After leaving Ken Buttolph in San Francisco (see blog #8), I continued to the Christie’s auction in LA. I was a few days early, so Christine Eisenberg of Christie’s sent me to Costa Mesa to see the Briggs Cunninghan Museum. I was driving around in an industrial park looking for the museum when I heard to sound of a Bugatti engine. I followed the noise until I saw a little blue car whizzing around the parking lot. It was John Burgess — the artist/engineer who took care of the Cunningham collection. John started me off on a tour of the museum, but at noon he stopped. “Every day, no matter what, I go home to have lunch with my wife,” he said. “So I’ll leave you here to wander around by yourself and I’ll be back in an hour.” I sat in the office and a few minutes later a short man with white curly hair came in with a copy of OLD CARS WEEKLY. He started running off duplicates of one page on a copy machine. I asked him why he was doing this. “Oh, I didn’t see you there,” he said. “I’m Briggs Cunningham.” Then he explained that Tex Smith had run a full page drawing of an imaginary car made up of parts from different cars in the weekly. “I’m going to have a contest for the men in my restoration shop and the winner will be the one that guesses the most parts,” said Briggs. I told him that I worked for Tex and that I would donate the prize for his contest — the first copy of THE BEST OF OLD CARS No. 3, which I had just finished editing before i left for California. When I got home, I drove up to the printer in Stevens Point, Wis., and pulled out the first copy that they printed and sent it to Briggs Cunningham.
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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