Founder of Advanced Automotive Technologies as well as Pastiener's collectables and hobbies on world famous DREAM CRUISE territory- Woodward Avenue Steve deigned and built the Buick Blackhawk (sold from THE GM HERITAGE COLLECTION at Barrett-Jackson...
Founder of Advanced Automotive Technologies as well as Pastiener's collectables and hobbies on world famous DREAM CRUISE territory- Woodward Avenue Steve deigned and built the Buick Blackhawk (sold from THE GM HERITAGE COLLECTION at Barrett-Jackson for $475,000) as well as the 1953 COMMEMORATIVE EDITION CORVETTE (on C5 platform) and Cadillac La Salle C-Hawk. AAT can do metal, can do clay, can do carbon fiber, can do fiberglass. could do TIG welding, could do concepts. Steve is also an Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance judge! Jeff sought out Steve after seeing his name on a Bentley painting that Jeff's Father Dave had on the wall most of Jeff's life. (painting was of Dave's '47 Bentley) Autoweek Cover: https://jimsmegamagazines.com/autowee... Blackhawk sold: https://www.autoweek.com/news/a202201... '53 'Vette: https://t-rexsoftware.com/50th/ Family automotive collectable and hobby: https://pasteiners.com/ https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1939-CADILLAC-LA-SALLE-C-HAWK-CUSTOM-HARDTOP-ROADSTER-137878 SHOW NOTES 2:21 About Steve doing the painting of my Father's '47 Bentley. 4:39 there's a tremendous fraternity when it comes to car people. 5:50 the yellow 289 Cobra 9:22 The Superfly Eldorado, '38 Oakland 10:13 Steve got hired out of Art Center. for it. He got a job offer from Ford and then one from GM. 12:39 the "new" '53 'Vette on the C5 platform. 50th Anniversary Commemorative Corvette 17:11 the Buick Blackhawk 18:11 The issue of Autoweek that had the Buick Blackhawk on the cover was the best selling issue in history. 32:37 Steve tells us something nobody knows about him 24:02 Steve's first word. 25:12 Got in a little trouble as a kid. 26:14 Art Center. 29:06 Who would Steve like to have diner with? What if you could have three people to dinner live or dead prefer to live once? 31:50 Jeff hunted Steve down! 38:30 The car Jeff learned to drive in...at 9! ("69 454 'vette)
Jeff Sterns 0:00
You're ridiculously modest. Can we just say what's going on? This is a show for entertainment, we got to put a little wow factor in here of people are going to be shutting us up. At that time. That issue of auto week, I think was the best selling issue with that car on the cover right
Unknown Speaker 0:14
or wrong issue was your Cadillac car, which was based on a different based on LSL version of the Cadillac that sold at Barrett Jackson for close to half a million dollars. There was a Hungarian revolt back in 56. That was a very, very bloody revolt. And and I mean, I Nami tanks got destroyed, you know, in the Russians didn't take well to all that in. I ended up I got into some from was a kid and ended up heading for Austria, you know, as 14 at the time, but again, somehow things things worked out. You know, I ended up in Austria and had relatives there in then I had relatives here in Cincinnati, finished high school in Cincinnati, joined the army Bikila Ben as paratrooper and then went to art center, California. What if you could have three people to dinner live or dead prefer to live once?
Unknown Speaker 1:24
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns,
Jeff Sterns 1:41
what I'm hoping for, and we'll just let it unfold organically. I mean, we don't have to pretend about anything, is you and I have like this little piece of relatedness, this little piece of history. Yeah. So it's not like a sort of generic interview. It's just a conversation.
Unknown Speaker 1:59
Okay. That's, that seems to be the best anyway. Yeah.
Jeff Sterns 2:04
So let me just introduce this is Jeff Sterns, unconnected through cars with a big name from my past name, Steve pass Steiner rhymes with how do we rename
Unknown Speaker 2:17
cast iron gas,
Jeff Sterns 2:19
cast iron or cast painter? Okay. So let me explain who Steve is to me. And he doesn't realize that he's kind of like this childhood icon to me. So, there's this Bentley painting on my wall behind me. This has been on my dad's wall at our apartment in Southfield at 10 and a half in Greenfield until we moved to Ottawa, Canada, and then we moved to Oldsmar, Florida. And that picture was always on the wall until I had an office till I actually had a job with an office and once I had an office that wasn't with a roommate that I was allowed to put my own pictures up on the wall that Bentley painting well that's been in my life everywhere and nobody that that's ever known me as a co worker employee or customer that's been in my office hasn't known
Unknown Speaker 3:13
this painting guy wait when if you want the story this Yeah, I mean, he had his lot right at sort of the intersection of where Rochester road ends and main streets intersects you know, in Royal Oak, in Royal Oak, Michigan. And as you wait for the light, you get to review the cars that are across the intersection there and he always had kind of an interesting esoteric collection of cars. I mean, there were the usual you know, 55 Chevy's or whatever, you know, but then every now and then it'd be something that was cool. On one occasion I saw that he had a yellow 289 Cobra sitting there and it was just so cool Yes, I pulled in and guys really First of all, and we ended up chatting about cars and just the world in general in you know, every now and then I just stop in and say hi to him and one occasion he had a Bentley sitting up there you know, and he asked me if I would do a painting now that's that's how that came about. You know, I I was freshly in from California. I was hired by GM to be a designer at the GM Tech Center and given that I had this this interesting cars that goes way back to forever is that you know, we became friends over that common subject I mean that that is true till today with everybody else you know, if you get into a conversation about cars with anybody, you know, you can disagree but you're always be friends and you're always whether you argue the point or agree on that point. Is is your friend and you've got something in common somebody so that's that's a tremendous fraternity when it comes to car, people.
Jeff Sterns 5:00
It is and now I have the story cleared up a little because I lived my whole life, thinking that some guy walked up with a box of paints and an easel saying, Hey,
Unknown Speaker 5:08
can I pay? Oh, yeah, I had a very, very good job at GM at the time. You know, I mean, so it was we just lived up the street and Royal you know, it's a nice kind of a community. You know, it goes back to nice little town in Michigan. So that's, that's where that relationship started. And at one point, I guess, we moved or you and your dad moved, and then that's where we lost lost track of each other until, what, couple of months ago?
Jeff Sterns 5:39
When did you leave the area? In 73?
Unknown Speaker 5:41
We moved to Rochester. But I mean, it still goes to Royal Oak regularly. It's
Jeff Sterns 5:50
so to the listener. And by the way, Steve, I started uploading these episodes to audio a week ago, Thursday. So when the 10 days or so that they've gone live YouTube, there's already been some for about a month. But we've gotten almost 600 downloads. But what's interesting is, is that recorders are in the United States. But number two is Germany. Number three is France. I think Canada's number five, right? Yeah. So we've got to just once in a while explain the geography because we don't always know who's listening so or watching. So this is Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb or a city on outside of Detroit. So it's really a Detroit. You know, everyone in that area thinks of themselves as Detroit because of course, all of us car people are so proud of Detroit, so you left the area. And for those outside of the area, who don't know, Rochester, that's where the big shots live. So let's just be clear. Let's just be clear. Very lucky. We got rusty rebozo
Unknown Speaker 6:58
is a lovely community. It's a lovely area.
Jeff Sterns 7:02
It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful. For this two and a half months out of the year, I can visit and stand the weather.
Unknown Speaker 7:09
Okay, keep rubbing. Are we gonna rub this in every time? Or do you want me to hang up right now?
Jeff Sterns 7:14
Well, no, no, we're not gonna rub it in every time in mid June, through maybe mid September. I won't ever say a word about it.
Unknown Speaker 7:23
No, I think you know, just about now it's starting to break weathers breaking in and it's quite pleasant all the way through till early November.
Jeff Sterns 7:32
Well enjoy. And of course, my I've invited you down. You've had a million friends invite you down. You got to take someone up. So you're wearing your Cobra shirt and you're talking about my dad's yellow Cobra on the lot. Oh, yeah. That's so you left in 73? My dad we left in 78.
Unknown Speaker 7:52
Well, yeah, I mean, we just moved. I mean, I used I stayed with General Motors still till the late 80s. You know what?
Jeff Sterns 7:58
Got it. But as far as just that area where you and my dad lost touch a little bit. Yeah, the Cobra story now, every now I'm realizing that not every story I get from my father is 100% accurate, not that he described it wrong. But it could be the way I heard it. When I was six years old or something that yellow Cobra, he had a story. I really wish to God that I was doing this when my dad was still alive. Because I could have him on here for eight hours. Just the stories, the stories, the stories, but the yellow Cobra story, you know, we all talk about the cars that we wish we kept the one that got away. I think he paid 18 $100 for that car if memory serves. And there's a Lincoln or Ford dealer up the street. Yeah. Okay, that bought the car from them. Okay. And I don't know if it's still there now. But my dad I lost my dad about nine years ago. But when I lost him to his knowledge, he was still sitting in the showroom of this Ford or Lincoln store.
Unknown Speaker 9:00
I doubt that because it'd be a famous car by now. Everybody's talking about it now I'm sure. Well, it could be or
Jeff Sterns 9:08
he did sell it. I do know what he sold it for $4,000.
Unknown Speaker 9:12
While he was asking fine.
Jeff Sterns 9:15
Well, probably because it went to a dealer he wholesaled it
Unknown Speaker 9:19
but I'd give him seven right now.
Jeff Sterns 9:22
He would you would hear okay. So it was fun. You mentioned the fun cars. He had of course he had like a lot of normal cars. But and I don't remember what you remember but growing up there. Remember he had like this 1938 oaklyn there for a long time. I remember a Superfly Eldorado with the headlight.
Unknown Speaker 9:44
Yeah, that might have been there too. You know that. Royal Oak wasn't much of a market for those cars, but now
Jeff Sterns 9:52
a lot of model A's and during the Fourth of July parades, etc. in Detroit. He's the lead The city cars and my brother and I got to be a big shot and right in the rumble seat in a parade once in a while. So it was fun for sure. So you had just come from California. And were you at the art school art center there.
Unknown Speaker 10:11
Yeah. Right. So I got hired out of art center. for it. I got a job offer from Ford and then one from GM and I tended to be more of a GM type guy. Anyway, I love Buick, so Buicks and things. And so I started there and it was like, really, it was like heaven being being a General Motors with with you know, I mean, you didn't have to do any homework, I'm you're done with college and you don't have any more homework, and they pay you for what you're doing. And they liked what you're doing. You know, they, they treated you quite well.
Jeff Sterns 10:50
If you ever and I know you're busy man, if you ever end up wanting to listen or watch any of these others. One of the guys I have on the site now is a fellow named Warren Brown. Okay. And Warren was a was making his living hustling pool in Detroit. Drop in Notting Hill, you know, Now, of course, I could. I could know the air if I look. But he a buddy of his you could probably figure out the error when I tell him what he was going to get paid. A buddy of his got a job in the mailroom at General Motors. And like a buddy just asking another buddy, let's get the job together. He said why don't you come work in the mailroom with me. And Warren says, What is it pay? And he said $495 a month?
Unknown Speaker 11:36
Yeah. Well, was probably in the early 60s. sounds right. sounds right.
Jeff Sterns 11:42
I was thinking 60 or so. Okay. So Warren was making about a nickel a week playing pool and he's like, Well, do you have to go every day. And he ended up interviewing the job because he for the job because he told his buddy that he would ends up getting the job ends up becoming an analyst ends up getting moved to Brazil. Plant later has good success, and ends up being the guy to open the plant in St. Petersburg, Russia for GM.
Unknown Speaker 12:12
Okay, well, it's a long, long distance from a male anyway, for sure. Well,
Jeff Sterns 12:17
you probably remember he went from junior male boy to senior male boy within a couple of years.
Unknown Speaker 12:22
So he was it was a career path for you.
Jeff Sterns 12:25
Real Estate. Very interesting. So you were with GM? 22 years?
Unknown Speaker 12:31
Jeff Sterns 12:32
I know you've been pressed. They did a little homework. Go. Well, I
Unknown Speaker 12:35
guess you did. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it was.
Jeff Sterns 12:39
Well, this is why I love doing this. Because I don't want to put a lot of pressure on you. But you're an important guy in my life. I mean, I've been hearing about you my whole life. And I remember what year did you do the 53 bet on the which vet platform was it was a sci fi
Unknown Speaker 12:55
as well, that would be the 40/20 anniversary of Corvette. So it would have been all three. So we started that in oh two.
Jeff Sterns 13:03
Okay. Because I remember when your name came back to light. My dad said when we would see these 53 vets on the sea five, he would say that's the guy who did the Bentley painting. So you're I mean, really like celebrity status in our house because my dad when we lost him and I had to go clean out his house. I can't tell you how many Corvette models and wooden Corvette carvings and Corvette posters have every year.
Unknown Speaker 13:34
They're tremendous card. We just wonderful cars, they look great. They have the maximum performance and in they're so affordable in today's terms. I mean, you can you can buy, I know an 84 Corvette in for less than $10,000. It's ridiculous. You know, we're, you know, it's probably one of the ultimate cars for for performance for the dollar in, in reliability, you know, maybe some quality issues aren't all there. But you know, I'll forgive it for that. But when a Corvette is performance handling and looks good, you can't go wrong with those cars. I mean, they're really wonderful cars.
Jeff Sterns 14:14
So you did that. 53 What was the name of that?
Unknown Speaker 14:17
It was called the commemorative 50th commemorative Corvette. And it was really not my idea. It's, the idea belongs to a gentleman named john Thomas. And he was an Executive Vice President at Magnum, which is a big, big supplier for the industry for various you know, all kinds of components, interiors, exteriors. And so in, they were going to do this car, they're gonna do the 50th anniversary Corvette, as you know, as their retro looking Corvette that would borrow heavily from the from the original design. And at that time, we did a lot of work for Magna and they came to me at the time and say, hey, we've got these sketches and Do you know and we ended up developing it. So that was a realistic concept. And they were going to do that in Magna just bought steier Magna shtayyeh in Austria. They were going to fly half finished Corvettes to Austria, make the conversion there and then bring it over here. And obviously that was it just simply wasn't a business case. So we did the prototype Ford car and ultimately we got permission to do it ourselves. Because, you know, Magnum lost interest in doing it. So did GM. So, we ended up doing it.
Jeff Sterns 15:41
So at first I thought you're going down the path that you were commissioned to do it,
Unknown Speaker 15:44
but well, we were we were paid to do the prototype. You know, okay, we didn't prototype and hit a dead end, you know.
Jeff Sterns 15:55
So then you went on with it yourself.
Unknown Speaker 15:58
We asked him if he could and and, you know, we had cleared the GMB goats on. We did
Jeff Sterns 16:05
that cars still got a following. I mean, it's got a little cult following. This does.
Unknown Speaker 16:11
In fact, I'm trying to think right in your area. There's Parnell, Frank Arnold, he deals in, in those type cars, you know, in retro looking cars in summers and things. And he has some, some virtually zero mild cars. Frank, if you sell one of my new,
Jeff Sterns 16:30
interesting commission. Well, I mean, I think what you're known for, and I mean, like, you know, Mark Twain says it's not bragging if it's true. So and I know you're humble guy, but not dramatic. But your eye for proportion, really seems to be on. I mean, really. And if I recall when we spoke on the phone the first time and I'll have to tell the listener how, after I didn't hear from you initially for a few months. I didn't know if you're still around.
Unknown Speaker 17:01
At this age, it's every day is a gift.
Jeff Sterns 17:03
That's right. So I was excited that you you call back
Unknown Speaker 17:06
to cars that we've built that were really kind of well three, actually, that were really kind of cool. Was the Buick Blackhawk that we did for Buick, and it was celebrating the 100th anniversary anniversary of Buick.
Jeff Sterns 17:21
And this was a request by Buick.
Unknown Speaker 17:24
That was Yeah, they paid for. So they came to after, after I left GM came to me to design a car for them, which was pretty cool.
Jeff Sterns 17:33
Yeah, you didn't burn the bridge? No,
Unknown Speaker 17:35
no, there's no sense. And yeah, we stayed friends all along, you know, in that that was a well known car. It was it was really popular three years.
Jeff Sterns 17:47
I think one or two people may have seen it on the cover of auto we correct me if I'm wrong.
Unknown Speaker 17:52
Oh, yeah. I mean, auto, it was on the cover auto weekend. It was you know, it was a big hit. And
Jeff Sterns 18:00
Alright, you're, you're ridiculously modest. Can we just say what's going on? This is a show for entertainment. We got to put a little wow factor in here of people are going to be shutting us up. At that time. That issue of auto week, I think was the best selling issue with that car on the cover right or wrong. Okay, so he's like, you know, I think it did. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 18:21
Good. Yeah. So yeah, that was that was one the other one was the Cadillac car, which was based on a which was based on LSL version of a Cadillac, you know, and basically the same spirit as the Black Hawk and and that had an LSA supercharged Cadillac CTS v motor brand new waterboxx. And it was it was fast. It was a fast car, and it looked good.
Jeff Sterns 18:50
And the Black Hawk was a 455. Car. Yes. And did that sell a Barrett Jackson,
Unknown Speaker 18:57
that sold at Barrett Jackson for close to half a million dollars.
Jeff Sterns 19:01
That's not bad work.
Unknown Speaker 19:02
When GM was going bankrupt, they ended up you know, calling their collection of cars and that was one of those given that wasn't really a GM concept. They end up selling it. Yeah. Yeah. If I hit the lottery, I'd probably hunted down and tried to
Jeff Sterns 19:20
buy it. You have 80 which is in house. I mean, let me describe right in house prototype. But it's, you can you can do metal, you can do clay, you can do carbon fiber, you can do fiberglass. You could do TIG welding, you could do concepts. Am I on the right path?
Unknown Speaker 19:38
Yeah, you can.
Jeff Sterns 19:40
What am I missing?
Unknown Speaker 19:41
I mean, we did the design work. And basically that's the important aspect of it. I guess the key is, is if we design something, we're committed to being able to build it because, you know, it's it's sort of an all in house so you can't just hand Over a fancy sketch and say, well here, go down the street and see if you can get it built. We have to build it if you propose it, you know, that's a discipline that's a little more grown up in the probe.
Jeff Sterns 20:10
Are you at liberty to say who any of your clients are? Like, who's
Unknown Speaker 20:14
hiring you to do that? At this point? Do we have we have a couple projects? actually three right now? He's keeping me really busy. That's why I'm here at work today. But, um,
Jeff Sterns 20:30
is it fair to say that is probably manufacturers that we've heard of? Yes. Okay, I was just trying to clarify that it's not only specialty work, it's not only for racecar,
Unknown Speaker 20:43
a lot of it is, you know, fun when when, you know, somebody comes in as a build as a car, you know, which was the case with the car, you know, I have a picture of the car. Okay. It's, it's basically, I don't know if that shows up. You know,
Jeff Sterns 20:59
that is absolutely gorgeous.
Unknown Speaker 21:02
Basically like that. And then it was a fast car. So that's always important.
Jeff Sterns 21:10
Yep. Did you? Do you ever feel like you work? Or is this just dream stuff? Because to a guy like me doing concept stuff? Sounds like the deadlines will, you know, deadlines, keep you awake at night, and also meeting meeting?
Unknown Speaker 21:26
obligations. But no, I mean, I've never felt like coming off of vacation and sailed gotta go back to work. I always look forward to coming back from vacation. Good work.
Jeff Sterns 21:39
You love what you do you love the project. And when I was listening to you on someone else's show, the way you describe that if you're a racecar driver, even if you win, you still you're just thinking about the next race. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 21:52
that's Yeah. You never get there. That's the thing. You know,
Jeff Sterns 21:57
we never do.
Unknown Speaker 21:58
We never do get ultimately do get it? Well, yeah. Yeah.
Jeff Sterns 22:03
We don't need to be in a rush. That's all proud.
Unknown Speaker 22:06
Yeah, that's right.
Jeff Sterns 22:08
So on your other interview, I heard you mentioned the Pink Floyd song time.
Unknown Speaker 22:15
Oh, yeah. We don't go into details of how that was. But yeah, that's if you listen to this. words in that song, you know, it really tells you that you're here for this one time around, you know, you better do what you want and better. pursue your dreams, you know, because when you get to the end, you better not look back and say, geez, I wish I could ever would have, you know, should?
Jeff Sterns 22:42
I mean, that sounds like, on one hand, like, how obvious can you get? And then on the other hand, I can't imagine how many people wake up myself included, depending on the aspect of life talking about where I wake up, look back and say, Oh, my God, if I only knew looking back,
Unknown Speaker 23:00
what would I have done? mistakes we all make? And don't dwell on that part. But but just to look back and say, Okay, I, at least I've tried or done it or, you know, I'm very, very grateful for that.
Jeff Sterns 23:16
Well, I think in the not trying that could make someone kick themself even more than failing.
Unknown Speaker 23:22
Well, I guess it's making the decision and actually pursuing what you what you believe in or what you'd like to do with your life. I mean, that I think that's, that's one of the things that So,
Jeff Sterns 23:37
can you tell us something nobody knows about you?
Unknown Speaker 23:39
Yeah, I grew up unsupervised. Pretty much my mother worked, you know, and, and therefore, as I was never lonely, because I love cars, so I could go look at cars, you know, but I wasn't one to search out, you know, friendships or anything like that. I mean, I have many, many friends because of that, I think, you know,
Jeff Sterns 24:02
and I heard that you really made your mother happy with the first word that came out of your mouth.
Unknown Speaker 24:08
Well, yeah, she just threw that up to me for years, you know, because the first word was car actions. It just, you know, it just went on from there. You know, ultimately, I guess she just had to deal with that.
Jeff Sterns 24:26
Well, I think you're a car guy your car guys guy in the first word out of your mouth, legitimately not an old wives tale his car. I mean, that's beautiful. Now, you're originally hung. You are Hungarian. You're from Virginia. Okay. So with all of this election stuff that we just had going on recently. You have any recollection of any interesting election stuff going on in the homeland?
Unknown Speaker 24:54
Well, I mean, that was different. There were there were no more elections in Hungary. But there was a revolt. There was a Guaranteed recall back in 56, that was a very, very bloody revolt. And in I mean, I Nami tanks got destroyed, you know, and the Russians didn't take well to all that. And I ended up I got into some trouble as a kid. And I ended up heading for Austria. You know, I was 14 at the time. But again, some other things, things worked out, you know, I end up in Austria, and I had relatives there. And then I had relatives here in Cincinnati, finished high school, Cincinnati, joined the army Bikila badass paratrooper and went to art center, California.
Jeff Sterns 25:49
How did you transition from army paratrooper to Art Center.
Unknown Speaker 25:53
That's why he checked out the Art Center, I'd like to get your military flight out there because at that time, you know, if you feel more uniformed, and you could go to any Air Force Base, and if you know you can get hit out there, you know, hit your ride, you know,
Jeff Sterns 26:10
say when you were when you were in military, I mean,
Unknown Speaker 26:14
yeah, stone the army and know what to write better snare bass and left my little empty there. And then got a flight. Actually, they said it was going to Edwards and actually it was going to Utah somewhere. So I hitchhiked across Utah and and cross Nevada, awesome morning in Nevada. And then ended up ended up at, you know, went to art center interviewed and they seem to have like this, this sketches you know, that I got accepted. So then, once I got discharged from the army or separated from the army, then I drove to California, Sony BMG bought a motor scooter.
Jeff Sterns 26:58
Okay, so you weren't applying while you're still in the army, and then got accepted and just traveled there? You got out of the army, and then you traveled there and then just applied and showed him sketches?
Unknown Speaker 27:11
No, I was still in the army, because that's how you can you know, you can fly across the country by by do the right military flight. So I used the military flight go out there and, you know, got an interview, and they seem to play stuff. And then I flew back to Lincoln, Nebraska, to hitchhike back from there. So
Jeff Sterns 27:33
were you just about to get discharged from the army? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 27:36
I had, like, a month, another month to go back. So
Jeff Sterns 27:38
you knew that you were okay.
Unknown Speaker 27:40
Jeff Sterns 27:40
Got it. How about mentors in your life? For people you looked up to? Whether you knew them or not?
Unknown Speaker 27:47
Yeah, there were there were several there were there were a lot of people that that I owe a lot to get on. And I hope I don't miss them, you know, but, but one was Dave Holmes, who was, you know, an executive at GM design. Exactly. And he loved cars. He knew, you know, collected cars, and he knew everything about him. We have collections of incredible brochures, and we could, we could talk about cars. So that was, that was great. You know, actually, after I left became, you know, he was a, he was my boss. So you didn't like the idea that somebody you think that well, making advancements because he's my friend, and he's my boss. So we really became friends after I left yet, you know, it's a lot more comfortable, as you know. But at a you know, he he ran opal at the time when I was assigned to opal briefly. And he would say something like, Hey, you know, take Friday off and take the company card and drive to Paris and then appreciate your that kind of stuff. But the, you know, all through the years, you know, after after I left, GM used to stop out here. And we were very, very good friends.
Jeff Sterns 29:06
What if you could have three people to dinner live or dead prefer to live once?
Unknown Speaker 29:13
I've got people just don't, you know,
Jeff Sterns 29:18
they're just so flat. Okay, but let's say you actually got me on that. You got me back. Sorry. But anyone from not alive now or from history? If you get having to dinner three people who do you think it would be?
Unknown Speaker 29:34
I mentioned Porsche. I mean, Dr. Porsche, he was he was so creative and so far ahead of things in his thinking and his concept and so on. Plus, you know, I think Porsches are such significant cars I got him probably be, you know, probably be intimidated by trying to ask an intelligent question of him, you know, but yeah, he be a good one for that.
Jeff Sterns 29:59
But He'd be intimidated because he'd be like, you're the guy who on a 53 bet?
Unknown Speaker 30:04
Oh, yeah, yes. No, go there. No, I mean, yeah, you'd probably be one. Yeah.
Jeff Sterns 30:11
Can you think of a couple other? Or is that the answer?
Unknown Speaker 30:13
Thank you on Musk is a tremendous guy, you know, I mean, he has such a vision of the future and so much confidence and self confidence in what he's doing in and publicly pursuing what is what he thinks is right, whether it's right or not, you know, the world was totally in disbelief when it started. Tesla, for instance, and the guy persevered. And then next thing, you know, it's successful. And then on top of it, is that, what he's rocketry and everything else and PayPal, I use PayPal, I mean, the guy's a genius, you know? So yeah, it'd be, it'd be a cool guy to have dinner with.
Jeff Sterns 30:58
That's a good one, I actually have a wonderful, you know, I sold cars. 27 years, I've been out of that for eight or nine years, but one of my old car customers that I became very good friends with, I've been dealing with him since my early 20s is a little bit of a VC guy, and rode in a prototype car with Ilan out in California somewhere and thought it was too rough and walked away from the project.
Unknown Speaker 31:22
There you go. You know, I mean, there's there's a guy typically who believes in what he's doing, you know, and it's not what other people think it's you have to believe in what you're doing. And in that respect to guide tremendously,
Jeff Sterns 31:37
those are two excellent choices. Is there a third or not?
Unknown Speaker 31:40
The probably is I'll think of it but moment I came up with those, there aren't enough candidates there. Certainly, so many have material. So
Jeff Sterns 31:50
I want to just talk to you about and share with the audience what went on on my side when I was trying to talk to you a little bit. So when I was getting the idea to do this show, which is just not interviews, but recorded conversations with people met through the car business, and I never met you prior, but I just felt like I knew you my whole life because of my dad talking about it. I thought, okay, you know, the brain starts bubbling. I'm working on this project, and I, and I'm thinking, gosh, what a great story if I could get him on to do an episode with me. So I start searching your name. And all I really find is an article or a website, about an event where there are a lot where there are a lot of your class, new classic 53 Corvette on the sci fi body it was there are many of them on the grass. I can't think of the site now. And the fellow who was running the website that had my notes here said you can look them up at att etc. And I went to that website and it was down.
Unknown Speaker 32:52
Yeah, actually, I got I get you get those those calls from to be listed on Google at the top of the list and so on and I got so many calls on that. Some guy got into it with a misaka they would just leave me alone already. And next thing you know, they destroyed my website says
Jeff Sterns 33:11
Oh, really they Okay, so on my side first thought comes to mind, because I don't know how old you are. But you knew my dad. So
Unknown Speaker 33:19
must be really old.
Jeff Sterns 33:20
Yeah, to be super freakin old. You know, you my dad's agent, you know, who knows? But I'm, you know, I'm thinking the worst like, ooh, the site's down. I mean, this, the thing about the 53 beds are was about a 10 year old site, I think it was like 2010 or something. And then they mentioned and then they mentioned your Facebook page, or maybe I search it, and I find Facebook. And I noticed that there wasn't a post in, forgive me if I'm wrong, but around two years. Okay. And there was you're, you're obviously doing fine without it. So I'm not making any business judgment. I'm just telling you what went on in my Odyssey to find you. And I'm like, ooh. So, again, the websites down here, not a post and a couple of years there. Let me try the phone number. I don't know if it didn't work, right. Or I didn't reach anyone. And I ended up making a post on the Facebook page with a picture of the Bentley painting. And I said, If see if anyone knows if Steve's still around, please let me know. And I kind of forgot about it. And I really was leaning towards. You're either retired or not around anymore. And then you called probably you gave me plenty of time to believe that because you didn't call me for about two months after that.
Unknown Speaker 34:30
I die. I'm must have missed you called in that case. What? Really? I mean,
Jeff Sterns 34:37
when you called me I mean, I just want to say it in public. I want to say it's a ghost. When the ghost called me, yeah, I was so happy and I was so happy to talk to you. And I was so happy because I missed my dad too. You know, so I was so happy to connect with somebody that he spoke so positively about and my dad I mean, on that lot. It was such a so She'll thing anyway. Thank you. And it's funny because you said that you know, you thought and you don't know if anyone else thought but you thought he looked like Sonny Bono?
Unknown Speaker 35:11
Yes, I did.
Jeff Sterns 35:13
So now we're gonna now we know we both sound like old people. Because you know anybody watching this Sonny frickin Bono. So look up the Sonny and Cher show. Yes, it's a class. I mean, I think that was early 70s, mid 70s, something like that. And my dad definitely looked like he had the mustache and he had like,
Unknown Speaker 35:33
two years. Yeah. And he's talking about, you know, personality. Now you'd score.
Jeff Sterns 35:39
That part I wouldn't know because I didn't know Sonny Bono well enough. You know, I was too young to really pick up on the mannerisms. I just remember that he kind of looked like I'm sorry. I remember we went to a bar mitzvah. When I was a little kid in Southfield. And somebody had a cast. And my dad said, Do you want me to all the kids were signing his cast? My dad said you want me to sign the cast? And the kid says, Yeah, and my dad right. Sonny Bono. And the kids cast. And you know, everyone it was it was, you know, he was like that he was always he was always fullish stick now. My dad with the cars, Steve. We're at this apartment. I don't know if you remember the embassy towers. It was across from the Americana theater by Northland.
Unknown Speaker 36:27
Jeff Sterns 36:29
10 and a half in Greenfield. Okay. And by the way, if you ever do come down, what I need you to bring me is a real corned beef sandwich. Real pizza, and we can't get Chinese food down here.
Unknown Speaker 36:40
Okay, I'll see if I can get past what the ITT guys are. What are those
Jeff Sterns 36:48
guys? Right in the homeland? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 36:50
the TSA guys,
Unknown Speaker 36:51
right? You'll be
Jeff Sterns 36:52
like, really, it's the kid doesn't have any food down there. So but when we were in that apartment, there was an underground parking garage and my dad had that Bentley that you did the painting, which is by the way of 48 in case you forgot or didn't know. Okay, and my brother and I would fight over who could print out a turn signal when my dad would drive us somewhere in it because it had a little lit up flag that came out of the B pillar, all the traffic eaters, okay, for the turn signal and we had a pretend phone in it. All we did is we had a little phone like a normal wired phone probably rotary with a cord on it that my dad had sitting on the center hump that my brother and I would pretend that we were on the phone when we were riding around and like we were a big shot in a Bentley. So he always had a in that apartment parking garage, a barque so it started with a Well it started with a 68 continental that he gave to my grandpa and did you ever meet my grandpa used to work for my dad at the lot? Okay, so he was he worked a little mechanical and Porter stuff for my dad on might have seen him and Ben did no. Okay. So my dad at the 68 Lincoln Continental and then gave that to my grandpa. And then my dad got a 69 mark that my grandpa like better. So he gave him that. And then he always had a mark all the way until we left in the you know 7778 so that was parked down there. And there was always a Corvette suede three spots, a Bentley, a new mark, and an old vet. Always there and move the car. The car I learned to drive on was a 69 454 vet when I was nine. Was it stick? Or no? No, no, no, no. So well, I was nine, my dad would roll up a blanket. I still have the blanket. It had like some racing logo on it. And he would fold it up so I could sit on the seat, I would hold myself up by the wheel, I could barely touch the brake so I would just ride the brake. And while my dad and my brother would be playing like frisbee on the upper deck of the parking garage, so outside, I would drive down the ramp around the front of the apartment building and backup the ramp alone. That's taking a chance That's crazy. And just ride the brake. Yeah. I was a much more responsible father than my dad. I didn't let my son start driving to school alone until he was 14 four years ago.
Unknown Speaker 39:21
Jeff Sterns 39:22
Don't say no. Don't know what No. What are you nuts? I would never let you do it at nine. I mean, you got to wait at least till you're gonna get your learner's next year. Just don't tell any of the kids or teachers you're driving to school but so my dad would tell me and he was single. I don't know if you knew that. He was like, single guy. He was a single guy and he let me know that he had the best dating system. Because with those three cars parked down there and the apartment number was there. Sometimes girls would just come knock on his apartment door and say who lives here?
Unknown Speaker 39:54
Hang Hang their key or throw the key in through the mail slot. You know Hear me out.
Jeff Sterns 40:02
So quite the character, right the character, no doubt. So I gotta tell you, I'm completely grateful that you did this with me. Oh, not only were you always big in my life, because you were this random guy that painted this painting that's that I can remember my whole life. But the celebrity that made the 53 vet that my dad and I would always talk about, but truly a car business well known figure with the Black Hawk on the cover of auto week that sold the most issues. And then the Cadillac. I mean, really, this is a big deal to me sincerely. Well, I
Unknown Speaker 40:39
appreciate that. I guess. I don't handle that kind of recognition very well. As you know, I'm not trying to make you uncomfortable, too critical of myself. Okay, that's, that's awesome. Well,
Jeff Sterns 40:51
I really, like sincerely appreciate it.
Unknown Speaker 40:56
It's wonderful that
Jeff Sterns 40:57
you came on here, and if you need anything, or you need to come down in the winner,
Unknown Speaker 41:02
yeah, I might just take you up on that. So be careful.
Jeff Sterns 41:05
Sincere, if you came in the next couple months, my daughter's five months old. So, you know, in lieu of room and board,
Unknown Speaker 41:13
I'm not a good babysitter, so it's
Jeff Sterns 41:15
not a babysitter. Just wake up for one of the feedings, you know, either like the, you know, 2am or the 5am or something. Yeah, for sure.
Unknown Speaker 41:24
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai