CARS OF MY ERA By Scott Faragher (Available Mid-2020) I’ve always been aware of cars and have been fortunate enough to have owned and experienced some of the most iconic cars of all time. I’ve always been amazed that there could be so many different interpretations of `four wheels.’ Cars are so much more than the mere sum of their considerable parts, and infinitely more than just transportation. For me, cars have always represented freedom, style, and self expression, but all under the greater heading `art.’
My first love was a 1960 Lincoln Mk V sedan that my Godfather owned. It was gigantic, and fully ornamented with chrome, in and out, a far cry from the family `58 Chevy Biscayne, the third step down from the top of the line Impala. I sold everything I owned when I was twenty and made a down payment on my first car, a black 1960 Lincoln MK V coupe, and although it met a tragic end, I learned some life lessons along the way. My love affair with Lincolns has been lifelong, beginning with the `60 and continuing through several four-door convertibles, giant late `70s sedans, through the `90s and ending, for the moment, with a 2000 Town Car’s front end against tree by the side of an icy I-40 a few years back.
Equally important to me were Jaguars beginning with the early open XK models, 120s, 140s, and a 150 drophead, including twelve E Types (1961-1968), and Mk VII, MK VIII, MK IX, and MK X sedans, with a couple of 3.8 sedans, and an XJ-S that was so fast it was too dangerous for me to keep. in the mix. Two fires, electrical failure, often standing by the side of the road freezing, constant overheating, and not starting at all, were all part of a wonderful ten year experience.
Cadillacs, at least through 1976, for me have always been significant, including the 1967 and 1968 Eldorados, the insanely exotic `59s, `60s convertibles, and ending with 1975 and 1976 Eldorado convertibles, and 1974-1976 Fleetwood Broughams and Talismans.
Muscle cars, Porsche 928s, family sedans, friends cars, strange cars like Corvairs, Studebakers, and others have all been a part of this lifelong relationship with my mechanical family members, most of whom were benign, but some of whom were not. Mercedes S Class sedans, and SLs, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, especially Spurs have been my predominant hobbies for the last few years. Along the way I have been rewarded and punished, pleasantly surprised, cheated, and above all blessed.
In the 1980s American cars sucked. Now, at last, American cars are again wonderful, perhaps better than they’ve ever been. The same for Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, and other famous and not so famous marques. But better is ultimately a relative term. What has been gained technologically may or may not be worth what it has cost in terms of the experience of driving as an end in itself. Safety was not really an issue in the past, as it is now. As part of the so-called `baby boomers’ I was lucky to have experienced the best cars, the best music, best education, best women, indeed the best of America.
GLENN FERGUSON, A Life Of Public Service by Scott Faragher (Available late summer, 2020) This book has been written and in limbo for more than three years awaiting approval from the subject’s son, but is being edited now. Nashville native Glenn Ferguson was one of the most respected, interesting, and colorful politicians of his era. During his long and successful career as a public servant, he oversaw the dissolution of the separate city/county governments, and spearheaded the formation of what would soon become known as Metro Nashville, the most decisive factor in the emergence of Nashville into the modern era. He also, as councilman for the 16th and 17th Avenues South where the fledgling music business operated, incurred censure and criticism for insisting upon providing a little used park as the location for the original `Country Music Hall of Fame.’ He, along with the original leaders of Nashville’s music business, took the steps necessary to create what is now known as Music Row.
Later, as Metro Trustee, he instituted unprecedented changes in the process of tax collection which are still in use today. Ferguson was a visionary public servant who actually worked for the people he represented, rather than against them, as is generally the case today. He was an early advocate of the elderly, actively involved in civil rights, and never backed away from a fight when he knew he was right. He actively opposed tax increases, especially property tax increases upon the elderly and poor.
Ferguson’s life story provides an interesting and detailed behind the scenes look at the often controversial events and issues taking place in this crucial time (1960s, 1970s, 1980s) as competing political factions wrestled for control of an emerging Nashville, both before and after the formation of Metropolitan Government. The international recognition Nashville enjoys today is largely the fruition of Ferguson’s work and his forward vision of a great city, and the struggles it took to reach its current status.
PORSCHE 928 (Available Fall 2020) I’ve never particularly liked Porsche cars, and considered them glorified Volkswagens, which they were, at least as long as they were produced with air-cooled engines. The 928, on the other hand, was a front engined car, with a great rear suspension as opposed to those silly and dangerous swing-axle rear suspension 356 and 911s. In short, everything about the 928 was revolutionary for Porsche and it had no VW parts or lineage. I found the 928 exoting, interesting, and actually quite fascinating. I eventually had a couple of them and, since there was no real book on them other than the legendary `Project 928,’ a German book which was released almost concurrently with the car in the late 1970s, I decided to write one myself. I originally wrote this book for Crowood in the UK a decade or so ago but we had creative differences. They were absolutely wonderful people and easy to work with but they didn’t especially want me to use factory photos, and understandably wanted me to concentrate more on the right-hand drive models as found in the UK. I’d secured permission from Porsche AG to use everything available, and especially thought the car would be best presented visually using the images from original showroom catalogs since they’d been created for each year of the car’s manufacturing run at great by the world’s best automotive photographers and at great expense tp Porsche. After giving me the leisure to rework some of my book to their specifications, I ultimately decided against doing so as I knew what I wanted to do. I returned their advance and decided to get back to it later. Then, Brian Long, a really great automotive writer came out with the definitive book on the subject from Veloce Publishing, also a UK company, so I decided to move on to something else, since I’d sort of moved on from 928s anyway. Last summer while in Holly Springs, Mississippi, I chanced upon the material and images I’d already assembled and decided at length to go ahead after all, not as the definitive book, but as a good introduction to the 928. I’ll get back to working on it this summer, and hopefully, it will be published this fall (2020).