Volume II, Issue 4, Page 1

Racing Net Source LLC

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Phone: 636.272.6301

Max Chevy covers all automotive things Chevy. A new issue of MaxChevy.com is published on the 15th of each month and is updated throughout the month.

EDITORIAL

Publisher, CEO
Jeff Burk

Editorial Director
Ro McGonegal

Managing Editor, COO
Kay Burk

Contributing Writers
Bob McClurg
Jim McFarland
John Carollo
Matt Strong
Geoff Stunkard

PHOTOGRAPHY

Donna Bistran
James Drew
Darren Jacobs
Ron Lewis
Tim Marshall
Bob McClurg
Dennis Mothershed
Matt Strong

PRODUCTION

Creative Director/ Webmaster
Matt Schramel

Production Assistant
Clifford Tunnell

ADVERTISING

Director of Sales
Darr Hawthorne
818-424-6656

FINANCIAL

Chief Financial Officer
Richard Burk

Accounts Manager
Casey Araiza


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Brown Water

Back in the old days, going to Detroit meant having to deal with a buttoned-down mindset, complete with sport jacket and tie, my friends. No, the scut bums in Hamtramck required no such regalia, but if you wanted to get in, say the GM Tech Center in Warren, you had better be wearing those items I just mentioned. So we all did, out of respect, courtesy, and a small bullet of fear. If you didn’t dress as they did, they might take umbrage. They might not tell you the very things you desperately wanted to know and were sent there specifically to uncover.

I took cues from my editor, who was very well connected with the hierarchy and especially with the guys who actually knew stuff and would eventually tip it to you if you played the game according to their rules. Paul Prior and Bill Howell were the quintessential Chevy product planners (and hard-core hot rodders) who made stuff happen according to the tablets of Vince Piggins, the guy who ran the Production Promotion Department. I did more than one story with these guys and it always included some kind of hands-on deal, a rip around a test track or on a surface street, quite often prefaced by a luncheon of epic proportions.

Am I talking about a mountain of food? I’m talking about how business was done everywhere in the civilized world in that epoch—over cocktails…and lunch. I’m not talking about wine coolers, either. Chardonnay hadn’t been invented and there weren’t any Yuppies to order it. No. It was “water,” either clear (vodka, gin) or brown (rye or bourbon). The flinty Vince liked “white guys,” a euphemism for a martini. Several of them before the food began. The two times that we (the editor and I) sat down at the table with him, he was on his third one as we arrived. We’d try our best to catch up, of course, but beers against Martinis are like bringing handguns to a tank battle.

Why did we feel that our fawning was such necessary behavior? Because Detroit was the place from which all blessings flowed, especially Chevrolet. They had the hard parts. They had the cool shit. They looked good for the long run. Playing the dog in the early 70s got us stories like “All Aluminum Small-Block-Powered Vega,” “454 Your 396,” and “Exclusive: We Test the Twin Turbo Abba Zabba.” We showed a great deal of interest in the hopes of being considered to scoop the rest of the hot rod world, but we had to deal with a tight-assed white boy infrastructure.

A month ago, Hulen (The Burkster’s given name) and I went to Detroit. I needed to reaffirm some old friendships, generate editorial, and meet the new guard at Chevrolet, GM Performance Parts, and my known associates at GM Powertrain. I’ve been going to Motown since the 60s, but Burk had never been, so I dragged him around (did all the driving). “Jesus,” he croaked. “You’re worse at directions than I am! Come in, Rangoon. I think we might need a cocktail. Did you pack your spare liver?”

We chose the Holiday on Van Dyke in Warren as Crib Central simply because it marked the epicenter of our travel circle. We bopped off 94, hooked left on Van Dyke and then headed north. The neighborhood has seen better times, but the place had life, street life, bar life. Windowless blues clubs. Hulen, a devoted jazz and blues aficionado, flipped into another dimension. Vowed to return when it got dark out, you know for the music and the camaraderie.

Hadn’t been in town five minutes and we’re out looking for lunch, or maybe it was dinner. Hulen: Did I need to bring a suit? Well, it’s Sunday and we’re in a gin mill, so you don’t need one. Detroit ain’t so tight-assed these days. No jackets. No ties. No booze. At the lunch hour it was iced tea, a Coke maybe for the Chevy folks. Burk and I had beer. The demeanor has changed altogether, too. There’s GM Performance Parts Phil Colley. Buzz cut, a stud in each ear lobe, and some very intelligent things coming out of his mouth. Soon, the topic stuck on the Internet and how MaxChevy figured into the print medium versus the cathode ray tube. They were the ones asking questions of the ancients, of guys gray enough to be their fathers. We are the old ones. They knew we’d seen stuff that they never would. We found exactly what we wanted.