Gunners Garage

"Mr Cool" Of The Car Shows

This weekend I’m in Chicago at the Chevy Vettefest. I drove down in my ’89 Caprice 9C1 police car. It’s not an “old car” to me, but I guess it qualifies as “special interest.” In any case, I was invited to put it in the show next to where I’ll be selling my car books. I thought that sounded like a neat idea.

The show is held indoors at the convention center in Rosemont, Ill. (near O’Hare Airport) so I decided to arrive early to get the car indoors without a big hassle. When I got near O’Hare, I called promoter Bob Ashton on my cell phone and he told me where to bring the 9C1. The building was just about empty, then Bob comes riding up to the entry door on a bicycle.

I thought that was cool. In fact, Bob is about the coolest show promoter I know. He used to work with GM and now he works for my old friend Robert Larivee’s son and his partners at Championship Auto Shows.  What I like about Bob is his “laid back” attitude.

When I first met Bob last year, his show “World of Wheels” show in Green Bay, Wis., was in full swing. People were asking him a million questions at once. But I never saw Bob get the slightest bit worked up. I asked him how he stayed so cool on the “Big Weekend.” He told me, “This is a car show – it’s not life or death!”

Last night, after the show hall was all closed up, I ran into Bob and his wife Vicky in the hotel lobby and we ate dinner together. One of the attractions that Bob put together for the show this weekend is giant exhibit of big-block LS6 Chevys, and he was telling me how one “regular guy” hobbyist and his friend were dragging an LS6 Camaro all the way from Seattle, Wash., on an open trailer – a 4,000-mile trip.

   Bob couldn’t believe this man had signed on to help him put together what may be the best LS6 display EVER. But I immediately understood the Camaro owner’s motivation – he was just trying to help out “Mr Cool”

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