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Bugsby Gets a Job
Dec. 13, 2010

faux newspaper
An actor dressed as a newsboy shouts the headlines as he "sells" a special edition of the New York Times announcing George's birth, Dec. 13, 1920.

In early December, Lynn gets a call from prominent area car collector and friend Ed Archer offering him a paid engagement for Bugsby. Apparently an special party is being planned to celebrate the 90th birthday of George Pratt Shultz, born on Dec. 13, 1920. His wife, Charlotte Mailliard Swig Shultz, is arranging for the party to be held at the Bohemian Club in downtown San Francisco. She wants to hire three 1920s collector cars as props for the party. Ed is asking Lynn if he's willing to bring Bugsby. It only takes a few seconds for Lynn to agree.

1920 Auburn c1920 Pierce-Arrow 1924 Kissel
The 1920 Auburn (left), the c1920 Pierce-Arrow (middle) and Bugsby (right) are parked on Taylor Street in front of the Bohemian Club.

Ed will be bringing his son-in-law's 1920 Auburn. Another collector friend, Danny Erceg, will be bringing his beautiful dark-blue c1920 Pierce-Arrow.

As the days draw closer to the party, Lynn's terror grows as he contemplates driving and parking his truck and car trailer in rush hour in downtown San Francisco.

But that's not Ed's plan. He and Danny will drive their cars from his home in Hayward to the party on Nob Hill. Further, they plan to drive straight down Interstate Highway 580 and across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge into downtown San Francisco during the late afternoon on a week day. Yikes!! This isn't something that Lynn would normally contemplate doing but he agrees to drive Bugsby, too. It will be some comfort to travel with the other collector cars.

Bugsby at bridge toll booth Bugsby on Bay Bridge Bugsby on California Street
Bugsby waits behind the Pierce-Arrow at a toll booth to the Bay Bridge (left). The San Francisco skyline is visible off Bugsby's starboard, forward of the beam (middle). Nob Hill is seen in the distance and doesn't appear as steep as it will soon become (right).

Happily the drive to the party is uneventful. Although highway traffic is moderately heavy, Lynn notices an interesting phenomenon. The cars slow down as they spot the old cars on the highway. As a result, a slug or plug of cars surrounds the collector cars, moving only slightly faster than the 50-55 MPH that the collector cars manage to maintain! A sort of protective cocoon of new cars are moving with the old cars. Awesome!

Once they arrive in downtown San Francisco, Lynn spots Nob Hill farther up California Street (pictured above). Hah, he thinks, that doesn't look all that steep! However, once they're climbing it turns out to be much steeper than it looked from a distance. In some cases, Lynn is using both service and parking brakes as he negotiates the hills.

The trip isn't without a minor mechanical problem for Bugsby. Somewhere on the streets of San Francisco, Lynn hears the ominous sound of cast metal clanking on the street. Shortly thereafter, he feels a some sort of binding as he depresses and releases the clutch pedal. He has one of his companions look as he moves the clutch pedal, but nothing definitive is discovered. Later Lynn discovers that 1/2 of a clam-shell clamp holding the exhaust pipe to the exhaust manifold has disappeared. One half of the clamp is wedged in the mechanicals and is binding the clutch pedal. The other half is probably still lying in a gutter somewhere on California Street in San Francisco.

companions Cars
Lynn (in the tuxedo) poses with his companions on the steps of the Bohemian Club (left). Spotlights on the roof of the club precisely illuminate the cars (right).

Lynn wears a tuxedo as garb somewhat appropriate for the owner of a Kissel Speedster attending an important 1920s dinner party. His companions however are resplendent in authentic 1920s clothing. They're wearing a wonderful collection of authentic tie pins, starched collars, gold chains, hats and fur coats. They look marvelous!

The street outside the Bohemian Club is partially shut down to city traffic and the collector cars are parked perpendicular to the curb. Lynn is amazed to observe that three spotlights, with barn doors to square the beams, perfectly illuminate the three cars. Inside the club, one can see a marine marching band, actors dressed as Betsy Ross, Uncle Sam (on stilts), a Christmas tree and a cigarette girl. Outside the front door, an actor dressed as a newsboy shouts the headlines of a faux newspaper that he's handing out. Charlotte certainly know how to have a party!

For over an hour, limousines and expensive cars drive to the front of the club and discharge guests in evening attire. Lynn thinks he recognizes several of the men as important former government officials—he recognizes the faces but can't put a name to them. He sees Henry Kissinger (US Secretary of State under Nixon and Ford) and Gavin Newsom (current San Francisco mayor and California Lieutenant Governor elect). Arnold Schwartzenegger (current California governor) is rumored to be at the party but isn't seen at the front door. Briefly George and Charlotte make an appearance at the front door. Lynn thinks that Charlotte is pointing out the old cars, owners in period attire and the newsboy to George. Clearly Charlotte knows how to throw a party.

After their work at the party is over, the collector car owners and companions retire to the Tadich Grill for dinner. They wait for about an hour before being seated in this establishment, claimed to be the oldest in the city and state. The cars have received privileged valet parking outside the grill. It is quite a treat to see and hear the reaction of the people walking by and coming out of the restaurant both to the cars and the dress and appearance of Lynn's companions.

At about 10:30 PM the cars start for home. It's now completely dark and the group is planning to go back the way they came, mixing with high-speed traffic. Lynn has auxiliary lighting and takes the "tail gunner" position at the back of the group. Besides supplementary tail/stop and park/turn lights on the four corners of the car, he has a large yellow flashing light with a magnetic base that he positions on the rear deck. Once past Hayward, Lynn and Bugsby drive alone on the highway to Livermore, about twenty miles alone and in the dark.

Lynn is worried for the entire trip home. He anxiously watches as cars approach at high speed from the rear. Thankfully everyone is paying attention and they all change lane and give the old cars a wide berth. The fear of the drive mixes with the excitement of the spectacular party for an experience that Lynn will not soon forget.

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Last updated: December 19, 2010