In 1967, I was a junior-college student in Chicago with two passions, cars and cigars. I was able to satisfy the one when I noticed a 1947 Buick with a "For Sale" sign on it not far from my family's apartment. For $225, I was able to purchase what was an antique even then.

Looking back on that 40-year segment of my life, I now appreciate how much has changed and how much has stayed the same. Call it wisdom or dumb luck, but the decision to store that first car in my friend's barn for more than 25 years paid off. I was able to eventually have it shipped out to California from the Midwest and have it completely restored. No longer having to face the harsh winters of Chicago, I decided to "California-ize" it, complete with a camel-tan paint job to replace the black, and a tan-and-chocolate leather interior to replace the wool fabric of the original.

It is a true L.A. cruiser now, which grows in beauty each and every year. I love living in Southern California with its rich culture and year-round sunny days. Whenever I get a chance, I like to fire up my Buick, light up an Angelenos cigar and cruise around town. Life has been good to me, so I try give back when I can.

I have a motto that I try to live by: "Every day's a good day, and some days are great."

Joe Mantegna


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