In our Journal countdown to the end of 2022, we are sharing a selection by our writers of their favorite stories from the year. Today’s list is from Howard Koby, renowned for his event coverage and photography.
Covering the Roadster Show was most enjoyable as I worked with George Barris years ago on some projects and acquired an affinity for custom automobiles. Barris had attended some Roadster Shows and I touched base one year; we had discussions about the project we worked on. He provided his famous Super Van (originally the Love Machine), that made an appearance in Back to the Future II, for a poster I photographed for a show at the LA Convention Center. It is through this experience of Barris’ customs that I admire the artistic and creative executions of taking a street vehicle, roadster or just a chassis and transforming it into a work of art. The passion and devotion that engulfs the automotive customizer to create an artistic automotive masterpiece destined to maybe becoming America’s Most Beautiful Roadster is the motivation to cover the Roadster Show.
Drag racing is in my blood as I got my start photographing Top Fuel, Funny Cars and all kind of events in the ‘70s at the iconic dragstrips in Southern California such as Lions, Irwindale, Orange County Raceway, Pomona and Ontario Motor Speedway. When nostalgic drag racing events were organized in later years to reflect a bygone era, I was excited to cover these events and step back in time, as we all yearn to do once in a while.
I have archived all my drag racing images that were originally shot on 35mm film, and fortunately about 15 years ago had two books published entitled Top Fuel Dragsters of the 1970s and Prostock Dragracing of the 1970s, still being sold on amazon.com. I managed to obtain the biggest names in drag racing at the time to write the forewords- Wally Parks (NHRA founder), “TV Tommy” Ivo, and drag racing champion “Big Daddy” Don Garlits. I have the only copy signed by all three.
I have covered Monterey Car Week for over 20 years and it has become a staple in my life, as well as an important ingredient to keep the passion flowing for vintage and classic cars. One might think that the Monterey Peninsula becomes a madhouse of events for the week, which it does, but there is a certain smoothness that carries the exciting activities through the week if you plan and organize your schedule before hand. I love the Pebble Beach Tour for, not only a relaxing cruise along the magnificent Pacific Coast, but an opportunity to preview the fabulous classic cars in motion that will be displayed on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links at the Lodge.
Route 66 is close to my heart because I actually traveled the “The Mother Road” back in my college days when I ventured from Brooklyn to Los Angeles to attend The Art Center College of Design. Ever semester I would go back to Brooklyn to work as a waiter so I could attend school the following quarter. In those days money was so scarce I had to be resourceful, so I connected with Aacon Driver Service that worked with private parties that wanted to have their car driven cross-country. I signed up at least 10 times to drive across country in private cars along Route 66 paying my own gas and oil (.30 cents a gallon). One year I even wound up with a ’63 Corvette in New York and drove with my buddy Paul, playing the role of Tod Stiles and Bus Murdock of the popular TV America adventure series Route 66 just for the fun of it.