Chip Fudge, chairman of Claims Management Resources, has collected cars since he was a kid. Now, he has a car collection worth millions and a full-blown passion to save and restore what others discard.
Oklahoma City entrepreneur Chip Fudge’s earliest memory is his father giving him a model car with a remote control at Christmas. They built it together, igniting his love of cars and putting them together. A few years later, he would attend Grand Prix races with his stepfather, photographer Jack Fudge, watching the races from atop his shoulders.
He acquired a motorcycle at 13 to assist him at his first job – a paper route. At 16, he and his best friend bought a 1958 Chevrolet for $75. After getting it running, they sold it for $250. That excitement, and his friend, are still with him to this day.
“That was just the beginning of my hobby,” he said. “Now I see cars as works of art.”
Currently possessing more than 30 cars and six motorcycles in his collection, Chip can tell you a dozen stories where he has lost money on buying and restoring antique cars. He’ll also tell you about the first time he sold one of his cars for more than a million: Three years ago, a 1970 Lamborghini Miura.
In a throw-away culture, Chip Fudge lives out the virtue of restoration of old things, not only as a hobby, but as a lifestyle. The Fudge family has been in the collection agency business since 1957, but Chip would rather talk with you about the things he is making beautiful and useful again. He loves saving older properties almost as much as he loves restoring old cars and motorcycles.
“There is some psychological reason why I do these things, and it extends not only to cars and motorcycles but to real estate and even furniture,” he said.
He credits his love of finding old, well-built, well-designed items to his grandmother, who took him and his sister antiquing in Holdenville during childhood summers.
Chip speaks of buying Dead People’s Stuff, an architectural antiques store at 1900 Linwood.
“My son and daughter own it now,” he said. “It came filled with doors, toilets, stained glass windows and mantels. They save and refurbish things. We live in a world of throwaway stuff and limited resources. New objects are missing the patina of history. If we can repurpose something in a cool way, we have an obligation to do so.”