The Presidential Beater

I have been struggling to find a way to address the current political elephant in the room. With the Presidential Election only a month away, I finally have to grow a set and write something political.

Both of our esteemed candidates have owned very different beaters over the years. Here they are:

Let’s start (for no particular reason) with Hillary Clinton’s beater.

Ladies first right? The Democratic hopeful most famously owned a 1986 blue Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera.  Not a bad car at all and certainly one worthy of Beater Life standards.  Even though she hasn’t driven a car since 1996, and this thing is mint it, it looks every part of a beater.

The gentleman who owned it most recently bought it from a White House staff auction for $2000, eventually flipping it on eBay last April for a whopping $60k!  According to the seller, the car remained parked for most of its life. Being driven mainly be White House staff to move around the property on  errands.



The car was sold with EVERYTHING.  Original A/C and tape deck. Warranty paperwork and owner’s manual signed by Sec. Clinton as well. It even still has the original “Clinton For Gov.” sticker on the back window.  With only 33k miles on the clock, $60k was certainly a hefty price for a beater, but it’s certainly is a piece of modern Americana.

Now, let’s talk about the gutless Cutlass Ciera. greatest hits form it only delivered 150hp from the venerable GM 3800 under its hood, was lucky to push out 100hp from the 4-banger it came equipped with.  The people that bought these cars didn’t by them because driving was fun. They bought them because they needed a car; they bought the Olds because that car had to at least look like they had money (even though we all knew it meant nothing).

My brother had a Cutlass Calais for a while.  It was an honest mode of transportation and that was about all there is to write about.  The Ciera trim package wasn’t much different.  It was shinier, pleatherier and that’s about it. Again, the car set a reasonable precedent for you to judge its owners by when bought new. Most of those judgments are reserved for Principle Rooney or Michael Scott types – the squares and the unhip.  Money and power bought Benzes, yuppies bought Bimmers, but mom, dad, and grandma bought Olds.





–I haven’t been able to track down the current owner just yet but if anyone has any tips or hints send them our way!–


Now for Donald Trump’s “beater” collection:

Not surprising to really anyone, Mr. Trumps collection of cars is about as brash and gaudy as, well, the rest of his style.  Like him or not, it’s hard to dismiss a certain “80’s Guy” flavor in his automotive tastes. His cars have been big, loud, and as exciting as he has been this past election season. Car’s do reflect their owner’s character.:

First on the list is the 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, a car that screams Trump!!!  It’s the car Richie-Rich would drive if he could, and seeing as Trump is a non-fiction version o Richie Rich, well I think it suits him perfectly.  Trump is a known Rolls guy. He’s a HUUUUUGE fan of the brand and  it doesn’t stop at the classic Phantom either. He can also be seen rolling around the block in a Rolls Phantom (Ghosts are for peasants!).

Owning cars at this level is like owning shoes. You have to have one for every occasion; Bussiness, formal, sports, beater. We’ve already covered formal and business attire with the Rolls- Royce’s but what about sports and active wear?  Ferrari Italia and Lamborghini Diablo SV should suffice. Starting with the 458 Italia (a car we will look back on in 25-30yrs as fondly as we do GTO’s and Testarossa’s) it’s this generation’s Miami Vice-mobile, one perfectly fit for a guy perpetually stuck in the early ’90s. Beautiful as it may be, groundbreaking as it absolutely is, it’s still a cliches running shoe for a rich guy. Which leads us to the Lambo. A baby blue, Trump badged Lambo Diablo SV, one fo the first cars I fell madly and deeply in love with. Trump owns one. It’s as obnoxious as the man himself. A true exotic for a guy who needs to advertise his rapidly disappearing virility; or one that sells copious amounts of drugs. Have you been to late-90’s Miami?

The final car in his collection tat I want to focus on isn’t the most expensive, or the fastest, or the loudest.  In my opinion its the one that should be talked about by everyone.  It’s the most Trump-ish car in the lot. A 2006 Camaro Pace Car. An Indy 500 pace car. Old retired guys living down here in Florida own old pace cars, or at last the “Pace Car Edition.” At least we’re sticking to the tradition of nominating old rich white guys for president- a pace car is the perfect symbol of that.



So, no there you have it, The Presidential Beaters.  The list is by no means comprehensive or complete as both candidates have most definitely owned several other cars throughout the years.  But if you’re going to vote based on automotive taste- and I suggest that you don’t- this is the best I could do to give you an even scale on both candidates styles.

Remember you could vote for your old rich grandma and her Oldsmobile into office, or a fat old version of McCully Culkin’s Richie Rich.  It could be worse, they could be owning mini-vans…

I Wasn’t Ready For The Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance

300Since starting this blog a couple months ago I told myself that I’d use it to help me check off some items from my personal bucket list. I do admit that going to Amelia Island to cover the concourse show and reporting on how the other half lives is a stretch, but I wanted to share this iconic event with you guys, beaters or no beaters. I have been processing everything I saw for the last several days and nights and the one thing that I took away from this was just how unprepared I was for the weekend. I was completely overwhelmed by the event, the setting, the people and the cars.


The Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance has been around since 1996 and has been held at the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Amelia Island Florida ever since.  It has become one of the premier rare and luxury car shows in the United States second only to Pebble Beach.  I had gotten excited about going this year when I heard a report that Jerry Seinfeld would be auctioning off some of his rare Porsche’s.  I pulled some strings, called begged some friends and eventually was able to raise the funds to buy a ticket and go for the Sunday show (I missed the auctions where a 1961 Ferrari 250GT California SWB sold for $17m and an old Beetle sold for $120k!).


After wondering how I could spin this into something you all would like to read about, one of our followers gave me the idea to use #notsobeaterlife while I flooded our Instagram account with up-to-date pictures of what we were seeing at the event.  Maybe next year we’ll see about live streaming video which, as it turns out, would’ve been easier.  I knew I’d be seeing better than museum quality examples of the finest automobiles ever made, you expect that. The sheer quantity and quality of vehicles present, though, was dumbfounding.  Once through the gate, the first display was a Lamborghini celebration of the Miura. Six of the best examples, including chassis #4846 of what is arguably Lambo’s most beautiful car just siting there with matching Italian booth girls ready and posing for my pictures. It was like diving headfirst into cold water. I was shocked, I couldn’t breathe, and I stood motionless for a second.

The shock and awe kept going for the whole of the 7 hours we were there. One rarity after another, rare Mercedes pre-war race cars, MG’s, A TALBOT-LAGO T26C! and Rolls’, Bugattis, and Bentleys all over the place.  After a while you build up a tolerance to such beauty. I’m not saying that I stopped appreciating them, but after a while it was just work looking at them through my camera. It wouldn’t hit me until later in the morning while admiring some of the most pristine Packards in the country I overheard a conversation an owner had with the class judge. “This is only one of six cars with this coachwork done the we know to exist…in the world.458

There I go again. Back to reality.  In a true Wayne’s World moment I was instantly unworthy to be walking around the fairway that held such iconic machines. I was sharing a fairway with Jochen Mass for Pete’s sake! Making my way through the Rolls Royce line up was humbling. This clearly was a “No Peasants Allowed” area. Limousines and coaches for former statesmen all lined up and glimmering in the light with window curtains drawn open displaying their rich leather interiors. Their owners scoffing a the Alfa Romeo display just behind their precious coaches and overshadowed by the Bugatti’s across the aisle.

This is only one of six cars with this coachwork done the we know to exist…in the world.

To complete the comparison the event organizers lined up the American luxury sedans next to the best that Britain has to offer, with old Caddys, Oldsmobiles and a plethora of Deusenbergs flexing their biceps at the Brits.  It easy to forget how great American luxury sedans were back then and how competently they stacked up against what the world was offering. We’re only now seeing a resurgence in American luxury autos.  Cadillac has stepped up their game from high end Chevy’s to true world super sedan contenders.470

Everything at the show was perfect. I still find it weird that I became so desensitized to what I was seeing.  In any other setting just one of the cars at the show,  any one of the Pegaso’s, any one of the Astons, Allards, or even the MG’s would’ve held my astonishment for hours. Here, though, it was a different story. They were just another rare car. Much like after being in a museum, that priceless sarcophagus is amazing the first time you see it, but after the 3rd walk-through it becomes just another artifact.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still appreciated them and their significance, but my attitude shifted from “Oh wow!” to”Oh, wow.”


The day ended with the reveal of Best in Show, which turned out to be a yellow 1952 Pegaso Z-102 Cupola & 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II. There was airborne champagne, lots of pictures and very excited and proud rich people.  So, it was pretty great.  I had to rush over to the showing stage to get the few pictures I could of the show winners. This was the first time I felt like a photographer. Surrounded by press passes and elbows, I wrestled my way through the crowd and grabbed a few quickies of the now ribbon laden grills of both cars.


I was unprepared. I thought I knew what I was going to experience, but much like the first time you visit the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, you walk away trying to understand and process things you’ve only seen pictures of and read about; things that have now become reality.  The Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance is like a zoo that only cares for endangered and near extinct species. I don’t think you can ever be prepared for a place as special as that.

Be sure to check out our gallery from the show