TALES OF 40 YEARS #12 – VIPS, NOT PLYMOUTHS

I never thought much about this, but the other day I was internet chatting with John Slusar of Milwaukee after he sent an email with pictures of Jay Leno’s garage. This made me think about the three times I had been to the Leno collection and about some of the other VIPS I had the opprtunity to meet over the years as part of working at Old Cars Weekly. Probably the first one that list was industrial designer Brooks Stevens. I had studied industrial design in high school so meting Brooks was a big thing for me and he was always so nice to see. We actually got to know each other pretty well. The first time I met George Barris was at the Toy Building in New York City and the second time was in the tower of the Mackinac Bridge during the St. Ignace show. Now I usually see George a few times a year, often with another great star, Linda Vaughn. Linda was a good friend of my Pontiac pal Dave Doern and we first met her in St Ignace one night when Dave went to supper with us. Other VIPs I’ve enjoyed talking to are stock car driver Richard Petty, actor and car collector Jack Palance, legendary disc jockey Dick Biondi, actor Ed Hermann, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (at the Iola Car Show), Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson and band leader and Mercedes collector Don Ricardo. Oh, I almost forgot Carroll Shelby, who gave me a great introduction at a SEMA press conference back around 1990 when he brought out the Dodge Viper. The greatest thing about meeting all these people as car hobbyists was that they seemed just like the guys at the Burger King during Wednesday cruise nights talking about the cars they owned and the ones they sold and wished they had back.

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