Paul Breck Volunteer Spotlight – June 2018
Q: When and how did you become a motorsports enthusiast?
I don’t know that “motorsports enthusiast” is the right term. “Gearhead” is probably a more accurate term. I really just love cars themselves — the styling, the customizing, the colors, the sounds. I feel sometimes like classic cars have souls.
I think the original Batmobile on TV and the Hot Wheels toy line that came out when I was five years old really got me going. As I got older, it was slot cars and plastic models.
My first “hot rod” was a candy-red Stingray bike with playing cards in the spokes and a leopard-print banana seat. I learned to fix my bike, then my mom’s car, and eventually, my own cars. We lived outside of town, so it was usually more of a necessity to be mechanical than a hobby. If I wanted to get to school or work, I had to keep my car or motorcycle running. Some weeks, that was a simple tune-up. Other weeks, it was an engine rebuild.
Q: What kind of influence has that had on your life?
My dream was to be an automotive designer. I never made it as a career, but I learned to draw cars, and I learned about drafting and mechanical principles. I ended up being a designer, but I had to settle for industrial water and chemical-pump systems instead of cool cars. I have sketchpads full of car ideas going back to high school.
Cars continue to be a hobby for me. I am still trying to be that designer. There is nothing I won’t try myself in the name of better styling. I have a short-bed truck project that I made from a long bed, and a Thunderbird roadster I created out of a hardtop.
Q: What makes volunteering at World of Speed meaningful to you?
The museum has given me so many opportunities to learn about the vehicles and to meet people that I would never have been able to experience, had the museum not been here. Every time I arrive for my shift, I am anxious to see what has changed in the time I was away.
Q: What is the most memorable experience of your time volunteering?
At the grand opening, I got to spend a lot of time talking to Janet Guthrie. She is quite possibly the most fascinating person I have ever met. On the mechanical side, the most memorable experience is always right around the corner. I never thought I would see the Mickey Thompson “Challenger” up close. Now, I have been studying it for several years. I never thought I’d see a ‘59 Ferrari TR, or a Porsche 959, or the Granatelli Camaro, or a Z-11 Impala, or…
Q: What do you wish other people knew about World of Speed?
We are so honored to have the Mickey Thompson collection, the Granatelli collection, the Northwind dragster, the Vollstedt Indy car, and so many other things. In my opinion, these are world-class pieces of automotive history that cannot really be seen anywhere else.
Q: If you could choose any vehicle to be displayed in the museum, what would it be?
There are so many “bucket list” cars that have been checked off my list since I started volunteering here. Maybe a ’57 Chevy “Black Widow,” any Group B rally car, a factory A/FX drag car, a Lamborghini Miura, the Bullitt Mustang... how could I choose only one?