First Car to Learn to Drive a Stick Shift
At the age of 14 my dad taught me how to drive a stick shift. He worked for Dodge advertising at the time but was always bringing home different cars borrowed from Chrysler test fleet. I’m sure they appreciated their 1984 Audi GT coupe loaner coming back with half the clutch gone.
First Car – 1974 BMW 2002
In February 1986 we bought my first car, a 1974 BMW 2002, five days before I got my driver’s license. Half of the money came from my lawn cutting business and the other half came from my parents. We looked at a lot of cars leading up to my birthday: VW Rabbits, Mustangs, Porsche 914s, a ’57 Chevy but when my dad said BMW I lit up. So did most girls in the 10th grade. They didn’t know the difference between my beaten down 12 year old car and a new one straight off the boat which was fine by me.
Too bad the sentiments of the former owner rang true: you either find one with a good body or good motor at this price. I sold the BMW a year later after being plagued with mechanical problems and no time or money to fix it anymore.
First Job – Automobile Magazine Motor Gopher
Automobile magazine came out with their premier issue in April of 1986. I was already reading Car and Driver, Road & Track and Motor Trend but felt a new car magazine was something to behold. I consequently kept every issue that year which are still in my basement along with stacks of others mags that feature Porsche or were special editions like 10 Best, 50th anniversary, etc. I ended up working for the Automobile three years later in the summer of 1989 and my first restoration of a 1971 Datsun 240Z was featured as a “collectible classic” in the magazine March 1990.
First Vanity Plate
My first Groosh license plate was from California in 1988. When I returned to Michigan I planned to have every car numbered by a vanity plate as I added to my collection: Groosh1, Groosh2 and so on. I got to number two.
First Job out of College – Jeep and Eagle Advertising
“How are we going to get our vehicle up here?”
“We’ll lift it.”
My first job out of college started the summer before as an intern for the Jeep and Eagle advertising agency CME. I absolutely loved being part of that agency which a year later had me in their Portland, Oregon field office with my first company car – the Eagle Schmeagle – a 1993 Eagle Summit ES.
Skip Barber Racing School
Learned how to hit the apex in Formula Fords that day.
Joining a Startup Car Company – Kia Motors America
After a brief stint running the Fremont Hemp Co. in Seattle, I returned to corporate automotive to join the start up car company Kia this time as the client. My seat in the marketing department was always cold as I ventured to learn everything I could in such a small company: advertising, product, distribution, dealer points, parts and sales. I joined in 1996 less than two years after their first dealer was installed in 1994. We had 136 west coast dealers at the time. I left three years later following the completion of Kia’s nationwide expansion to over 500 dealers but not before pitching the environmentally conscious hemp Sportage interior. The concept went nowhere.
BMW Driving School
This took place at El Toro airforce base in Southern California. If I may say, I took top autocross time of the day by like 0.2 seconds over a guy who was none too happy. My prize? A little orange traffic cone with a BMW sticker on it. I used to hang it from a string in the garage to tell me when to stop before hitting the wall. It got sucker punch by every friend who stepped foot in my garage without the car in it. I held on to it for as long as I could but when the sticker fell off, it had lost its meaning.
Dr. Porsche Dies 1998
An icon in the industry passes. I keep the AutoWeek that came to my Kia office that day in my basement.
RPA – The Honda and Acura Advertising Agency
It was time to get on board the internet train and join RPA as the Honda Interactive Network guy. This meant overhauling an internal and external facing dealer network that helped sell cars in the dealer showrooms. The position had me entwined with some great tech work and cool clients as I witnessed the launch of Honda’s newest sportcar, the S2000. I have a collection of proofs and the S2000 hard cover brochure still wrapped in plastic stored in… you guessed it, my basement.
eVox is an unique 360 degree, CGI, VR automotive photography studio. We photographed every new car that came out on the market, put it into a library and licensed it to car shopping portals. We also did tons of custom work for OEMs. As such, I saw almost every new car that came out in America up close and personal during the early 2000’s including pre-productions, customs and collectibles like one of 75 made Aston Martin DB4 GTs.
BMW to Burning Man
Twice we drove my sleeper 1989 BMW 535i manual to Burning Man. And twice we left early. The first year at 2am after the burn. Seems that some friends can’t handle their drugs so consequently a 10 hour non-stop drive home home from the desert to the comforts of home.
Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance
The first time I went to Pebble Beach was in 1988 and subsequently in total I’ve soaked it up a half dozen times. But in 2005 it was special. Old friend Aaron Robinson from the days of working at Automobile, former Executive Editor of Car and Driver, invited me to tag along. I asked if it was ok to bring my dad who flew out from Michigan to join us. We drove our Bertone and Pininfarina styled Italians from LA to Monterey and stayed in the Pebble Beach Lodge overlooking the 18th fairway. Over the weekend we attended fancy dinners and PR events. It was glorious.
Founded Motor Car Market Magazine 2006
In 2006 I founded an online magazine called Motor Car Market – Devoted to stick shift and rear-wheel drive. It was a compilation of everything I could find related to a marque such as: forums, parts suppliers, OEM websites, reference links, clubs, etc. The website focused only on cars with the drivetrain setup I deemed the best in the business. I taught myself how to use Joomla, a robust share-wear PHP platform, to build the site, pulled from a library of thousands of my own car photos, designed the magazine covers and logos plus conducted interviews and wrote articles. I used the magazine to get press passes to Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, Monterey Historic Races, Detroit Auto Show and other events. The magazine was lost when Joomla went through migrations to new platforms and the site didn’t parse over well. I’ve since recreated the cover art gallery at MotorCarMarket.com and would like to rebuild the stories one day.
Rebranded a Porsche Parts Company – Classic & Speed Parts
Will Pringle started Classic & Speed Parts in his garage in 2000. He built it up over time specializing in Porsche 356, 901, 902 and 911 parts. We met at his shop in Pasadena when I bought some 912 parts from him. I made it a point to visit him in person since face-to-face beats a phone call. We became fast friends. I offered my services to build a new website for him and ended up rebranding all his marketing materials from print ads to email newsletters plus added a YouTube channel. His website traffic double within three months.
Unfortunately, CSP fell down with the recession and Will got a real job at Centric Parts which he has since moved on from. He held on to the company as long as he could selling parts out of his garage where it all began. My friend and car buddy Don was introduced to me through Will when Don bought parts from him. Will figured any two Porsche guys that live in Dexter should know each other. He was right. Thanks Will.
The picture to the left was one of our newsletters but it mimicked the design and style of the site. Nope “Wurth” is not misspelled, it is the brand featured in the newsletter. Below is one of our print ads.
Porsche Portal – My Own Parts Company
In order to fully restore the already non-matching motor of my 1966 Porsche 912, I bought a low mileage short block from a 356 owner in San Pedro, California. The only problem was that it came with a Mitsubishi-Montero-load full of other Porsche parts. He wouldn’t separate the deal so I bought it all. By the time I had cleaned, powder coated, chromed or cad plated all the parts, I knew a little something. Since I built a shopping site for CSP, I thought why not build my own? I called it Porsche Portal.
This was the start of a long slippery road buying and selling Porsche parts and cars. Here is a show and tell page of my part restorations. What happened to the shopping site? Well, it is a huge pain to update a shopping site with little traffic or notoriety plus list items on forums, eBay and/or Craigslist. I decide to focus on one thing, the blog you see here while selling parts on eBay and sometimes here. I’ve built this blog into a shopping portal but keep the switch “off” most of the time.
24 Heures du Mans Museum in France
In 2011 we were fortunate enough to visit my wife’s sister living with her kids in France for the year. With a free place to stay we embarked on a romantic journey to Paris by way of the 24 Hours of LeMans museum.
Fun fact – Porsche cars have the ignition key on the left dash near the door to facilitate a quick racing start. A driver could run to the car, open the door, jump in and start the car with the left hand while simultaneously jamming it in gear with the right.
In the late ’90s during one of my US cross-country drives I “trained” the 24 hour race by attempting to drive 24 hours straight. I’m sorry to report I only made it 23.5 hours before pulling over to sleep. All the wind in your hair, slapping of the face and jamming of tunes was no match for a dark lonely road at 3am.
In the French tradition I greeted Dr. Porsche with a kiss on both cheeks. It’s hard to tell if his is embarrassed or really annoyed. I’m going with annoyed.
Where Does That Leave Us Now?
The last ten years have been devoted to Porsche. Sure, I have a few other non-Porsches and will continue to buy other makes. But it was important for me on the advice of my father to stick to one marque and learn all I can. Apparently it helps if you buy a lot of them that don’t work and try to fix them. I’ve got cars shoved in poll barns and garages around Michigan while at least three reside at my house. Many of my cars, mostly 928s and 914s, are works in progress. Some will be revived through Groosh Design while others elevated by renovation and restoration. It’s my intention to save every single car I can.