Cars & Drivers: Connecticut Personalities Answer Questions about their Cars

 

Michael Rubenstein/Velocity

Doug MossWestport: Executive editor and founder of E Magazine.

What kind of car do you drive (make/year/color/mileage)? >A 2004 Toyota Prius, maroon. I remember when the Prius first came out we Prius owners would salute each other at stop signs. It’s got 150,000 miles now, never a problem except kids crashing it a few times. Battery is fine, despite fears it might die in five years. It just needs some interior detailing and a dent out of one bumper and it’s like new again. Burning a small amount of oil at this point, as judged by not sooty exhaust but need to add quarts now and then. Got 59.9 mpg on one trip from D.C. to Connecticut.

Your most memorable experience in a car? I had a 1963 Chevy in high school when I was 16-17, and for whatever reason (bald tires, unskilled driving) I spun out on I-95, which could have been a fatal situation except that there were few cars on the road, so I recovered and pressed on. Also got creamed on the side by a speeding teenager one time with my girlfriend in the car. Quite scary. Fire trucks and police all arrived at the scene, flashing lights and sirens. Drove the car for awhile with the big dent that froze the passenger door shut so Mary had to enter the car through the driver’s door.

What do you listen to in the car? I write and record music, so some of my own amateur recordings, but also WFUV in New York and the Staples (Westport) High School station (90.3) which actually has a very eclectic lineup.

Favorite drive in Connecticut? Norwalk to Redding through the Aspetuck Reservoir and other bodies of water.

Least favorite drive/road/intersection? All of I-95, which some moron—the former governor of Connecticut—suggested could be remedied by making it all a double-decker, like the GWB.

Your first car (or favorite car of your youth)? A 1965 Corvair, rear engine like the VW, the car that inspired Ralph Nader’s seminal Unsafe at Any Speed and spearheaded all of his auto-safety initiatives (and victories). It was my mother’s car, which I was allowed to share, and I emblazoned it with a racing stripe, “baby moon” hubcaps, a gas pedal that looked like a bare foot, and an “aroooogah” horn. She was a good sport.

Driving peeves? Most drivers today are terrible. They don’t signal their turns, they’re on their cellphones. Main peeve is you get behind someone like that and they manage to be the last person through the traffic 


Michael Rubenstein/Velocity

Wayne Carini, Portland: Owner of F40 Motorsports in Portland and host of Discovery Channel’s Velocity network’s “Chasing Classic Cars.” 

What Kind of care do you drive (make/model/color/year/mileage)? I have many cars but the car I enjoy driving the most is our family’s 1926 Bentley 3-liter Vanden Plas touring car. It’s blue and has many miles on it.

Most memorable experience with this car? The most memorable experience was driving the Bentley with my family in the Autism Tour at the Fairfield concours. We all had a great time! The second would be driving it in the California Mille rally.

Favorite Connecticut drive? Driving one of my vintage cars early in the morning through the Northwest Hills to Lime Rock Park.

Least favorite Connecticut drive? Least favorite is driving I-95 going anywhere!

Driving peeves? When you drive a vintage car you have to watch out for the other drivers at all times. Old cars can’t stop like new cars.

What do you listen to in the car? I never listen to music or a radio in a vintage car. There are too many other things to listen to. I do listen to Chaz and AJ on WPLR. They are great guys who do great things for Connecticut and charities.

First car you ever owned? My first car was a 1914 Saxon roadster.

Dream car? My all-time favorite is a 1960 Ferrari 250 SWB (short wheel base). It was my favorite when I was 10 and still is today.


Gil Simmons: Morning and noon NEWS8 meteorologist

What kind of card do you drive (make/model/color/year/mileage? A red 2010 GMC Sierra, with 29,000 miles.      

Most memorable experience in your car? Driving to work in the Blizzard of 2012. My ‘Lil red truck” rolled right through the crazy snow and I was at work on time for 2 a.m.

Favorite Connecticut drive? So many different locations. I love driving around Southport, Norfolk and along the Connecticut River.

Least favorite Connecticut drive/road/intersection? All construction zones, lol. I really dislike the curves on I-91 south of Hartford. The entire New Haven highway interchange is a headache that will hopefully improve through the next few years. Top of the list is I-95 north on Fridays during the warm weather season and I-95 south on Sundays the same time of year! 

Driving peeves? People that don’t use signals or merge with courtesy on on-ramps, and those who do notturn headlights on when it is raining or snowing.

What Do you listen to in the car? I use my iPhone and have a little of everything for music. 

First car you ever owned? 1983 Jeep Scrambler CJ8. I loved that rig!


      John Berry

Sharon Dante, Torrington: founder of the Nutmeg Conservatory ballet school in Torrington.

What kind of car do you drive (make/model/color/year/mileage)?    Chrysler Sebring 2008, 97,000 miles—purchased 2009, and it has a lovely sunroof.

Most memorable experience in that car? Riding around this community, driving to golf, work, stores in the beautiful weather.

Favorite Connecticut drive? Northwest Connecticut is one of the most beautiful drives. I particularly like driving where there are lakes, i.e., Highland Lake, Bantam Lake (Point Folly where I walk and jog) and I absolutely love the Taconic area and Twin Lakes.

Least favorite Connecticut drive/road/intersection? Waterbury getting on I-84 East up to exit 26. That is a treacherous intersection and the traffic is terrible most of the time.

Driving peeves? Inconsiderate drivers who are in the left lane (mostly Mass. drivers and sometimes N.Y. drivers). And that I can’t use my phone and messaging (which I have to keep reminding myself about).

What do you listen to in your car? I love the radio station WJMJ, Public Radio and easy listening 100.5.

First car you ever owned? 1956 Chevy Bel Air station wagon in yellow and black. It went through college in Hartford with me and then was handed down to my younger brother.


Dennis House, Hartford: News anchor, WFSB-TV.

What kind of car do you drive (make/year/color/mileage)? Until recently, I drove a 2008 Black Buick Enclave. The problem is, I was hit by an elderly driver recently, and it’s totaled. But I’m planning to replace it with the exact same car. I also have a classic car, a 1965 Buick Electra, but it’s not my primary ride. Mileage: 90,000.

Most memorable experience in the car? Bringing my newborn son home from the hospital in it.

What do you listen to in the car? We have a DVD/movie system, so when we’re with the kids, that’s usually playing Cars or The Little Mermaid, whatever they’re in the mood for. Alone, I like to listen to the local radio stations—WPLR or WTIC-AM or FM—just to keep in touch with them. The music on my iPod ranges from Bon Jovi to Ke$ha to Elvis Presley.

Favorite drive in Connecticut? I’ve always liked the Merritt Parkway, especially driving by Westport and New Canaan under the historic bridges. I also like driving through downtown Hartford and looking at all the buildings.

Least favorite drive in Connecticut? I’m not a big fan of driving over Avon Mountain, or down the Berlin Turnpike!

Your first car (or favorite car of your youth)? A blue Mercury Montego with a padded vinyl roof. It was a hand-me-down from my parents. What I mainly remember is it cost a lot of money to fill with gas, going back-and-forth to the beach. Even though at the time gas was only a dollar-something a gallon, it still seemed like a lot.

Driving peeves? I really don’t like people texting and driving, and it’s amazing how many people I see doing it. I can always pick them out, because they’re usually driving slower than they should be and weaving. Fun fact: My co-anchor, Denise D’Ascenzo, has the exact same car in white—which she got after she saw mine and loved it.


  Bob Grier Photography

Michel Nischan, Fairfield: Executive chef of Dressing Room, president of  Wholesome Wave Foundation.

What kind of car do you drive (make/year/color/mileage)?  A 2004 Saab 9.5 station wagon.

Most memorable experience in a car? Living in a broken-down 1969 Audi Fox for a winter in southern Wisconsin. I remain very fond of Audis, but hearing the word makes me shiver. The other memorable experience involved my beautiful wife. We’ll leave it at that. 

What do you listen to in the car?  Complete silence in most cases. I deal with so much input all the time that silence is often very welcome. Otherwise, I record my own music and listen to it in my car because of the privacy. 

Favorite drive in Connecticut?  Black Rock Turnpike in the autumn going through what I call “reservoir row.”

Least favorite drive/road/intersection?  The traffic circle at the intersection of Route 95 and Black Rock Turnpike.

Your first car (or favorite car of your youth)? A 1967 cherry red Ford Mustang.

Driving peeves? People driving below the speed limit in the left lane of a highway! Look out, here I come!

 

Cars & Drivers: Connecticut Personalities Answer Questions about their Cars

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