Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #12

Dave Stewart’s 1964 Buick Skylark

“Betty” was purchased for $600 when Dave was 15. We won’t mention how long ago that was but Dave, Staff Product Designer at Hinge Health, and veteran of Amazon, Nike, Intel, and Portland’s agency and startup scene, has been driving her ever since. The Skylark was purchased from someone who owned a sawmill and was spending her days hauling wood around. It was going to be a “bridge” purchase to fix up to buy something else.  

Dave spent a week cleaning sawdust and wood chips out of it. He changed the oil, did the brakes, replaced the tires and he then became the guy with the car who drove everyone everywhere. And drive it her did. To the prom, to his honeymoon, bringing his kids home from the hospital, and more than a couple of roadtrips from Portland to California.

Oh, and about the name. Gendering things are problematic nowadays, but the name Betty came about naturally. When his kids were young, they used to beg for stories about “Betty Buick.” Betty, a name chosen primarily for its alliteration with Buick, would get a phone call from the President or NASA or Dale Earnhardt and have to go and save the day on a secret mission or driving on the moon or winning the Daytona 500. There were dozens of stories and they were great for getting kids in the mood to go to bed. 

Whether it’s a secret mission, late night drags, or Dave and Betty’s newest adventure, autocross, Betty endears and endures, inspiring Dave and his children every mile of the way.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #11

Mark Barry’s 1970 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser

Mark, the Director of Minerva, the two-year portfolio program in creative advertising at the University of Alabama, acquired the FJ from his uncle, Jim Snell. Jim (pictured) restored the truck and gifted it to Mark a little over year ago, and just a few months before he passed away from cancer.

The FJ was originally purchased when it was a junker around 2000. Over the next few years Jim rebuilt it from the ground up. He put a rebuilt Chevy small block in it and gave it some some big ass shoes. It’s got some home garage body work in spots and a little rust lingering around here and there, but everything works. Well, that’s not quite the whole truth. The speedometer isn’t connected and the gas gauge runs backwards (#style). The four wheel drive locks in like a champ, though, and the wench does its job when times are tough. Not pictured are the matching hard top and doors that Mark begrudgingly puts on once winter rolls around. 

The FJ is loud, it drinks a lot, but as long as it’s not raining it’s Mark’s daily driver and reminder of his uncle. A man with a generous soul whose work lives on.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #10

Pablo Buffagni’s 1986 Jaguar XJ6

For some, a car is just a way to get from one place to another. For most of us participating in this series, they are much more than that. For Pablo Buffagni, President and Creative Director of BBQ Agency, his ’86 Jaguar is a cherished companion on the journey of his life, providing keys to his past and a bridge to his future.

The Jag was the first car he owned in the U. S. Purchased in San Antonio, but long in Southern California, he’s had it for 24 years now. There are many “myths” that surround the car. The one most mentioned is that for many years Pablo pronounced “Shawar” instead of Jaguar due to his strong Argentine accent. So, he once called a mechanic to get it fixed, and the dialogue supposedly went like this:
• “what car?”
• “a Shawar”
• “a what?”
• “a Shawar”
• “Call the plumber!!!”

For years he drove it with no reverse, his excuse being not having the time to get it fixed. Instead, he would practice what he defined as “creative driving”: always park in places with a way out forward and never get in U-turn situations with not enough radius to make the turn. It worked out most of the time.

But mostly, having a car that occasionally fails brings him closer to his life before emigrating. For a long period of time, every time the radio was turned on, coincidentally a song from a UK based band would be playing. Sometimes Queen, sometimes Led Zeppelin.

It’s as if Over the Hills and Far Away is not just a song, it’s the path Pablo and his Jaguar are taking today.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #9

Chris Wooster’s 1972 Ford F-250 “Camper Special”

After building sites, campaigns and digital stuff as an Executive Creative Director in Austin (T3) and Chicago (mcgarry bowen), in 2016 Chris Wooster, decided to go analog. Enter “Helen,” his 1972 Ford F-250 “Camper Special.” He is only the second owner. The first owner passed away; Chris found his Glenn Miller Orchestra cassette while tearing up the carpets.

He has enjoyed learning new/old skills working on this old rig. Found a topper in a field in Katy, Texas, rebuilt it entirely; now he takes his daughter camping in it. 

A few years ago, Chris took on a somewhat decrepit 1950 Silver Streak Clipper (very rare) and brought her back to life. Together they are quite the magnet out camping around Texas — a 50+ year old truck pulling a 70+ year old trailer. 

Chris rents out the truck here and there for shoots, most recently for a music video Sturgill Simpson’s drummer cut.

She looked great:

So, if you see a beautiful Ford pickup heading down the road, take a look at the driver. It might be Chris enjoying his new analog passion, or maybe an up and coming singer out on a shoot.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #8

David Kelly’s 1963 Mercury Comet

“You should be in pictures” certainly applies to David’s Comet. And it has, in commercials and many photo shoots. David chronicles it all on Instagram @Dkcomet. When he’s not out pursuing photo ops and taking in all that is vintage, David works as a 3D Environmental Designer at AHM Brands.

The Comet has 142K miles and has always been a West Coast car. Originally sold new in Glendale, CA, David searched over 10 years to find it. It’s mostly stock and original. Adding to it’s allure is a survived crash with another Mercury, a ’93 Cougar, where the Comet sustained only minor damage but the Cougar was totaled. The fact that the Cougar was being driven by a DEA agent somehow fits the Comet’s Hollywood vibe.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #7

Alexander Rea’s 1966 Land Rover Series IIA SWB

Built in June 1966 and dispatched to the Ministry of Defense, Central British Army Vehicle Depot in Feltham Middlesex England. Alexander’s Land Rover served in the Honourable Artillery Company, a reserve regiment in the British Army. Incorporated by royal charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII, it is the oldest regiment in the British Army and is considered the second-oldest military unit in the world.

The motto of the HAC, on the sticker on the doors, is Arma Pacis Fulcra, which can be loosely translated as “armed strength for peace”.

Alexander,  freelance executive creative and technology producer and director, found her on Bring a Trailer in Fall 2022. She was originally brought to the U.S. in 1990 with only 4K miles, by Jamie Kitman, now an internationally-regarded automotive journalist (contributor to R&T, GQ, NY Times, Vanity Fair and England’s The Road Rat,). At the time he was managing the band They Might Be Giants and they were touring through England. He drove her around NYC for about 15 years. She had a couple more owners that took good care and when he got her she had about 23K miles.

She spent the last summer on jacks where Alexander restored the brakes and replaced the shocks.

What makes this model different from the civilian versions at the time are the NATO plugs on the rear and some other modifications. There other MoD variants such as for mounted artillery and radio.

Alexander assures us that driving a right-hand drive vehicle on the right side of the road in the States is easier than you might think. Shifter is on the left but the pedal order is exactly the same.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #6

Ryan Peck’s 1980 Saab 99 GLi and 1964 Vespa Allstate

In the early 90’s Ryan stumbled into a discussion on an early internet ‘bulletin board’ where the owner of a Saab museum in Ontario, Canada answered all manner of Saab questions. Ryan sent him a note saying if he ever came across a perfect 99, he’d love to buy it. He forgot all about it and 4 years later he received an email with the heading “Found One”. Turns out the owner of the museum got an unassembled model in Sweden that he was going to put in the museum, meaning his current 99 with just under 13k miles was his if he wanted it. Ryan couldn’t wire him the money fast enough. It took him over a year to get to Ontario to pick it up; he was working on a BMW and had to reschedule my flight up there half a dozen times.

The Vespa is a 1964 Allstate model that he bought out of a barn in northern Minnesota.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #5

Jim Fletcher’s 1977 Ford Bronco

This series began with the vision one often sees when a neighbor’s open garage door reveals a classic inside. Jim Fletcher’s 1977 Ford Bronco was discovered just that way. Jim’s brother-in-law spotted the truck one day and asked the owner if he would sell it. He did and now Jim, owner of Portland’s Opus Creative, is the proud owner. They both were going through some big life changes at the time and the Bronco was the perfect thing to keep them busy. Every nut/bolt/part of the Bronco was either redone or replaced. The original 302 engine was replaced with a stroked 408 and a 5-speed transmission. A sprayed in bed-liner in the interior finishes the touches. It’s simple and beautiful.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #4

Darcy Batlach’s 1936 Ford Model A Rat Rod

Darcy, head of experiential marketing for Northern Tool + Equipment, blames her passion for Rat Rods on Billy Lane of Choppers Inc. fame. While working with Billy during his Biker Build off days, which aired on Discovery Channel, he acquired a Rat Rod truck and from that moment on, she knew she had to have one.

Hers is titled as a 1936 Model A and originally had green paint. Built by the Thompson Bros. in Utah , it was often run on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Weighing just over 1,000lbs, with a 406, it is the fastest vehicle she owns and has also had the honor of having Richard Petty and Billy Lane make an appearance in it, and autographing it for good measure.

Possibly even more amazing than a visit by Richard Petty, the Ford is Darcy’s daily driver during Summer and Fall, but she tucks it away for the Minnesota Winters.

Or before she exhausts her luck and gets a speeding ticket.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, Catalog Series #3

Billy Leyhe’s 1977 Porsche 911 S Targa

When Billy’s not cruising the PCH in SoCal, he’s a Creative Director/Writer, most recently in-house for Credit Karma (btw, he’s now available if you’re looking).

He found the 911 on an online auction site, but missed out on the sale. He then vowed to find another like it someday. Well, someday came just three months later when he saw the exact car again up for sale at a dealer in Florida. He immediately sent an email and quickly struck a deal (the original had fallen through after the auction) and the car was his. 

Prior to Billy’s ownership, the car spent some time as an art piece inside the previous owner’s home in Miami. It was professionally craned in over the pool and into the living room where it sat on display for three years before Billy eventually ended up with it.

We think it looks better shining in the sun than stuck inside a house.

Fired. Not Hired.

Originally written in OCT 29, 2018. Updated 10/4/2023

Sometimes I think I may be the most qualified person to own an employment agency on the planet. If a good education and knowledge comes from the school of hard knocks, I should know a thing or two about work and working.

To wit:
I’ve been fired multiple times (including from my own company).

I’ve drawn unemployment in two states. The last time was in 2022.

I sued a company once (worker’s comp).

I’ve screwed up so many job interviews I can’t even count. Ask me about running down 17 flights of stairs….

I’ve quit jobs before I even started them. And quit without notice.

I’ve slept during work.

I’ve taken drastic cuts in pay (over 75%) to pursue opportunities that I was more passionate about. I’ve also taken pay cuts because there wasn’t enough money to pay me.

I had a boss once scream at me and throw stuff around his office in a temper tantrum.

I’ve literally pounded the pavement looking for work. For months. Didn’t get a job.

I’ve quit jobs without having new jobs lined up.

I’ve had to lay people off. More than once.

I’ve fired a lot of people. For everything from attitude to insubordination to just not being very good at their jobs.

I’ve packed up and moved to a new state with no job. Twice.

I’ve been told to “look for a new job,” so as to not be fired.

I’ve been a human resources director. I’ve built what I termed, “employee positive cultures” and implemented policy and process at 5 companies using my philosopy.

My last company was named to Inc. 5000 as One of the Fastest Growing Companies in the U.S., 5 times.

I’ve had non-competes enforced against me. And I’ve had to enforce them. I’m under one as I write this.

I’ve broken equipment. It was an accident.

I’ve been paid under the table.

I’ve been a bouncer, a convenience store clerk, a busboy, and a CEO.

My first 10 years out of college I had 13 jobs.

So what’s this all mean? Besides that I needed to do a lot of growing up over the years?

One of the core tenets of the companies I lead is empathy for the person looking for work. And empathy for the employers. Twenty + years of executive management in business will provide that, too.

There are people out there trying to design a better way. We just need people to listen to us.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, catalog series #2

Sean Cunningham’s 1966 Chevrolet Impala Coupe

Sean Cunningham is Co-Founder of a digital agency and Executive Creative Director of Sleek Machine in Atlanta. His Impala has won a few awards, most recently at the Lowrider Magazine Supershow in Atlanta. Originally built in St. Louis, Sean picked up this car in Colorado. The paint is original and has the original 327 4BBI, 2speed Powerglide and comes with air conditioning.

Has had some upgrades….most notably is the air-ride (bagged) suspension that allows him to get it laid out low as well as an adjustable ride height, all controlled via an app or hard wired unit. Some engine upgrades include a March pulley system with two electric fans, a larger radiator and dual rear antennas. Future projects may include fuel injection and period matching interior.

Creative Industry Rides

Volume 1, catalog series #1

Barney Robinson’s 1973 Thing

Barney Robinson is founder and CEO of Orchard Creative. Take a look at his 1973 Volkswagen Thing, with a 4-speed manual transmission, RWD and a 1.4l flat 4. Barney’s wife grew up in a little surfing town called Solana Beach. When she was a kid, her best friend had this car. And she’d been looking for one for years. One in good enough condition to drive semi regularly finally became available. A lovely 80 year old man had restored it and used to enter it into car shows around Long Island. “It’s the most fun car I’ve ever owned”, says Barney.

Creative industry cars and trucks

If you know me, you know I drive a 1977 International Scout SSII. I’ve driven Scouts my whole life. I learned to drive in one (partly why I drive so close the the middle of the road…I can explain) and previously owned a 1970 Scout 800. I have owned my current Scout since 2005 and bought it pretty much “as-is.”

But enough about me. This is about you. Or what you have. In the coming months I will be highlighting cool vehicles owned by members of the creative industry. If you have a cool car or truck and you would like to be featured, send inquiry and lots of money to:

This feature will run for as long as the pictures keep coming in. All judgement of whether a car or truck is cool enough to be featured will be by myself but favor will be given to classics….over 25 years of age.

Let’s get this going!

Harvester Talent – We are Built for Work

Harvester Talent, a creative/marketing talent solutions firm, launched January 2023. But, that sounds so PR-esque. Harvester did in fact launch. It’s my 3rd creative staffing agency and talent solutions firm….actually my 4th. The previous three were all very successful but I exited each for different reasons. Sure, I probably could have pivoted and done something else professionally. However, as I tell people, this is who I am; this is what I do. And now, I will be competing against two firms that I built and which carry on with good portions of my philosophies. So, how’s that gonna work? Simple….Harvester Talent will out-work and out service them all. We are Built for Work.