This is a funny story that almost wasn’t funny. My friend Bill Hebal borrowed an early Excalibur from Brooks Stevens and Brought it to the Iola Old Car Show. It was parked in front of the Krause Publications building and company photographer Ross Hubbard was there taking photos of a different car. I brought another friend by to hear the powerful engine in the Excalibur run, but Bill was gone. So I unsnapped the tonneau cover and reached in to turn the key and start the car. I had no idea the Excalibur was in gear. The next thing I knew the car ran over my foot and took off towards a crowd of people who were standing in front of one of Chet Krause’s valuable World War II military searchlights. Luckily, I reacted quickly. I dove in the car head first and as it moved along with my feet sticking up in the air, I pushed in the clutch and brake pedals with my hands. The car stalled and came to a stop. I still don’t know if the car broke my toe as it rolled over my foot, but I know that I was limping for several months afterwards. And the worst thing was that Ross saw what was happening, re-aimed his camera and got the whole experience on film. Later, Bill Hebal heard about my adventure and made me up a little gift. It was a framed copy of a photo he took with me sitting behind the wheel of the Excalibur. He attached a tonneau cover snap to the photo. Under it he put the inscription — Exclaibur: A snap to drive! Very funny, Bill.
Gunner’s Garage with John Gunnell
"Gunner" is one of of the most prolific authors and most visible characters in the old car hobby. He has written dozens of books about old cars for Krause Publications and is the former editor and publisher of Old Cars Weekly. His collecting pursuits range from old Pontiacs, to MGs, to retired police cruisers, to Indian motorcycles. He remains a frequent contributor to Old Cars Weekly and owns and operates Gunner’s Great Garage, a classic car restoration and gift shop in Manawa, Wis.
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