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Gerry Avers Ford Mustang Collection House
Gerry Ayers Keeps His Unique Collection Of Low-Mileage Late-Model Mustangs In His House
They had nothing to fear. After several zoning and variance hearings, meetings with the neighbors, and a few design changes, I got the green light to break ground. It was to be a 3,600-square-foot, one level design that used a concrete slab foundation. It would utilize three 1,200-square-foot sections. The first two would hold my Mustangs, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room. The third one would serve as a garage area to hold my Porsches and Shelby Dodges. In all, 17 to 18 cars would fit under one climate-controlled roof.
Truth be told, many people, including my parents, thought I was a little south of sanity for pursuing this. My father, an interior designer for 52 years, never partook in a project like this. My mother knew early on that I marched to the beat of a different drum, but even this seemed "over the top" in her book. My brother, Geoff, simply rolled with it and even encouraged me since he loves cars too.
Finally, 30-plus years of high-performance collector cars and memorabilia were going to find a place to stay in a house-type setting. When the building inspector signed off in early Y2K, buddies helped me roll the cars into the carpeted and tiled house through the garage door out back.
One of them said something to me that I've heard many times since: "Gerry, you're living a dream."
I'll admit the first night there, I sat on the porch past midnight staring at the stars and thinking back on all the sacrifices I made to make this "dream" happen-the 80-hour work weeks working three jobs; no fancy vacations; skipped or simple brown bag lunches; no cable television, computer, or cell phone; and no wife, kids, or pets (women can be much more expensive than any car). Please note: I'm not a surgeon, stockbroker, CEO, or lottery winner. I'm just a dedicated, hard-working guy who loves cars and sets goals to achieve them.
In the decade that I've lived in my radical home, I've tweaked a few things. After visiting the Saleen facility in 1999, I decided that the '99-'04 Saleens were the most aggressive and exclusive of that era. So I added a few to the living room: the last S351 made, an '00 S281 supercharged Spyder in custom Speedlab Yellow, and a recently-purchased '03 S281 Extreme that's painted custom Lizstick Red, named after Steve Saleen's wife, Liz.
I've tried to spark enthusiasm for this great automotive hobby by showing teens and youngsters, including my wide-eyed five-year-old nephew, my "house of cars." The old adage "deer staring into headlights" comes into play when I open the front door.
More crucial though, they need to know that going your own way in life is more important than following the herd. I have a Porsche brochure that sums up my mantra: "It's only when you don't try to conform that you can be the one thing that really matters-yourself."
I've always thought outside the box, and I always hated taking "no" for an answer. Which brings me to my last point. When owning your own home and putting special things inside, remember that not all trophies go on a mantle and not all Mustangs go in the garage!
The Ayers Collection
'84 Mustang SVO: Bought new, 8,162 miles.
'84 Mustang SVO: Detroit Grand Prix Pace Car, 9,975 miles, formerly owned by SVO powertrain engineer David Domine.
'85 1/2 Mustang SVO: Competition Prep option, 548 miles.
'86 Mustang SVO: Last SVO built, originally owned by Dan Elliott, 3 miles, untitled and unprepped.
'95 Mustang Cobra R: Bought new, 5 miles, unprepped, #236 of 250, built last day of production.
'99 Saleen S351: Last S351, built on '00 chassis, Speedster, 7,400 miles.
'00 Saleen S281 S/C: Spyder, custom Speedlab Yellow.
'03 Saleen S281: Extreme Speedster, custom Lizstick paint, last one built in 2003, 9,000 miles.
'03 Mach 1: Bought new, 30 miles, unprepped.
'87 Shelby Charger GLH-S: Bought new, 5,210 miles.
'87 Shelby Shadow CSX: Bought new, 8,300 miles.
'89 Shelby Shadow CSX-VNT: Bought new, 773 miles.
'90 Shelby Daytona: VNT engine.
'92 Daytona Shelby/IROC: Former Chrysler executive car.
'93 Daytona IROC/RT: Bought new, last one made, 9 miles, unprepped.
'87 Porsche 944 Turbo: 18,000 miles.
'01 Porsche Carrera 4: one of one with custom paint, interior, and graphics.