10th Annual Steve McQueen Car & Motorcycle show 2017
Chino Hills, CA – The 10th Annual (Friends of) Steve McQueen Car & Motorcycle Show coincided with the Boys Republic’s 110th Anniversary of the school’s founding and combined - made for another incredible show with over 400 cars and scores of motorcycles all viewed by some 10,000 plus attendees.
I was given tickets to last year’s VIP dinner which was held the night before the Saturday show. I was smittened by the school and its charter, “Nothing Without Labor” after a personal tour after the Saturday show by the school’s executive director, Chris Burns, PhD. I found a few ways to help make the following year’s (2017) show a further success. I was able to garner a tour of Jay Leno’s Garage and fly-overs by Steve’s last owned aircraft, a 1945 Boeing PT-17 Stearman whose N number was his student’s number while he was a resident of the school. It is owned by Bill & Claudia Allen and flown in from their lovely Allen Airways Flying Museum located in San Diego. I got another surprise later in the story.
The event started out for me/us Friday afternoon while enjoying the VIP cocktail hour(s) and the treatment one is given by the school’s staff as Dave Kunz, KABC Channel 7 on air personality and royal car buff, filled the air with information as a great acoustic guitarist set the afternoon’s ambiance with softly played classic hits. The hors d’oeuvres were both served and plentiful as was the wine and micro-brewed beer. While no smoking or alcohol is allowed on the campus, alcohol is tolerated and restricted to the fenced in tennis court for this once a year special occasion. About 30 silent auction items lined two sides of the fence-line. I motioned to Dave that my colleague’s Stearman is inbound and sure enough, the guests in attendance were entertained by the sights and sounds of that 1945 Pratt & Whitney radial engined Stearman. The crowd let out a cheer when the airshow smoke came out. The pilot, Dave Vopat, is an airshow and airline pilot. Smoke? Go figure. : )
Luckily I caught the IT guru, Shawn, and we fine-tuned a few slides before it would be my time at the podium to sell the Leno Garage tour to the 500+ attendees and guests. At 6:30pm, after two hours of conversation and imbibing, the party transitions to the school’s well appointed gymnasium where scores of students stand at the ready to serve the 500+ guests
Well, with no formal rehearsal, I anxiously ate my delicious dinner and dessert as the evening’s activities picked up. Speaking of dinner… last year’s beef was the best I ever tasted in my entire life and I have flown on the Concorde twice and had lunch with the King of Sweden. Really! Many items went for live auction; apparently my effort was last on the list. I was finally called up to the podium and I started out with a few slides showing the cars that would be seen on the garage tour then numerous photos of Jay and myself and/or with my friends on stage or at the garage. I was trying to tell the crowd per the pictures that the guy up here at the podium has some intimate knowledge of what I was about to state regarding the tour or the following story furthering Jay’s typical description as a total giver and gentleman. I explained how during the taping of the seventh episode for Jay Leno’s Garage, where he had asked me to be his aerodynamicist, I had asked if he would kindly sign a head-shot for my father as his birthday was then upcoming. He immediately offered to call my dad, too. And Jay did, 1pm July, 2015 for his 89th birthday like he said he would. Dad still talks about that phone call to his cronies to this day. The last slide was the very same tank car in the photograph my father was now holding autographed by Jay to him. I later heard numerous times Saturday that all enjoyed the pictures and touching story regarding Jay and my father.
Well, the auctioneer, Matt, took over and bidding started as did a – bidding war. A man and a lady were going at it for a time and the woman won the tour at $16,000. My colleague then swiftly whispered in my ear to go for “two.” I knew exactly what he meant. I quickly stepped up towards the stage’s edge to Matt’s ear as he leaned over towards me and he got the concept. We sold a ‘second’ tour to the losing bidder for his previous bid of $15,000. In 49 seconds, $16,000. was added for a grand total of $31,000.!!! Wow. I was over the moon. The place went wild. Then it dawned on me. I was authorized to sell one tour. I penanced myself to Jay’s lead producer in an email that evening. I awoke to an email stating, “Congratulations!” I was justified. Where’s the moon?
The surprise now follows. After the excitement died down and some final comments were being made, I played that I just got an important text and made my way to the podium and the microphone. The crowd hushed as I blurted out while looking at my smartphone – “Jay just announced that he will accept the role of Wreath Chairperson for the 2017 Della Robbia wreath campaign.” The place went wild – again. My job here/there was done. (Mic drops. Kidding.). : ) Imagine Jay wearing a Christmas wreath similar to what Takuma Sato just enjoyed modeling Memorial weekend. Jay is scheduling a photo-shoot with a wreath at the garage as this is being typed. Jay will join the other celebrities such as John Wayne, John Glenn, Barbara Bush, Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Red Skelton, and Frank Sinatra besides Steve McQueen. https://boysrepublic.org/wreath-chairpersons/
We all retired and met back in the morning for the car/motorcycle show. I am sure thousands of man hours were put into the preparation of the fields and amenities as we pulled up early in the morning. Cars were placed and booths were readied. The staff and committee do an incredible job of ensuring the attendees of the show have readily available water, shade, seating and such.
The Bullitt / Mustang corral is total eye candy as are the hundreds of cars in the running track infield. Each one better than the next. Over 60 student crafted trophies were handed out. Dave Kunz did a commendable job handling all of the announcing and a little stand up as well. Chad McQueen was constantly beaming at the adulation he gets from each and every attendee or so it seems. He is in his element. I overheard this was the best show ever and put the school so much closer to funding the balance with the $300,000+ netted for the kitchen replacement project. Please check out next year’s show, June 2nd, as the International Mustang Bullitt Owners Club will congregate to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the very iconic Ford Mustang. Hey Eleanor! Hey Eleanor!... Wrong movie. https://stevemcqueencarshow.com/
Please enjoy my pictures.
Paul T. Glessner, M.S.
I am a journalist/member of AARWBA and a member with the Motor Press Guild. I am an aerodynamicist with 24 years of aircraft design and flight test experience besides - automotive. I am a commercial pilot and have a website aeroseminars.com where I consult on a variety of vehicle aerodynamics projects from radio controlled vehicles like the XO-1, bicycles, world land speed record vehicles, Mach 3 target drones, motor vehicle stunts or for the automotive industry's OEM Tier 1 suppliers.