By Steve Laifman
March 27, 2000
Wine and Roses:
As my career progressed in the Rocket Biz, I found myself being drawn away from the wonders of the open air, sunburn, driving with side curtains in the rain with a constant drip on my left leg that left embarrassing wet spots on my pants leg. The siren song of the Rhine Maidens was luring away from Mother England to the Father Land. A dry, covered coupe with real windows invaded my wants. I placed an order for a 1959 Black Porsche 1600S with red upholstery (factory order only), and waited 3 months. Jack McAfee called me and said my car was in - but it had green upholstery. I told him that was not what I ordered, take it back to Germany. One week later my red upholstered car mysteriously made it's way back to inventory and was delivered. What a change. The steering became feather light. The stopping very quick. The handling was greatly improved, if a might twitchy at the limits with hardly any warning. The light weight and easier shifting gave me plenty of street performance, road speed, and nimble handling. The sound left a little to be desired, even with an expensive exhaust.
This picture is rather unique. It was taken in the hills of Bel Air, just north of Sunset Blvd., at the home of a friend of my sister, Linda. She had just arrived in Los Angeles from New York, when her father's office moved the executive suites to the west coast to be near the studio production end of Warner Bros. My sister had arranged a chance meeting, and we went out to a Westwood Coffee House for a quick intro. After I got home that night, I overheard my sister telling mother that if I didn't ask her out, she would never talk to me again! What a dilemma. Such an opportunity to avoid sibling warfare might never again present itself. But the price was too great. I started dating, and found out how real love pales the adolescent feelings for girls and cars. Three months later we were married, and off to Vegas.
I had always avoided commitments like that. When the Sunday Times ads would produce great sports cars for sale, with the comment must sell, getting married, I vowed that the price was too great. It wasn't until the right girl entered my life that I actually examined that statement. As I said about my own family, this is California, and Los Angeles. There can be no life without wheels. If I had to have a car for commuting to work, my wife would need one as well for either working or staying at home and shopping. Two cars were a must, and BOTH of them didn't have to be family cars. Having put those fears behind me, I have not been without a sports vehicle yet. Of course, choosing a Family Sedan didn't mean we had to buy something humdrum. Here is Linda's Family Car, a 1956 Ford Victoria 4 door hardtop, as they were called, with T-Bird engine. Not too shabby for hauling the kids that came later. Here is Jay in the drive of our first home in Palos Verdes.
Jay, and sister Amy, digging for gold in the flower beds, the 356 still in service. More on the kids, later.