Unique New England Collections:Toad Hall Sports Cars

By Carla Charter

For anyone who has ever read the Wind in the Willows, they will remember Mr. Toad of Toad Hall and his fascination with red roadsters.  For those who share a similar passion as Toads, they might want to visit Toad Hall at the Simmons Homestead Inn in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

The collection, which belongs to Bill Putnam Innkeeper, started out with a few red roadsters when the it was first opened to the public in 2003. It now grown to many more red vehicles.” We must have 30-40 shades of red cars.

The vehicles, all housed in a series of garages behind the inn, range in age from the early 1950s to the later 1980s. The vehicles are mostly English with a few Datsuns, a type of car which Putnam himself raced in the 1970’s Other vehicles include a dozen Lotuses, half dozen Jaguars, Triumphs, Austin Healeys and Morgans, MGs, and others.

Among the rarer vehicles in the collection is a Daimler 250. It was made from 1950 to 1964 and was known as the ‘hot rod’ of the day.  According to Putnam this vehicle “is different in the front in that there is no bumper. I contacted England as that is where it is made they think it may have been a prototype for the vehicle which was made in the following year.” Putnam also has a car hood hanging on his garage wall that was once owned by Paul Newman.

For those who love red sports cars but who have spouse who don’t share their excitement, Putnam has that covered as well. According to the Toad Hall website, they “offer seats for bored spouses while their significant other enjoys the sheds full of cars.”

And yes, Putnam said he did read Wind in the Willows as a child. “We are carrying on Toad’s tradition.”  He added that visiting the collection is a great rainy-day activity. More information on the Toad Hall Cars Collection can be found at www.toadhallcars.com