After fifty years as a public figure, I think it’s pretty common knowledge that I don’t drink alcohol, have never done drugs, and have never even smoked. Yes, I’m a boring guy and not a lot of fun. But I do have an addiction that can take me down in an Indianapolis instant.
It’s muscle cars. Those dadgum darlings of Detroit, heavy metal with V-8 engines, Hurst shifters, rake-style suspensions, dragster hood scoops, and side pipes. I want it all, and no matter how many times I’ve tried to quit (it can become quite an exhaustive hobby), the deep roar of a ’64–’72 American-made masterpiece with big block brawn lures me in every time.
My last muscle car was a 1966 Pontiac GTO with a four-hundred-cubic-inch engine and a Quadrajet carburetor. With a Craig eight-track stereo system and the windows rolled down, you could hear me and Led Zeppelin coming from blocks away. I knew I was the envy of Bryan Adams High School.
Over time, that car took over my life—and my wallet! It was a sad day when I finally sold off the GTO. But I knew it was for the best. Otherwise, it would have swallowed me whole.
Then in 2006, I met Stacy Brown, the guy who almost pulled me back into the gutter.
Stacy Brown was the owner of Antique Auto Supply in Arlington, a warehouse that contained well over a million parts. All vintage, most still in the box, and every one of them exclusively manufactured for any domestic car from the Model A to the Mustang. He had nine warehouses, every one of them filled with more of the same. You could not escape it.
I was hooked all over again. And I feared I would return to my old habits, spending hours with a muscle car magazine and staying up all night to binge-watch Mecum Auto Auctions.
Stacy Brown was clearly a pusher of parts. But he became a dear friend who gave me hours of pleasure—simply by engaging in conversation about the old muscle cars and allowing me to roam freely through his wonderful warehouses, where I dreamed about the glory days of my youth.
Stacy died in 2020 and his warehouse is long gone, but I was very proud to tell his story.