We told about you about a barn fire in the Town of Boston Wednesday morning that destroyed a collection of classic cars. One of them was a rare Playboy car. Only about 30 of them exist around the world. They were made right here in Buffalo.

It was just after World War II, and there was a huge demand for new cars. And after concentrating on the war effort for so many years, there were many companies willing and able to make them.

Three local men came up with the idea of building a small, second car to be used for short errands around town at a cost of about $1,000. It would feature the first retractable hardtop convertible. So they created the Playboy Motor Corporation in 1946 in a small plant on Ellicott Street near Best.

(Flickr)

They made only 97 prototypes and shipped them all over the country and to several foreign countries, hoping to attract investors and possible dealers. They even offered stock, but because they just didn’t have the finances, they were forced to close, and the assets of the company were auctioned off.

Some of the cars were bought by a Chinese businessman in 1951. A Massachusetts man who’d been interested in becoming a Playboy dealer bought up the remaining inventory in 1964.

(Flickr)

When the Playboy Motor Car Company shut down, a Buffalo woman who worked for the company suggested to her son’s friend that he use the Playboy name for his new magazine. Her son’s friend was Hugh Hefner!

Hefner confirmed the story in 2002. He does NOT own a Playboy car.