Runabouts to Rockets
Runabouts to Rockets
Volume 41 #5-6
An icon is a person or thing widely admired especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere. Personally, I have never aspired to be anything close to that, have never wanted to be famous, a celebrity, ultra wealthy (at times I debate this one) or run for political office, etc. Stacy states that I am notorious but I digress. A few days ago Jim Schultz notified me that Ralph Braun, a steady contributor to the JWO, our sister publication, and loyal Oldsmobilophile had died in his sleep at the age of 87. I must say I was distressed but not terribly surprised as Ralph had lost his wife Dorothy not too long ago and he had his own health problems that he referred to in his column. It is rare to feel that a person you have never met is a part of your family albeit your car family but I did truly feel that I had come to know Ralph after decades of reading his essays in the JWO. He was Mr. Toronado and he was classically a Midwesterner hailing from that area of the United States but he had lived in Oregon and Texas as well. He was a driver and collector of Toronados and he loved them all and he was a perfect ambassador for the marque, buying a 1966 when it first came out. Like many of us he still had many of the Toros he had acquired over the decades. The stories of his father and the other cars, Nash, etc. became legendary; he kept meticulous records and had driven over a million miles. He also rode a bicycle. In addition he was a believer in America and its ideals which included freedom and particularly the freedom to drive. He liked to remind us that fuel costs may be high but you could still buy it and during his lifetime that had not always been true (rationing). We wish his family our condolences; Ralph will be missed by many. Very few folks become true icons for myriad reasons. However, you can always star in your own right in the NAOC by just being a member and continuing to keep the Oldsmobile name alive and worth remembering.
The weather gods have been very irritated and vengeful this spring what with many tornadoes, floods and drought depending on where you live. For mid April it seems that warmer weather will never come and for us in west Texas it is starting to resemble the dust bowl. Rain? What is that? However the car season has begun despite these maladies and I am really looking forward to some auto excitement. I managed to attend the pre war swap meet in Chickasha, Oklahoma and while I greatly appreciate efforts to keep it going it appears to be on life support. Compared to even several years ago pre pandemic the attendance appears way down. It did not help to have fuel prices spike right before the Meet so those from quite a distance were apparently dissuaded from spending $500 on fuel to sell $25 of parts.
Stacy and I also attended the Arizona Oldsmobile show once again in Scottsdale; there were 53 Oldsmobiles pre-registered and 20 extra cars showed up on show day making for a very nice show and of course the people were great. The Meet ended a little early; in fact Pete Clayton and I left to do a late, quick lunch and when we got back 30 minutes later the awards had been given and the 50-50 drawing had occurred and people were leaving. Pete, Bernie Buller and I were the last to leave and waved as Jim Schultz in his 57 Super 88 hardtop and Jackie and Dan Flanagan in their 57 98 2 door hardtop drove away back to Chino Valley.
I did receive a formal apology from the publisher about the incorrect annual Meet registration form and a correct form; hopefully you did as well and are planning on the Meet in Lansing in August. Now I must return to reading the new Directory; thanks to all who contributed and especially Paul Hartlieb and Jim Schultz.
—Rick Winn (#914)