VERY SPECIAL THANKS GO TO...
SPECIAL THANKS TO FRIENDS, FANS AND ADVISORS STARTING FROM 1943 !
And most of the time they are all three, friends, fans and advisors. Except for some of the first ones on the list, there isn’t an order of preference as everyone listed helped and many others also not listed have helped us immensely.
Number One — my good friend, Jim Sailer. This is an easy first as I first met this “joker” on July 5th, 1964 at the Enlisted Man’s Club at Saran Army Air Field, near Orleans, France. I was stationed in the Air Force as a weather man and he was in the Army working as an Airfield dispatcher, etc. That first day that I met him we got into an argument about what is a true sports car, but soon we started laughing and the lifetime “friendship" began. He had just arrived there the day before, and I had been there since the Spring of 1963.
He has been a good friend and advisor ever since and he lives in the Chicago area and I live outside of Cleveland.
Especially during the early days as a Jaguar dealer and then a Jaguar high performance shop and trying to develop a race car, he was always giving me advice or an ear to the problems and suggesting solutions. Some of these times he actually literally kept me alive through personal, business and racing depressions and jubilations ever since.
Sometimes we have some nasty fights and we will slam the phone down because one of us is a jerk and I’m positive this will continue !
He had a very long career with United Airlines and worked there his whole career after graduating from college except for his stint in the Army. He worked at many capacities at United highlighted by a fantastic writing ability, a real “word smith” and has written many articles about Gran Turismo Jaguar’s racing — great lines and wonderful research of other book and magazine writer’s articles about the GTJ history and on all aspects of our racing.
We have been through a lot in life as most of us have and we have lots and lots of stories about living In France and also here.
He was in Atlanta, Georgia for our National Championship win against Paul Newman and Datsun on his birthday, the day we won on October 26th, 1980 — funny, and he says he has another older birthday on October, 26th, 2020, the 40th Anniversary of that Championship victory !
I can’t say enough about all the help he has given me through the years — thanks Jim.
Please let me give you readers an interesting anecdote !
I went to France in the Spring of 1963 and was there three years straight. It took me a year to save up enough money for a nice used 1959 Austin Healey 100-6, a very nice sports car roadster with a nice sounding engine and I started traveling around France in my off times. One time while driving to Paris, we met up with a “bath tub” Porsche and the race was on. Technically there was no speed limits on the highways in France, at that time, but you were supposed to slow down going through built up areas. Well, the Porsche was leading me and my Army buddy, Jim,
Jim was working the overdrive switch on the dash as I was so scared running at an average of 105 mph, that I didn’t want to take my hands off the wheel, my eyes off the road or off the Porsche. I could see that we were coming into a small built up area and the Porsche and I slowed slightly and I saw two French Police in long black leather jackets and old style black leather helmets standing next to their big BMW motorcycles at the side of the road ! I was terrified and assuming that I would be in jail for the rest of my life, “Jim, Jim, what are they doing ? “Stay on the Porsche, they both gave us the thumbs up !” — he said. It was certainly different there compared to the US. After chasing the Porsche for over ten miles more, we saw more and more smoke coming from his exhaust. That Porsche just couldn’t keep up that straight line pace that long, even though, if there were any tight curves in the highway, a Porsche would run away from the Healey. He finally pulled over with a blown engine and we just waved to each other as we went by.
Speaking of buddies — Jim and I once were coming back from Paris in the same Austin Healey and the top was up as well and both side curtains were mounted in place. Vintage sports car often had side curtains which were flexible or solid fixed acrylic clear plastic windows held in place by turn screws in order to remove them — you had to stop the car and put them into the trunk. Anyway, Jim told me that it was getting stuffy inside and then a little later — he told me that if I didn’t stop right away, he was going to throw up inside this “F—ing” car and punch a hole into the canvas soft top ! Well, I really stumped onto the brakes and we did what was necessary so my car was’t ruined !
Ahh — the good old times !
Thanks again Jim and don’t give me any trouble in our next phone conversation or I’ll hang up on you again !
This site in under construction, but we HAD TO get it up by the 40th championship win anniversary or October 26th, 2020, but very shortly we have scores more of tributes to friends and fans. Some of the people you will recognize as they are world famous, but others are regular people, but were and are just important to our team as they helped out just as much or more. Also, unfortunately as the years go by, we will also have an extensive IN MEMORIAM SECTION.