-handedly loading into the bed of his pickup one cold winter night in Beaver, Utah.
?I?m sorry for, you know, admitting on record that I actually took the thing,? he says. ?But I knew it was going to get scrapped, and I had to save it.?
Most of Glinski?s pieces were left behind on abandoned property?free for the taking. But there?s one for which he paid about 100 bucks, and it was a steal: a Harley-Davidson 1927 model JD. To his disbelief, a friend of a friend found it rotting in a field on the family farm in Arkansas, and just gave it away.
?I still can?t believe that guy got rid of it like that,? he says. ?Because for me, if it was my dad?s, I would keep it forever.?