December 2, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

FOR THE GRAND OPENING OF MY BELOFF PONTIAC CADILLAC GMC DEALERSHIP, I WANTED TO HAVE A VERY UNIQUE AND FLATTERING CADILLAC ON THE SHOW ROOM FLOOR THAT WOULD REALLY ATTRACT POTENTIAL CURRENT AND FUTURE OWNERS.  THE TURQUOISE ADRIATIC #34 COLOR WAS HARMONIZED WITH WHITE LEATHER, GREEN CARPETS, DASH AND SEAT BELTS AND A RARE EXPENSIVE POWERED SUNROOF (NO GLASS).

I SOLD THE COUPE DEVILLE TO A VERY STYLISH WELL-KNOWN BUSINESS WOMAN IN PERU WHO WAS QUITE TAKEN BY THE CAR.  I HANDED HER THE KEYS AND DELIVERED IT TO HER IMMEDIATELY.  SHE SAID, MR BELOFF I HAVEN’T PAID YOU FOR THE CAR YET.  I SAID, I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT YOU AND WILL BE GLAD TO BILL YOU.  TAKE YOUR TIME.  MY DEALER PLATE IS ALREADY ON THE CAR.  ENJOY.  SHE HAD NEVER HAD THAT KIND OF TREATMENT BEFORE.  YOU KNOW WHEN THIS CLASSY LADY STYLES IN TO ALL THE PROPER LOCAL PLACES, EVERYONE WILL KNOW WHERE HER CAR CAME FROM.

YOU WILL NOTICE NATIONAL DIRT TRACK CHAMPION AND ACCOMPLISHED INDY DRIVER GEORGE SNYDER FROM CALIFORNIA.  HE WAS BROUGHT HERE BY JIMMY DAPUZZO AND  DORIS AND GRANT KING WHO OWN THE $100,000 NEW INDIANAPOLIS 500 RACE CAR #35 WITH GEORGE SNYDER’S NAME ON IT THAT IS DISPLAYED ON THE BELOFF SHOWROOM FLOOR.

NOW FOLKS, LET’S GO BACK 46 YEARS—YOU COULDN’T EVEN GET CLOSE TO AN INDY RACE CAR DURING RACE WEEK.  A PIT PASS EVEN FOR AN AVID WELL KNOWN FAN WAS  ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE BACK THEN. HERE ON MY SHOWROOM FLOOR IS AN INDY RACE CAR THAT YOU CAN TOUCH AND TALK TO THE MAN WHO DRIVES IT.  DORIS WAS NOT ONLY ATTRACTIVE BUT EXTREMELY SMART.  SHE WAS VERY SAVVY TO THE RACE INDUSTRY BE IT INDY, SPRINT, OR ANY CONFIGURATION OF DIRT TRACK RACE CARS.  GRANT, HER HUSBAND, WAS THE BIG TALL GENIUS CHINA MAN WHO CUT HIS TEETH ON CARS.  HE WAS A BRILLIANT ENGINEER AND WHAT WE LIKE TO REFER TO AT CADILLAC AS A CRAFTSMAN.  GRANT AND DORIS WERE OWNERS OF THE LARGEST INDEPENDENT BUILDERS OF RACE CARS IN THE COUNTRY.

DORIS AND GRANT KING  WERE WELL KNOWN AND VERY RESPECTED BY MARIO ANDRETTI, A J FOYT, ANDY GRANATELLI, JOHNNY RUTHERFORD, SAM SESSIONS AND MOST DRIVERS, CAR OWNERS, NATIONAL RACE TRACK OWNERS AND RACE FANS OF ANY SIGNIFICANCE.

THE REASON THAT I WAS ABLE TO BECOME THE DEALER OF THREE PRESTIGIOUS GM DIVISIONS AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE (30) WAS BECAUSE OF MY REPUTATION FOR DEVELOPING A CLIENTELE WHERE NONE EXISTED MOSTLY FROM OUTSIDE THE COMPANY WHEN I WAS AT GRISSOM AFB.  I WAS A HIGHLY ACCOMPLISHED CAR MAN IN THE FIELD FOR SALES AND CLIENT DEVELOPMENT THAT WAS WELL KNOWN BY PONTIAC, CADILLAC AND CHEVREOLET FACTORY FOLKS AND DEALERS.  HAVING BEEN A SUCCESSFUL PONTIAC CADILLAC SALESMAN FOR NORM ROBSON WHILE STATIONED AT THE B-58 NUCLEAR SAC WING IN THE 60’S, I BECAME VERY FAMILIAR WITH THE COMMUNITY AND THE REALLY TERRIFIC CITIZENS OF PERU, MIAMI COUNTY, AND THE BASE.

THE OTHER REASON IS THAT NOBODY WANTED THE DEALERSHIP.  IT WAS A DUMP.  THE PLACE WAS FILTHY DIRTY.   NO EXHAUST HOSES VISIBLE IN SERVICE DEPARTMENT.  IT WAS LACKING IN FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT AND EPA AND OSHA REQUIREMENTS.  I CAN’T BELIEVE WHY THEY WEREN’T SHUT DOWN AND THIS FACILITY HAD THE WORST SERVICE AND COMMUNITY REPUTATION EVER.  I WAS CONVINCED I COULD TURN IT AROUND.  AFTER SCRUBBING THE SHOP FLOOR WITH GALLONS OF MURATIC ACID AND PAINTING EVERY THING THAT DIDN’T MOVE AND COMPLETING ALL EPA AND OSHA REQUIREMENTS INCLUDING CADILLAC, PONTIAC, AND GMC STANDARDS, WE WERE READY FOR BUSINESS.

I NEEDED A DRAWING CARD!  I HAD CONTACTED LONG TIME VALUED FRIEND IN INDIANAPOLIS, JAMES A DAPUZZO.  THERE IS NOT A BETTER INSIDE MAN ALIVE.  HE REALLY KNOWS EVERYONE AND HE IS UNANIMOUSLY RESPECTED.

AS CO-OWNER OF THE 38TH STREET CAR WASH (CLOSE TO INDY 500 TRACK), JIMMY HAS PHOTOS TOGETHER WITH CELEBRITIES THAT WERE OBVIOUSLY NOT STAGED INCLUDING DAN BLOCKER (TV PONDEROSA).  JIMMY RECOMMENDED A BRAND NEW INDY 500 RACE CAR ON THE SHOWROOM FLOOR.  I SAID, I CAN’T AFFORD THAT.  HE SAID, YES YOU CAN.  IT IS ABOUT A MONTH BEFORE THE RACE AND I WILL MAKE IT AFFORDABLE PLUS FOR A LITTLE MORE, I’LL GET YOU AN AVAILABLE RACE CAR DRIVER THAT IS IN TOWN AND I WILL MAKE IT AFFORDABLE.  JIMMY MADE ALL THE ARRANGEMENTS.

DORIS AND GRANT ARRIVED AND WITH ASSISTANCE FROM MY STAFF, WE CAREFULLY PLACED THE FEATURED RACE CAR ON THE SHOWROOM FLOOR WHERE ALL THE WINDOWS HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN PAPERED AND TAPED.  IT WAS BY INVITATION ONLY BUT WE INVITED EVERYBODY WE COULD POSSIBLY THINK OF TO COME.  THE WORD TRAVELED FAST.  THE INTRIGUE WAS TERRIFIC AND IT WAS AN EVENT IT WOULD BE HARD TO FORGET.  NORMAN BRINSLEY FROM INDIANAPOLIS WAS A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER AND ACCOMPLISHED AUTHOR.  HE HAD BEEN SCRIBING MY MONTHLY NEWSLETTERS AS THE TOP PRODUCER AT OAKLANDON SALES.

HE TOOK MY THOUGHTS AND PUT THEM IN A PUBLICATION THAT NOT ONLY MADE ME LOOK GOOD, BUT MY OWNERS ANXIOUSLY SHARED WITH THEIR FRIENDS.  NORMAN TOOK MOST OF THE PHOTOS FOR THE GRAND OPENING.  I PERSONALLY SENT A HAND WRITTEN THANK YOU LETTER THAT ACCOMPANIED THE PHOTOGRAPH FOR THEIR ATTENDANCE AND GRATEFUL PARTICIPATION – A LOST ART EVEN TO THIS DAY.

I HAD MY ATTORNEY AND FRIEND FROM CHURCH, PATRICK ROBERTS IN ATTENDANCE, ALL LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS, LEADERSHIP FROM GRISSOM AFB, AND NOTABLE EXISTING AND FUTURE OWNERS AS WELL AS CAR ENTHUSIASTS OF ALL DESCRIPTIONS.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, BEING A LONG TIME ASSOCIATE MEMBER OF THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE, I INVITED THE POLICE CHIEF AND THE ENTIRE DEPARTMENT THAT WAS AVAILABLE INCLUDING FIRE DEPARTMENT.  THEY KNEW I WAS FOR REAL BECAUSE MY RESIDENT HOME PHONE WAS ON MY BUSINESS CARD AND THEY ALL KNEW IT WAS NEVER AN INTERRUPTION TO CALL ME DAY OR NIGHT.  THE EVENT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS.  ALL THE GM DIVISIONS WERE EXTREMELY IMPRESSED AND FLATTERED INCLUDING LONG TIME FRIEND AND PONTIAC ZONE MANAGER FRED C. RESSLER AND MOST NOTABLY THE MAN PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACQUISITION AND SUCCESS, CLIFFORD C. WAGNER, CADILLAC MOTOR CAR DIVISION.

AS THE EVENING WORE ON, BOTH DORIS AND GEORGE WERE ADMIRING MY 1962 BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE, THE 1962 CORVETTE AND THE 1959 CATALINA COUPE ON DISPLAY IN OUR FRESHLY PAINTED SERVICE DEPARTMENT.  DORIS THOUGHT HOW GREAT IT WOULD BE IF WE COULD GET PONTIAC TO PACE THE THIRD ANNUAL INDY SPRINT RACES AT INDIANAPOLIS RACEWAY PARK.  SHE PARTICULARLY FAVORED PONTIACS.  SO DID GRANT AND GEORGE WHO ALL HAD SOME THRILLING TIMES DRAG RACING CARS.

I TOLD THEM THAT WAS A FIRST RATE IDEA.  PONTIAC HAS NOT PACED A RACE SINCE THE INDY 500 OF 1958.  I WAS ENTHUSIASTIC AND WELL MOTIVATED TO TRY AND CREATE FROM PONTIAC SUCH A VEHICLE.  THE THREE OF US DISCUSSED IT WITH OUR “IN ATTENDANCE” PONTIAC MOTOR DIVISION DISTRICT MANAGER, WAYNE WESSEL.  WAYNE WAS REALLY EXCITED.  WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS NOW A ONCE IN A LIFETIME HISTORICAL ACCOMPLISHMENT.

SEE #69 1972 NEW PONTIAC GTO CONVERTIBLE PACE CAR

RETURN

 

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