Ted Gushue’s long been a person of interest to me for several reasons, but particularly because of: Classic European cars and photography. I mean, you gotta admit that it’s slightly intriguing how a Santa Monica denizen is so deep into classic cars from across the pond rather than the muscle cars that roam the land.
Then, there’s his photography, which in the vast ubiquity of Instagram and the interwebs, in general, seems to define its own laws for color science. Rendering unto itself a signature and strength to tell stories like few others’ can.
Ted, of course, wields both of these passions at the online reference website we know and love: Petrolicious.com
Recently, an opportunity came up to grill the man about himself and his passions. Needless to say, I went for it with both feet in.
Tell us a little about Ted Gushue. Where’d you grow up, what were you like in school and, may be, what are some passions of yours outside of the one you’ve devoted your life to?
I born and raised in Wilton Connecticut, a suburb of New York City. I was a precocious kid — very quirky — chubby, hilarious. Always wanted to be at the table when my parents had dinner parties.
My family, has always been a big car family. We constantly had something old and interesting in the driveway. So, that’s where the cars come in.
The I picked up a camera in high school and stuck with it through college. That’s where the photography comes in.
I, also, had a bit of sailing in me. In fact, sailing was my sport. But largely because I was, also, comically allergic to grass.
Okay, now, tell us how you got into classic car journalism and got into it so deeply?
I hesitate to call what we do “journalism”. I know real journalists who do real work that makes a meaningful difference in the world.
I would call what we do a bit more along the lines of “enthusiasm”, which is to say that we’re here to celebrate this passion and to reflect it back to the community that shares it with us.
Cars were a big part of my life, but the opportunity to focus on them and share a passion with a rich community was too good to pass up.
You’re presently a Santa Monica native, but if your Instagram account is anything to go by, your interests definitely lean towards cars from across the pond. How’d that happen?
Connecticut native, mind you, but now live in Santa Monica. My Dad always had European cars, mom always drove Mercedes station wagons.
Now, I daily drive the ’76 911S my father raised me in. This was life for me, from the get go.
Would you say there’s a checklist of things that draw you to particular cars more than others?
If something was built to last longer than a lease term, I’m generally attracted to it.
What about modern cars? They don’t often turn up on your Instagram. May be the most recent one that you wrote about on petrolicious.com was when you interviewed Eugenio Amos about his CLK GTR. That’s a beast in its own league, but what sort of modern cars are you drawn to?
Cars with hidden powers attract me in the modern realm.
The E63 AMGs Wagon for instance. Nearly 600 HP and you’d never know.
Tell us about petrolicious.com in your own words and your role as Editorial Director with the site.
My role there has evolved over the last two years. Initially it was just to build the online magazine into something we could be proud of. Then it moved on to oversee the growth of our social channels, and now it looks a bit more like business development on top of that.
We’re a group of really passionate enthusiasts, collectors and friends who just want to celebrate what we consider to be important in the automotive world.
Of the many people you’ve spoken/interviewed in your career, who was a recent dream come true and why?
Just spent a weekend, recently, cracking jokes and listening to stories with Jochen Mass at Schloss Dyck, while with A. Lange & Söhne.
What an absolute gentleman. Gifted comedian, and a legendary driver.
Of the many cars you’ve covered in your career, what was a recent dream come true and why?
I actually prefer to be driven by the owner at a certain point with these cars.
The CLK GTR you mentioned was a perfect example. I’m not trained in that car, it’s a beast to drive. Eugenio is a racing driver.
He can do it justice, so I sit back and enjoy the ride.
If you could name just one, what would be a dream car that’s still eluded you in your work?
I just shot it just a week or so ago, the McLaren F1.
Would we be right to say that you’ve got a thing for classic Porsches? Porsche themselves have featured you on their website recently in May of 2017.
I drive one every day.
Okay, on to the point that this interview is all about: Tell us the story behind your 1976 Porsche 911S.
My dad bought it from a guy named Myron Schuster in the early 90’s for about $5k. It was maybe his 10th Porsche?
We were the second owners. I grew up in that car. Stole the keys to it when I was 16 and burned the clutch out.
It was a member of our family.
When I moved to LA my dad handed me the keys. It’s now been updated a bit further, now, with new KW V3 suspension, Braid RSR wheels, Pirelli Cinturato CN36s, new brakes, the whole kit.
Educate me, what does the “Swap” in your 911’s classification mean?
We dropped an ’86 3.2L engine in it, so it’s got a bit more pep and greater reliability than the 2.7L engine.
What about that Martini sticker on your 911’s left headlight?
We had the car repainted a few years ago right before Halloween.
Some troublemaker threw eggs at our garage, which was open. Somehow a bit of yolk got into the front left wing.
Ate through the fresh $10k paint job. Next day we ordered a vinyl Martini decal. It’s funny, that stripe has been copied by people all around the world.
Obviously, we’re not the first to put a Martini stripe on a car but that exact position has become a thing I guess. Once a week or so I get tagged in a photo on Instagram of someone somewhere who has done the same.
Switching gears now, your work often comes up in the sphere of watch collecting too. Are you a watch collector? If you are, tell us about the pride of your watch collection. And what sort of watches are you drawn to?
I think collector is a bit rich of a word. I’ve been lucky to own a few pieces that were canonical to me.
The one my dad wore: The 1675. My birth year 5513. The Moon Watch. And, all of the Autodromos.
But, currently, I’m most enjoying the Grand Lange 1 in Rose Gold.
Just before we end, could we ask about your photography and the tools of your choice?
The Leica M240 and a range of Leica/Voigtlander glass. The combination of these create a really special image I can’t seem to replicate any other way.
The camera is actually on long term loan to me from my dear friend Tim Pappas, of Black Swan Racing fame. It has been the single most important tool in my life.