40 YEARS -- 40 TALL TALES

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In a couple of issues OLD CARS WEEKLY will be doing a special 40th anniversary edition. Since I was around for 30 of the publication's 40 years, I figure I'll spend the next 40 days or so reliving some of the highpoints of three decades. When I first came here in 1978, an associate editor named Chris Halla was a big fan of Jack Kerouac, the '50s beatnik writer who used to barrel cross country in Step-Down Hudsons. Chris started an annual "On the Road" trip (named after Kerouac's famous book) where he took a company car and travel money and went on the road for three or four days just to hunt up old car stories. That year we made a big circle through southern Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. It was cool because the Midwest was all new to me, as I had arrived from Staten Island, N.Y. just a few weeks earlier. We stopped anytime we saw old cars alongside the road and visited with an eccentric Model A enthusiast and a used car dealer in Minneapolis who had lots of old iron around. The trip became a long 3-part story in OCW and later the third segment only made it into a BEST OF OLD CARS compilation. One photo we took of a derelict '61 Chrysler 300 got about a million phone calls from people wanting to buy the car. Our "On the Road" series was so popular we turned it into a column called "Touring With (Insert Editor's Name)." After that, everytime we traveled to a car show, we wrote up what we saw enroute in On the Road style stories. People loved those tales and we had a ball doing them. Nowadays, I wish I had bought up all the old cars we saw and wrote about. I would have made a fortune.

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