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RIP ... Randy Mason (former Henry Ford Museum Curator, etc.)


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Randy was a great guy . He and I were active in the Society of Automotive Historians at the same time decades ago and when there was still a Blue field market field at Hershey ( roller coasters now occupy the area) . Since the Ford Museum was and is an "American" museum , focused on American made cars they decided for the sake of having room to sell off all the European manufactured brass lights and horns they had. ( the lights were all from a collection of brass lamps that was amassed by Dr. Sam Sher of NY and donated to the HFM some years prior ) So Randy put them all in a box truck and brought them to Hershey to sell for the museum. Dave Brownell was active in SAH at the time as well and loved brass era stuff. He saw Randy and the lights and chose what to buy, soon afterwards saw me and told me I had to go see all this stuff - dragged me to Randy's spot ( literally ) and I looked through and found one lamp I "had to have" Price agreed upon was very fair and I gave Randy some $ and told him by the end of the day I would have the rest and he was happy with that and stored the lamp away with a sold sign on it.

At the end of the day after collecting the lamp ( it was a self generating huge headlamp and very very heavy) I started to walk back to the car I had come down in with a buddy who usually made the trip to Hershey with me for years. As we were walking out about 200 feet coming in our direction were two guys who obviously had just arrived. They immediately noticed this brass lamp I was carrying by its handle  ( my arm by that point felt it had stretched about 6 inches due to the weight of the lamp) they stared at the lamp as we got closer  and just as they passed one fellow said to the other in a very heavy southern drawl/accent " there isn't enough brass polish in my whole county to clean that"  They kept on walking but I started to laugh so hard I had to stop to catch my breath.

It was Randy who contributed to that situation to give me that vivid memory of Hershey, and a great moment in life. 

Rest in Peace Randy, you were so enthusiastic and one of a kind, I cherished our friendship.

Walt

 

PS yes, I still have the lamp mentioned and it has not gotten lighter in weight with the passing decades.

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I met Randy years ago, great guy, and lots of fun. I drove my 36 V-12 Pierce to the museum back twenty years ago, and asked to have a look at the Type 41 Bugatti Royal as it wasn't on display. It was in the workshop getting serviced. I explained my friend would only have this one chance to ever see it, and that we drove there in a V-12 Pierce. He immediately gave us special dispensation and allowed us in the museum restoration shop. They were having trouble with the Strombergs on the Bugatti and we actually fixed it for them while we were there.......I have a photo or two of us working on it somewhere but not on my hard drive. That was the second Model 41 I got to play with. He ended up coming to the ACD meet with us that weekend in our car....we drove from Detroit to Auburn at 75 mph with the factory over drive........he was impressed. It was a great weekend that I will always remember for the Bugatti, Randy, and the ACD parade and tour. 

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I met Randy in the early '70s when I was working for Tom Warth at the Classic Motorbooks tent at Hershey.

 

My strongest recollection of Randy in the hot tub at the Hershey Hotel with a libation in his hand. He invited the missus and I to join him, but alas we were unable to do so.

RIP, Randy.

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On 4/10/2022 at 9:32 AM, Walt G said:

Randy was a great guy . He and I were active in the Society of Automotive Historians at the same time decades ago and when there was still a Blue field market field at Hershey ( roller coasters now occupy the area) . Since the Ford Museum was and is an "American" museum , focused on American made cars they decided for the sake of having room to sell off all the European manufactured brass lights and horns they had. ( the lights were all from a collection of brass lamps that was amassed by Dr. Sam Sher of NY and donated to the HFM some years prior ) So Randy put them all in a box truck and brought them to Hershey to sell for the museum. Dave Brownell was active in SAH at the time as well and loved brass era stuff. He saw Randy and the lights and chose what to buy, soon afterwards saw me and told me I had to go see all this stuff - dragged me to Randy's spot ( literally ) and I looked through and found one lamp I "had to have" Price agreed upon was very fair and I gave Randy some $ and told him by the end of the day I would have the rest and he was happy with that and stored the lamp away with a sold sign on it.

At the end of the day after collecting the lamp ( it was a self generating huge headlamp and very very heavy) I started to walk back to the car I had come down in with a buddy who usually made the trip to Hershey with me for years. As we were walking out about 200 feet coming in our direction were two guys who obviously had just arrived. They immediately noticed this brass lamp I was carrying by its handle  ( my arm by that point felt it had stretched about 6 inches due to the weight of the lamp) they stared at the lamp as we got closer  and just as they passed one fellow said to the other in a very heavy southern drawl/accent " there isn't enough brass polish in my whole county to clean that"  They kept on walking but I started to laugh so hard I had to stop to catch my breath.

It was Randy who contributed to that situation to give me that vivid memory of Hershey, and a great moment in life. 

Rest in Peace Randy, you were so enthusiastic and one of a kind, I cherished our friendship.

Walt

 

PS yes, I still have the lamp mentioned and it has not gotten lighter in weight with the passing decades.

What year was that Walt? I think I remember that truckload of brass all laid out on the ground. If I'm remembering right ot was right behind my good friend Bill Gotdchalk from MD. 

Terry 

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Hi Terry, can't be sure of the year at all, prior to 1988, had to be in the 1970s. Bill and Lil Gotdchalk were good friends of mine as well, she and I would discuss toy cars along with Al Marwick another toy car and truck guy. I would see them at the toy shows in NJ as well as at Kennedy airport in NY . I think Bill had a barrel hood Franklin that we would discuss who perhaps has some parts for.

Walt

Edited by Walt G (see edit history)
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Small world indeed. I've always considered Bill and Lil to have been mentors in my collecting automobilia. I used to see them often as they were members of Chesapeake Region AACA. Visited them often when we lived there in to 70s and always spent time together at Hershey at his booth. He was just at the end of the same row as my spots over in the old blue field. He had some amazing cars and his collection of automobilia was fantastic. Will always remember the time we visited the great London toy show. He showed us around and helped me pick out what remains my favorite antique toy, a delightful little Carette roadster.  I think we're do for another visiting session at Hershey.

Terry

On 4/10/2022 at 9:32 AM, Walt G said:

Randy was a great guy . He and I were active in the Society of Automotive Historians at the same time decades ago and when there was still a Blue field market field at Hershey ( roller coasters now occupy the area) . Since the Ford Museum was and is an "American" museum , focused on American made cars they decided for the sake of having room to sell off all the European manufactured brass lights and horns they had. ( the lights were all from a collection of brass lamps that was amassed by Dr. Sam Sher of NY and donated to the HFM some years prior ) So Randy put them all in a box truck and brought them to Hershey to sell for the museum. Dave Brownell was active in SAH at the time as well and loved brass era stuff. He saw Randy and the lights and chose what to buy, soon afterwards saw me and told me I had to go see all this stuff - dragged me to Randy's spot ( literally ) and I looked through and found one lamp I "had to have" Price agreed upon was very fair and I gave Randy some $ and told him by the end of the day I would have the rest and he was happy with that and stored the lamp away with a sold sign on it.

At the end of the day after collecting the lamp ( it was a self generating huge headlamp and very very heavy) I started to walk back to the car I had come down in with a buddy who usually made the trip to Hershey with me for years. As we were walking out about 200 feet coming in our direction were two guys who obviously had just arrived. They immediately noticed this brass lamp I was carrying by its handle  ( my arm by that point felt it had stretched about 6 inches due to the weight of the lamp) they stared at the lamp as we got closer  and just as they passed one fellow said to the other in a very heavy southern drawl/accent " there isn't enough brass polish in my whole county to clean that"  They kept on walking but I started to laugh so hard I had to stop to catch my breath.

It was Randy who contributed to that situation to give me that vivid memory of Hershey, and a great moment in life. 

Rest in Peace Randy, you were so enthusiastic and one of a kind, I cherished our friendship.

Walt

 

PS yes, I still have the lamp mentioned and it has not gotten lighter in weight with the passing decades.

What year was that Walt? I think I remember that truckload of brass all laid out on the ground. If I'm remembering right ot was right behind my good friend Bill Gotdchalk from MD. 

Terry 

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Many of us had a lot of fun in "Randy's Roost", his "den" in the garage of his Dearborn home.

There were hours and hours of vivid automotive talks on a wide variety of subjects, with never a dull moment. 

 

I'm so glad I took this picture of him in 2009, surrounded by friends, his cars, outboard motors, boats, etc. 

The master of his domain in Randy's Roost.

1279945883_DSC_0891XTRandyMason.jpg.7d5534cca041acd7b388a91ccc489409.jpg

 

Randy had the coolest toy box in that den/ garage - a Man Cave decades before the term was coined. 

154180326_DSC_0889XTRandyMason.jpg.9863721e2db813cac4e264a0bcfb32d5.jpg

 

Toward the end of his active years, among some other cars he had this original 1940 Buick Limited Model 81 Touring Sedan -

I was fortunate to ride in it on a 2010 visit to Ken Havekost's Nash Collection in Monroe, MI.

154566421_4081RandyMason3XaT.jpg.e3d809883fd2b3ec4f3837e4ddb6c019.jpg

 

Eager to share his knowledge (and even learn something new), so many of us benefited from his friendship.

RIP my friend, you will be missed!

 

TG

 

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P.S. -- in addition to the Great Brass Lamp Adventure (did you know that after driving from Dearborn, he wedged the rental van under a portico and the Hershey Lodge and got stuck), Randy was also instrumental in orchestrating and then relocating the Austie Clark archives from Glen Cove (Long Island), New York to the Henry Ford Museum...

 

Steven Rossi

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