Current staff have recently been told that the John R store had its own Phantom for over twenty years: it seems that a previous employee (and owner!) lived in the shop for more than twenty years, sleeping on a cot and taking his meals at various restaurants in the neighborhood... oddly enough, he drove a GMC pick-up with a V6, just like someone else we know...
We were visiting home for Thanksgiving, when to my surprise my sister mentioned visiting your shop recently! I did not know that The Wessel Gun Service was still in business.
I was about nine, but remember when Mr. Chandler and Dr. Wessel (I did not know that he was a Doctor) set up their shop in Detroit. Mr. Chandler had been a family friend for years. He was a very good craftsman and an interesting collector of antique firearms and, in particular, Indian materials. They were building custom sporting rifles around military Mauser actions, stocking, checkering, rebarreling Damascus barrel shotguns, general gunsmithing, all sorts of interesting things! My Uncle, fresh out of the Army, borrowed a military Mauser rifle to go hunting with Dad in the fall of 1946. Mr. Chandler did drive an old V-8 pickup, all right. It was a faded red, 1934 (I think) Ford, that Richard Port had given him in pieces, as I recall! He had a standing invitation to our home for dinner Thursday evening, and often came. He and Dad would go down the basement and work on something after dinner. Mr. Chandler is the only person (other than myself more recently) who I ever saw cut a file with a hammer and chisel. He made it for some tricky part of a stock checkering job. I still have it. I have often wished that I learned more from him. I left home and, like all young people, expected everyone to be around forever.
The last time that I visited the shop with Dad, was around 1955 - 60. Probably the last time that I saw Mr. Chandler was in the fall of 1963, out at his camp. By the mid 60's he was more or less retired from the shop and identifying Indian artifacts for the Museum of the Southwest in Los Angeles. We stopped by to see him in 1966 but he was back in Michigan. My parents visited him in California shortly before he died in 198?.
Very Interesting people, in interesting times! I miss them.