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Garage for sale — oh, and with a house attached

Molly and Stan Hyman are automobile enthusiasts who in 1995 custom-built their six-car Burbank garage to give themselves room to rebuild and showcase vehicles. Now they're hitting the road.

February 11, 2011|By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times
  • Molly and Stan Hyman inside their 1,400-square-foot garage, which is the main selling point of their Burbank home.
Molly and Stan Hyman inside their 1,400-square-foot garage, which is the… (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles…)

Molly and Stan Hyman are hitting the road and they've put their garage up for sale.

And by the way, their six-car garage comes with a house.

The Burbank couple are automobile enthusiasts and restorers who in 1995 custom-built their garage/house to give themselves room to rebuild and showcase vehicles.

The building replaced a home destroyed in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, said Stan Hyman, a 76-year-old retired hospital administrator and real estate developer.

"Molly wanted a new 1930s-style Mediterranean place, and we both wanted good garage space. So we laid out the garage first and then built the house around it," he said.

From the street, the three 9-foot roll-up doors are the only hint of what's inside. The interior has a 12-foot ceiling and is deep enough to handle six cars, tool bins, built-in storage cabinets and workbenches.

It's equipped like a commercial garage: There's a 9,000-pound vehicle lift bolted to the floor, a 50-foot air hose connected to a 5-horsepower air compressor, and a 50-amp, 220-volt outlet in the wall for welding machines.

Counting the elevator shaft, the garage area is about 1,400 square feet. The elevator and an adjoining stairway lead to the three-bedroom home above.

If designing a house around a garage sounds offbeat, consider the birthday present Hyman gave his wife one year: a professional sandblaster.

"I was tired of sticking my hands in chemicals" when restoring cars, Molly Hyman explained.

The pair, married 57 years and the parents of two adult daughters, have restored 15 automobiles together. They started with a British-made 1955 MG sports car before specializing in Ford Mustangs.

Active for years with the Mustang Owners Club of California and the Mustang Club of America, they've restored two award-winning '65 Mustangs — including a rare convertible bench-seat model they rebuilt from the ground up in their garage.

Hyman, who was raised in the Hollywood area, has worked on cars since he bought his first one at age 14.

"It was a 1941 Chevy Club Coupe. My dad helped me fix it when the timing gear went out — they didn't have timing belts back then," he said. "I bought the car for $50 and sold it for $900 when I was 16."

Molly Hyman's love affair with automobiles dates to her days at Van Nuys High School, when she hung out Fridays on Van Nuys Boulevard for "Cruise Nite."

"I went to the beach with a boy in his '36 Ford, a five-window coupe hot rod. Going over Topanga Canyon, it boiled over and he asked me to help fix it," she said. "That's how I started."

It was she who first fell in love with Mustangs — "the coolest-looking car out there," she said.

In 1965, Hyman surprised her with a yellow Mustang convertible that she drove until last year, when she sold it — reluctantly.

The pair are restoring an original 1936 delivery truck from the famed Helms Bakery in Culver City. "It's a Helms bakery coach," corrects Hyman with a grin. "Paul Helms Sr. used to say garbage is picked up in a truck. Bakery goods are delivered in a coach."

They are working now on the trolley-shaped vehicle's brakes. Next they'll tackle its unique brake-and-clutch system, which is operated by the same pedal because the coach was designed to be driven standing up. If the job isn't finished by the time they move, they'll complete it at a friend's house, they said.

"It is going to take a special buyer for this house," Hyman acknowledged.

Robert Cross, who has featured the garage-house on his CarProperty.com website, said there is no doubt a buyer is out there. The home is listed at $1.6 million by Westlake Village real estate agent Barbara Radke.

It's in a residential section adjacent to Burbank's Media District, close to Warner Bros. Studios. Cross noted it's also near Bob's Big Boy, where hot-rodders and car cruisers congregate weekly. Nearby are George Barris' Kustom Industries, which builds movie cars and hot rods, and entertainer Jay Leno's Big Dog Garage.

"There's a lot of car-culture history in L.A.," said Cross, who collects cars himself.

As for the Hymans, they're planning to become full-time travelers.

But instead of a car, they'll be in a 45-foot luxury motor home that they have in storage.

Their bus-like Tiffin Zephyr coach is too big for even their garage.

"We didn't have it when we designed the garage," Hyman said. "Otherwise we'd have made the doors higher."

bob.pool@latimes.com

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