Shades of Gray
Rooming on the road occasionally with Gray Baskerville was an unexpected fringe benefit of working here in 1977–1980. We didn’t start out all warm and fuzzy, exactly. He was the one staff editor I’d never met. Bracket racing was booming, and that beat belonged to “Basketcase” before this hairy kid showed up.
Thus my paranoia when the editor paired us in a motel room and rental car for my first Car Craft Street Machine Nationals. Was I being spied upon? I mean, this cat was a generation older, homeowner, husband, father, clean shaven, college grad, drove a real Deuce roadster to work, hated “murdercycles” and blue jeans. His Indy roomie would be a bachelor Vietnam vet with a KZ1000 Kawasaki at home and a new company credit card burning a hole in patched Levi 501s.
Together 24/7, we worked Indy’s fairgrounds from dawn ’til dusk. Gray soon recognized that his understudy had grossly overstated photographic ability to land the dream job. He taught how to fake it ’til I could make it; i.e., to make the most of an old, PX-purchased Asahi Spotmatic until Petersen’s year-end profit sharing financed a proper Nikon setup.
I learned another lesson one night while Pro Street cars rump-rump-rumbled past our open storm window. Babbling over his nightly bourbon, Baskerville said something like, “Everything and everybody you’ll ever shoot for HOT ROD has a history. We owe it to the readers to learn those stories, or we’re not doing our job.”
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