The Legend of Earl Banes starts right at his birth in Southern California at the middle of the depression. With tight money, and no forced education, Earl woke up very early every morning to be the first in line for whatever the day had to offer.
Burbank To Las Vegas Race (or Races?)
At one point in Earls life another engineer who also liked the act at the poker table challenged Earl to a race to Las Vegas after work on a Friday afternoon. They were supposed to run to vegas, play a hand of poker and race back before their wives would know. Earls wife never discussed the races. It turns out they did this more than once.
The legendary story is that Earl won every time because the lime green Dino Ferrari needed two fuel stops enroute and a top off in Las Vegas. The Opel GT only needed one stop each way and didn’t stop for fuel in Las Vegas. Even though the little Opel GT didn’t have the speed the Ferrari did, the distance of 272 miles each way appears the ideal distance to tip the scales.
At the friday night home poker parties the children claimed they heard the owner of the Ferrari saying he drove the race flat out. Earl would just say “That is not very efficient now is it.”
In my grandfathers garage there was always a sign over the workbench that was hand painted and said “Earls Garage”. My aunt, one of the children of Earl Banes claimed that he was once the partner with another famous Earl in a place called Earls Garage. She says that her father Earl started the garage and didn’t like the quality of the other Earls work so they parted company.
To the grandchildren Earls Garage was a place of wonder. Grandpa Earl refused to buy new cars. He called them a waste of money. He would teach us that we could buy a model just a couple of years old for less than half the price. Every year or so he would find some fun car and bring it home, and then run the old one out to Devonshire Downs to sell it.
I spent many Saturday mornings with my grandfather learning about cars at Devonshire Downs. I think it made my Dad a bit jealous because I liked hanging out with him so much. It did not bother me because I am pretty sure that is why my dad bought me a 67 Mustang Convertible and taught me how to restore it too new. Sadly I don’t have that car anymore or the 68 GT Mustang he helped me with next.
To his grandchildren Earl would say many times. “Remember life is an endurance race and there are many different variables to manage. Get just one wrong and you lose. Manage them all right and you will stay way ahead of the pack.”
To young children who just wanted to run around the yard and see fireworks or light the tree or see whatever family event they were gathered for, this comment made little sense. Today the Earl Banes Company embodies his philosophy of life.