May 11, 2000

  Today was a day of substitutes.  In addition to Hal Sender of Peterson stepping in for our scheduled speaker, both the Pledge Leader and one of the Musical Directors took French Leave (that means they weren't present or accounted for - the French are like that.).  Anyway, PETER MORE stepped up for the Pledge, and then PP JIM DOWNIE ably played us through On Wisconsin, with PP STEVE DAY giving us some words entitled, Sing Rotarians, Sing Rotarians.  Since YOE attended UniHi, and since On Wisconsin was the basis for the UniHi Fight Song, the tune gave me no trouble.  Over time, and with practice, we'll even get the words (and if you need them, I have them pressed into my Memory Book).  But enough of these substitutes or partial subs - the scheduled Invocation Giver, ELLIOTT TURNER, was not only on hand but provided some good thoughts about courage.  I wrote down one particular quote, from Karl Barth - "Courage is fear that has said its prayers".

PP RON LYSTER introduced Dan Hirsch, a visiting Rotarian from LA 5, and Program Chair JIM BECHTEL brought along his 8-year old daughter, Ellen.  Ellen is currently in remission, and doing well - it was good to have her with us, JIM.  PDG ANDY ANDERSON reported on the upcoming Council on Legislation, which meets only every three years.  Next spring it will be in Chicago, They will be considering perhaps 300 Resolutions, all of which have been pre-screened for clarity, and they have the authority to make significant changes in how Rotary operates.  PDG Paul Netzel of LA 5 was
elected as the sole representative for District 5280.

PETER MORE described our brand new WVRC Display Stand, which was first used
at the recent District Conference.  Along with the AV tapes, it was a very effective way of spreading the word about out PLLUS Program, and will be used next in Buenos Aires at the International Convention in June.  Those going to B.A. from WVRC are Incoming President STEVE ADLER, PETER MORE, PP RON LYSTER, and the ever-present GEORGE DEA.  As you know, we have a most informative website,, and you may not realize that PETER and his son. Jeff, were the very hard-working team that completely designed and formatted our site. You two did a great job, and we are in your debt. 

PP STEVE DAY next gave an early pitch for the 16th Annual Foundation Celebration Dinner (formerly known as the Paul Harris Dinner) which will be at the Airport Westin on Saturday, Oct 28th.  I say early, since we usually sign up for this dinner in July - but the District wants to know before the end of this month if you are coming.  Please contact either STEVE or PP DOUG DESCH, to insure your reservation - you can cancel up to a couple of weeks beforehand, but this early booking will help the District with their plans.
Should you sign up, the cost of $75 per person will be on your July bill.  And speaking of the District, don't overlook the District Assembly next Saturday, the 20th - it is specifically designed for incoming officers and newer members, so join one of the carpools going down to Carson that morning.  Call STEVE ADLER for details.

Gaea Schwaebe, President of our very active Rotaract Club at UCLA, gave me a  copy of their programs.  On the 17th of this month, a dinner at Ronald McDonald Center, the next night Cowboy Sushi at Ackerman, followed on Sunday by a Beach BBQ.  Another Ronald McDonald dinner on the 24th, and that Friday the 26th, an End of the Year dinner and film!  Gaea has done an outstanding job in this, the second year for the Club, and of course GEORGE DEA is always there to lend a hand.  Call George for details, of course.

JIM BECHTEL introduced our speaker, Hal Sender, who has been a docent at the Peterson Automobile Museum for the past three years.  The Museum, located at the SE corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, has been open for five years.  They were having some funding difficulties, so Mr. Peterson recently stepped forward with a new gift of $25 million, which ought to solve those problems for some time.  There are three floors for display, plus the vault in the basement where the really valuable cars are stored.

One of the first things you see, on the first floor, is a l00 year-old Steamer Car, which amounts to a small railway engine.  The Indy 500 was the subject several times, with Mr. Sender pointing out that the first drivers there wore white cloth helmets - the idea being that after a crash, if the helmet was red, they had a serious injury problem.  Now, the cars get up to 200 mph, and if they crash, the drivers usually just walk away unharmed. 
Another car on display is a model T Ford - and at one time, this single model was the choice of one quarter of all drivers in the entire world!  It was introduced in 1914, and the assembly line, that long ago, could produce 1000 cars PER HOUR.  Black was the only color provided - and it was chosen because black paint dried more quickly than any other color.

The Dusenberg name came up several times, also.  Originally, the two Dusenberg brothers just made engines - for the Indy 500.  They later expanded into an entire chassis, but the actual body panels were made by other suppliers.  Despite their old and famous name, only 480 were made and they never sold well. Of these, 350 can still be located.  In 1928, they produced a 265 HP car, with the nearest competitor as far as power being the Chrysler, at 130 HP. The Dusenberg was a gas-guzzler, and it cost $7500 just for the
engine and chassis, compared to a Cadillac, which went for $2,000.  One of their final models, a 1936 maroon touring car, sold used for $600 - today it is worth l.5 million!

The Second Floor is given over at present to hot-rods.  Included are a number
of Low Riders, as favored by the Latino community, and the prime example would be a 1962 Chevy, valued at $50K today These cars are on loan, but they do give a good history lesson as to what was popular and when.  Getting back to Ford, until 1919, they could only be started with a hand crank - but they finally joined the other manufacturers that year with a starter motor.  The Third Floor is their Discovery Center.

It was pointed out by our audience that Carl Breer's son, Fred was a long-time member of WVRC.  As a matter of fact, there were several car buffs in the audience, and they kept our speaker on his toes, for sure.  How many Cords were built?   Peterson has one in their vault, but the total number still extant is between 29 and 36 - think they might be expensive?  They have several Pierce Arrows in the Vault - and it became evident that a number of our members would like a private tour of the Vault, which can be arranged -
JIM BECHTEL will check this out.  The final question was from DICK LITTLESTONE, and while the answer wasn't clear to me, Hal did say that it just showed that DICK was a bigger crook than he was!

Next week is Spouses Day, with Rod Stryker, Yoga Master talking about slowing the aging process through stress reduction and meditation.  Alas, while I need that lesson, I'll be up in St. Helena, and LEE DUNAYER will be your Editor.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe