According to my mom, my first words were mama, dada, and car. Who am I to dispute that account, especially since I do remember promising to eat Nabisco’s Shredded Wheat for the plastic Fords buried deep inside the box and as a very young boy, possessing an uncanny knowledge of being able to recall every brand and model of Detroit iron rolling down the highway as I sat in the back of dad’s new double–nickel Belair. Of course, we cruised via GM’s new 265 CID V–8. Yep, the world was beautiful and loaded with plenty of chrome.
Like many others, I continued my love for the automobile by building plenty of model cars of all types. Whether it was Revell’s 1958 Merc, AMT’s ’59 Chevy or the grand daddy of kits, Monogram’s huge T–bucket with “real rubber” tires (you know, the ones that the Testor paint didn’t like). Let’s not forget the invisible V8 and menu of George Barris or “Rat Fink” a.k.a. Mr. Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s creations showcasing Detroit’s lack of an imagination.
Car Craft, Hot Rod and numerous other magazines followed, as did a curiosity of what dad was doing under the hood, particularly when I was helping from behind the wheel of his big Olds 88. ABC’s Wide World of Sports with Chris Economacki and other TV broadcasts (and ads) fueled the fire until I finally got real seat time behind the wheel. Once there, I was off to National Speedway, Bridgehampton, Watkins Glen and other venues to watch the drags, Trans–Am cars and monster Can–Am shapes rock the house.
Here’s where photography entered the equation. It enabled me to nicely merge two great interests–––photography and auto racing. Suddenly, photo magazines were an additional part of my room’s floor décor as well. Slowly though, darkroom equipment supplanted the pegboard wall of Craftsman sockets and wrenches in the garage as photography relegated the more costly hobby of playing around with cars to the back burner, but never out of mind. Like most, life’s priorities kicked in.
After a few decades removed, I was able to turn the clock back when a few gallons of gas and film in the camera meant I was off to the Glen. This time though, with my best friend (and wife), Lu, I picked up where I left off, thanks to vintage auto racing. Who says you can’t go back. I just photographed a horde of historic Trans–Am iron at Lime Rock just like I did in 1970.