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Bruce Wood’s killer cars

Exotic automobiles get this financial advisor’s motor running

Photography by Lloyd Wainscott

It all began in 1962. Like most highly motivated high school boys wanting to impress all the girls (and thus increasing his chances for a date), Bruce Wood channeled his car enthusiasm and purchased a 1957 Ford Fairlane Coupe babe-magnet. Hoping to increase his odds for success, Bruce also started hanging around his father’s Union 76 station before getting a part-time job at a Flying A service station in Altadena, Calif. Subsequently he joined “The Gear Lords” car club there and began building a 1940 Ford drag racing car (nothing like wearing a Gear Lords jacket to turn all the girls’ heads!) Unfortunately, all of Bruce’s car and female companionship efforts came to an end when he was drafted during the Vietnam conflict, serving U.S. Army Intelligence from 1967 to 1970 as a special agent.

 

2003 Ferrari 360 Modena
Assembly: Italy
Production: 8,800
Drive type: Rear wheel
Horsepower: 400 hp
Engine: 3.6 L V8
MPG: 11/16
Top speed: 183 mph
Length: 176.3 in.
Weight: 3,064 lbs.
2003 MSRP: $143,860
2020 value: $50,200-$72,300

Following his military vacation, Bruce purchased a 1963 Corvette Stingray, which he still regrets selling. In 1998, while a charter member of the “Greater Smokey Mountain Antique Automobile Club” in Hendersonville, N.C., Bruce purchased a signal red 1967 Mercedes Benz 250 SL Roadster, better known as a “Pagoda.”

He rescued this neglected little Benz from of a barn in Richmond, Va., and began a four-year restoration project. The Pagoda would not run and was covered with many years of “barn-icles.” After several “nip and tucks,” the little red Pagoda won a “First Place Junior” award in 2002 at an Antique Automobile Club (AACA) show in Richmond. Bruce was hooked.

1967 Mercedes Benz 250 SL Roadster
Assembly: West Germany
Production: 5,196
Drive type: Rear wheel
Horsepower: 148 hp
Engine: 2.5 L V6
MPG: 15/18
Top speed: 121 mph
Length: 169 in.
Weight: 2,998 lbs.
1967 MSRP: $6,485
2020 value: $33,200-$112,700

After moving to Hilton Head Island in 2009, Bruce met Bill Head, a fellow Mercedes Benz enthusiast who encouraged him to join the Lowcountry Oyster & Motor Car Driving Society car club. As a result of Bill’s expert maintenance, the Pagoda received the Crescent award at the Hilton Head Island Concours d’ Elegance and Motoring Festival in 2012 and 2017. In 2017, the Pagoda also received a Silver Star Certificate from Mercedes Benz.

Always in pursuit of loftier goals (and babe-magnets!), Bruce purchased a 2003 Ferrari 360 Modena in 2016 and won the Prancing Horse Award at the Festival of Speed show at Amelia Island on March 9, 2019.

When not dreaming of, reading about or searching the internet for exotic cars, Bruce continues to work as a registered financial advisor and managing partner of his investment firm, Hilton Head Capital Partners, LLC, which has offices in Hilton Head Island, Charlotte and Birmingham, Ala. Bruce began his financial career in 1973 at Central National Bank in Richmond, Va., following graduation from the California State University at Los Angeles. He subsequently joined Merrill Lynch and has had positions with Prudential, EF Hutton, Smith Barney, UBS-PaineWebber and Wells Fargo Advisors.

Bruce and his wife, Karen, have a daughter, Keppel, who lives in Annapolis, Md. They also are passionate about their two retired racing greyhounds, Harper and Vivienne, who continue to lovingly rule their world.