Saturday, 2:15 PM
Classic cars destroyed in Weymouth blaze
(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
By David Abel and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
WEYMOUTH -- An apparent explosion in a 1929 Buick Roadmaster ignited a two-alarm garage fire today that destroyed three irreplaceable classic cars and left an 89-year-old man unharmed but heartbroken.
Ray Bean, a retired machinist who has trouble walking, rode a scooter to his garage just before 10 a.m. so he could start the Roadmaster to keep oil circulating in the engine of the car, which has been used as a movie prop, according to his son, Ray Bean Jr.
"Something went bang," Ray Bean Jr. said. "He got out as fast as he could move, but he doesn't run. I don't know how he got out."
The flames engulfed the garage on Middle Street and devoured a 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang convertible and a 1915 Dodge Phaeton, which was one of only three remaining in the United States, Ray Bean Jr. said. Now there are two.
"It was immaculate," Ray Bean Jr. said. "100 percent original."
The Buick Roadmaster served as a movie prop in the films "The Witches of Eastwick" and "The Great Gatsby," Ray Bean Jr. said, and was his father's "pride and joy." The Mustang was the first convertible to have an electronic mechanism to raise and lower its roof, he said.
The blaze drew firefighters from Weymouth, Quincy, Hingham, and Braintree. It caused more than $200,000 in damage, said Deputy Chief Jonathan Tose of the Weymouth Fire Department.
Ray Bean Sr. was taken to South Shore Hospital for observation. His son said he could "fix any antique car. If he didn't have the part, he would make it. He was capable of making any part."
"He's extremely shaken," Ray Bean Jr. said. "He's very upset. He didn't get hurt physically, but emotionally this is devastating."