Dick Wolstenhulme’s hubcap garage on Route 302 in Windham has been a local landmark for years. Family members have been cleaning up and sorting the hubcaps. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

WINDHAM — When meeting someone for the first time, Dick Wolstenhulme would ask them if they knew Windham. If they did, he’d say, “I’m the hubcap guy.”

The gregarious Robert “Dick” Wolstenhulme, owner of the landmark hubcap garage on Route 302  and the legendary “Iron Man of Windham” at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, died of cancer last week at age 87.

Dick Wolstenhulme and his wife, Phyllis, were together for 67 years. Courtesy of Phyllis Wolstenhulme

Wolstenhulme inherited the garage from his father. He used the garage to buy, sell and trade hubcaps and turned it into an iconic business in town, said his wife, Phyllis Wolstenhulme. He died on the day of their 63rd wedding anniversary.

She said she used to tease him that one day she was going to record him saying “I’m the hubcap guy” so he didn’t have to repeat it every single time he introduced himself.

Wolstenhulme’s father collected hubcaps, but they were just for decoration. The elder Wolstenhulme’s collection paled in comparison to his son’s, she said. The garage, also known as “Dick’s Place,” was always  covered in hubcaps with more on the property and inside. Wolstenhulme always said he didn’t know how many hubcaps he had, just thousands.

Wolstenhulme’s penchant for hubcaps came from his years as a race car driver when he won 10 championships. He was the only driver at Beech Ridge to win dual championships in both the late model and super-modified classes, according to the track’s Facebook page, and only one of three drivers to have won four consecutive titles. He sported the numbers 6, 0, 44, 27, 99, 01 and occasionally “?”.

Dick Wolstenhulme, a champion at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, had a trophy room in his home next to his hubcap shop. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

In 2004, Wolstenhulme was one of 12 people inducted into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame.

“Dick loved people. Dick loved being popular … He loved to prank people. Dick could be seen getting out of his car after winning a race and putting on a wig when he was being interviewed,” said Ricky Drew, whose father, Homer, was one of Wolstenhulme’s racing rivals and good friends.

Drew said that Wolstenhulme had a penchant for introducing himself to strangers as Homer.

Wolstenhulme “never quit anything,” Drew said.

He was out selling hubcaps just a few weeks before his death, his wife said, and Drew said Wolstenhulme underwent chemotherapy treatment the Friday before he died.

Phyllis Wolstenhulme said her husband’s legend both on the racetrack and off reached far and wide. Friends would send them newspaper clippings from all over the country about Wolstenhulme or his garage. Friends of theirs even spotted a photo of the garage while visiting family in Germany.

Friends and fans of Wolstenhulme have been flooding his public Facebook fan group with stories and photos of him, neighbors posted memories of driving by his garage growing up to the Windham Facebook community group, and several Maine motorsports groups have posted tributes to him.

Phyllis Wolstenhulme shows what the garage looked like when her father-in-law owned it. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

His wife said he probably knew just about everybody in town and was a “bit of a rascal.”

The Wolstenhulmes met as teenagers at a drug store in Morrills Corner in Portland, where she said the “Windham boys would come down and congregate.” They married four years later in 1957 and moved to Windham, where he ran the garage he inherited from his father.

Except for a short time when she worked outside the home, she said that they were always together.

“It’s always together, together. Down to he’d want me in the same room. The same house wasn’t good enough,” she said.

Since they met when she was 16, she said, “you might say he taught me everything … we had so much together … we were a set.”

He leaves a “very large void,” she said. “He was quite the presence.”

Wolstenhume is also survived by a daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and two great-grandchildren.

Beech Ridge is hosting a memorial service for Wolstenhulme on Saturday, June 27 at 4 p.m. The speedway will take his car out for on-track visitation. Phyllis said they will be treating the service “like a race day,” which is how her husband would want it.

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