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Judge Me If You Will

Ray Lindenburg October 13, 2014 Quick Shifts 11 Comments


Remember when George Costanza bought John Voights car? His claim to fame was to share the same tufted pleather cushion with the actor.  Or, so he thought.  Turns out that the Deliverance star spells his first name just a little differently, and George had an imposter star car.

This little digression into the if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have none life of the fictional Costanza is brought to you by a wow, that’s a lucky moment in my own life. A recent weekend jaunt to small town Americana brought me inside the doors of Bergstrom’s Classic Auto in lovely downtown Port Townsend, Washington.  Truly a car guys’ dream shop, Bergstrom’s stocks just about everything between an entirely assembled car, down to the component pieces to build your own.

Hubcaps, name plates, automobilia signs, posters, vintage display units and other ephemera line the walls and numerous display cabinets, while vintage cars and motorcycles are interspersed throughout. I had but a short period of time to browse, being that real life beckoned outside the hallowed doors (meaning, my wife and kid were waiting elsewhere) – so I was able to focus on but one corner of the large space.

In that corner, as I glanced at my phone to judge the amount of time remaining for my sojourn, I found a rack full of old Car and Driver magazines. The closest one was dated April 1975 and featured the all-new Volkswagen Rabbit as a lead story.  I thumbed through it, digested some important facts and interesting old advertisements, then inserted the yellowed magazine in its plastic sleeve.  Noticing the address label on the next mag in the rack, I flipped the April issue upside down to read the information.


Mr. Lance Ito, Berkeley, California.


I pulled my iPhone out and did some quick sleuthing. Judge Lance Ito, of OJ Simpson trial fame, graduated from the University of California Law School in 1975.

$4.50 later, I was the happy owner of Judge Ito’s Car and Driver magazine. He may not have been as impressed with the VW Rabbit as I, being a future lawyer and famous person, but I’ve touched the same pages as he has.

At least, like George Costanza, that’s what I’m assuming.

  • Alff

    The question on everybody's mind … did he buy the Stratos?

    Very cool find.

  • BradleyBrownell

    Ah the Triumph TR7. It and I go WAY back…

    • I found myself behind a TR7 for while on my commute home in a last night. It brightened up a drive through a torrential downpour. Not only had I not seen a TR7 on the road in I-don't-know-how-long, but most amazing part is, the TR7 seemed to be running quite fine through a torrential downpour.

    • Ugh. My first car, also. Luckily I smashed it into a wall within the first couple months.

  • chmodels

    I grab back-issues of C&D, R&T, et al. from Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank as often as possible. Once, I scored a Road & Track that was orignally sent to the late Don Ricardo of NBC Orchestra and Mercedes Gullwing fame. My first thought when I found it was, "I can't believe no one else scooped this up!" My second thought was "I can't believe I think anyone else would care about this!"

    Also, I seem to recall reading somewhere that Judge Ito's college ride was a Boss 302 Mustang.

  • Maymar

    I believe I mailed that issue (well, not Lance Ito's) to Famous Automotive Journalist, Blake Z. Rong. So that's pretty cool.

  • jeepjeff

    Nice. Of course, you posted this now, rather than two weeks ago, when I was actually in Port Townsend…

    (My Dad lives there. I'll have to visit Bergstrom's next time I'm up there.)

  • I've told this story before, but at the Minden Classic & Euro Motorcycle Show in 1993, I bought a motorcycle magazine from 1964 that featured new Grand National champion Dick Mann both on the cover, and in a BSA ad inside. The name on the postal label? Dick Mann! I didn't realize until I'd purchased it that I was talking to his wife.

  • mrh1965

    I wish I had kept my late 70's Car and Driver's, they were fun.

    Anyway, George may have missed out on actually buying Jon Voight's LeBaron but YOU can purchase Kim Basinger's Corvette:

    <img src="http://images.craigslist.org/00D0D_74qxS0YkYvA_600x450.jpg"&gt;

    He wanted $30,000 for it a couple of weeks ago so I guess there's some negotiating on the current asking price of $25k.

    • Rover_1

      I had her pegged more as a Camaro girl.

  • Yuppie Scum

    Did Ito get the issue reviewing the new Bronco?