There are special people that only the lucky get a chance to meet. I was that lucky guy several months back when I met David E. Davis at a Volkswagen Jetta press event. As a kid, I would sneak through various car magazines in my dad’s office – many articles, the funny, insightful ones had his name on it. My dad thought the world of him and so did I.
We spent the entire day driving the new Volkswagen Jetta and he was one of the few elderly gentlemen that I damn well knew was the smartest guy in the room. Not only was he worldly, educated and humorous – he knew cars. This was a guy who did everything most automotive journalists lie about. It was hard not to be impressed.
The day I met him was the same day his ex-wife passed away. When I hopped in the car with him, he immediately warned me that he was – shall we say – conflicted. An hour later, he was quoting Groucho Marks as he deftly down-shifted our Jetta.
He was impossible to miss in any room. David E. Davis, Jr. was a big, tall man with a silver beard and slicked back hair. On the other events he attended, I noticed he always dressed casually, ready for anything. His face was terribly scarred from a racing accident which nearly killed him. Despite this and other tribulations, he was as giddy about cars in his 80s as I was in my 20s.
The rest of the day (and that evening) I keep for myself as the things discussed have and will shape my journalistic career.
I’m richer for knowing him and you’re lucky if you’ve read him.
- – Nathan D. Adlen