His mom once told him his first word was “Car.”
Don Peterson’s passion for cars started at a young age, with family members saying he used to call out cars by their model when he was a toddler. When he grew up, he would become an editor and owner of Car Collector Magazine. He was known as an expert classic car appraiser and would sit on the board of the Classic Car Club of America.
“He was a devout believer not just in owning the cars but in driving the cars, so other people could see them and enjoy them,” said his wife Edie.
Over the decades, over 100 highly collectible cars would pass through his possession, include a 1934 Bugatti, several Rolls-Royces, Packards, Corvettes, and Cadillac. A 1968 AMC Javelin snuck in there at some point to represent the muscle car segment.
It’s estimated that he has driven around 2 million miles over 75 countries, with many of those miles accompanied by a family member or two. One of his most notable trips was in 1995 when he drove a one of six burgundy 1930 Packard 734 Speedsters over 10,000 miles in 34 days through all 48 continental states in the US.
“Would I do it again? You bet!” Peterson wrote in an account of the trip. “What’s next? Paris to Peking?”
Peterson became a lifelong member of the Classic Car Club of America in 1954 and served on the board for 12 years. He received his first Citation for Distinguished Service from the club in 1965. In 1974, he started his own appraisal business, and became the editor and eventually half-owner of Car Collector magazine in 1977.
Don Peterson passed away at his home in Roswell, GA on September 16th.