Being a rock star and liking fast cars just seem to go together.
Things kind of started back in the 1960s with Elvis Presley and iconic racing-themed movies such as Speedway, Spinout, and Viva Las Vegas.
Then there were the Beach Boys, who put cars and music together in almost religious fashion with hits like “409,” “Fun, Fun, Fun” (till her daddy takes the T-bird away), “I Get Around,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” and the immortal “Little Old Lady From Pasadena.”
Only real die-hard Mötley Crüe fans know that lead singer/frontman Vince Neil made four starts in the 1992 Indy Lights Series, including a career-best 10th in his final start (at Milwaukee), along with a pair of 12th-place finishes and a 17th-place finish driving for P.I.G. Racing and sponsored by “Say No To Drugs.”
AC/DC front man Brian Johnson is a former sports-car racer and has a large car collection that includes everything from a replica of the Dukes of Hazzard “General Lee” 1969 Dodge Charger and a Richard Petty Edition Ford Mustang GT to a Rolls-Royce Phantom and his daily driver, a vintage Bentley Continental GT S, seen here:
But nobody—absolutely no one—can match Alice Cooper’s car story.
The same guy who made “Under My Wheels” a classic rock staple, Cooper was on a Thursday teleconference promoting the winning band in Cooper Tires’ “Driven to Perform” garage band contest. The winning group—Columbus, Ohio-based South of Eden—will open for Evanescence in a May 13 concert in Nashville.
The 73-year-old Cooper is a longtime car guy, starting with his first car, a 1966 Ford Fairlane GT 390, yellow with a black stripe. Before he became a star, Cooper started drag racing on the streets of his hometown Detroit, most notably Woodward Avenue, where his father was a car salesman. Cooper’s home for nearly the last 50 years is Phoenix. He raced in several editions of the Long Beach Grand Prix Celebrity Race. He once owned an ARCA team—known appropriately enough as Alice Cooper Racing—that won its first-ever race at Daytona International Speedway in 2003.
And while music is the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s main passion, his next big love unquestionably is cars.
“First of all, I’m from Detroit, horsepower is in my DNA,” Cooper told Autoweek. “I’m a muscle car guy. I have an 800-hp (Dodge Challenger) Hellcat, I’ve got a 1968 Bullitt (as in the movie of the same name starring Steve McQueen) Mustang and a new Corvette.”
He also has a 1966 Ford Hertz Mustang signed by the legendary Carroll Shelby, among other vehicles, including several that he’s auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson to help fund Solid Rock, his nonprofit foundation for the youth of Phoenix.
Cooper has one favorite car story, however, that tops any other rocker’s tale.
“My favorite car I bought is a 1963 Studebaker Avanti,” Cooper said. “It’s been my favorite since I was a kid. I got it back to Phoenix, put a new radiator in it, and some old guy is standing there looking at it and says, ‘Whose car is this?’
“(The shop workers) said, ‘Alice Cooper’s.’ And he says, ‘FBI.’ Everyone says, ‘Oh-oh.’ He says, ‘No, no, I’m retired.’ He looks at the VIN number and says, ‘I busted a Soviet spy in this car in 1965.’ He busted a real KGB Soviet spy and he said it was this car, a white Avanti with turquoise interior.
“So I said, in that case if it’s going to be a real spy car, I want to push a button and a little table comes out with my Walther PPK (a typical spy’s pistol) on it. It’s a cool thing to have. I can never get rid of that car now.”
While Cooper would never likely be chosen to be the next James Bond—although he’s owned a number of Aston Martins—owning a real, honest-to-goodness spy car only increases Cooper’s coolness factor to the nth degree.
As Wayne and Garth would say, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”
The fact the garage band contest was sponsored by Cooper Tires, which has a long history in auto racing, put Cooper—Alice, that is—in yet another mischievous mood.
“(When he was first approached to be the front man for the garage band contest) I didn’t want to break it to them that I owned the company, and then I was told I didn’t own the company,” he said with a huge laugh. “But I saw the connection. Being from Detroit and being a motorhead myself and being a hard rock band, I could see how things like that could go together.”
Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski, @JerryBonkowski on Twitter.
Source: Read Full Article