Sunday, November 1, 2009

still plays with cars

The oldest picture I have of myself is from my first Christmas. I am three months old and asleep inside my little red wagon. I am tightly hugging the sides. In many of my earliest pictures I have a toy car in my hand. That did not change as I grew older. I was a CCCA brat at ten, and wrote articles for them in my teens. At age eleven when most boys want to go to football games, I begged my father to take me to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg reunion. Thankfully he did.

The addiction continued into adulthood. I worked for almost 20 years for a big three auto company and owned more than 30 classic cars over the years. The list is too long to name. It began to cool off after I did a career change a few years back that demanded much more of my time, then in an attempt to cut my commute I moved closer to work. It was with trepidation that I gave up my two car garage.

I spent two years in the People's Republic of Santa Monica, the most auto-unfriendly city this side of Manhattan. It was a great location to be close to work, and I loved the ocean dearly and there was a lot of cool architecture, so I adapted and put my energy principally into photography.

When I picked up a super cool little '65 Corvair Monza, it took my carport (3/4 covered- aargh!) and my daily driver did battle on the permitted streets of my neighborhood, where it had to be moved twice weekly to accommodate street cleaning and got horribly dirty under the stately trees. In short order, the charming 'Vair was dispatched to offsite storage and shortly thereafter sold. You don't play with your toys when they aren't home.

Fortunately, the crumbling economy intervened and my company started closing branches like they were hemorrhaging money or something. (Oh, right- they were). At the end of summer I no longer needed to be on the West Side and began rethinking my options. I've always loved Palm Springs and have told myself a hundred times I'd move there in a minute if I had the chance. Suddenly, that chance arose and thirty days later I found myself under desert skies. I knew I was in for an adventure.

What I didn't realize is that I have a ton of car club friends from over the years who live here. My first Friday in town was spent at an awesome dinner party in a giant garage surrounded by 70's Cadillacs and Lincolns. I have old car friends who live less than a mile away. And we play with cars. In my first month, I've been to two car club dinners, a weekend Concours, and had a car brochure party at my place. I spent yesterday helping a friend work on his '77 Thunderbird, getting my hands dirty again. The highlight was taking his pristine '76 Grand Prix to the auto parts store. What a dream to look out over that long-ass hood.

So I hope you'll follow along as I rediscover my roots. Adventures, recollections, events and reflections on the current industry from my long lens perspective. I'll start this out with some reprints of essays and articles I have previously written, then after that it'll get rolling on its own.

He still plays with cars. Who knew?


  1. Jeff:
    I couldn't be happier for you and am actually quite jealous!

  2. This is a perfect way to bring a bit of Flint to Palm Springs.

  3. Okay, I just announced the blog to the Flint Expatriate community. The pressure's on now!