Monday, February 28, 2011

Phil “The Mercedes” Mangan

Buy a Mercedes-Benz from Studebaker? Yes you can. 


My mentor and best friend Phil Mangan was there at the start of that partnership. He was working for Handler Motors that was a Studebaker dealership in Des Moines, Iowa at the time. He told me that story many times.

When I moved the shop a few years ago I found his certificates that Award 1he had earned from Mercedes-Benz dated from 11/58 to 10/76. It was shortly after the last testing, working for the dealership who took over selling Mercedes-Benz, Dave Osterm Imports, that the union crew went out on strike. The strike was short lived as people crossed the line and broke the union in the shop. All of these striking workers joined up and started an independent shop that was also short lived. All
of these guys went on to open their own shops with Phil partnering up with Bob Altamari to open A&M Imports. This is when I would meet Phil and my life, as they say, was changed forever.

Award 2

Of all of his awards from Mercedes-Benz his "Meister Mechaniker Award" that he received on 3/23/64 was his most prized. It's unknown to me just how many ever received this rare status but I'm sure there were very few. Along with the award came a cap proclaiming his status that he wore on special occasions. I always told him that when he passed on I would like to have that cap. After years of working side by side with Phil (15 years by this time) I got the surprise of a life time. It was during Christmas one year that I opened my small present from him to find my own Meister Mechaniker cap with the very same patch. It seems he had a couple extra patches that I never knew about. His statement to me at the time was "I think you've earned this now." Needless to say I was blown over and even though I don't wear caps I do wear this one when I go for independent Mercedes-Benz training. Of course everyone wants to know how I got such an award and I proudly tell them of my friend Phil “The Mercedes” Mangan and how the award came about.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos but I didn't want to take them off the wall here in the shop and remove them from the frames just to get the shots. When I was getting the awards framed I was trying to figure just where I was going to put them. After some thinking it hit me, I would hang them in the shop area where Phil belongs. So he may be gone now but he still is in the shop with me looking over me making sure I do it right. And every now and than I look up at him and ask “Phil I could use some help here.”


PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! and yes I know I've been gone awhile... more on that some other time


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Fasthair:

What a least surprise to find you writing again. I haven't read anything by you for over a year, and now you are cranking out the good stuff again. I hope to hear from you often.

Fondest regards,
Jack • Reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

fasthair said...

Dear Jack,

Now that the shit slide is over things can get back to some thing of a normal life now. Some positive things to make me smile again finally and seeing you commenting is just one of them!


Arizona Harley Dude said...

Glad to see you're still alive, kicking, and now posting. See, we were waiting.

fasthair said...


I'm humbled to say the least, thanks. Seems like a lot of good things have been happening for you and that's always great to hear!!! Congrats are due to you and the soon to be misses.


irondad said...

It lives! It was a long wait.

IHG said...

Sooooooooooo good to see a post from you!!!!! Have missed you my friend!

fasthair said...

HI irondad,

Yeah things were a bit on the slow side here but should be getting back to normal now. Thanks for still stopping and saying hello!


fasthair said...


I've missed being here too. Spring is almost here so we will HAVE to get together one of these days this year for sure!


IHG said...

You're on Fasthair! I even have my own motorcycle now! :)

Webster World said...

Great story! Glad you are back.

WooleyBugger said...

Great story you wrote up here and like the shots of the awards. Glad your back, we were worried something bad had happened.
Let us all know next time ya take an extended break would you.

word veifi: power

How appropriate for your post 'eh.

fasthair said...

HI Webster and Wooley,

Sorry I missed both your responses. Thanks for the welcome back. It felt good to write that and to be back. Details to follow.


mq01 said...

mr fasthair :) how are you?
happy easter

Miss FJR said...

Interesting article and great post about Phil! He was an amazing guy and THE best at what he did! He left his mark in this world as well as enormous shoes to fill...and you, my friend, have managed to do just that!! I know without a doubt that Phil, and your Mother, would both be incredibly proud of the remarkable accomplishments you have made to fill those shoes!! We all know when it comes to Mercedes you are the best man for the job!! Speaking of your Mother, I wish her a Happy Mother's Day today... someone has a very BIG day today... HAPPY "BIG" BIRTHDAY!!! Best wishes for a fabulous and rockin day...this calls for some serious asskickin celebrating... how bout a day at the range blowing up any old hard drives laying around??? :) Enjoy this gorgeous day you have been given TC!!!

fasthair said...

Miss FJR,

Thank you for such kind words. It is friends like that are such a blessing in my life. It is friends like you that really make me who I am. Because of friends like you and people like Phil in my life that it is truly enriched. I would be no where without them and you. Thank you!

And yes today I officially become a dirty ol' man. Blowing stuff always sounds fun :) Ass kicking party... hummmm Drinks at Sam an Gabe's after work if you care to join in.

Again thank you for being my friend!!!