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Bear Puts a Damper on Davidson Car Guy’s Alaskan Adventure

by | Aug 8, 2018 | News, Top Right Box

Tom Cotter inside his Cobra that the bear almost ate.

What a way to start your day! Davidson’s premier “car guy,” Tom Cotter, was semi-awake in bed in a condo at the Alyeska ski resort near Anchorage when his phone rang. It was one of his fellow travelers on a 2,000 mile, four-car, Shelby Cobra caravan exploring the great north state. Their rare, restored vehicles were worth as much as $1 million.

“Have you seen your car yet today?” his friend asked. Cotter shot out of bed, fearing that the question could portend only bad news.

He was right. The fabric convertible top of his red 1965 289 Shelby Cobra was badly ripped, and there were big muddy paw prints splashed across the body. It wasn’t hard to pin the damage on one of the area’s bears.

But why? The answer was in a pouch behind the passenger seat. Or more precisely, what wasn’t in the back pouch any more. Fig Newton cookies! The friend Tom was riding with kept a pack of them stowed behind the back seat as road snacks. But they were gone.

Despite the incident, Cotter said the towering scenery made the 15-day sojourn the trip of a lifetime. He was even able to look at the bright side of the damage to his vintage sports coupe, observing. “It’s fairly easy to sew up the cloth convertible top. If it had been a hard top, the bear could have done some serious damage.

Cotter has published about 20 books about vintage cars rescued from barns and garages, and he also produces a video series about his finds. One of his books is titled “The Cobra in the Barn.” But one news writer quipped, “Now he has material for a new yarn: “The Bear in the Cobra!”

Cotter and his wife, Pat, were last seen headed to a class reunion in Maine. And the Cobra? It’s on the back of a truck inbound to its Davidson barn.

Bill Giduz

Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.

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