The Gasparilla Concours d'Elegance is honored to have Mike and Judy Gaylor represent the 2022 Featured Car Collectors. Their 1930 L29 Cord Convertible Sedan is a true testament to Mike's dedication and love for vintage restoration.
Mike Gaylor was born and raised in Palatka, a town on the St. Johns River in Florida.
Judy is from the east coast (Chicago), they met and fell in love in Clearwater, Florida.
They are blessed with four children and five grandchildren. We had an opportunity to sit and ask them a few questions.
Q. Mike, how old were you when you bought your first collector car?
A. In 1966 my buddy Larry and I found and bought a 1923 Ford model T. It still had gas ration stamps on the windshield from the years during World War II. We were in our twenties and made a pact to restore her to her former glory. Both of our fathers were beaming with pride. Mr. Hampton, the man that sold us the car, had kept her in a barn house right on the St.Johns River; the car rested in that garage for years. A hand shake and forty dollars - out the door we went. We set up shop in Larry's parents barn with one electrical outlet, an extension cord and a wire brush. Knowledge be damned we got to work. This is where my love of cars began.
Q. What are some of your first memories of cars when you were growing up?
A. It was the summer of 1952 in Florida. I remember my father buying a brand new car.
A green and yellow 1952 Mercury - green and yellow "can you imagine?"
It was an event when my father brought home that car, I was 7 years old.
Q. Is it true that while having dinner one night with Judy (a huge fan of Tony Stewarts) she challenged you that you could not obtain one of Tony Stewarts Nascar rides? (Tony Stewart's Home Depot Car)
A. Yes and she lost. Tony Stewart's 2007 Nascar Chevy, winner of the Brickyard 2007 and 2007 Chicagoland race is one of my cars now, let's just put it that way. lol (actually it's hers) We met Tony. He was incredibly kind, signed an autograph on the hood and we filmed a video of Judy and Tony, (she finally got her hug). Happy Wife, Happy Life, I like to say.
Q. Judy, is that story about the Tony Stewart Nascar true?
A. Yes - who do you think taught Mike "Happy Wife, Happy Life"
Q. Mike, I know you can't pick a favorite car, but which car has got your attention a little more than some of the others and why?
A. Probably the L29 known as "The Black Pearl". She is such an awesome example of that era of automobiles
Q. You have accomplished alot - a retired civil engineer at 67, married the love of your life (Soulmate), more than a half dozen amazing vehicles in your collection, what do you do for fun currently?
A. We live on 40 acres in Dade City. Most of my days are spent putzing around in the big barn. Every Sunday I drive a couple miles to our local church, from time to time some folks swear that they can hear the roar of that 2007 Home Depot car just before Sunday service starts.
Q. What happened to the 1923 Ford model T?
A. Before we could finish restorations we parked the "23" Ford T in Larry's parents barn, He went off to college at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton (FAU) and I headed over to the University of Florida (Gainesville). There the car sat for 50 years. Larry passed away in the meantime. About 5 years ago I loaded the car up, brought it to the barn and started restoring what was salvageable. Presently I am getting close to having a Model T Speedster.
The Gasparilla Concours d'Elegance is honored to have Mr. Steve Tate represent the 2022 Featured Motorcycle Collector.
If every picture tells a story, every vintage motorcycle writes a novel. Steven Tate started collecting vintage motorcycles just (3) three years ago in Tampa, Florida. "Character and history of the motorcycles hooked me, so I started searching from coast to
coast, and across the globe".
With the first of many adventures I struck Gold - not just with the 1970 Benelli Volcano
180cc minibike I was able to buy, but who I befriended and purchased it from.
I was fortunate enough to purchase a Benelli Volcano which led to an endearing friendship with Larry Wise, He holds a wealth of knowledge in this space and at 92 years old is still very vibrant and loves sharing his wisdom.
The 1970 Benelli Volcano is a three-speed two-stroke 180cc minibike that had a top speed of 56mph. Only 200 were ever produced, all of which were imported to the United States
by Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan motors was founded in 1949 by Ernie Wise. Larry Wise joined his father in 1952 and kept business operations outside Philadelphia Pennsylvania until 2019.
Cosmopolitan opened the floodgates between Italy and the US market by first
importing/distributing Parilla, Capriolo, Benelli (Wards Riverside), Bianchi, MV Agusta,
Bimota, Garelli and Beta motorcycles. This is one of many fascinating sources I will be utilizing as I present to you an extraordinary collection of motorcycles and their unique history.
We are working to create the Tampa Vintage Motorcycle Museum, my collection of over 200 vintage European and Japanese motorcycles are available for all to enjoy.
All enthusiasts have an open invite to visit, enjoy the collection and share some memories.