Telling Alaska’s Story: One couple’s love for vintage cars

For Art Isham, his love for vintage automobiles started when he was in high school over 60 years ago.
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 7:04 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s one thing to appreciate fine automobiles, it’s another to collect them, which is what Art and Tam Isham have been doing for years. The Alaskan couple owns a dozen vintage and classic cars and manages to park all of them in their extra-large garage.

For Art Isham, his love for vintage automobiles started when he was in high school over 60 years ago.

“In high school I had a model A Ford. That was back in ‘58 and ‘59,” Art Isham said.

Now the couple have two — a Model A 1930 Murray Town Sedan and a Model A Deluxe Roadster. There are also classic Thunderbirds, Volvos, Chryslers, Mercedes and Mustangs. But for Isham, it’s not about the brand.

“I just get things that we enjoy and that we like,” Art Isham said.

The Ishams are active members of Antique Auto Mushers of Alaska, a vintage car club that Tam Isham describes as a “family” of like-minded auto enthusiasts from around the state. The club is celebrating its 60th anniversary this August.

Taking their vehicles on the road is a favorite pastime, and some — like the Model A Sedan — have put on many miles, including two trips to Prudhoe Bay. The Ishams regularly participate in parades, car shows, and even volunteer to provide lifts for graduates or wedding parties who want to arrive in style.

“We do a lot of drive-arounds to the senior citizen homes,” Tam Isham said. “Just so the older folks can hang out the windows or sit on the sidewalk, and you see them smile.”

Art Isham said he feels like the cars represent a part of history that needs to be preserved.

“We like to display the cars because we consider ourselves, not owners, but caretakers, and it’s sort of living history,” Art Isham said.

The couple enjoys sharing what it’s taken them years to collect with anyone who can appreciate a beautiful antique ride.

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