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Barbara Terry interview with Lee Roy Jordan

Lee Roy Jordan is a famed, storied former middle linebacker who played for “Bear” Bryant at Alabama, and for the Dallas Cowboys for 14 years in the ’60s and 70s. Lee Roy won a National Championship while attend­ing Alabama as part of a perfect 11-0 season in 1962, and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. In his pro career, Lee Roy was a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro. He played in three Super Bowls and has one ring.

What was your first car?

A 1951 Ford. I bought it my senior year in high school to go off to college in. It was a beautiful maroon. It was a few years old, but it was very nice. My older brother went and helped me pick it out. I wanted someone else’s judgment on it to make sure I was getting the right car for the right price.

How long did you keep it?

I guess, four years – right before my senior year in college. Then I traded it in on a brand new 1961 Chevy Impala. That was kind of fun. I kept that car a few years, until I came to Dallas and signed my con­tract.

So you switched from Ford to Chevy?

Yes. And, with my signing, I got a new car – a 1963 Riviera. It was the first year Buick made that car and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. I came to Dallas and went to the showroom at the dealership. I was so excited about it and felt like that was my one sports car, part of my bonus deal.

What color was that sweet ride?

It was beige, and really nice. A two-door sports car, Riviera was around for 15 years or so. Buick made it that long, but the first year was the most beautiful one of all.

How long did you keep it?

About four years. We started having children, and did the typical thing and got a station wagon.

How many kids do you have?

Three boys. We love them so much and enjoy them. Now we have three daughters-in-law, and six grand­daughters and one grandson. Number seven was a boy. I’m proud of all my grandchildren, but having a boy meant something to a male like me, having a male to carry on the name.

Great.

I decided to get back on the subject of autos with the happy, pleasant legend sitting before me.

What do you listen to when you drive?

Elvis is my favorite. Alabama, I really love. Willy Nelson is one of my favorites. I’ve seen him a number of times. We used to go with him to a golf tournament up in New Mexico. Charlie Pride had a golf tourna­ment up there we used to raise funds for. Mark Cashen and a group of us would go up; a lot of the pickers and singers were there. Charlie Pride and all of his entourage. We’d get on Willie Nelson’s bus, and they would pass the guitar around and one per­son would sing a hit song and then another. It was a wonderful experience. Charlie Pride is one of my favorite people.

So, do you like classic country music?

Hank Williams Junior is great. We saw Willie two weeks ago and we saw him again last night, so we keep up with Willie and the boys.

Right up my alley! What about Merle Haggard?

Merle Haggard is another favorite. Love his music. Definitely one of the great all-time guys.

Tell me about what you drive now.

I drive a Toyota Sequoia SUV. I have my golf clubs and shotgun and hunting bag – everything in the back of it, and I keep it there. If I want to shoot skeet, I just go in my truck. I get my dogs and put them in the trailer and go hunting.

So it totally suits your needs and it’s versatile.

Yes. I’m not a car buff. I want something that suits me, gets me to and from and gets me back and forth and car­ries my stuff. We take a lot of trips to Alabama, my wife and I have a home there. We’re always going to and fro, carrying stuff. The two of us, we carry a lot of clothes and golf stuff, so we have to have a bigger vehicle.

And what year is it?

An ’06. It’s probably got 40,000 miles on it. I don’t put a lot of miles on it, but I put a few going back and forth to Alabama.

What’s you favorite color combination when it comes to vehicles?

I like the lighter colors – grey or tan – my favorite col­ors. I have a white one right now. I like something

dust doesn’t show up on. I couldn’t have a black car, it would drive me crazy. I’m nuts about keeping things clean, so I’d be washing it every day.

What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven?

I was at one of the race tracks out in California and did some training. They showed us how to drive race cars. I got up to 120 and that was exciting. On the roads. I’m kind of a five miles an hour above the limit guy. The police won’t likely give me a ticket at five over the limit.

I went 10 over the speed limit today and got one. I used to be able to beat tickets when I lived here in Texas, but being from out-of-state now, he wasn’t buying it. What do you think about hybrids?

I’m interested. I’ll probably buy one next. If the econ­omy improves, I might do that soon. I’m conservative and I like to save money. There’s some vehicles I wouldn’t use because the engine sounds like it’s guz­zling gas.

Like the big Hummers?

Yes, and Cadillac Escalades and all that. They have the big engine, but the engine sounds like it gets no gas mileage and they don’t. Eight to 10 miles to the gallon, I’d imagine.

Did you ever see a teammate’s car or truck and say,

‘Hey I have to have one of those?’

Yeah, Randy White’s truck. He and Mark always had nice big Ford trucks. I got some, but they weren’t nice. I don’t trade often. I keep them a good while.

Do you prefer to lease or own your vehicles out­right?

I’m a pay-to-own kind of guy. Leasing, they say, is cheaper than buying, but I might keep a vehicle five years and I might drive it two and hand it down to my kid. They might drive it three or four more years, so I think you get more bang for your buck that way.

Do you have a dream car, or have you ever had your eye on a car you wanted and didn’t pull the trigger on?

No, I really never had that. I probably had some trucks I wanted for hunting purposes that I couldn’t justify purchasing because I don’t hunt enough. I’ll buy something used, or a dealer car. I bought a Ford Excursion from a dealer’s son and got a good deal.

It’s my hunting truck.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

I love quail hunting. That’s my favorite thing. I hope we’ll soon get back to where we have more quail around here. I like to play golf. I love riding horses. I have had too many, so my wife tells me. I had the pleas­ure of turning one of my horses over to my granddaugh­ters – a horse I hunted quail on – and these girls take such good care of him. And he’s so gentle and he takes such good care of them. I’m so excited they’re learning about horse riding at such a young age, and I have fun with them.

I love quail and dove hunting. Just to be able to get out and breathe the outdoors, sport my camo gear and take it all in! How is the dove hunting in Alabama compared to Texas?

Somewhat good. We have some good dove hunting in Alabama. We go out in Albany, northeast of Abilene, a good place to find doves. I didn’t have a company dove hunt this year, but there’s been some good dove hunting in the past.

Have you ever had a bad accident in a vehicle?

No. I really have been very fortunate. I’ve had fender benders. I did hit one person from behind, not paying attention. I was going a bit too fast on the freeway and cars stopped. I probably hit them at about 15 miles an hour and we bent our cars up, but I’ve been blessed that way.

What does your wife think about your choice in vehi­cles?

Well, she kind of lets me do my own thing. I want to be in my vehicles and she insists the car be big enough to take both of our stuff because, when we go to Alabama, we take ALL our stuff – our clothes, golf clubs, she took four potted plants last time. All that fun stuff.

Do you like cars over trucks, or SUVs because you get the best of both worlds?

I like SUVs, something that sits up higher than low cars. I like visibility. I think it’s much safer, maybe not for the lower cars, but I like height, so SUVs fit that. And I like space in the seats so I can get in and move my legs around. I’ve had two knees replaced and I have to have some space.

What was your favorite vehicle? The Ford? The Chevy? The Buick?

My favorite was the 1963 Buick Riviera. It was so beauti­ful. We had Cadillacs and Lexuses, but that was my favorite. I like the Lexus. My wife has a convertible I gave her last year – a Siebring, Chrysler, hard-top convertible – and it looks terrific. When the top is up, it’s a hard-top, but when it’s a convertible, it’s sharp too.

That’s a good fit for her.

Yeah, because she takes our granddaughters out and they ride in the back like Miss America.

Awesome visual. I want to go back to something we started with earlier and get in-depth. Do you think that the Buick is your favorite because it had to do with sign­ing your first Dallas Cowboys bonus?

Probably. It was the first sports car – or only one -1 ever owned. All my other cars were four-doors to carry a bunch of people. That was a two-door and I was single then. I married my wife a year and a half later.

Where do you think that car is now?

Oh, man, I don’t know. You mean that exact car? I don’t have any idea.

We should do a VIN search to see if we can locate it.

I don’t think they go back that far. My favorite car now, though, is a 1958 International pick-up that was my wife’s grandfather’s. I had it restored 10 years ago. It’s a 3 in the tree stick.

Wow, such a collector’s item. They made a great product

Yeah, and I’m so proud of it because it was her grandfather’s. It primarily sat in the garage for years, and I had it painted and restored like new. We take it out at our property when we go on Thanksgiving, and we get it out and drive it around and the grandkids get in the back. We have a great time.

What color is it?

It’s a light blue. My wife asked me why not make it a forest green because of all the trees up there. With the territory we have, we have woodlands on the river. That’s where our lodge is, right there in Tuscaloosa by where the football team plays. We go there and watch football games, and this pick-up is as cute as can be. I wanted to restore it to its origi­nal, or I was talked into it, and she thinks it should be a forest green to match all the pine trees we have up at the lodge.

Paint it camouflage and you’ll blend in!

Yeah, great idea. (LAUGHTER)

Being a huge Cowboys fan, I was thrilled to get to inter­view this Cowboys legend about his experiences with vehicles throughout life and his tastes in automobiles. In fact, truth be told, though I love all of the Cowboys, Lee Boy Jordan is my favorite legend of all time, so I was roar­ing to get this one started.


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Barbara Terry interview with Ed Too Tall Jones

Ed “Too Tall” Jones Is a legendary defensive lineman from the 1970s Dallas Cowboys teams. He played with the world-famous America’s Team version of the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry and was in the NFL for 15 years, interrupting his career for one year of professional boxing, where he went undefeated. Along with “Mean” Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ed is probably the most recognizable defensive player of the 70s, an era wherein most defensive players remained anonymous. At six feet, nine inches, Ed was a bit too big to hide and too much for most offensive linemen. He’s a former Super Bowl champion and a three-time Pro Bowler, who is only credited with 57 sacks, but they didn’t record sacks until midway through his career. Unofficially, he had 106. Either way, he put the fear of God in many an NFL quarterback.

I started with the usual questions and let Ed go. I didn’t have to prod him or guide him, just ask him questions and listen intently. What was your first car?

My first car was a 1948 Chevy. I used to watch the old gangster movies, like Elliot Ness, and I saw that car and absolutely loved it. There was a guy in Tennessee that was an antique collector and I talked him into let­ting me buy that 1948 Chevy.

Where do you think the car is now?

I would give anything to know, and in fact, I would try and buy it back…(he chuckles)…I sold it when I fin­ished college and had it all during college. When I graduated, I bought a new Cadillac Eldorado that I thought was just the most beautiful thing. Then I sold the 1948 Chevy.

What color was it?

It was solid black.

How old were you when you first learned how to drive?

I grew up on a big farm in Tennessee and I learned how to drive sitting in my dad’s lap, driving a tractor. Then, when we would get in the car, I would sit in his lap and drive, being as we lived way out in the coun­try. We were, like, six miles from the city, so he would sit me in his lap and let me drive. The first time he trust­ed me on my own, I was, probably, 14 years old.

What is your favorite color combination with cars?

My favorite color combination would be a two-tone – black and grey.

I wondered what such a gentle man, who endured such a rough business, listened to when he drove. He grew up on a farm, lived in the South. What was his soundtrack while he drove around this big country?

What kind of music do you listen to when you drive?

Blues. I grew up listening to the blues.

Do you sing along when you are driving?

No. I do not torture myself to death.

Most interesting thing that you have done in a car.

Most interesting thing that I have done in a car?…ummm…(CHUCKLE)…l have always wanted to know what it feels like to be behind the wheel at 150 miles per hour, so I did it once. It was just a few years ago that I was driving to Houston for the NBA all-star game. I go to all the NBA all-star games – I am a big basketball fan. I go with a group of friends and most of them still live in Tennessee and Florida, so we were going to need a car in Houston. I took my SUV, which is consid­ered the fastest SUV on the road. I left early in the morn­ing and I waited until I got on some good freeway. There was not a car out there, and I am a very safe driver. I got it up to 150 miles per hour, and once I got to 150 miles per hour, I got off of it and I was satisfied. Never want to do it again.

I took a guess as to where it was. Being from Texas, there are only so many places you could get away with driving that fast.

Was that on 1-45?

Yes, 1-45.

What type of SUV?

My Mercedes G55. I have been on the Autobahn in Germany and I had my limousine driver…I was over there doing some promotion work and we got on that thing. I was in the back seat and it was the most uncomfortable I have ever been in my life because he got it up to 165 miles per hour. I do not like it unless I am behind the wheel.

So you felt that you were not in control?

Exactly.

Tell me about your Chevy truck that we are going to shoot some photos of today.

Earl Campbell is a friend of mine. I was in Austin a few years ago, and he had me over to his home for lunch and I saw his Chevy truck. He is a member of the Chevy Club and his truck is ranked number four in the country. When I saw it, I said that I would give anything to see number three, two and one. He told me that number two belonged to his neighbor and he called, but the neighbor was not at home. Earl Campbell has been trying to buy the number two truck from his neighbor, and his neighbor told him that Earl would have to give him his bank account, his home and his truck.

Earl said, ‘Ed, if you are going to get into this whole Chevy Collectors Club, you are going to need to buy you a short- bed with five windows.’ I looked for one that was not already fixed up because I have my own ideas and I want to do it myself. I found one two years ago and I have been putting together different ideas of what I want to do with it. I have been going back and forth on the ideas because I really want to make it right and totally different than any other out there. I think I am close to putting it all together.

Tell me more about the Chevy truck, and do you plan on entering it into the Chevy Club contests? Do you want to compete with Earl Campbell’s Chevy?

I have narrowed the restoration down to three different ideas that I think are all absolutely fantastic, but I want to see the number one, two and three rated trucks because I want mine to rank right up there so that it can be in the top five when restored.

What year is it?

It is a 1951.

What year is your Mercedes SUV G55?

It is a 2005 – the last year that Mercedes made the G55. They only made 300. They are not making them anymore, other than for military lieutenants and sergeants. They bul­let-proof them and send them to war. I just thought about the uniqueness of buying something that is the last year that they will manufacture it. Mine is number 113 and, for me, being six-foot nine, there is plenty of head room, plen­ty of leg room and, even though I drive the speed limit, I like knowing that it is the fastest SUV on the road. Just in case.

How many miles does it have on it?

Probably less than 20,000. Where I live, I am centrally located, so I am never on the highway much. The furthest I have ever driven was to Houston. That is what I drove to the all-star game, and I will never do that again. It is short runs to the airport and the golf course, so I am never on the highway more than 10 minutes.

What was the first car that you got when you first got signed in the NFL?

That was 1974, and I bought a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado. I thought it was the prettiest car in the world at the time. I kept it two years. I love keeping cars a longtime, but I kept it for just two years because it really wasn’t a good car. Cadillac makes good cars, I am sure, but this was perhaps a lemon. So, I traded it in and bought a 1976 SLC Mercedes that I kept for 11 years. I love keeping cars a long time.

How many cars do you think you have had since you were first signed by the NFL?

Six…including what I have now.

Wow. Compared to many athletes I’ve Interviewed, that isn’t very many. He must really develop a love for, and take care of, his vehicles.

What has been your all-time favorite?

My favorite all-time was a 1957 Chevy that I have always loved – even when I was a kid – and I still do. My second favorite that I bought was a Silver Shadow 2 1980 Rolls Royce. I thought it was the cutest and nicest body in the world, so I kept it until it was totaled. I would still have it if it had not gotten totaled.

Oh no, how did it get totaled?

I had some lady friends of mine that wanted to use it for a bachelorette party. They took it out and the lady that was driving it – the one responsible for it – dropped every­body off. She stopped off to get some cigarettes, was pulling out of the convenience store and a vehicle speeding caused her to hit the gas. Being as that car was so fast, she hit a pole. Anytime you damage the front end of a Rolls Royce, it is no good anymore. It will never be the same.

The frame got bent?

Yes. It was totally damaged, so that was it. It was a bronze color. At night it looked black, but during the day it was a bronze color. It was absolutely beautiful. I loved it. Miss that car.

A Rolls Royce, Cadillac and Mercedes SUV – what Ed had was stylish and powerful. He is a big guy, so there’s a prac­tical need for room and horsepower.

I know that you were attached to your Rolls Royce, but let’s say that you could go out and buy any car in the world today. What would that car be?

I have my dream car; my dream car was my 1957 Chevy, which I had for 20 years. I got tired of convert­ibles. Every time that I would take it out, it would be a beautiful day and people would recognize me in it. I am one that never likes attention. When I first got it, I did not care and I loved the attention that it attracted. But I do not anymore…No, now I am trying to hide. So I said, rather than just let it sit in my garage, somebody could use this car. I shipped it to Tennessee so that friends of mine could drive it. If I get the right offer, I will sell it.

I knew that Ed also likes motorcycles, though, admittedly, he’d have to stick to a big bike to support his size.

I hear that you have a Harley. What model is it?

I have a 1992 Soft-tail Springer. When I bought it, they did not have the TV motorcycle shows where they customize. Being six-foot nine, it looks like the bike is riding me, you know what I am saying? So, if I had heard of those cus­tomizing shops at the time, I would have had one custom- built for me. What I did was, I had a guy in Kentucky that was known for his paintwork for hot rods. Also, I had it shipped from the factory in Milwaukee to Kentucky where they took every piece loose and chromed everything that they could chrome. Then they put all of these different paints together where it was a colorful bike because I got tired of hearing people say that they got hit, or this person pulled in front of me, or I did not see you. I said, ‘If you do not see this coming, you must be legally blind.’ I wanted something very colorful to take out on beautiful days with friends. I have several friends of mine who are Harley col­lectors and I like to just joyride with them sometimes.

What colors do you have on your Harley?

My Harley is maroon, fuchsia, yellow, teal – a splash of color – but they all tie together. I spent an entire day with the family that painted it, putting colors together.

Were you ever influenced by another teammate’s choice in cars?

Early in my career, I used to envy my teammates’ cars, being as they had all of the hot cars – the Porsches, known as the fastest car on the road and all of that. I would love to drive that, but I couldn’t fit in it. One of my teammates bought a car that I absolutely loved. I used to watch the TV show Route 66.1 tried to buy a 1966 ‘vette, but could not fit in it because the dash extends out. So the owner of the 1966 ‘vette said, ‘Ed, do not ask me to take out the back seat and do all of this drilling.’

Raise the roof…

Yes, but one of my teammates had one. I used to envy my teammates’ vehicles that I would love to drive.

Well, it is obvious by his size that “Too Tall” fits, but why was he too tall? Tall, yes, but what made him too tall?

Tell me how you got the nickname “Too Tall?”

First day of practice in college, I walked into the equip­ment room and the trainer gave me the longest pair of pants that he had. They hit me above my knees. He shook his head and said, ‘Wear these, stay out of contact drills and we will have you a pair made.’ I walked on the field and a guy who played forthe Cleveland Browns did a dou­ble take and said, ‘Hey, do you know that you are too tall for football?’

That is a great story.

I am glad that something started, because I had been called so many names. I’m glad that everyone settled for one.

Was Tom Landry your coach your whole career with the Cowboys?

Tom Landry was my couch for 14 years and I played with Jimmy Johnson for one year.

So you did play for Coach Jimmy Johnson?

Yes, I did.

In that one year with Jimmy Johnson, it was with Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Jay Novacek.

Yes.

You also played with Lee Roy Jordan?

Yes. The best leader I have ever played with, the best j vocal leader. He knew how to get under everybody’s skin I in a positive way.

How many years were you with the Dallas Cowboys?

Fifteen years. I hold the record for most years and most games.

You signed directly with the Dallas Cowboys?

The Cowboys traded in 1973 with the Houston Oilers for Toby Smith and Billy Parks, which made me the first overall pick. This blew me away at the time because, during that time, the first overall pick was always the quarterback, running back – the guys that play the glamour positions. To be a lineman, to be the first one chosen, who did not even have a high school career, I thought it was just absolutely amazing.

It is, because you are so outstanding.

Well, I try to be. Either that or I fooled them. □

I can honestly say that Ed possesses a heart the size of Texas. He was hospitable, congenial, courteous and kind. He kept us relaxed and smiling the whole time we were at his house, and afterwards he insisted on taking Catherine “the photographer” and I out for a Texas-size steak dinner. He even gave us his season tickets to the Cowboys game the next day, and incredible seats they were!

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Barbara Terry interview with Ricky Johnson

I met the most extreme sports guys I think I’ve ever come across when I met Ricky Johnson. You could say he has been a thrill-seeker since he was a young child. He’s been riding a bike since his dad bought him a mini-bike at the age of three. Ricky is, to put it simply, a legend in the motocross world. He’s a seven-time AMA champion and a four-time national champion. His name is synonymous with motocross, as he notched an astonishing 61 wins, dominating the sport in the 1980s. He retired as the all-time wins leader (until Jeremy McGrath, who is also in this book, later broke it).

What was your first car?

My first car was a 1978 Datsun pick-up truck I bought when I was 15 years old. I started professional motocross racing when I was 13, and my father said, ‘You save up your money, I’ll pay for the racing. But you have to save up the money to pay for your own vehicle.’ I paid cash for it; I think it was $420.1 bought it and he let me drive the truck home before I had my license.

That’s cool. Where do you think that truck is now?

It went from myself to my sister, to a really good friend of mine, so it’s probably floating around L.A. right now or in an LA. junkyard.

I was going to ask if you thought it might still be in one piece.

Doubtful (LAUGHTER). No, actually, I babied that thing. It was my first vehicle. I spit-shined it and took really good care of it.

You spit-shined it?

Not spit. I shined it.

What color was it?

It was actually tan. My dad was a painter and he was into what colors stayed clean. Since I was going to the motorcycle track all of the time, he thought a beige truck would be the easiest for me to take care of, so I took his advice.

What do you drive now?

Right now, I drive a 2008 Toyota Tundra. I don’t know if it’s a SuperCab or whatever, but it’s perfect. It fits me and my wife and my three kids, and it has plenty of room.

What’s your favorite color combination when it comes to cars?

When it comes to…silver and black. I like silver because there was an artist who did a lot of artwork for No Fear. His name was Emile Boray. He’s an American guy who sounds very French. He said silver is great because it’s a different color every time you stick it outside. It’s a different color at night, it’s a dif­ferent color during the day, it’s a different color in the evening. It can be blue, it can be white, it can be dark. So, my first car was a light metallic silver with a black interior.

That’s nice. How many cars have you owned since that first Datsun pick-up truck?

That was kind of, you might say, my drug of choice when I was young and successful. I loved cars, so I’ve probably had about 15 different trucks. Racing, I won some, I think, three different Nissan pick-up trucks. Then driving for Chevrolet, I got quite a few. The vehi­cles that I bought, I bought a grey market Mercedes 190, six Cs out, which was fun… a blast to drive, That’s why I bought it. I had a Ferrari 308 at one point, had a convertible ‘vette, which was also one of the most fun cars I ever got to drive because you could slide it at will. I had the automatic, not the manual, so it was an easy car to drive. It was black with a red interior. I had a Lexus Legend when they first came out, when I raced for Honda, and assorted Chevys. Not so many Fords and a few Toyotas over the years.

Okay. If you never pulled the trigger on your dream car – because you had a good selection – but when you were a little kid, did you have that particular dream car that you never got? If you did get it which one was it?

Well, particularly because I raced motorcycles, you could never have your dream car because you always had to put motorcycles on the back. For me, it was what I bought – a Toyota SR-5 – with nice wheels on it and a great stereo system. That was my pride and joy for a long, long time. It was great – black with a gray interior. As far as my dream car, I’d have to say it’s a ’60 Impala. I love the fact it has the wings, the size – the two-door Impala with a convertible. Brian Simo – Mark and Brian Simo – and Jeff Bitiasakis, the original guys that started Life’s A Beach, had ’60s and that’s what we’d go out in. Top goes down immediately, it’s a manual top, so BOOM, the top goes down immediately and you jump in the back. You could fit four people in the front seat and four people in the back, and you just go. I very much loved the style. Maybe it’s because I come from the Batman era and it’s very much like the Batmobile. (LAUGHTER) So…

Wham-Bam-Pow!

Yeah, all that good stuff I But it wasn’t a ’59, it was ’60, right when the wings started to mellow out a little bit. As far as a sexy vehicle, that’s the one I like.

You going to get one?

Maybe someday.

Did you get a lot of speeding tickets?

I did. I used to get, I even got taken to the, what is it, the 2 percent club or whatever – 2 percent of the worst drivers on the street. I actually stood up in the class and argued with them that, since I was a professional racer, I should be able to drive faster than everybody else. They didn’t like that so they told me to sit down and shut up.

How old were you?

I was 18. I got speeding tickets all the time. I was just cruising along at 90 miles an hour to a race and, next thing I know, there’s a cop behind me that’s been chasing me for a while.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in a car?

Hmm. Let me think. I’d say a friend of mine named Norm who owns a junkyard in Wisconsin. This was when Jimmie Johnson and I both raced AMA cars. We went out and we had a good time one night. We called Norm and asked him to get us a bunch of junk cars. After we had a good time, we went over – my wife, too – and ran the junk cars. Whoever was co-driver ran the emergency brake. Whoever was driving ran the steering wheel and throttle. So Jimmie and I were a team. I’d drive or he’d drive and we’d swap. We had races in this muddy junkyard in Wisconsin, cars stacked three high and our crew chief, Ron Malick, whose now on his team, would have a cooter chasing us down. The exhaust was ripped off so he had a lot more horsepower, but we had maneuverability and we proceeded to destroy all six cars we had.

That sounds fun.

It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a vehicle.

What kind of music do you listen to when you’re driving?

I’m kind of a funk guy. I grew up with R&B and I had some friends who were really into dancing and stuff, so I tend to go towards stuff with a stronger beat. I’m not a metal guy. I like a little bit of country and classic rock.

What do you think about the Go Green cars, about the hybrids?

I think it’s time. I think it’s great if you look around – just in my lifetime – how people treated the world, thinking it was a never-ending thing. Bury as much garbage as you want, dump as much garbage as you want in the water. Test nuclear bombs. How many fish do they kill when they drop one of those things in the ocean? Now you see recycling bins for green waste, for plastic and all the things people are doing to save the Earth. It’s like back in the day before we were born, parents drank and smoked…

And ate tons of butter.

Right. They didn’t think anything of it They thought we were in a little cocoon and nothing could get to us, but as we learn and evolve. This isn’t forever.

Do you see yourself buying a hybrid?

Yeah. I would love it because I would love to not by gas every day, even though it’s back down to $1.85 a gallon. That would be my first motivation. My second would be that I’m being friendly to the ground.

Ever had any accidents on the freeway?

I was in one car accident. Someone ran a red light when I was 17 years old and turned in front of me. It was on a New Years. My dad told me, don’t go out. There’s too many idiots out there. I’d bought my new Dodge D-50, had it cleaned up and was going to go out with some friends and couldn’t find them. As I’m com­ing home, the light was green, the guy goes in front of me. I hit the brakes and we hit and I sliced my arm open. That was it. I don’t go nuts on the roads.

Not anymore.

I didn’t go nuts when I was speeding back in the day, either. I spent a little bit of time speeding when I got a 924 Turbo Carrera GT.

Nice.

It was a very nice car. I got it from Jim Gennard at Oakley. It was one of my contract perks. It was a great car. They only built so many, so they could run those. It was the beginnings of the 924. There was this road I’d drive on at night that I knew like the back of my hand. I finally pushed the envelope a little too much because we ran at some pretty high speeds in those things, but I got lucky and got away with it

How fast did you go?

I remember seeing 130 a couple of times.

That’s not too bad.

The road had less than…I think the longest straight­away was under a mile.

Oh, then that’s pretty bad.

We were sliding a bit there. It was…as much as I’ve raced with stock cars and all that stuff, there’s no way I’d drive that fast. I was naive and I got away with some crazy stuff.

You started racing at what age?

When I was nine years old. Started racing amateur at nine. I raced mini-bikes, 80 CCs and 85s until I was 12, and then got tired of the politics of the mini-bikes – like soccer dads and all that – so Brock Glover, who was a friend of mine, and then the current 125 National Champion, helped me out quite a bit when I was young. Let me try one of his bikes. So I started 125s when I was 12 and turned pro at

  1. From there, it was just go as fast as I could go.

How old were you when you got your drivers license?

Sixteen. On my 16th birthday. I was there at five ’til six, waiting for it to open up.

What are you doing right now?

A lot of stuff. Things that I’m very proud of. I work with the U.S. Military. I teach them how to ride bikes and quads, how to get in and out of situations with speed and stay safe, and I’ve helped a lot of military guys in the past. I feel my call to duty is to take the knowledge I have and teach these guys with it. I take, mostly…not the knowledge, but the riding technique, I take from motocross. But the driv­ing situations, I take from the Baja 50 and 1000 because you’re dealing with sometimes hostile territory there and you have to get in and out without getting hurt. The other thing I’m doing is, I’m a driver for Pro Tube for Barlow Motor Sports, for Red Bull. I’m a Red Bull athlete, so I focus on everything I can do to help Red Bull athletes, find new talent and help them with their marketing. But win­ning races is priority one. We only won one race last year. We should have won more, but everybody says that. I am the current owner of Paris Raceway. It’s a motocross track. It’s the No. 1 track in southern California. Most of the pros and all the top amateurs practice there every week and we do quite a bit of racing. My No. 1 job is to be a hus­band to my wife, Stephanie, and a father to Luke, Jake and Cassidy. All this other stuff I do just affords me time to be with them.

Wow, anything else?

Nothing else. Let’s see…l do some stunts, some stunt driv­ing, whether it be precision driving. I just did a Polaris shoot on quads. I’ve been in Goodyear spots and Chevrolet spots.

Okay, do you prefer to own, lease?

Cash.

So you like equity.

No, I like to endure the pain once. It kills me to write a check each month. I’d rather write the big check and be done with it, feel the hurt.

So you don’t have to worry about it in the future.

And I know it drops in value immediately, but, if I can, I just paycash.               j

At any given time in the past have you ever looked at somebody else’s car and said, ‘Man, I just have to have that?’

Yes. I was in Europe and met with Eric Gabors who was the current 500 World Champion – actually, a 250 world cham­pion at the time, and he took me for a ride in a 190 Mercedes. He slid the thing around and drove the hell out of it, and I said, ‘I have to have that!’ And Rocky Coster, who was my team manager at the time, had one in America -the same color as my truck, the metallic gray, and it was like I had to have it. It was like when I test drove a ‘vette. I was just screwing around one day and, the guy, I thought he was making a mistake. Let me take it, and my friend and I drove the hell out of it. I came back and I had to have the thing. It was too much fun.

What do you think of the Z06?

Awesome cars. They’re…

Pretty sweet. They need better seat belts.

They respond. Having a better set of seat belts would help. You’re pretty bolted. They lift you up and spin you around, and the seat belt latch will tighten. Still, like you say, a set of six-point harnesses would be good. °

A man after my own heart is Ricky Johnson. He has the same need for speed as me! He’s a very strong, very grounded family man who has lived a remarkable and inter­esting life so far. He was not exactly what you might expect from an off-road champion – not burly or roughshod. He showed us pictures of himself and Ronald Reagan from the 1980s, when Ricky dominated motocross like Reagan dom­inated communism. I realized, as I watched Catherine, who was taken aback by all the memorabilia that Ricky had, that I was in the presense of a real champion and legend!

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Barbara Terry interview with Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner went to two Olympics in his track and field career – in 1972 in Munich Germany, and then in 1976 at the Montreal games. In 1976, he won the Gold medal for the decathlon, a grueling 10-activity track and field event. Post-Olympics, he became a celebrity in the United States, getting that Wheaties box I remember, receiving endorsements and appearing on television shows. In 1976, he was declared the Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.

What was your first car?

Boy…Nobody ever bought me a car. I have a tragic story.

At what age did you learn how to drive?

My dad taught me how to drive in Tarrytown NY, in a grocery store parking lot. I was 15, turning 16. He had a little convertible Austin-Healy Sprite; you know, those little bug-eyed Sprites they have. It was red with white stripes. It was a four-speed. That was probably three months before I got my license. Of course, I snuck it out a few times when he wasn’t around. We lived in an apartment complex and I drove it around the apartment complex and never got caught. The day I got my license, my dad sold the car.

Ouch, that was bad timing.

Yes. When I got home from getting my license, all excited, my dad said, T sold the car today.’ I was dev­astated. Actually, about a month ago, I was driving past a used car lot and saw a little bug-eyed Austin- Healy Sprite. I wanted to go in and buy the thing, paint it red and fix it up, just so I would have it. That was a pretty tragic start to the car world for me. My dad would let me drive a Ford Falcon station wagon when I was good, only when I was good, so I never had a car when I was young.

When I was 18 and had about six months left in high school, this friend of ours had a 1954 Cadillac hearse in the backyard and he wanted to get rid of it. He says, ‘I’ll give it to you for $150.’ I snatched that baby right up. Now, I do have to admit, coming back from a party one time, I think we had 24 people back in the hearse. It was my record.

(LAUGHTER)

Yeah, 24 people back there. We still had the rollers in the floor!

Nooooo!

We were coming back and we decided how many people can we get back in the hearse, and we got 24 in by the time I slammed the back door shut. Halfway home, somebody back there had to get out; they were going to get sick. I stopped and everybody came piling out right before this guy loses it. I rebuilt the motor – took the motor out and rebuilt it – all the gaskets. I rebuilt it myself.

How many miles do you think you put on it?

Not a lot. I didn’t have it that long because this friend of ours had a ’56 Ford Fairlane, which was the coolest. I would love to have that car today. It had new tires, and he was going to trade it in on some new car and they were only going to give him $275 on the trade-in. We were, like, that’s ridiculous, so he said he’d sell it to me for $275.1 bought it-two-tone salmon color with a blacktop, convertible. It was really a cool car. It’s a classic car; it would probably be worth $50,000 today if it was fully fixed up. I bought it for $275, had it for a cou- ple of years, until I went to college, and I sold it for $350.

There you go!

I was ready to go into the used car business.

Interesting story for you. This story made it on Paul Harvey. Here goes…l competitively water-skied that year- when I was 18 or 19-the year I had the Ford. I had driven it to Richmond, Virginia – from Connecticut to Richmond – to go to a water ski tournament I was competing in. My freshman year in college really didn’t go all that well. I had knee surgery from football (January 2,1969). I didn’t know if I was going to play sports anymore, didn’t know what I was going to do. I had missed a lot of school, so my grades sort of sucked. And I’m thinking, do I go back to school or not after the knee surgery.

So I’m in Richmond the summer of 1969.1 thought, since I had the knee surgery, well, you know, the draft, they had the draft back then. If you weren’t in college, they put a target on your chest and shipped you off to a lovely, tropi­cal country – where a lot of my friends had gone – and I thought, well, because of the knee surgery, I probably won’t pass the physical. I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do this summer?’ This friend of mine that I was staying with – in his house in Richmond during the winters – went to Cyprus Gardens, Florida, and skied in a show. He called the guy and says, ‘I got Bruce and we’re going to come down.’ They offered me a job. So I’m sitting there that morning and I remember I’m driving this ’56 Ford and I’m heading to the freeway, and I have my water skis sticking out the back and I had the top down. What do I do? Do I go south and head for Cyprus Gardens and get out of school, water ski all winter and be in the show, you know? Sounds like fun when you’re 19, right? Or do I go north and work with my dad, then go back to college?

I’m driving this little ’56 Ford and I’m almost down to the entrance to the freeway and I just don’t know what to do. Which way do I go? I’d never run a decathlon at this point – I’d run track and played football and played other sports, but I’d never run a decathlon before. So, as I’m getting closer to the freeway, this car pulls up on my lefthand side. To go south, I’d either have to slow down or pick up speed because he was sort of blocking my way south. But the freeway going north was wide open, and this car was right there…l sat there like this and I was thinking, ‘You know what, let’s go north on the freeway.’

All because that car was sitting right there to your left?

Yep, all because that little car was sitting right there. It was like the final thing, you know? I decided it was the right thing to do, go back to college. Then, the next year, I ran my first decathlon, so.Jt’s kind of a good car story.

It was the right decision.

It was a great decision. As Paul Harvey said, ‘Now you know the rest of the story. He went north. He went back. He entered the decathlon!’

(LAUGHTER). So, what do you drive now?

A 2007 Escalade. I had a 2004 Escalade and I traded it in with 175,000 miles on it. I carpool and that car runs all day long. This car is a 2007 and it already has 60,000 miles on it, driving kids around! I did win a car last year; I won a Mercedes, playing golf. Of course, my wife got that. The only other thing I have is a Harley.

Harleys are nice.

Harleys are very nice.

What model?

It’s a 2007. It’s a very unique Harley. They only made five like the one that I have. It’s technically a V-Rod, but it’s an upgraded version that supposedly Porsche designed. A friend of mine is a real big car guy. I mean, he has ware­houses full of cars, and Harley called him up and said they ‘have this bike, you wanna buy it?’ So he bought it. He took pictures of it, put it in his garage and it never moved for eight months. Then, one day, I came in and it was covered up, and I said, “What’s that?’ He lifted it up and I said, ‘Ooooh.’ I had a Harley, but I sold it a couple years ago and I’m kind of itching to get another one. With the gas prices the way they are, it’s kind of the smart thing to do, right?

Yeah, but to buy a Harley, you really do not need an excuse!

I looked at it and it had 12 miles on it. He’d never driven it. He says, Well, I haven’t driven it, but I got the bike and…’ I said, This is ridiculous. You have this beautiful bike and you’ve never driven it? Sell it to me, I’ll ride it.’ So he sold it to me.

What is your favorite road trip on your bike?

To the golf course to play golf. Yeah, how’s that? If I don’t have to carpool, I’ll just fire up the bike and go down to the club, and hit golf balls and come back.

Tell me more about your racing career. It sounds interest­ing.

I raced for what was known as IMSA – International Motor Sports Association. I raced in the GTO Class. (GOT PICTURES AND SHOWED THEM TO ME) This was my car. I raced that for Ford. I was a factory driver for Ford for 10 years. I was a factory driver for Ford Motor Company for about five of those years. I found this young kid – his name was Scott Pruitt – on a go-kart track, and Scott was, like, 13 times National Champion. He even won world champi­onships in karting. We became good friends and I told him I wanted to help him get started. He was, like, 23 at the me, and I told Ford I wanted to get Pruitt in the car with. This was 1985. He drove 10 laps and put it on the pole. He’d never driven a car that big and that heavy. The two of us, in ’86, we teamed up for 7-11 in this car and we basically won everything. We won 24 hours in Daytona, Sebring, we won seven races that year. We just ate ’em up. Scott won Driver’s Champion and I was runner-up. We had a great year.

People do not understand just how much goes into racing and getting sponsorships.

You gotta go do the track all day long, then you have to do the media, then you have to do the Ford stuff. You have to entertain clients. The list just goes on and on and on.

You’re worn out before you even get behind the wheel.

That’s the only time you get any peace and quiet. You throw the helmet on and everything shuts down and you go, ‘Yeah, now I’ve paid for it. Let’s go and do it.’ That’s what I did for a living. I just kind of got wore out. Scott was moving on. He got an Indy car ride at that time. So I just slowly, gracefully, bowed out. Then, when I met Chris, I had a few races, raced a couple offshore boats and did some fun stuff. Just decided to get out of it. Picked up more kids.

If you have never pulled the trigger on that dream car of yours, what would it be?

I have that story. Nineteen seventy-six – the year I won the games – was the first year that Porsche came out with the Turbo Porsche. I was driving a $175 VW Bug. That’s what I did when I was training. I drove this ’63 Bug to the track and back. Six months before the games, I signed this deal with Adidas. I made no money for the games; I couldn’t make any money. I lived on, like, $10,000 a year. I had a $145-a- month apartment and I trained. That’s what I did. I trained and ate. But I always had a fascination for cars. I signed this deal with Adidas six months before the games to wear their shoes. They couldn’t sponsor me, but they could sponsor my track club, and kind of filter expenses through the track club. It just so happens, I’m the only member of my track club.

Wow, that sounds complicated.

Very complicated. I signed this deal and got $6,000. I thought I was rich. I’m thinking, I was making $70 a month in the insurance business – as a draw I took out of this insurance business my friend covered for me – just so I could live. Then, six months before the games, I have $6,000. I’m thinking, I get$170 a month and I only spend $400. So I bought this brand new 914 Porsche, green in color, the only new car I’d ever bought – for $5,600. My payments were $98 and I’m thinking, how am I going to pay that?

Yes, but the purr of the engine makes it worth it!

Yes, it’s the purr. So I got this little 914 Porsche. Well, low and behold, right after I buy this little 914 — my first new car ever – what does Porsche come out with? The first Turbo ever. I see this thing and I’m going, ‘Is that the coolest car ever.’ I go into the dealership and check it out and I’m thinking, man, look at this thing!

You were picturing yourself in it. Cruising down the freeway.

I’m thinking to myself, if I can pull the games off, I will get that car. If I can do it, I’ll find a job. Don’t know if I can find one, BUT, for 12 years of my life, I’m buying that car. Done deal. I cut the picture of the car out. I took the picture to Montreal. I was in a bunk bed on the top and I taped the picture of that car above my bed.

You used it like a focal point.

Yes, and three months later, it was sitting in my drive­way.

I’m sure you opened it up. How fast did you get it?

I had it over 100, but I never really drove it that hard. I’m not a big, hard driver on the street. Too dangerous. I just go to the track and do it.

What kind of music do you listen to when you’re driv­ing down the road?

Talk radio.

Sports radio?

No. News. Never sports. Don’t really follow sports that much. I’m on the good Republican conservative side, so I listen to all but the bad guys – Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Marc Levin. >

On the drive to Bruces home, all I could think about was his face on the cover of the Wheaties cereal box that sat on my kitchen table when I was a little girl. He might even be the reason I started watching sports in the first place. We relaxed in his home office, and it was awesome to see his memorabilia and view all of the accomplishments he’s amassed throughout his celebrated career. It was also obvi­ous that he is a big fan of remote-control helicopters. He has a unique collection and told us that he loves not only col­lecting, but flying them.

Who would’ve thought that, as a little girl looking at that Wheaties box so many years ago, I’d have such an amazing conversation with the guy on the cover. Enough said.

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Barbara Terry interview with Dan Jansen

Imagine what it would be like to work your whole life to accomplish one goal, to be the best in the world at one sport, to get so close for years and to just miss winning it all. Dan Jansen doesn’t have to imagine any of this because he lived it. Jansen broke numerous speed skating records and went to four Olympics. At three of those games, he was favored to win numerous races, but, in 1988, he contracted mononucleosis and his beloved sister, Jane, died of Leukemia. In 1992, he slipped. It cost him the gold.

But, Dan Jansen persevered. In his last Olympic race ever, in 1994, he accomplished his goal, setting a World record as he won his gold medal in the 1000-meter event by finishing the race II seconds faster than any other human being ever had – at 1:12:43.

What was your first car?

I shared a car with my brother because I’m the youngest of nine kids, so we didn’t have a lot of money. The first one my dad bought us, because we were training and we needed to get to our workouts, I think it was a Chevy Malibu. It was this green thing with a white top and he paid $300 for it. We’d get so frustrat­ed because we’d pull up to stop at a stoplight and as soon as you hit the gas, for whatever reason, it would stall. We would get stuck in intersection after inter­section as the light turned green and it would stall. That was pretty much our first car, you know, mine, where I had to pay for gas and do what I did to get where I had to go.

I understand what you are saying about having to share cars with your siblings or having hand-me- downs, because I grew up with six big brothers. My vehicles were always their trucks. What was the first car that you bought for yourself?

The first car that I purchased was a Chrysler LeBaron. No reason. I started saving money to buy a car, and it wasn’t the old boxy kind, like when Chrysler started making their comeback. It was a sportier car. It was nothing special, but it was nice.

What color was it?

It was silver. Same color as my car now, actually.

When you were a kid, did you have a “perfect” dream car? Like a Porsche or a Ferrari?

For whatever reason, I was more of a sedan kind of guy than a sporty guy. I never really was into small, two-door sports cars, for whatever reason. Not that I don’t like them, I was just more into a nice Cadillac, Mercedes or Lexus, or something like that. That was always something I aspired to buy.

Which do you like the best: cars, pickup trucks or SUVs?

I’m not a pickup guy, never have been, but I have had several SUVs because I travel a lot. When I travel with my wife – she’s a golf pro – we take the golf clubs, so we need at least one SUV for the family. We currently have a sedan and an SUV. But if I were just to choose, I would have to be practical about things. It would probably be a sedan. Like a 7 series BMW or some­thing like that.

Those are nice. What’s your favorite color combina­tion when it comes to cars?

I’ve been through them all. My last car was jet black and now I have silver. I was kind of happy to get rid of the black just because it was so hard to keep clean. Now that I think of it, I kind of like dark colors. It’s like, whatever you have, you want the other one.

Right but there is nothing like a black car when it’s fresh­ly cleaned up.

Exactly. The only thing is, this time of year, it’s hard to keep any car clean because the roads are wet so much and get so muddy. So, when they’re black, they really show the dirt. A cleaned up black car…you’re right, it is nice.

So would you ever own a hybrid?

You know, I would. I never thought about it until lately, just with the economy and all that’s going on with energy. I’m certainly all for saving energy and so I would think about it, yeah. Now they’ve got nicer hybrids out. I’ve seen nicer hybrids, nicer SUVs and nice sedan hybrids. I don’t think I’d go for a tiny little thing, but I would go for a hybrid.

The zero to 60 in 30 minutes type thing.

Yeah, I’ll pass.

Have you ever been big on motorcycles, ATVs or dirt bikes?

Never. I’ve ridden on motorcycles and I’ve driven them, but I’ve never wanted to own one, simply because I don’t trust other drivers on the road. I would always be defensive driving if I owned a motorcycle. It’s just too dangerous for me.

What kind of music do you listen to when you’re driv­ing?

I am still, at heart, a country music guy. I grew up that way for whatever reason, even living in the Midwest.

What was up with that?

I don’t know, I really don’t know. One of my older broth­ers was into country music and it stuck with me. But I still like all kinds of music. I listen mostly to country, but then some older music groups that aren’t so popular, that are from my era, that are more rock kind of groups. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the BoDeans or Lowen and Navarro.

Who are they?

They’re called Lowen and Navarro.

Lowen and Navarro?

Yeah. They’re actually very good. One guy, unfortu­nately, has ALS now and he probably doesn’t have too much time left. Lou Gehrig’s disease, it’s awful. They’re very good song writers. Do you know Pat Benatar? Do you know the song We Belong? They wrote that and they sing a version of that. Anyway, I have everything in my car, from Bon Jovi to Kenny Chesney and those kinds. I like variety; the only kinds I don’t like are rap and heavy metal. Other than that, I’m pretty open.

Right. Classic country like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash.

Love that. Those are the ones I grew up with.

Charlie Daniels, Charlie Pride, Ronnie Milsap.

Tom T. Hall, and I am a huge fan of Jimmy Buffett. I even named my dog after him.

Oh yeah! My brothers and I used to have some of his 8-tracks.

See? Exactly.

The good stuff.

That’s right. I have those. I just don’t carry them in my car anymore.

How many cars do you think that you’ve owned throughout your life?

I would say in the neighborhood of 10 to 12, in that range. I owned them, or some I got from promotional stuff, like representing either the company or doing some commercials for them or that kind of thing. Not necessarily owned them, but I had them for a few years and that kind of thing.

You can’t argue with that

No, those are the best kind. So, yeah, I would say 10 or

  1. Something like that.

Tell me what you own and drive now.

I have always liked the BMW brand. When those first came out – the X5s – I just loved the look of them. I owned a black one first, and then I went to silver just about a year ago. It is a 2006.

Does it have the 4.4 engine?

No, it’s actually the 3.0

The 3.0, so you chose the smaller engine with less horsepower?

The 3.0, yeah. Hey, be nice.

What do see as, let’s say, your next vehicle?

I’ve actually thought about that. I feel, sometimes, like I should be driving an American car because I’m this Olympic guy driving a foreign car in the United States. I’ve thought about going back to an American-made vehicle. If I do, it would probably be in the Cadillac line, maybe an Escalade. The new models are great. They’re kind of sporty and a little bit smaller. Anyway, that’s possibly my next one.

You would look good in an Escalade! What was your all-time favorite car that you had from the get-go?

I would say a two-passenger Chrysler that I had. It was really fun to drive on spring days. It was a little Chrysler, tiny little one. I’m sure you’ve seen them around, they’re just two-seaters and they’re real small. It was a fun, fast car and fun to drive. Other than that, I would say I like the one I’m in now. I’ve had a Lexus before, and that was my first new nice car that I bought for myself. Not to say that my Chrysler wasn’t nice.

What model Lexus was it?

It was just a 300, the smaller version.

Like the ES 300?

The ES 300, right. That must have been in the early ’90s. It was a while ago, but it was nice and it was the first time I could afford a little more expensive car.

Have you had any speeding tickets?

I’ve never had a speeding ticket.

No way! Not one?

Not one. Ever.

Are you serious?

I’m serious. I’ve been stopped a few times.

Was it for speeding or an unsafe movement?

No, twice for speeding. But once was in my hometown, and they knew who I was and they let me go. The other one was actually down here, going to Augusta, Georgia. This very, very Southern police officer recognized me. I couldn’t believe it. He said something about skating and about going fast, like you’re used to this, but you take your time on the roads. And this was a long time after I had won my medal, so I was really surprised he recognized me. He let me go, so I got lucky.

Wow. You can’t complain about that.

No, and I probably drive five to nine miles over the limit and then I set the cruise. If they’re going to stop me for nine over, then they stop me. But I’m not a speed racer.

Have you ever been in an accident?

I’ve never caused one. I’ve been rear-ended once. I’ve been pretty lucky on that side, too. I’ve been good that way, too.

You obviously drive a bunch. How many miles a year do you think you drive?

I probably drive 15,000 to 20,000 miles a year. It is not too crazy, but in that range. Most of it’s in the Southeast at least. If I’m going anywhere else, I’ll fly. I don’t drive cross­country.

You should try. you might like it sometime!

I drove my parents down here; they live across the lake in Davidson. Well, they live here in the winter. They still live in Wisconsin in the summer. This year, in October, I flew up and drove them back here. They’re both 80 now, so it’s getting to be a longer drive for them to do it by themselves. That was the longest trip I’ve made lately. It’s about 15 hours, with my dad in the passenger seat and my mom in the back, and me lis­tening to country music. It was a fun trip.

Did you do it all in one day or did you stop?

No, we stopped overnight. Eight hours the first day and six or seven the next day.

Can you drive a stick shift?

Yes.

Pretty good or do you grind the clutch?

Pretty good because I’ve owned three sticks, and then I’ve driven in Europe a bunch. A lot of those cars over there are stick shifts.

All stick shifts are different as they have different adjustments.

That’s what was fun about that little Chrysler car, being as it was a five-speed. That’s the most recent stick shift that I’ve owned. It’s probably been four or five years ago, now.

All right so how fast have you gone in a car, like top speed?

With myself driving? Probably about 120.

That’s pretty good.

Yeah, it was on the Autobahn in Germany, so it was legal. That’s moving.

How long did you stay at that speed?

Probably three minutes and then I brought it down a little bit. But it is fun. Those roads are so nice. Have you ever been to Germany?

I actually just spent this past New Year’s Eve in Germany. I will take Dubai over Germany any day!

I’ve been to that airport.

Really?

Yeah. We stopped there on this weird route on the way to Japan. We stopped there just to refuel.

It’s a big airport.

Yeah. We were getting ready to skate the World Championships. It was cold in Europe, and it was fair­ly cold in Japan. Then you get out in Dubai and it’s, like, 80 degrees. I didn’t want to keep going, I didn’t want to move.

What year was this?

This was probably ’86, maybe. Nineteen eighty-six.

Then it was not the Dubai that it is now.

No. Now it’s the place to be.

Do you have a favorite road trip?

Favorite road trip. Oh man, I would say, I think I’d go way back for that one. My parents, my brother and sis­ter and I went out to Yellowstone Park and did the whole Western thing. We had this old camper.

Did it fit on your truck?

Yeah. It was the kind you put on a trailer hitch and pull, so it’s not the kind you’re driving. We went out and did Yellowstone Park and Mt. Rushmore and the whole thing. It’s good memories because my sister passed away later in life. It’s a good one for me to look back and remember her as a child. You know, that’s proba­bly the best one that I remember. And we did some fun ones with some skating friends after the season; we did this a couple times. We’d drive from Milwaukee down to Florida just to kick back and play golf and drink beer and go to the beach. The way down is great, but the way back isn’t.

Yeah, especially if you’re hung over.

Yeah, if you’re cooked. It took, like, 18 hours to get back home, so, those were fun too. Great memories. It really is great to look back on road trips, even though, at the time, you just want to get there. Great fun.

I’m surprised that you didn’t get any speeding tickets on those trips.

Yeah, true. True.

Dan’s story is inspirational, and you don’t get to meet too many Olympic heroes. Meeting one that persevered so long and who worked so hard to accomplish his goal was truly a pleasure for me that I will never forget.

Some cool info…next time you’re watching the Olympics or a speed skating competition, they streamline those com­petitors so much that they make the skates to fit without socks. Apparently, Dan never lost his need for speed because his pant leg came up during the photograph ses­sion and he was wearing loafers with no socksl You can take the man out of the game, but never take his soul out of the sport.

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Barbara Terry interview with J.T. Holmes

  1. J. T. Holmes is a bit of a thrill seeker, you might say; that is, if you think base jumping off mountains with a parachute and a pair of skis sounds thrilling. Or how about base jumping with a parachute off the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno, Nevada, the first-ever ski base jump off a skyscraper. The reality is that J.T. is a world-class-level skier who has a love of heights, speed and thrills. He has transformed the sport of skiing, and has caught the attention of youth devoted to BMX and the craziness of the X Games. He has made a number of ski films and has performed countless stunts and dangerous feats to the delight of many.

What was your first car?

My first car was a ’92 Nissan Pathfinder.

Was it the two-door or the four-door model?

The four-door. That was the first car that I had, after my dad and my sister and stuff. The first car I ever had that I got myself and fell in love with was a ’79 Ranchero.

That is very cool and unique. Tell me about this ride.

Yeah. It was silver. It was a utility car. I was into dirt biking backthen and it was great for that type of thing. I had it for a little while, and it was a good car.

Did you abuse it at all?

Not really. I purchased it for $2,100 and I sold it for $1,800.

Another athlete who knows how to buy and sell their cars!

You should be a used car salesman!

Yeah. I’m also a good driver, I guess.

If driving off mountains and buildings is good, I thought.

I hear you do some off-road racing.

My dad and I have raced Baja Bugs in the 516 class. Seems like forever, now.

Something I know a thing or two about! Cool!!! I didn’t know you did that when I contacted you. What class do you and your dad race in?

Now we have a 7200 truck. That one’s fast and fun, definitely a big step up from the 516 class. It’s a ton of fun. It’s something I hope to do someday after becom­ing financially sussessful enough to do it on my own. It’s out of my league right now.

It costs a lot of money. Even when you sit down and do your budgets and you get your sponsors to pay, then you get down to race and discover all of the additional expenses.

Exactly. I can only imagine.

When you were a kid growing up, were there any posters on your wall that sported a Porsche or a Ferrari?

Actually, no. I was really fascinated by skiing, and rad pro skiers and their lifestyle and whatnot. There was a shot of a pro skier name Brad Holmes with a motorcy­cle. He was riding it through a fence with his skis on a makeshift ski rack. That was one poster semi-vehicle- -oriented. My dad is a big vehicle guy. He loves Ferraris, but I didn’t really inherit that as far as posters on the wall and dreaming of someday owning some­thing.

The hand-me-down Pathfinder, whose vehicle was that before it was yours?

My sister’s. I have an older sister.

Okay, and you were how old before you got your license?

Sixteen.

Do you have any funny stories before you got your license?

No, but I got a hell of a speeding ticket nine days after I got my license. It was a bad one…like 90 in a 45 or something.

Uh-oh. Did your parents know about it and was there a punishment handed down?

They were quite upset. And I actually didn’t have…my dad hadn’t given me the Pathfinder yet. He never really gave it to me. I used it in high school, but I had to wait on the Pathfinder. That speeding ticket delayed having the Pathfinder handed to me.

What kind of cars do you currently have now?

Now I have a ’70 Beetle and a ’97 F350.

Did you restore your Beetle?

The Beetle is an ongoing restoration project. It’s been get­ting improved for six or so years.

Just what is the history of this infamous Beetle? Where did it come from?

From my mom’s side. The thing about that side, the Portellos, if you graduated college, he would get you a Beetle.

(LAUGHTER) What, was he German?

He thought they were practical. The four girls all graduat­ed, and my mom and her sister all had Beetles and her brothers had none. My mom’s was light blue and it was our family car. My dad used it. My mom drove it to Boston when he was in college. My first memories are in that car. When my dad graduated from medical school, he sold my mom’s Beetle. She was so crushed. She cried buckets. And my dad, being brash as he can be, said, ‘Oh, get over it. It was a POS car for this POS town.’

So he didn’t like Boston?

Uhm, no. I don’t think he liked the weather. He was a skier. It’s cold and the skiing isn’t that great out there.

No, there’s not much skiing in Bahstahn, but there’s pahk- ing the cah!

(LAUGHTER). Yes, well, finally she got over it. She had set her sights on her sister’s Beetle, which was being neglect­ed. She took the Beetle off of her hands, but never really had the time or the money to put into it. By then, my par­ents were divorced.

Did they get divorced over the Beetle? Was that the root of the problem?

Actually, that didn’t help. One thing led to another and my dad said, ‘Cool, a Beetle. Can I have it?’ My mom wouldn’t do that, but she didn’t know how or have time to fix it up. I was able to get it running and drive it around, but I didn’t have the money to restore it. So, my mom gave it to my dad and said he could never have the title and he’d have to give it to me. He got the ball rolling and I fell in love with the car. I got it for my birthday several years ago and I’ve slowly restoring it. Put an engine in it last May, which helped because the stock engine…up here, it’s dangerous to have insufficient horsepower.

How fast can you get it up to now?

I can go 65 on the freeway.

Is that the fastest you’ve gone with it?

I might push it to 75.

(LAUGHTER). Oooooh. That’s fast.

For that car, it is. I might push it when no one’s looking.

How do you control such a beast? (LAUGHS)

She just runs on love.

And her name?

Rosebud.

Rosebud derives from?

My grandfather who bought the car in 1970 was Norman Portello, but everyone called him Bud.

Is there some Italian going on there?

Yes.

Okay, so speeding tickets. Obviously you don’t get them in the Beetle, but did you learn your lesson with that first big one or are you still a bad boy?

Oh yes, I get speeding tickets. All too often. I’m sure you hear this from most of the athletes.

Are you really good at driving a stick? Are you stick talented?

I’m a good driver, but I occasionally grind gears. It’s an interesting clutch in Rosebud. To sum it up…I am a real pro at driving stick!

How many cars have you owned from the get-go?

Not many. The two that I own now and the ’79 Ranchero. That’s it.

Do you have your sights set on something now, like a wide-body Turbo Porsche?

No. I’m not really sports car-oriented because I can­not afford the speeding tickets. I like four-wheel- drive cars for up here. The Bug handles well in the snow with some weight in the front. The tires hold because the engine’s over them. I might get some­thing one day. My truck is like a beast of burden. If I’m loading a snowmobile into it or something and I dent it, whatever.

Oops. So it’s a work truck, not a show or city truck?

Yeah. I drive it, actually, fairly seldom. Around here, this is my little valley and I drive the Bug. When it’s time to go on a road trip with a bunch of guys and a bunch of gear, I take the truck.

What are your thoughts on this whole Green movement? Would you ever own a Hybrid?

Yeah, sure, but the thing about a Hybrid is, it wouldn’t serve me well. Up here in the mountains, it’s mostly for stop and go driving. I’ve driven a Hybrid up here, but it won’t function on the electrical part of the engine at all.

How many miles do you typically drive every year?

It depends on the year. Some years I’ve road-tripped a lot. Some years I went down to Reno for college. I’ve had to go 25,000 some years, but now my ski career is taking me more on airplanes, so I’d say I average about 15,000 miles per year.

Speaking of your ski career, what direction is that going in?

I’m in with something called the Free Ride World Tour, which is a fairly elite competition circuit for what I do-big mountain skiing. People might call it extreme skiing but it’s steep mountains and cliffs and steep cliff jumps. That will take me to Russia, where the Olympics will be in 2014, to France, then there’s a stop here in Squaw Valley and after­wards is a final in Switzerland.

So, are you competing in the Olympics?

No, it’s not an Olympic sport.

What is the steepest jump you’ve done?

Without a parachute, 140 feet, which was double the pre­vious jumps I’d done. The conditions were just perfect. It was one of those days, I could see from here to there, no problem. I landed soft and safe. I am not going to say that I will never do it again, but I would be surprised if I ever jump another 140-foot cliff again without a parachute.

So is that (sticking tongue firmly in cheek) what they call freebasing? (LAUGHTER)

Uhm, no.

You just have to freebase to get the nerves up to do a base jump?

Yeah. That’s where I get my courage. (LAUGHS)

What kind of music do you listen to when you’re cruising in Rosebud?

There is no music in there.

What about your truck? Do you have an eight-track in it?

My Ranchero did. Yes, it came with a pile of them. The Doobie Brothers was my favorite.

Speaking of off-road racing, going back a bit believe me, I know it’s expensive, do you plan on going full-time? Like doing a full season of points racing?

It’s more of a hobby. My uncle races a lot more than my dad and I. He races in the class 7SX. It’s more affordable so he can race more often. He’s won points in the past few years in SCORE.

Have you ever had any bad accidents?

Yes. Skiing is bad on the knees. I’ve had three knee surger­ies, which is fairly typical for a skier.

What about in cars, any accidents?

Most of my accidents happen in reverse. I back into things.

You just put it in reverse and don’t look?

I’ve never done much damage, but I did bang my mom’s Volvo up onetime pulling out of a 7-11. Never totaled a car. I rolled a couple off-road vehicles. I have a fairly good safety driving record.

On the road you are safe, on the skis you are a different story.

I pay attention to distance in a car. I leave a lot of space between myself and other drivers.

If a car could be the perfect woman, which car would be that perfect woman?

(LAUGHS). I should have studied these questions.

Like a Ferrari is fast and sleek. Rosebud is slow and clas­sic.

Maybe a Volvo, because they’re reliable, safe, fast, fun to drive and pretty good-looking.

So you like to play it safe in relationships?

I’m a rookie. I haven’t had lots of relationships.

When you started dating, any funny stories involving a car and a girl?

I’m sure there is. I’m trying to remember, but nothing is jumping out.

Any kind of road trip that you like to take?

Yes. We have what we call Base Safari, or Basefari, where me and a bunch of guys all have our base gear and we just go for 10 days. We’ll fly to Munich and rent a car, like an Audi A 6, which is bigger and fun to drive. We just kind of cruise around and see Europe. We have outlandish destinations…take a cable car and go on a hike and all of a sudden you’re in some new little town and you have to find your way back.

Sounds fun. Why not rent the Volvo? (LAUGHTER) Tell me about this wing suit. How long have you been the wing suit man? How did you learn about it?

I started wing suit flying in 2004, off of mountains. In 2003,1 started playing with them out of airplanes. Two- thousand two was when I started parachuting at all. It changed my life. I dove right into this sport, tried lots of different aspects of it. The wing suit really appealed to me because it was a way of flying and I think everyone has dreams of flying.

My first suit did not fit, my second was taken by the police before I learned how to fly, then my third one was right. When I got it, I just flew and knew this was it. Like when you get in a car you’ve never driven before and it’s familiar in some way. This red wing suit is what I use today. It handles predictably. It doesn’t have too much power, but what you need. It’s a fasci­nating sport. Right now it’s escalating because, in this sport, the equipment has been improving a lot the past few years. Athletes have been doing things people thought were never possible. It’s a lot like where ski­ing was in the late ’90s, when they came out with wing-tip skis and parabolic skis. Every year you’d see ski movies with people doing stuff you’d never seen before.

Do you wing suit here or abroad?

Mostly abroad. There are some places to fly wing suits in California and the western states, but not much. Needless to say, I spend most of my money on plane tickets abroad.

Do you want to say anything about your friend, Shane McConkey?

I miss him. As far as cars are concerned, Shane real­ly affected me because he was a very successful man who drove a very humble vehicle for many years. He always bought with practicality and never had any bling or shine. He has influenced me to be practical with my money. As you know, being a professional athlete, it’s often a short career and it’s important to save and watch your money. Rosebud is a little bit of a soft spot because I have a soft spot in my heart for her. If she needs something, I buy it for her, but if you look at the big picture, it’s practical.

So Rosebud is not just a piece of metal to you. She is an investment and a part of the family.

Yeah. It’s an investment. And it’s not a piece of jewel­ry. That car drives me all around, □

Can anyone sayExtreme” I found J. T. to be about as down-to-earth as they make ’em. I had a blast interviewing him and I know Catherine loved the snow-capped photo backdrop that Reno, Nevada had to offer that morning. I mean, who has the oomph to jump off cliffs with a zipped- on wing suit without showing any fear!? I enjoyed getting a chance to pick J.T.’s brain about his love of things on either two or four wheels instead of two skis.

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Barbara Terry interview with Marvin Harrison

In 12 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Marvin has amassed 1,090 receptions, catching most of them from quarterback Peyton Manning, with whom he shares a number of tandem records. He’s only the fourth play­er ever to catch 1,000 balls in the NFL, and when it’s all said and done, he’ll likely be second only to Jerry Rice. He’s been to eight Pro Bowls in his 12 full seasons and is only the seventh wide receiver with 10 touch­downs. He holds the single season record for receptions with 143, almost nine receptions a game.

What was your first car?

My first car was a Dodge Daytona…not sure of the year. It was a two-tone five-speed, blue with grey stripes down the middle, from the trunk to the front of the hood.

Where do you think that car is now?

I totaled it about a year after I got it, so it is crunched up into metal.

So you can drive a stick-shift?

Yes.

Now to prod him a little. Marvin is a man of few words. I figured if I could find the right button, something about his collection, I’d get him going.

As I look around your garage, I see that you are a collector of Pace cars.

Correct.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t the right button, but something about the gleam in his eye and the way his eyes swept over the room when I mentioned pace car told me I was on the right track.

When did that collection start?

For years, I have always liked pace cars, especially Corvettes. I had a problem distinguishing between whether I just wanted to collect Corvettes or to collect pace cars, so I combined the two to make it Corvette pace cars. I am missing three of the years-2004,2005, 2006 – but I will continue to grow as I get more space.

Bingo! Have you tried to find those three missing years?

Yes. The 2005 was at a Barrett-Jackson auto auction in Las Vegas last month. It went for $70,000.1 stopped at $55,000, so it got away. They only made three of those identical cars each year, so it will be rare to get those three that I am missing.

Marvin obviously loves his pace cars. I wanted to learn more of what he knew about them.

What year is the oldest pace car that you own?

A 1978 Corvette pace car.

Then the most recent year is the…

Two-thousand eight. You had to have both.

Okay, that about covered the pace cars. I wanted to find out more about his experience with automobiles in general. There’s more to cars than restoring them.

What type of music do you listen to while cruising down the road?

I just like to relax to R&B. Anita Baker is one of my favorites. Good choice, yes. I listen to the more relaxed music than the upbeat and up-tempo music.

I’d try to push his buttons, get him going a little, see what makes a guy that catches nine footballs a game and still goes over the middle against linebackers twice his size tick.

So you listen to baby-making music?

I would not say that. Just relaxing music.

Marvin giggled at my joke and was definitely loosening up. Now I could find out what he liked besides Corvettes. Certainly, there was more to the man than a passion for ‘vettes.

Other than the Corvettes, what cars are you passionate about?

The Buick GNX. That is the ultimate, being as they only made 547 and there are only about 200 left in existence. They are numbered and I happen to have car number 88. It is on the dashboard.

Eighty-eight is Marvin’s number for the Colts, a number that most certainly will be retired by the Colts when his playing days are done. He even wore number eight in college at Syracuse, when he was catching passes from Donovan McNabb.

Really? Was that coincidental?

I wanted the car number 88. The odds of that happening were slim to none. A guy in North Carolina had the car and I bought it from him in North Carolina.

How did you find it?

A friend of mine who is also in the car world told me that this guy had it.

Looking around the room, I noticed other cars, too…cars he hadn’t yet mentioned, but had gone to the trouble of purchasing and restoring.

I see that you also like Impalas.

Yes. The thing with my Impalas is that they obviously only made three colors-the cherry, the green and the black. I have two cherry and one green. I am missing the black one. I want the black one to be very nice. If I could get the Dale Earnhardt edition in black, that would be my choice, but I have been holding off on getting it.

Ahhh…sports figures, championship-caliber ones, are always competitive. It’s what drives them to succeed in the toughest of all arenas. They love most any game and sport, once bitten by it.

Are you a NASCAR fan?

Not really a big fan, just feel the need for speed.

Speaking of speed, how fast have you driven in one of your cars on the freeway? Marvin giggled as I asked the question. I must’ve hit a nerve.

Pretty fast. I cannot remember the exact top speed, but it was over 100 miles an hour. Nowadays, the way they make cars, it is not hard to get going over 100 miles an hour. I would rather not talk about how fast I was going, but just pretty fast!

I take it you do not like cars that have a governor on them.

Correct!

Marvin, while certainly wealthy, appeared to be very wise with his money. He didn’t overpay for cars he wanted, but could obviously afford, preferring to wait for a good price. He’d bought this building to convert instead of overpaying for a suburban spread. This made me wonder how he paid for the cars.

Do you prefer to own or lease?

I like to own, definitely own. It depends on what you are buying. If I am buying an everyday car, I like to own. Being as I have my own dealership, I can own and sell my cars. I am not in the lease or own busi­ness, so I will own, then sell and switch out to a differ­ent car.

Would you own and drive a hybrid?

I do not know the power that the hybrids have. I know that they are supposed to be good on gas, but I do not know how much torque and how much power that they have.

I do not think you can put hybrid and torque in the same sentence.

I would probably own one, but I would not use it as my everyday driver.

When you first signed as a professional athlete, what was the first car that you bought yourself?

It was a Lexus LX470 SUV. That was the first car that I bought.

Where is that car now?

It was a lease, so I do not have it anymore. It is long gone.

Ah, so when finance dictates, he’d lease. But his frugal, Intelligent nature tells him to buy outright when possible.

What do you drive as a daily driver now?

I drive an SRT-8 Grand Cherokee – black exterior on a charcoal interior. It is super fast.

Is that your favorite color combo?

No. My favorite color combination is white exterior with a tan interior.

He has a very cheerful attitude, a hint of mischief in his eyes, and, again, is a very intelligent guy. He does have a love for power, though. Most people with a love for power like to work on cars, too.

What type of modifications do you like to do to your vehi­cles?

I like all stock stuff. I like the original window sticker, all of the original details. I do not like anything but stock. One of my cherry-colored Impalas has a little bit of everything done to it because it is my speed car. It has a lot of things added to get more horsepower. Typically, though, I like to keep base rims and everything stock.

How often do you take some of your Corvettes out and around the block?

I take all of them out once a year. Every year, I take at least one out for a weekend or a week.

Tell me about your custom golf cart

You just have to have the ultimate golf cart. When I go to big auctions – whether it is in Carlisle, PA, or Barrett- Jackson in Florida – you have to have a golf cart to get around to look at all those cars. Normally, I rent a golf cart every year, but, from now on, I can just bring my own, just drive it around. It is good to have it. If you have family pic­nics in the park, you can bring the golf cart or even drive it around the house.

I see that it is personalized and very cute.

Yes, it is something good to always have.

Marvin also has a collection of motorcycles, quite a serious collection, just like with the cars.

What kind of bikes do you have?

I have one Hayabusa and five Ducatis. Ducatis are my passion. I also have three Spiders – a yellow one and two silver ones. One of the silver ones is a limited-edition. I started out with a passion for motorcycles – like my Ducatis – but when I heard that the Spiders were coming out, I just had to have three of them for my buddies, and for me, when we ride. The Spiders are a cross between a four-wheeler and a motorcycle.

If you do not currently own your dream car, what would that dream car be?

It is a toss-up between two different ones. For collecting, it would be a Mercedes Benz Gold Wing, but to own and drive every day, it would be a Mercedes SLR McLaren.

What color would you choose?

I would go with a black exterior on a charcoal interior.

How many cars do you think that you have owned throughout our life?

I am in a different realm when you are your own car deal­er. I have owned a ton of cars and I have sold a ton of cars, but the cars that I have personally owned…l would say probably about 50.1 still have about 25 to 30 of them and more to come.

Do you think that you were ever influenced by another teammate’s choice in cars? Did you ever pull up to prac­tice and say to yourself, “I have to get me one of those?’

No, I never have wanted something that someone else has. I have always tried to be the first one to have the hottest car that came out, so, no, I have never been influ­enced by another teammate’s choice in their cars.

How old were you when you got your driver’s license?

On my 16th birthday. On my birthday, I tookthe driver’s test. I did not waste anytime!

Do you get a lot of speeding tickets?

I do get pulled over an awful lot, and to someone’s good credit, it always seems to work out. I have not had a lot of speeding tickets, but I do get pulled over a lot.

Do you have any favorite road trips that you like to take?

I do like road trips, in general, being as I do not like to fly. I do not like the hassle and congestion of going through air­ports. I do not like driving more than eight hours, so any­thing between three and seven hours, I do not mind driv­ing. I like nice scenery, so I like driving through North Carolina and the Virginia Beach area, being as they are very pretty areas. I do not mind driving at all.

What is your favorite charity?

My favorite charity is to help out inner-city youths that do not get the opportunity to go to Virginia Beach. Or here, locally, we have Six Flags Great Adventures and we have Dorney Park. During the summer, when I get to take all the kids from the neighborhood on a bus trip to amusements parks…that is my biggest thrill that I get to do.

What do you have going on right now?

Nothing too exciting other than it is my 13th season. I’m enjoying it. I am looking forward to finishing off this year, and I obviously have a Super Bowl ring.

I was curious. He’d mentioned several times that he’s an entre­preneur, which is common after the playing days. But to be the best receiver of your era AND run car dealerships can’t be easy.

Tell me about your car dealership.

It is a used car dealership; we call it the little rinky-dink used car dealership. We have $3,000 to $5,000 cars that we sell. Being as I have been into cars all my life,

I want to continue. Over time, this is something I will do – sell cars and collect cars. I will always be involved with cars.

You seem to be very passionate about cars.

Yes. I love to sell them and collect them.

What does your family think of your choice in cars?

My six-year-old son, Marvin Harrison Jr., loves cars as much as I do. He has his little Corvette, a four-wheel­er and a little motorcycle. He has all the same things that his dad has.

Does he want to be a race car driver?

He is not into race cars, but he loves his four-wheelers and motorcycles. At the age of six, he knows every Corvette, and knows the name of each and every car and motorcycle. My family and friends love my choice, but my son is the one that enjoys all my cars the most and gets to ride in the passenger’s seat with me all of the time.

Have you ever had any car accidents?

A ton of them, but let’s not talk about them. I have had a couple in my time.

Do you have any funny car stories?

Yes. The limited-edition Buick GNX is a great story. I was shopping around for a GNX for years. I knew they only made 500-plus and they were each numbered. I was just waiting for one. When the time came for me to get the right one, I was lucky enough to get the number 88 car.

How long have you had it?

It has been over a year, now.

How many miles does it have on it?

Thirty-six thousand. A little high for a Buick GNX, but you can hardly find them, so I had to bear with it. It was either get low miles or get the right number. I could not refuse getting the number 88 car. □

Man/in indulged us and opened a huge exterior bay door of the garage where he keeps the majority of his rides in Philadelphia. We pulled inside and there was a giant garage in the old building with a mammoth collection of beautiful, vintage, restored cars. It became evident that this man is very, very serious about his collection. I can’t describe the depth of it. As I found, Marvin’s passion for, and knowledge of, cars was matched only by his passion for his communi­ty – for Philadelphia. His biggest joy is using his cash for inner-city children and biking around with his friends. He could live anywhere in the world and he’s stayed loyal.

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