George Crocker was one of the many fine characters we ran into over our years of working at OLD CARS WEEKLY. He started a car museum called The Rearview Mirror in Naggs Head, N.C. and liked the excitement of auctions. When Domino’s Pizza Baron Tom Monaghan got into the hobby, George came to be one of his few trusted friends and they had some kind of business association. So, when Tom built his Frank Lloyd Wright style building and car museum in Ann Arbor, Mich., we were invited to the grand opening. Accommodations had been arranged in a brand new Hampton Inn where you eat “continental” breakfast in the commons area. When we went down for breakfast the next day, the only open table was one where two other guests were sitting-George Barris and Andy Griffith. We had met the Kustom kar King several times before, but not the actor. It turned out that “Sheriff Taylor” was also one of George Crocker’s partners. Their association had something to do with a North Carolina restaurant called “By George!.” The three of us chatted over cereal and bagels and we learned that Andy Griffith owned a woody that Barris Kustoms had built for him. We won’t bore you with the details, but getting to do things like eating breakfast with the stars was one of the perks of working for a collector car magazine. It didn’t happen a lot though and you always remembered such days. We still see George Barris a lot. George Crocker has passed on and we never saw Andy Griffith again.
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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