By Paul DeGuiseppi, MACS manager of service training
I’ll assume we’ve all heard the notion: no matter who they are, you have the opportunity to invite a dozen people to your home for dinner, and they will accept your invitation.
Following are my Automotive Dinner guests (some are dead and some are living).
Mary Anderson -is widely regarded as the inventor of the windshield wiper. At least it was she that received the first patent on the device in 1903. I’m sure you can clearly see why I’d want her in attendance.
Cyrus Avery, sometimes along with John Woodruff, is credited with coming up with the idea to create a road that would traverse the country from Chicago to Los Angeles. Of course, we call what’s left of that road today “Historic Route 66.” It would be cool to discuss with him the object of veneration he conceptualized.
David E. Davis Jr., arguably the most renowned automotive journalist of all time, would surely be an interesting dinner guest. During his term as editor and publisher, Car and Driver, in my opinion enjoyed its finest years.
Harley Earl, the undisputed dean of American automotive styling, could not have smoked crack, because it hadn’t been invented yet. So since it couldn’t have been that, I’d like to ask him what inspired him and his team to come up with the rear body designs of the ’59 Cadillac and Chevrolet lines.
Henry Ford just has to be there. I think my other guests would enjoy discussing a number of things with him. Plus, I think he’d also like to hear Mr. Earl’s answer to my question.
Don Garlits is not only a nice guy, he’s got lots of great tales. The rest of my guests would surely find him entertaining. Plus, some of them know him.
Jay Leno would certainly keep things going. Not only that, I think he’d be excited as me to be among the rest of the company.
Nikolaus Otto could tell us if he had any idea that his most famous concept would have the longevity and ubiquity that it does. He’d probably gush about how it’s undergone continuous improvement and refinement, and how it probably still will for many years to come.
Linda Vaughn, the blond bombshell most prominently known as Hurst Performance Parts’ “Miss Golden Shifter,” would certainly spice things up at the table. She’s been involved in the automotive aftermarket since the ‘60s, and probably has lots of interesting stories about the places she’s been, the people she’s met, and the numerous appearances she’s made, especially during the Golden Age of Detroit muscle. Plus, having another woman at the table would probably make Ms. Anderson more comfortable. In any case, Linda’s fetching image has graced the walls of many a speed shop and teenage boy’s bedroom, and she still looks great today – value added for the majority of my other guests.
Roy Warshawsky may not be known to many by name, but his business venture certainly is. Mr. Warshawsky is the man behind the J.C. Whitney catalog. How many reading this haven’t seen one? I’ll further postulate that some of those same readers used to receive them regularly, and that many of them have ordered from it as well.
Even before I was old enough to drive and started receiving my own, I used to love perusing my Uncle Mike’s J.C. Whitney catalogs. As a kid, I was not so much interested in the listings for replacement parts as I was the myriad “vehicle personalization accessories.” Two of my favorites were the “Hollywood Wolf Whistle” and “Winky the Cat.”
I’d like to ask Roy how he selected the catalog items and how the catalogs were put together back in the day. But what I’d really like to ask him is “To the best of your knowledge, did you invent the phrase ‘This Might Be Your Last Catalog.’” I’d tell him that I received about 242 “Last Catalogs.”
Paul Weissler, MACS’ Senior Technical Correspondent, would be a superb dinner guest. Not only can he talk to just about anybody about just about anything, I think he’d most appreciate my wife’s culinary skills (even though I’m hosting the dinner, I won’t be preparing it). Paul would do an outstanding job at keeping the conversation flowing, and it sure would be fun to watch him clarify complex technical issues for Messrs. Ford, Otto and Yunick.
Smokey Yunick, former owner of the “Best Damn Garage in Town” and official “back door engineer” for Ford and GM in the ‘60s – quite the opinionated and outspoken character. He’d probably nettle most of my other guests. But that would only add to the fun. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Smokey’s automotive industry mark.
What a great assortment of guests! Who shall I invite next time?
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.