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Obituaries : Douglas Spraker, 79; Collector of Antique Cars

Douglas Van Schaick Spraker, whose antique automobile collection included cars that won first-place honors in Ventura County shows, died Friday at his Camarillo home. He was 79.

“He grew up with Chryslers,” said his wife, Laura Lexa Spraker. She said his collection, begun in the late 1970s, grew to include 10 cars, including a 1915 Ford Runabout and a 1951 Muntz--one of only 153 manufactured.

His favorites, though, were Chryslers from the early 1930s. “That’s when he was having his fun with them,” Spraker said.

Spraker was born in Sharon Springs, N.Y., where his father was a dealer of Packard automobiles. Spraker later owned a Chrysler dealership in Cobleskill, N.Y.

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After serving in the Navy during World War II, Spraker moved to Los Angeles in 1948. In 1953, he opened Doug’s U-Rent in Woodland Hills, which rented trucks, trailers, forklifts and other equipment to homeowners and contractors. A second branch of the business later opened in Thousand Oaks. He sold the business and retired in 1982.

He was on the board of directors of the California Rental Assn. and was the founding president of the organization’s Ventura-Santa Barbara chapter. He also belonged to four antique car clubs.

He was an avid golfer who belonged to Las Posas County Club.

Survivors include his wife; a son, Edward Duane Spraker of Sarasota, Fla., and a daughter, Lana Grace Spraker of Los Angeles. Two grandsons and an aunt also survive.

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A memorial service is scheduled for today at 1 p.m. at Pierce Brothers Griffin Mortuary in Camarillo, which is handling the arrangements.


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