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Dingell Attacks Opponent's Auto Enthusiasm in Motor City Stunner ( Dr. Steele )
The Truth About Cars ^ | October 16th, 2010 | Ronnie Schreiber

Posted on 10/18/2010 9:20:08 AM PDT by taildragger

John Dingell Jr. has represented Michigan’s 15th congressional district for 55 years. His father held the same seat for 22 years before that. Dingell has lived his entire life in Washington, D.C., never in the southwest suburbs of Detroit where his constituents live. For perhaps the first time in his life, Dingell is actually in a political battle. The Detroit Free Press published the results of a poll that showed him 4% down to his challenger, Dr. Rob Steele, a cardiologist from Ann Arbor, with just three weeks to go before the election.


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; Politics/Elections; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: 15thdistrict; automobile; dingell; steele
Perhaps if Rep. Dingell and the people near him spent more time in his district and less time in Washington, he would have known that around the Motor City, attacking a guy because he happens to have a collection of cool cars is not a very smart political move. That’s right, John Dingell’s campaign attacked Rob Steele for the fact that he was a car guy, in Michigan, in the Detroit suburbs. Yep. Well, not exactly John Dingell’s campaign, it was the affiliated Michigan Democratic State Central Committee who set up an attack site called Who Is Rob Steele? Still, how out of touch are these people? Are they insane? Attacking someone near Detroit for being an auto enthusiast?

In a naked effort to engage in class warfare, the site originally criticized Steele for making a lot of money as a cardiologist and from the group practice he started (which today employs 300 people). Dr. Steele and his wife, also a successful physician, have a large home, with a five car garage. Now most auto enthusiasts understand the concept of having more cars than storage allows, but to the MDSCC, that’s apparently a sin. Originally Who Is Rob Steele? had the following information mined from vehicle registration databases on the site:

“His five-car garage isn’t big enough to hold all of his eight luxury cars Look at this list of vehicles:

1968 Ferrari 330GTC12 2000 BMW M5 1965 Alfa Romeo 1962 Willys Station Wagon 1970 Fiat 1967 Fiat 1970 Buick Skylark GS 455 1996 Cadillac Seville

Really think a rich doctor with eight fancy cars understands what it’s like to get by in this economy?”

Now how out of touch with the world of cars and with the people of Michigan who love them do you have to be to call a ’62 Willys “fancy”? To describe Fiats as “luxury” cars?

In response to an inquiry, the Dingell campaign said

Mr. Dingell does not think Rob Steele’s 1962 Willys Station Wagon is a fancy luxury car but his other eight autos include a Ferrari, BWM M5, Alfa Romeo and multiple Fiats. Those are pretty darn fancy luxury cars! Made in America? Not so much

Know anything about car culture? Not so much.

Actually, according to Dr. Steele, the Willys belongs to his son, a gift from a grandparent, and the M5 was stolen. To a car nut, that list doesn’t say “fancy” or “luxury”, it says “car guy, cool cars”. Car guys know that if Dr. Steele were interested in luxury, the BMW would have been a 7 Series, not a M5. Car guys know that of all the M5s, he picked the purest of the breed.

And Dr. Steele is indeed a car guy, a serious car guy. The list above is incomplete due to project cars, etc. He actually has three Alfas, two ’65 Spyders, one he races and one that’s being restored as a historic racer since it competed in the 1965 Daytona Continental, and 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano Verde. The “Verde” means that it’s a “factory hot rod”, Steele explained. The Fiats are actually Dino models. Steele is such a car guy that in the middle of campaigning and treating patients he called me back to make sure that I knew that one of the Fiat Dinos is a Pininfarina roadster and the other a Bertone coupe, and that the ’65 Alfa had a bunch a aluminum components and one of the first 5spd transmissions you could buy in America. Every single one of his vehicles is a special example of that model or marque. His muscle car is a Buick.

The cars aren’t trailer queens either. Dr. Steele has raced in SCCA, at the road courses in Waterford Hills and Gratton, Michigan, and he sometimes takes his Buick down to Milan dragway, though he doesn’t “push it real hard, I want to keep it stock”. Our conversation started including words like DeDion rear axle, suspension mods, inboard brakes and dual spark ignition. Not the kind of things you hear from the usual politician.

If Steele wanted to drive fancy luxury cars, he can easily afford something fancier than the eight year old GMC Denali XL that’s his daily driver. That’s also the family car (the Steeles have four children), since Mrs. Steele just bought a 2011 Mustang GT that her husband describes as “an awesome car” that he wishes was his.

As an Italian car lover, he’s hoping that Chryslers start coming with Alfa Romeo engines.

Now some of you may be saying, yeah, okay, so he has some interesting collectible cars that are not particularly valuable, what about the Ferrari?

Steele took pains to note that the vast majority of his cars were bought at least 20 years ago. He’s been fooling around with cars since he got an MGB-GT as a teenager (followed by a 240Z, than a 944 Turbo). The Ferrari was bought in 1986, and it took a second mortgage on the family home to afford it @ $40,000. It’s hard to say what it’s worth but in the past half decade the auction prices on 330 GTCs have skyrocketed, peaking last year at ~$670,000. This year, four ’68 330 GTCs have sold for an average price of about $400K. So it’s true that Dr. Steele isn’t poor, and it’s true that his car collection is worth many thousands of dollars. He has nothing to be ashamed about and the truth is that he made his money honestly, helping people, and he is spending his money wisely and creatively, at least from looking at his collection.

Steele responded to the MDSCC attack on his cars directly with the following statement on his campaign’s web site:

A long-time auto enthusiast, Dr Steele enjoys all things automotive, including autocross, racing, mechanical work and restoration. He is a lifetime member of … the National Motorist Association

That’s also something you don’t expect to hear from a politician, even near Detroit. Michiganders are used to our politicians invoking all they have done for the auto industry, or mentioning a favorite Mustang or other special interest car in their garage or their past, but I can never recall a candidate making a point about how important car culture is in his life.

1 posted on 10/18/2010 9:20:17 AM PDT by taildragger
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To: taildragger

Dingell and lots of dems reduced to attacking their opponents over issues with no substance or relevance.


2 posted on 10/18/2010 9:22:35 AM PDT by DarthVader (That which supports Barack Hussein Obama must be sterilized and there are NO exceptions!)
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To: taildragger
I've seen the Doc's Buick up close. As the cars guys would say it is a "survivor" unrestored W30 Stage One and Doc got into details about the trick torque converter.

What would you rather have, a Dr who is a car guy or someone who's no infamous line is to "Control the People"...

3 posted on 10/18/2010 9:23:30 AM PDT by taildragger ((Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: DarthVader

Yes like his false attacks on Dr Steele on Social Security.


4 posted on 10/18/2010 9:24:21 AM PDT by taildragger ((Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: taildragger; All

Read the comments in the article link... Wow, especially from the Democrats that are car guys and “get it”..


5 posted on 10/18/2010 9:29:16 AM PDT by taildragger ((Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: taildragger

Dingell has been re-elected for all those years because he supported the auto industry, or at least the unions, and brought a lot of money to Detroit.

How has that worked out?


6 posted on 10/18/2010 9:30:03 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.)
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To: taildragger

The voters are on to him and that’s why he is in trouble.


7 posted on 10/18/2010 9:31:56 AM PDT by DarthVader (That which supports Barack Hussein Obama must be sterilized and there are NO exceptions!)
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To: taildragger; glock rocks

Pfffffftttt... The 70 Buick Skylark GS is the only one worth owning...


8 posted on 10/18/2010 9:33:54 AM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: taildragger

I happen to own a Ferrari 330GTC. No 330GTC that I know about has ever sold for $400,000, much less four of them at that price. Only 599 were made, so it’s relatively easy to track sales, especially through auctions an on-line advertising. One sold recently for, I beleve, $340,000. It is probably the best 330GTC on the planet, and is reported to be the only one ever shown at Pebble Beach. The average price for a very good 330GTC is about $225,000.


9 posted on 10/18/2010 9:34:11 AM PDT by clintonh8r ("Let them eat lobster cake." Michelle Antoinette, vacation #6.)
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To: taildragger
This is a tough one.

A man who has been in DC for 55 years and inherited his seat from his father versus an MD who has spent his life savings others.

A man who is married to a GM heiress and lobbyist versus a self made man whose wife is also a Doc.

A man who spends all his time in politics versus a man whose hobby is very much involved with the main business in his prospective constituency.

What a choice. No wonder Steele is in the lead.

10 posted on 10/18/2010 9:40:10 AM PDT by Timocrat
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To: taildragger
I've seen the Doc's Buick up close. As the cars guys would say it is a "survivor" unrestored W30 Stage One and Doc got into details about the trick torque converter.

I wondered if it was a Stage 1 car, seeing how the other cars on the list were equally unique. I'm a Ford guy at heart, but I appreciate all the late '50s through early '70s iron. The Buick would be my choice over its Chevelle SS, 442 and GTO siblings; that 455 was a great engine for a street machine.

11 posted on 10/18/2010 9:47:52 AM PDT by Charles Martel ("Endeavor to persevere...")
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To: taildragger

Dingell has one ad running in southeastern Michigan. It scares seniors into thinking Steele is going to destroy Social Security.

You would think Dingell, who is the Godfather of Health Care Reform, would be running tons of ads bragging about the bill.

I live in his district. All of the lawn signs are for Steele. The only place you will find a Dingell sign is on the lawn of the local UAW building.


12 posted on 10/18/2010 9:55:59 AM PDT by Portnoy (Follow me on Twitter @gadsdenrattlers)
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To: taildragger
Well lets see. High School with top grades. Undergrad of 4 years. Four years of med school. Three to eight years of internship and residency. That puts you at 30 to 35 before you actually start making any sort of money. I think he deserves a few cars.
13 posted on 10/18/2010 9:57:52 AM PDT by 70th Division (I love my country but fear my government!)
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To: taildragger
Well lets see. High School with top grades. Undergrad of 4 years. Four years of med school. Three to eight years of internship and residency. That puts you at 30 to 35 before you actually start making any sort of money. I think he deserves a few cars.
14 posted on 10/18/2010 9:58:03 AM PDT by 70th Division (I love my country but fear my government!)
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To: taildragger; cripplecreek; grellis
Reading the list, I thought Steele was a Euro-weenie enthusiast, until I came to this: 1970 Buick Skylark GS 455

Nice choice, Doc!

15 posted on 10/18/2010 10:00:47 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Islam is a violent and tyrannical political ideology and has nothing to do with "religion".)
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To: Portnoy
Portnoy....

I am hearing the same thing from a bud of mine down in Monroe-ish about the signs. Many in the yards of Union Big shots according to my friend!

16 posted on 10/18/2010 10:02:11 AM PDT by taildragger ((Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: taildragger
My favorite:

Chaparral-
For the record, I am a liberal Democrat. I have no idea why Mr. Dingell has attacked Mr. Steele on this.
Mr. Steele appears to have excellent taste in automobiles, and his garage is not particularly extravagant. It adds up to a pretty decent answer to “How would you spend $100,000 on your dream garage?”
The Ferrari 330 has often been called a bargain – a true Ferrari V12 GT for far less than what its more famous relatives go for – and if bought in a year when values were down would have cost less than $20,000.
The Skylark GS-455 was about the peak of the later Detroit muscle-car. It or a Dodge/Plymouth with a Hemi would have been the fastest midsizer you could buy in 1970. If bought before 1985 or in the 1990s it would’ve been “just another used car” at a four figure price.
An E39 BMW M5 has cost less than $20,000 for the past few years, and would be a bargain if it wasn’t for the heavy maintenance cost.
The ’65 Alfa, again, was very cheap at some point and between the 1980s boom and the 1990s boom could’ve gone for four figures.
The Fiats and Willys, if running and in good condition, are the sort of cool old ordinary cars that go on Jalopnik all the time.
A 1996 Seville is 15 years old now and is probably some sort of winter beater.

It sounds like the doc has a pretty nice collection of cars and a number of folks on both sides of the aisle admire that.

A friend of mine collects Mustangs. He buys old junkers and restores them in his spare time. Last week he was working on a '71 that he'd picked up for a song from a lady his wife works with. I went over and helped a bit with the sanding. He's now all of the dings and dents flattened out and will be repainting her sometime in the next couple of weeks.

17 posted on 10/18/2010 10:03:55 AM PDT by Stonewall Jackson (Democrats: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany.")
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To: taildragger

Here in Michigan being a “car guy” is going to help him connect with voters not drive them away. Nit wit.

Things are so bad here near the former Motor City that its like a decaying eastern European country after the fall of Communism. Anybody need any vacant auto factories? We got acres of them.


18 posted on 10/18/2010 10:06:01 AM PDT by Mad_as_heck (The MSM - America's (domestic) public enemy #1.)
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel
Reading the list, I thought Steele was a Euro-weenie enthusiast, until I came to this: 1970 Buick Skylark GS 455

I had a 1970 GS 455, black with mat red hood and side stripes. Would I ever like that car back!

19 posted on 10/18/2010 10:13:57 AM PDT by Prokopton
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To: Prokopton

Bttt...


20 posted on 10/18/2010 10:14:38 AM PDT by taildragger ((Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: DarthVader

An Ann Arbor cardiologist is going to be very, very busy on November 3rd. Just saying.


21 posted on 10/18/2010 10:16:31 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Charles Martel

GS is cool, but a Willys? Even better. All he needs is a ‘65 Dart GT convertible with the thirsty V-8 and a Hurst shifter.


22 posted on 10/18/2010 10:29:06 AM PDT by steve8714 (Never again should free men be asked to fight for those without the courage to turn them loose.)
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To: steve8714

“‘65 Dart GT convertible”

But, will it start in the rain? [snicker]


23 posted on 10/18/2010 10:35:40 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Islam is a violent and tyrannical political ideology and has nothing to do with "religion".)
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel

.... ahhh memories... my uncle bought one cousin a ‘66 Valiant convertible, red with a stick and drove as a daily commuter for 25+ years, finally lost to NE rust... the other cousin got a ‘65 Mustang 289 stick that my Dad bought her while at Stanford and then had a restorer work on it 30 years later, I think spending more than the original purchase price to cut the rust out of the panels... man, I loved borrowing those rides at 17!!!

ymmv


24 posted on 10/18/2010 11:12:42 AM PDT by ElectionInspector (Molon Labe...)
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel

Park it facing downhill.


25 posted on 10/18/2010 11:50:55 AM PDT by steve8714 (Never again should free men be asked to fight for those without the courage to turn them loose.)
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To: taildragger
John Dingell Jr. has represented Michigan’s 15th congressional district for 55 years. His father held the same seat for 22 years before that.

I am guessing that is what we call a career politician. Sort of like the Al Gore Sr and Jr. tag team. I wonder if the Dingils are backed by the same Communists as the Gores.

26 posted on 10/18/2010 11:58:31 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government)
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To: tubebender

Ah yes, the ‘68 -’72 GM A-body cars...Mine was a ‘71 Skylark Custom. All I have left of it is a 20x24 color photo enlargement. I had it from ‘76-’78, paid $750 for it and could only dream of a GS unless we saw one out on the street, Autorama or other car show. I really like the ‘69’s and IMHO they were the epitome in A-body styling compared to the others (LeMans/GTO, Chevelle/Malibu and Cutlass/442.

Although the ‘69 Malibue was ultra hot, I am biased towards the Skylarks...the 68’s too.

As for Dingell, I say he’s overdue to arrive at the boneyard.


27 posted on 10/18/2010 12:56:26 PM PDT by equaviator ("There's a (datum) plane on the horizon coming in...see it?")
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To: Springman; sergeantdave; cyclotic; netmilsmom; RatsDawg; PGalt; FreedomHammer; queenkathy; ...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

If you would like to be added or dropped from the Michigan ping list, please freepmail me.

28 posted on 10/18/2010 1:20:03 PM PDT by grellis (I am Jill's overwhelming sense of disgust.)
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To: equaviator
As for Dingell, I say he’s overdue to arrive at the boneyard.

LOL !

29 posted on 10/18/2010 1:33:50 PM PDT by taildragger ((Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: 70th Division

” I think he deserves a few cars. “

I agree and I would add that in my opinion he deserves whatever he gets!

That said, isn’t it amazing how the class envy crowd always seem to conveniently forget the WORK that gets the successful to the point of success? They think it is simply luck, because they are to lazy to do that WORK!


30 posted on 10/18/2010 2:26:03 PM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the "Dave Ramsey Fan" ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: grellis

Thanks, grellis!


31 posted on 10/18/2010 2:47:08 PM PDT by MaggieCarta (What are we here for but to provide sport for our neighbors, and to laugh at them in our turn?Austen)
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To: Portnoy

The seniors aren’t that stupid AND many of them have already voted. Dingell is just spitting in the wind.


32 posted on 10/18/2010 3:55:41 PM PDT by madison10
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To: equaviator

Ya mean Dingleberry is over due at the crusher? I have a A Body story that trumps your Buick. I started drag racing a 38 Chevy Stove Bolt 6 at Hammer Field in 1952 then I moved to Eureka in 54 and bought and raced a 55 Chevy here here at the Samoa Drag strip (still in operation today) then a couple of Hot Rods until I bought a new 1965 GTO Tri Power that I raced for 3 years. After that I got into fielding a couple of circle track cars at Redwood Acres until I met a dairy farmer that I sponsored and did some chassis work and now we’re getting to your A Body. One day this burley farmer shows up at my shop in a brand new 1970 450hp SS-454 and said he wanted me to campaign it here and in Redding and Medford Or so I let him drive our 70 Blazer and I made modifications to the 454 and raced it that summer until my wife and his wife put their foot down and he traded the Mailbu for a Ford Torino that his wife wanted in the first place.

And now the rest of the story... he called me one night and said to find a 350 or 396 and I could have the 454. I put it in a 55 for a friend who taught drop outs auto shop at a continuation HS in Redding that may still be running...


33 posted on 10/18/2010 4:52:19 PM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: Prokopton
Reading the list, I thought Steele was a Euro-weenie enthusiast, until I came to this: 1970 Buick Skylark GS 455

I had a 1970 GS 455, black with mat red hood and side stripes. Would I ever like that car back!

Some 12 years ago I had a 1970 Chevy Malibu. Damn, would that car move!

34 posted on 10/18/2010 5:19:11 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: tubebender

“And now the rest of the story... he called me one night and said to find a 350 or 396 and I could have the 454. I put it in a 55 for a friend who taught drop outs auto shop at a continuation HS in Redding that may still be running...”

Well, that sure does trump my A-body story...I guess.

Here’s a little BIG engine story...My dad bought a brand new ‘73 -’74 GMC 26’ motorhome and it had in it an Olds 455. I doubt very much that it is still running and of course he never raced it but it sure did stink up parts of Rocky Mountain National Park where it blew a head gasket midway through our summer vacation. It spewed huge clouds of coolant vapor all the way to a N. Platte, Nebraska where we spent 2 1/2 days practically living in the showroom at an Olds dealership. Good thing there was a bowling alley just up the road. Then even more problems after that but I’ll not get into those details just to save server space...Man, that was some maiden voyage!


35 posted on 10/19/2010 3:14:56 AM PDT by equaviator ("There's a (datum) plane on the horizon coming in...see it?")
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To: equaviator

Was that a pusher type motor home?


36 posted on 10/19/2010 8:49:43 AM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: tubebender

The GMC’s were front-wheel drive.


37 posted on 10/21/2010 3:11:19 AM PDT by equaviator ("There's a (datum) plane on the horizon coming in...see it?")
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