by Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
Local classic car collector Nino Baca has turned a lifetime interest into a full blown hobby. After buying the first of his four classic rides six years ago, Baca hasn’t looked back.
“My cousin convinced me to go take a look at a 1938 Dodge Sedan. When I bought it, I felt real proud. I’ve always seen guys with trailers pulling old cars, and then it was like look at me,” said Baca. “I was hooked after that.”
Since then, Baca has added three more cars to his collection, joined a car club, and has even won a few prizes from entering his vehicles in car shows.
The other vehicles Baca has include a 1931 Ford Model A Coupe, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air, and a 1966 Chrysler 300. Each car has a unique story as to how they ended up in Baca’s garage, but they all are equal pieces in a valuable collection of American automobile history.
Less that two years after purchasing and restoring the 1938 Dodge, Baca came across the 1931 Ford Model A in Clovis.
“He got it about five years ago, right after he finished the ‘38,” said Viola Baca, Nino’s wife.
Baca made a road trip shortly after to Louisiana to pick up his 1957 Chevy, and after that, added the Chrysler to the collection after purchasing it from an airman in Clovis.
Now Baca makes it an effort to go to car shows whenever he can. Going to car shows was how he became affiliated with his car club, the Eastern New Mexico Antique Automobile Club.
Baca has taken his vehicles to car shows all over Texas and New Mexico.
“The 1938 Dodge won first place in its category in Littlefield, Texas. I won People’s Choice on the Dodge at Heritage Days last year. We’ve been to shows in Friona, Texas, Endee, Melrose, Fort Sumner,” said Baca.
Baca’s interest in cars may have originated back in 1964, when he was a young man just finishing his tour of duty in the military. He met and married his wife Viola while stationed in Germany, and brought her back with him to America.
“We were in New York trying to get to Portales, and someone suggested I buy a car and sell it when I get home. So I bought a 1951 Pontiac for $275. Me and Viola drove it all the way to Portales and I sold it for $100,” said Baca with a reminiscent smile.
“It was my first time in America,” said Viola Baca. “That may have been when he first got into cars.”