My Grandpa George and Grandma Jan are my heroes. They have always been there for me and urged me to follow my dreams, reassuring me that I can do anything I set my mind to. Grandpa George started a rehab center over 30 years ago, changing hundreds of thousands people’s lives. His hard work, dedication and compassion are qualities that will be instilled in me forever. He has always had a serious passion for classic cars, and Grandma always looked so chic in them – so I wanted to create a design including some of my favorites from his classic car collection to create a Gatsby-esque design – a true classic.
This design “George Meets Jan” was inspired by my grandparents and their love for classic cars, and more importantly each other.
Here is our interview below and you can shop here.
An Interview With Grandpa George & Grandma Jan
AM: How did you and Grandma Jan meet?
Grandpa George: I was working as a mechanic in a dealership and she brought her car in for repairs. I had to make a date with this pinup!! I picked her up for our first date in a 1938 Packard limousine that I had at the time.
AM: What sparked your passion for cars/classic cars?
GG: My playground as a child was an auto wrecking yard. I have always had an interest in what makes things work. I have always loved the body lines of autos that were made in the early thirty’s. I still feel that there will never be a period like that again.
AM: How much experience did you have when you started buying cars and working on them yourself?
GG: I was fifteen years old when I purchased my first car. It was a 1933 Ford Roadster missing the engine, transmission, hood and various parts. I purchased it for $50.00 and drug it home. That was in 1957, Over the years I put the car together, raced it for several years holding the track records at the local race tracks before restoring it. It went on to win the Early Ford national show and captured the “Dearborn” award. The highest award you can get for a national show. I still have the car almost sixty years later
AM: What’s the biggest challenge working on classic cars?
GG: In the old days it was locating parts for restoration but the internet has greatly reduced that problem. Having accurate descriptions of missing parts, research, and assembly of parts, color combinations etc. is always a challenge depending on the cars you are restoring. On the other hand, if building hot rods, that’s fun because if you can dream it and have the tools to build it, you can. I like being told that something I want to do is not possible, that gives me more drive to figure it out, logistics and build it. I think I love building them more than driving them.
AM: Which car was your favorite to build?
GG: I have enjoyed all of the cars that I have restored and built. Each have their own set of problems and needs. I have built many cars from ground up restorations of classic cars, daily drivers, to quarter mile dragsters. Restoring a car to its former glory is very fulfilling. I believe these cars are rolling sculptures, the awards are nice but not necessary to me.
AM: Favorite memory from all of the car shows?
Grandma Jan: When the 1933 Ford Roadster won the National Dearborn award in Reno. It was very exciting, and had been a dream of Grandpa’s for many years.
AM: Grandma – which car is your favorite?
GJ: The 1933 Ford Woodie, (“Old Tootsie”). It’s very rare, and so “classic” looking. Then the 1933 Ford Roadster, because I love convertibles and the rumble seat. Plus, it was Grandpa’s first car and has a lot of history.
AM: If you could have any car in the world which would it be?
GJ: A Fiat Jolley from the 1950’s or 1960’s. They are so cute and very different. I also love my current convertible, a 2006 MBZ CLK. I put Daisy in the back with the top down, and people think she’s driving!
AM: How did Grandpa propose?
GJ: We had been living together since 1974 for 7 years. So, on Christmas Eve, in 1981 right before midnight, Grandpa gave me a big box to open. When I opened it, all I found was a bunch of his (clean) underwear. I looked at him, and he said to keep looking. Then I found a smaller box, and inside was a beautiful Ruby and Diamond ring. I looked at him again, and he said, “It’s an engagement ring…do you want to”? I said, “Yeah, okay”. Then Grandpa went to sleep, and I was wide awake, waiting for at least 7 more hours, so I could call my family to tell them. My father married us 6 months later. We now have 42 years together, and counting.
Grandpa and Grandma
AM: Any advice or words of wisdom?
Grandma: Ever since I’ve known Grandpa, I have admired the way he follows his dreams. I know that if Grandpa says he’s going to do something, whether create a copper umbrella for the hummingbird feeder, build a muscle car, or open a business; he will do the research, and find a way to carry it out, and become successful. He trusts his instincts, and regardless of how difficult it may look, or anyone challenging is beliefs, he forges ahead, and does great things.
AM:Do you have a favorite memory in one of the cars? If yes, which one? And tell us the story.
Grandma and Grandpa: We used the 1938 Packard to dive our friends, Dave and Maggie to their wedding in Woodside, California. On the way to pick up Maggie to take her to the Church, it over heated, as it was a very hot day. We went back home and got the 1933 Ford Roadster, and put Maggie, (with her wedding gown and vale, and nicely coiffed hair) in the rumble seat, and flew down the country roads, as we were on a timeline. Then, after the wedding, we had both Dave and Maggie in the rumble seat going to the Reception, and the wedding party, of about 50 (or more) on Harley Davidson Motorcycles, all carrying American flags, escorting behind us. It was epic!