Bill & Robyn Dodd
Bill Dodd, a fourth generation Californian, hails from a family of Swiss origin who settled in California in 1860. His father was an engineer working for a company involved in cinnabar mining for mercury, and he owned a sizable 360-acre ranch in Adelaida near Paso Robles. Despite graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Mach-AG, Bill discovered his true talent lay in fixing things and making them work. This skill became well-known on the farm, earning him the reputation of being the go-to guy for repairs.
During the early to mid-70s, Bill focused on rebuilding cars, often salvaging parts from wrecked vehicles to create functional ones. He then went on to work for Bob Automobilia for over two decades, specializing in Buick models manufactured between 1924 and 1956. Bill developed expertise in these vehicles, establishing himself as an expert in the field.
Robyn, also a native Californian, attended the same high school as Bill. The couple got married 16 years ago, and along with the marriage, Bill gained five children, five grandchildren and a 1940 Ford truck that Robyn and her family restored. Robyn worked with criminal and civil records at the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office before. Two of their children had moved to Estrella and in 2019, Bill and Robyn retired and joined them here.
While Bill retained 200 acres of his father’s ranch in Paso Robles, where he cultivated walnuts and grain crops, his extensive collection of cars often led to humorous responses when asked what they grew on their ranch, with Robyn playfully replying, “cars.”
Bill’s automotive interests primarily revolve around vintage vehicles, which test his repair skills. Since finding replacement parts can be challenging, resourcefulness and the ability to repair what he has become essential qualities for him. Bill has taken on special projects like a mid-1910s Johnson tractor, the only one known to exist, which featured a 2-cylinder 2-stroke engine with no reverse gears. To back up, he had to adjust the timing so the engine would run in reverse.
Another noteworthy project involved a Willys-Knight, equipped with the unique Knight Sleeve Valve engine, known as the “Silent Knight.” Instead of conventional valves, this engine used two sleeves between the piston and the bore, which moved up and down within the cylinders. As a result, the engine operated exceptionally smoothly and silently compared to engines in other vehicles from the 1910s and 1920s.
Among Bill’s favorite European cars is his 1964 Jaguar E-Type. He took advantage of the pleasant California weather by using his 1972 MGB as a daily driver, going over a year without ever having to put the top up. In addition to these vehicles, he owned a 1923 Packard Coupe, 1926 Hudson 2-door sedan, 1929 Dodge DA sedan, and a 1941 Plymouth sedan.
Bill and Robyn’s current collection includes the 1940 Ford pickup rom Robyn’s family, a 1914 Ford Model “T” that once belonged to Bill’s uncle, a 1955 Ford Thunderbird, a 1961 Nash Metropolitan, a 1965 Ford Mustang that was originally his sister’s and has been in his possession since 1972, and a 2002 Ford Thunderbird.
Bill’s current favorite vehicle is the Nash Metropolitan, leading him to join a Metropolitan club where he shares his restoration skills with fellow club members.
BILL'S FIRST CAR
Many of us have farmer and/or rancher friends that seem to have held on to every car they’ve ever owned. Bill is no exception and is pictured with his first car and he still owns it today. This isn’t the only vehicle he kept for a long time.
JUST A FEW OF BILL'S PREVIOUS CARS
MODEL "A" PICKUP THAT WAS PREVIOUSLY OWNED BY BILL'S UNCLE
Robyn's 40 Ford
Robyn and her family owned a welding and sand blasting business in the San Fernando Valley, and were doing work for the likes of Denny Nish, Mr. Magoo and many other car builders and decided to build one for themselves.
In 1987 they started restoring the '40 Ford from the ground up with Robyn doing much of the design and work herself.