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 he 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.
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