Ken Gross – Automotive Journalist, Concours Judge, Museum Curator, Author
Amongst Gross’s all-time favorite vehicles is Peter Mullin’s Bugatti 57SC.
VR: When did you first become interested in cars?
KG: I was 12 years old, my neighbor had an MGTC, and I was fascinated with that car. He lived a few blocks from where I lived, and he would go zipping by in this robin’s-egg blue TC, with its little wire wheels glittering. I was mesmerized, so I went over. His name was Bruce Durkee, and his family owned Durkee-Mower’s, which was marshmallow fluff. While other kids were interested in marshmallow fluff and other sandwiches, I was interested in the MG. He was kind enough to give me a ride and let me stand and watch him while he cleaned it and I occasionally passed him a rag. After I discovered that car, I was in a local drug store and found the May 1954 issue of Road & Track, and I bought it. It cost twenty-five cents; I still have the issue. I brought it home and couldn’t wait to show it to my father—that there were cars in it like Mr. Durkee’s, and my dad said, “You spent your whole week’s allowance on this magazine? That’s not a good way to manage money.” I still have that issue and every other issue of Road & Track before and since. That really did it. I was lucky enough to grow up in a town where there was a man named John Playstead with a car with a Ford chassis, Cadillac engine, and MG body that he called a Cheetah—before Bill Thomas’ Cheetahs. He was another guy who would say, “Yeah, get in kid and we’ll go for a quick ride.” So, that and the magazines got me hooked at a very early age.
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