Monday, May 5, 2014

In Loving Memory of my Father, Bill Williams, an Unforgettable Maybelline Car Guy, who's memory still lives on today!

Born to be Car Guys!

In honor of the 8th year anniversary of my father, Bill Williams passing... 

Some guys are just born with that car-gene and some are not.  Over the past 100 years the romance of owing a hot car has grown to the point, where people pay a million dollars to own one, vintage or not.  My father, Bill Williams and his cousin, Bill Stroh, had a love for wheels right from the start.

The two little cousins were the children of Evelyn Williams, and her sister Verona Stroh.

The two Bills grew up together in Chicago, and loved anything that they could push, ride or burn rubber in.

Best of buddy's, The young Bill's lived together during some rough times in the 1920's, when Evelyn and Preston were working out their differences. 

The boy's were practically twins.  Born a few weeks a part, handsome little chaps with truck loads of enthusiasm, especially for cars.

Even when Bill Williams moved away from Chicago, to California, Bill Stroh visited during the Summer months and their devotion for anything fast continued to grow.

Bill Williams in his first car.

Car Guy's Gone Wild.

Bill Williams and his cousin, Bill Stroh, continued their car crazy love, until the draft temporally stopped the obsession for a couple of years.

Bill Williams in his Army uniform, before being shipped to the Philippians, poses with Bill Stroh, who would soon enlist into the Navy.  However that didn't stop them from spending every available minute working on their cars.

Both Bill's learned how to rebuild an engine as teenagers, and could talk the talk with any mechanic, while their girl's sat patiently and waited.

Bill Stroh in the center with his cousin Bill Williams to his right, with the 
4-F Club Guys.

As Teenagers the cousin's formed a Car Club, called the 4-F Club and cruised for pretty girls.  It didn't take long before both guys had THE ONE.

Bill and Pauline Williams, with Baby Sharrie, sitting on the grass, and Mary and Bill Stroh.
After the War, the boy's returned home, married, had kids and built careers, however, when they reached their prime, the first thing they did was return to their first love.  Beautiful cars.

Car Guy's Gone Wild.

Bill Williams collected beautiful automobiles for the pleasure of being seen in them.  Bill Stroh raced fast cars for the pleasure of driving them. 
Ladies man, Bill Williams, became an avid car collector, in his late 40's, after the Maybelline Company sold in 1967. He bought Casa Guillermo, in Palm Springs in 1973, for it's 4 garages, and two acres of land, where stored several more cars.                                     

Man's manBill Stroh on the other hand, became a hands-on, race car driver for Porsche, in the 1960's, making quite a name for himself in Chicago's racing world.  

Mama drove a Hot Rod - Thanks to my cousin, race-car driver, Bill Stroh.

Bill Stroh's 1965 Ford Shelby Mustang GT 350, was the catalyst that inspired Bill Williams to build his car collection.

The 1965 GT350 had one purpose in life and that was to put the Ford Mustang in the winner’s circle in SCCA road racing.  Bill Stroh on the left, with his son and brother in law, raced this Cobra and I have to say, it made my dad, Bill Williams a little jealous.  In fact three years later my dad  trumped his cousin and bought a 1968 Ford Mustang
Shelby GT500 Convertible.

Here I am with Bill Strohs son, standing next to Bill's GT 350 Cobra.  It was the Summer of 1966, while I was in Chicago, getting to know my father's family.  I had no idea that five years later, I'd be the owner of a 1968 Shelby Mustang, GT 500 Cobra convertible when my father gave his car to me in 1971, for my 24th Birthday.

Here I am admiring Bill Stroh's racing Cobra.  I'm sure it was this car, that planted the seed in my father's mind, to begin his car collection, after theMaybelline Company sold, in December of 1967.  
1965–66 GT 350s were very successful racers, and had many production-class victories.

So I drove a Hot Rod with a baby seat, until I sold my Shelby GT 500 Mustang convertible in 1983. 

 My next Hot Rod, was a 1969 Completion Orange Camero, with white racing stripes, which I drove my daughter around in until she was 10 years old.  I have to give credit to Bill Stroh, for bringing racing stripes into our lives and spurring my dad on to collect 12 classic cars.  Today we still have his 1977 Clenet, Series 1, number 13. 

My dad's Shelby GT 500, crashed and was rebuilt, for my 24th Birthday. The front of the car actually lifted when I hit the gas and was the most fun car I ever drove.

Bill Stroh died unexpectedly from a heart attack in 1974.  He was only 50 years old.  Bill Williams lived to be 82 and grieved the loss of his cousin for 32 years.  It was like losing a brother he said.  My dad bought Bill's Porsche from his widow Mary Stroh and gave it to his son, William Preston Williams years later.

Bill Williams memory lives on through his Clenet Automobile.

 Alain Clenet, refers to his American, coach-made, Clenet, as Driving Art. 

Alain Clenet was recognized for his contribution to Santa Barbara history, at the Concours d'Elegance.

Tom Pierpoint, President of The Clenet Cluster, with Alain Clenet.
These wonderful, limited edition automobiles were built in the late 70's and early 80's by Clenet Coachworks of Santa Barbara, CA. There has been a recent strong interest in these vehicles most probably due to the fact that they are becoming "classic neo-classics" as they all approach 30 years of age. We are probably a bit biased, but we think they are the most elegant automobiles ever produced. 

The William P. Williams family, showed Bill's Classic Clenet, Series 1, number 13 at the Santa Barbara Concours, Oct 30th, as well as The La Quinta Concours d'Elegance, this year, where it won 2 place in the Neo-Classic, category.

Bill Williams Clenet, showed with 20 other Classic Clenet, owners, at Alain Clenet's, Coachworks, 35 Anniversary.

Steve Kourocas, (Clenet Coachworks original fabricator,) Alain Clenet, (designer and owner of Clenet Coachworks,) with Bill Williams daughter, Donna Williams.

Alain Clenet, sharing some memories of Bill Williams,  with his daughter, Donna Williams.

Steve Kourocas with Donna Williams.  Kourocas has many good stories about her father, Bill Williams during the fabricating, of number 13. 

Donna Williams with her cousin Ann Louise Williams-Corbett, enjoying the Concours.

Clénet is an automobile series with old retro styling, mixed with modern technology.  Each limited-production model was conceived, designed, and produced by a small team of men and women in Santa Barbara County, California in the 1970s and 1980s. The automobile's distinctive styling was based on the high-end automobiles of the 1930s. Despite their retro looks, Clénets used modern drive trains and suspension systems.    

My father, Bill Williams, the ultimate Gatsby...

Along with love of beautiful cars, comes the love of beautiful women.  A man's car is like a beautiful women to him according to actor Hugh Grant.   

Be sure to visit my hilarious 1964 High School Diary Blog at

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