Bill Tilden 1935-2013: Tribute to a Friend
Written for the Society of Automotive Historians Journal
U.S. Coast Guard Base, Gloucester City, New Jersey, July 1965: A call from the Ops office—“Sir, there’s a civilian here asking for you. He’s driving the weirdest car I’ve ever seen.”
It was Bill, of course. We clicked from the start. Within a week he hied me off to north Philadelphia to help strip the oddly attractive, faux lizard skin upholstery out of a rusty old car. It turned out a bad mistake—we’d junked an ultra-rare 1951 Kaiser Emerald Dragon. They built maybe six….
Bill’s automotive tastes were catholic, ranging from the E-type Jaguar he bought new and raced—probably the oldest in the hands of its original owner—to a 1941 Cadillac Sixty-Special, several Continentals and late-model Mopars, which he acquired as “future collectibles” from Chrysler, where he then worked, building dealerships.…