Rolling Art

Stan Beck has been collecting and racing cars since he was 12

Published in 2021 Washington Super Lawyers Magazine

Stan Beck bought his first car before he could drive: a pea-green 1950 Ford sedan, which he bought with $50 he’d earned from his newspaper route. He was 12. It needed work.

“I was going to make sure it was running by the time it was legal to drive,” Beck says with a laugh. Thus began a lifetime of collecting, racing and tinkering with cars. 

“According my mother, the first word I said was ‘car,’” he says. He started buying “real cars” and racing them at 17, financed by his job at a Chevron station. By the time he was 18, he was traveling to races. He had more than a few close calls over the years.

“Racing was much more dangerous back then,” says Beck, now a construction litigator at Lane Powell in Seattle. Many safety features have been added in intervening years.

Beck hasn’t raced for a few years, but he still makes time every weekend for his cars, stabled in a Seattle warehouse. He currently has around a dozen, including two old formula racecars and a variety of street cars, some vintage and some newer—mostly Porsches and Ferraris. “There’s always something to be done on them,” he says. If it’s sunny, he goes for a drive, heading north on the winding back roads to Edmonds and beyond. “It’s the perfect emergency escape pod for COVID times.”

Over the years, Beck figures he’s had more than 300 cars. “It’s nice to just be a caretaker and make them perfect again and pass them along,” he says. “They all have history. If they could talk, it would be interesting to hear the stories they could tell.”

Beck sees common ground between his vocation and hobby: “They’re both competitive, and they both reward attention to detail and preparation,” he says. On the other hand, he adds, with racing, “there’s always a start time and there’s an end time and you know how you’ve done, so it’s a very black-and-white activity; versus litigation, which is mixing shades of gray all of the time.”

He can’t name a favorite car, but high on the list is his white 1965 Porsche 356 Cabriolet: “It brings a lot of smiles,” he says.

“They’re just fun. To me they’re rolling art. But this one you can use.”

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