Home » The Autopian’s LA Auto Show Surprise Guest Is Me, Your Wrenching Pal Stephen Walter Gossin

The Autopian’s LA Auto Show Surprise Guest Is Me, Your Wrenching Pal Stephen Walter Gossin

Stephen Is In La Ts
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This morning I opened my eyes and realized that yes, I had made it to LA the night before at 3am ET after an arduous flight from The Cape Fear of Wilmington, NC. Mechanical issues with the plane I was transferring onto in Dallas resulted in me sitting at an airport bar way too long; draining my wallet and filling up my belly with craft beers.

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It was 7am and my phone was ringing; the name on the screen: David Tracy. “Stephen Walter Gossin! Are you here and are you alive?!” was what I heard while not-yet half-awake. After affirming that I was alive, in LA and now awake, I told David that I didn’t have any food allergies and that I was jazzed to FINALLY meet him later in the day. 

Yes, that’s correct: I have been friends with and working with DT for 3 years now, yet we had yet to meet in person. The last time he and Jason were in my neighborhood, I had sadly missed their email and missed out on a face-to-face. I also hadn’t met Thomas, Mercedes, Matt and the rest of the team, since we’re all strewn about various states/countries. Well that all ends this week! 

After a quick shower I realized that it was time to go downstairs in our rented AirBnB to meet my roommates for the week. Sitting on the couch with a laptop open in front of him was one of the most knowledgeable (I mean savant-level) writers in this profession: Thomas Hundal. A warm Canadian smile, a fist bump and the conveyance of how great it was to finally meet was mutually expressed. His immediate kindness rivals his writing ability and encyclopedic knowledge.

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“SWG!” was then heard from behind me, voiced by a gravelly-toned tenor that I’ve heard for years. Jason Torchinsky, one of my favorite auto writers, one whom I read and followed religiously, was sitting at the kitchen table, in pajamas, drinking coffee [Editor’s Note: I was in a t-shirt and underpants, which I think I’d hesitate to call “pajamas.” Also, it was tea. – JT] and writing Cold Start. For someone like me, this was the type of experience that gives credence to the phrase “You should definitely meet your heroes, because they’re just as awesome as you expect them to be, especially in their PJs” .

Next, in walks a much-taller-than-you’d-expect Matt Hardigree, with breakfast coffees, sandwiches and a big hug. This is the same Matt Hardigree whose fans have approached me in the past, asking what working with him was like. And here he was handing me a breakfast burrito. 

I’d only been here for a few hours and awake for much less than that and this was the best possible start to the LA Auto Show.

[Editor’s Note: Aw, what a peach. – JT]

Matt informed us that David had left us his Nissan Leaf with 25 miles of range on it to get around. Was this schadenfreude by David on purpose to get us to write about our transportation challenges going to and leaving from the Auto Show? It’s very possible. We grabbed some Autopian t-shirts, piled in and headed to the Galpin Hall of Customs area in the LA Convention Center (which houses the Autopian booth).

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[Editor’s Note: My hair is wet. It normally looks bad, but not that  bad. – JT]

With Thomas navigating (he’s a Torontonian; have you ever made your way around LA with a Canadian navigator?) and Matt and Jason in the back, we made it with about 18 miles left of range and plugged it into a rando 110V outlet we found in the Convention Center parking garage. 

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Once inside, I immediately found myself standing next to The Batmobile (the actual one from the Adam West show), Beau’s completely wicked collection of truly outstanding cars, The Kevin Hart Kollection, the cars from The Fast & Furious films and Daisy. In fact, I’m actually sitting next to Daisy (the last Cobra, ever), while writing this. Saying my usual statements of immense appreciation such as “wicked badass” or such doesn’t really touch on how cool this is.

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David is actually on a mission in Malibu this afternoon and Mercedes arrives in a couple hours. Meeting the two of them this evening is something I’m really looking forward to. That just leaves meeting Adrian, The Bishop, Lewin Day, Laurence Rogers, Huibert, Mark Tucker, Social Media Pete, Rob Spiteri, Steven Balistreri, and Therese and I’ll finally have Autopian Team bingo.

You may see me in a few social media Reels covering the cars of the show, asking questions on the Podcast, serving as Security detail for Jason, and serving shrimp and drinks at the Autopian Happy Hour (I used to bartend in Wilmington after college – going to dust off some cobwebs and see if I still have it). This is about as cool as it gets.

I don’t think I’m going to be able to leave when the time comes.

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Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
7 months ago

I’m glad the band is all getting together. Perhaps Jason can talk you all into a night of improv. He can call you the LA Lighters and you can all go do improv at the second best taillight bar.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Wyman

NOT ALL THE BAND, ANDREW.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
7 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

True, they will be without their lead singer.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
7 months ago

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, SWG. As corny as it sounds, it’s great seeing you happy in your element, because the enjoyment looks sincere.

On a side note, I hope someday The Autopian becomes big enough to get their own camper/trailer/RV/quonset/cabin/house where you guys can get together for a week or two and hijinx ensue.

Obnoxious 986 Peasant
Obnoxious 986 Peasant
7 months ago

Lmaoooo of course you bartended in Wilmington. Was it Might As Well? Please tell me it wasn’t.

Obnoxious 986 Peasant
Obnoxious 986 Peasant
7 months ago

Yeah, before my time. I moved down there (also from NY!) in 2010, completely different town by then

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
7 months ago

[Editor’s Note: I was in a t-shirt and underpants, which I think I’d hesitate to call “pajamas.” Also, it was tea. – JT]

Captain Carlos Rodriguez It’s all right. It’s just a bullet. My wife Carmelita will suck it out. Go ahead. And don’t worry about your pajamas. I’ll take care of them!

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
7 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

Seriously, how often do you get to leave pajama comments on a car blog and have it actually be relevant in some way?

Space
Space
7 months ago

Just wanted to say Your hair looks great.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
7 months ago
Reply to  Space

I’m wondering how we’re about the same age, but I have a shit ton of gray. Guess I need to go hang out at more junkyards.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
7 months ago
Reply to  Space

Ummm, hello?

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago
Reply to  Space

JT: “which one?”

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
7 months ago

Ah, so THIS is why SWG was in Texas earlier.

Yeah, I don’t blame him for not staying, either.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
7 months ago

Dang it, now I’m REALLY sore I’m not in LA. Have a great time, Stevie G! Also, that zip-up is bad-ass!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago

> Mechanical issues with the plane I was transferring onto in Dallas resulted in me sitting at an airport bar way too long

Did you offer to fix them, or was the plane too expensive for you to wrench on?

Welcome to California!

Your biggest fan Harvey

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago

<3

Was the plane a Tracy-Rogers jet? Those are known for a small rust problem causing their entire bottom to crumble away.

Laurence Rogers
Laurence Rogers
7 months ago

Bloody oath, getting the band together! Stoked for you mate!

CSRoad
CSRoad
7 months ago

It’s got that super hero comic book feel viewing from a far.
Have fun while working!

Severson
Severson
7 months ago

As the local dodge dude based on the facebook market ad i saw this week, and a fellow stealth appreciator, I look forward to your articles and media this week.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
7 months ago

Have a blast! They really are a great group of folks. And if you get a chance, see if you can talk Beau into showing you around his collection.

Oldhusky
Oldhusky
7 months ago

Who’s Therese?

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
7 months ago
Reply to  Oldhusky

Our new video editor! I’m sure she has other roles, too. 🙂

Oldhusky
Oldhusky
7 months ago

Well, shucks, put Therese in front of the camera so we can all welcome this mystery Autopian

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago

I feel bad for her working on a feature most people hate ;_;

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
7 months ago

Who would’ve thought, given the choice, people would rather read than watch tv?

PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
7 months ago

I like the videos, it’s just awkward when they start playing while I’m supposed to be working enjoying a leisurely scroll through an article.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
7 months ago

I do hope we get a majority of pics not from the show but rather from street sightings of random old Mopar sport coupes.

“Check out this Status R/T…can you believe it’s in white?! Nobody bought them in white!”

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago

LA was never infested with Mopar vehicles the way other areas were. There’s so much constant driving they wouldn’t last a year.

Alec Weinstein
Alec Weinstein
7 months ago

Y’all staying for the Real Show where normies are allowed? Last time it was… David and Mercedes IIRC

Alec Weinstein
Alec Weinstein
7 months ago

Welp, can confirm. Was fun meeting you! And Thomas, which brings my total to… 6?

Hope I didn’t scare you away from the Discord lol

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
7 months ago

Jaguar story! Jaguar story! Jaguar story!

And welcome to town SWG. Looking forward to your contributions.

Last edited 7 months ago by OrigamiSensei
TOSSABL
TOSSABL
7 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

Need to organize a demonstration at one of these events. Everyone put their tailight costume on and chant Jag…u….AR, Jag…u….AR!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago

Tell him you’re writing a story about a cat you adopted and nursed back to health.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
7 months ago

You all thought it was going to be me right? Say you hoped it was going to be me.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
7 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Porque no los dos? So far I’ve met DT, Torch and Beau but still working on the rest of the staff. Unfortunately a busy life means I can’t always drive up from the San Diego area to catch the LA events.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
7 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Nah. We all know if it were you, it’d be the Geneva Auto Show and a small booth which you’d never be at as you’d be too busy chatting up the women at an Italian automaker’s and/or having heated arguments with some unexpected (i.e. not French, I’m thinking like Mitsubishi) OEM over a design choice.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
7 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I feel seen.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
7 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

We would be drawn in by the power of the scowl 🙂

Slower Louder
Slower Louder
7 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Of course we did, Uncle!

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
7 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

I was hoping real-time Adrian roasts were involved here somehow.

(I also assumed most of the North American regulars were a given.)

Last edited 7 months ago by Stef Schrader
Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
7 months ago

I can’t wait to see the epic video of SMG and DT meeting for the first time as he drives to pick up David when his Leaf dies.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago
Reply to  Rollin Hand

Every Mopar car in LA county is shaking in its boots

Alec Weinstein
Alec Weinstein
7 months ago

Ranger Deer Hoof wheels look shockingly good on early ’90s Toyota trucks

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
7 months ago

Wait, so Jason spent 20(?) years in LA and he is making you drive and Thomas navigate?

Also, Thomas doesn’t look anything like I imagined. Granted, I kind of pictured him as Dave Thomas (McKenzie brothers, not Wendy’s).

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
7 months ago

Glad I’m not the only one. But, I’m not sure what I imagined. Maybe less boyish? No insult intended; the youthful look is quite in vogue, I hear

A. Barth
A. Barth
7 months ago

Will you have time for a hooptie-hunting junkyard jaunt while you’re out there?

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
7 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Don’t do it!
you end up with some Brazil-only dashboard stashed in someone’s closet because it would cost big time to get it home—but you just can’t leave it to rot in the sun.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
7 months ago

Casually dropping that you’re sitting next to Daisy, well, that’s gearhead gold right there. Like you level up or something. And you get to meet more of the crew, yeah, a little envy going on here. But it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, so that’s all good. Enjoy the festivities, SWG!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
7 months ago

Did you go up to it and lick it when no one was around?

>>nobody will get that, so…in the 80s, a young lady wrote in – by snail mail – to a Van Halen fan newsletter that she would ‘sometimes when no one is around I get right up to the tv and lick the screen when they play the video’
😉

Last edited 7 months ago by TOSSABL
Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 months ago

Running with the big dogs now, SWG. Break a leg.

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