August 1986

David E. Davis, Jr.

Item: A note to me from Lowell Thomas, dated September 21, 1974, thanking me for accosting him at a business dinner one night to tell him how much his With Lawrence of Arabia had meant to me as a boy. Receiving that note was almost as thrilling as if old T.E. Lawrence himself had phoned from the Great Beyond.

Item: A gorgeous Bill Neale poster based on his Alain Prost painting--which appeared in our inaugural issue--bearing the legend: “Commemorating the first issue of Automobile Magazine, April 1986.” Bill added that line out of the goodness of his heart, and as anyone who knows him will tell you, he has a heart as big as all outdoors. My poster is number one of three hundred, signed by the artist, and--as T.E. Lawrence once said of the Rolls-Royce scout car he used for battlefield transportation--it is a pearl beyond price.

Item: A tin Carling’s beer sign, which I found in the basement of the Danish-American Sportsmens Club in Detroit about twenty years ago. It depicts nine obviously blitzed policemen, each holding a clearly marked tankard of Carling’s, and the discreet message, “Nine ‘Pints’ of the Law.” When the light hits it just right you can see that some kid from the clouded past used it for BB gun practice.

Item: Two photographs of me with Jackie Stewart.

One, a small black-and-white shot of us sitting on the asphalt of the Mexico City Autodromo before the Mexican Grand Prix. It was 1965, his first trip to North America. He had already driven the U.S. and Canadian GPs, and that very morning had awakened to the awful knowledge that he’d blown right through the United States without tasting a hamburger or a milkshake. Just before practice, I took him to Sanborn’s in Mexico City for one of each. I stayed with him through the following weekend’s Times GP at Riverside and came away from the experience knowing that I had met a truly remarkable young racing driver.

The other, a larger color shot of us standing just down Liberty Street from what later became this office. We’d just had lunch, about a year ago, and you can tell from the look on my face that I had no idea that my life was about to change so dramatically.

Good, I stil have access to this via "Thus Spake David E" or I would have lost it forever, having discarded the issue it was originally a part of. A pack rat of the Davis scale I am obviously not. For my money, this was David E at his best. Reading it again was a joy.

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