"Hope and Change? We’re not supposed to hope for anything, we’re supposed to go get stuff." —Adam Carolla
t’s fair to say that Adam Carolla lives up to every word that’s been used to describe him. Your colorful adjectives may vary but the unabashedly brash ex-Man Show host is in fact a New York Times bestselling author- his In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks....And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy and Not Taco Bell Material both charted; the former co-host of Loveline is still a talk show host. Having forsaken the restrictions of Terrestrial radio for satellite- The Adam Carolla Show is i-Tunes’ single most-downloaded podcast ever. Carolla’s impassioned, gloves-off rants against liberals, President Obama, and Hollywood have made him the darling of the Fox News set (he is expected to appear weekly on The O’Reilly Factor) and a pariah to those on the other side of the political spectrum. And yet his passion for vintage race cars and all things automotive seems to transcend party lines. Carolla was kind enough to share with us his thoughts on cars, politics, and everything that he hates.
Web2Carz: Did you always have this reverence for cars, long before you could even afford to buy one?
Adam Carolla: Oh yeah, definitely. But, it’s not cars per se, its airplanes, motorcycles, mini-bikes, go-carts--anything made of metal that has moving parts. I’ve always had that mechanical gene. Sure, I like cars but it runs a little deeper than just liking cars. As much as I like the noise, the wrenching, and the fun of driving, I love the mechanics and design, and I love the aesthetics.
Now, there are two ways to get around it if you have that mechanical gene. You can have parents who have money and will just buy you a mini bike- even if they’re not interested in go-carts, mini bikes, or motor cycles. Or, if your parents are poor but your dad’s a transmission mechanic and he’s so into it and constantly wrenching, bringing home projects, and finding a way- like junkies can get coke every day when they don’t have jobs. My dad was none of the above. He didn’t have money but he had zero interest in any of the stuff whatsoever, and was probably less interested in anything that I was interested in. So it was lose-lose for me because I was very into it. I would say my family has, without any hyperbole, disdain for mechanical things and those who enjoy mechanical things. I think it’s embarrassing to them.
Why do you think that?
Well, it’s a two-part answer. On my mom’s side, it’s kind of snobbery. I’d hear, “The only people that work on cars are racists and uneducated people,” or, “It seems like an endeavor that uses the reptilian part of your brain. Those guys with their cars are the same guys that are swilling beer and fighting on the weekend. It doesn’t seem evolved to be into it.”
My dad is just so insanely inept mechanically that it’s just embarrassing.
If I told them I bought a new Ferrari they wouldn’t head down to the garage and look. You can’t find anyone more disinterested than my family. Zero. You’d have more interest with dead people that were in some vegetative state.
Is your wife into cars?
To my wife’s credit she’s not into it, which is a good thing because I just bought Paul Newman’s red, white, and blue IMSA GT Car, 300 ZX for $200,000. It’s a championship car that won the NASCAR Points System. I’m a fan of Datsuns and am a fan of Paul Newman because he drove Datsuns. So, it’s a nice marriage.
Do you have any intention of racing it?
I do but not with the original body work because if I crack it up it’s like losing a little piece of history. I just got finished taking all the body panels off the Newman car, all the original panels, which is pretty easy on one of those two frame cars. But, then again, I should reassemble these things, build a rack for and mount them on the wall of my shop and hang a sign that says “Paul Newman’s 84 winning Championship car,”
Did you ever meet Newman?
Never met the man but it would have been nice. If I had gotten into the vintage racing scene earlier I certainly would have met him at events.
Doesn’t your wife get pissed at you for spending $200,000 on a car?
My wife understands clearly, that I understand what I’m doing. How much money do you think Jay Leno has made on buying cars over the last 15, 20 years?
No clue. How much?
Jay Leno has made $20 million. When you buy a 1967 Lamborghini Miura for $300,000 and it’s now $600,000, you’ve just made 300 grand in five years.
I’ve talked to guys who bought a Ferrari GTO Racecar in 1991 for $14 million and everybody laughed at them and said they paid too much. And one just sold for $35 million. I guarantee you the guy who sold his GTO for $35 million a year ago bought it for less than $15 million. So, how pissed off do you think that guy’s wife is?
How do you, as a collector, make a decision as to what kind of car you put in your garage?
I sort of started buying cars when I got into show business and made a little money. When I realized that I could do this now, I didn’t have much of an eye for it and didn’t exactly know what I wanted. Now I know what I want. It’s all vintage race-car stuff that I want to drive or race that will be eligible for certain vintage events. The cars have to have some kind of history and be accepted into the events. The events need to know where the car has been..
How in-depth have you gotten in learning each individual car’s history?
I appreciate the Pininfarina guys, and love the Italian coach work on Lamborghini, Ferraris, and especially Maseratis from the early ‘60s and ‘70s. But for me it’s all about getting these old race cars that have been forgotten about back on the track and racing them. I like Datsuns from back in the day, or BMW racecars that won championships that might not have the popularity of Jaguars, Ferraris, or Maseratis.
Tell me about your other cars.
I have an Electromotive Z car that raced back in the day against Bob Sharpe and Paul Newman. They usually raced 380ZX’s but I have a 240ZX of theirs that I didn’t know existed. When we found the thing it was rust and carcass. I started putting it back together, looking at old archival pictures, trying to scrape beneath the rust and getting the paint to match the original paint, as it was in 1975, and then go racing it.
Do you have any hybrids or electric cars in your collection?
No, I’d like to. I just have race cars and cars that companies give me for a year to drive.
Is there a car in your collection that you won’t sell?
That’s my problem. I don’t want to sell any of my stuff. On second thought, it depends on how much you want to offer. But really I don’t want to sell any of my Newman stuff or my Peter Brock built BRE Datsun 510.
What do you drive every day to the studio?
Jaguar gave me an XJ, their new four-door, super charged, really cool car. They basically lent it to me for the year.
How’s your driving record?
It’s good for a couple of reasons. A, cops love The Man Show. B, I have a radar detector for long-distance stuff and C, I really get my ya-yas out on the track for the most part. I don’t do too much hot-rodding around town.
After hosting SPEED Channel’s The Car Show for a year, would you do another car show?
I don’t think I’d do any show whether it’s a car show, or sitcom. I don’t know if I’d want to crawl back in that system. It’s just a mess filled with dumb people. Maybe they were good students but don’t have a funny or creative bone in their body, and you have to listen to them. Most of the producers are full blown hacks and you have to work with them and it’s nauseating, it’s demoralizing, and it’s soul crushing.
I recently built a pirate ship, and I’m the captain and not interested in going back and working with those hacks.. Most of those people who produce those shows are really bad at what they do, and who the hell wants to listen to someone who’s bad at what they do? And they’re not only bad at what they do it comes with a lot of attitude. So it’s a one-two punch of incompetence and narcissism. Who the fuck wants to listen or deal with those people?
But the good news is that I don’t have to anymore.
Why, because of your podcast?
Because of the podcast and everything else. I sell a wine called Mangria which is flying off the shelves. I have books, I do live shows and I’d never want to go back and work with those idiots. I own my own warehouse, I own my own studio, have my own staff, I do my own show, I have a sales department. I have no connection with Hollywood. I’m not interested. I don’t care. I’ve called them all hacks a thousand times. I don’t care to go back and work with their untalented, uncreative, narcissistic asses and I don’t give a shit. Feel free to print this in as bold a print as you like.
Yet, you’ll be going on TV for Fox’s The O'Reilly Factor once a week.
I like O’Reilly; I like his show and am flattered that he wants me to be a regular contributor to his show. It’s not far from my satellite studio where I do the webcast. On Mondays I go in, do about seven or eight. minutes of complaining about something and go home.
I take it you’re not happy with President Obama’s last four years.
C’mon, “Hope and Change?” We’re not supposed to hope for anything, we’re supposed to go get stuff. This country is not about hope. Ethiopia is about hope. We’re about manufacturing jobs. Hope is retarded; change is semi-insulting considering we are already the best system in place. Of course, nothing’s perfect but the rest of the world has a lot of catching up to do before they get to us. So, hope stupid. Change stupid. But either way I don’t know how much hope and how much change folks have experienced over the last four years. Next to zero? I guess we can never take hope away from anybody. I guess everyone can hope for another four years of hope and then what happens after the next four years of hope. Or do we ever remove hope from the equation and then I guess just the change is just around the corner, or do we just abandon the “hope and change” thing. Now we’re into no hope or zero change? People are idiots.
Have you ever lost friends or colleagues because of your beliefs?
I don’t know is the answer, number one. But, number two, most people think quietly like I think. And, number three, I don’t have beliefs, I have knowledge. I know that handing people things just makes them soft and then they resent the people that hand them stuff and then they just want more. Moral of the story, it cuts them off at the knees and they lose self-esteem and they usually start to experience some shame, which is usually turned outward toward whoever is helping them out.
My step-grandfather [Hungarian screenwriter László Görög] came to this country after fleeing the Nazis. He had next to nothing, like everybody else, and got together with a community of other people--who were Hungarian, Jewish, both, or neither--and they banded together and took care of each other. They made sure everybody had a place to stay, live, and network. Before you knew it they were enormously successful, far beyond what they had in Europe. There weren't a bunch of fucking people then standing around asking, "Who's going to pay for his health insurance?" and, "Who is going to feed him?" and, "Who is going to feed his kids?" The point is they had a community and took care of themselves. Imagine if my grandfather got here and started hammering welfare checks and collecting food stamps. He had to motivate and had to count on the people around him. Not the government, but his community. I'd say it worked out pretty good for him.
And this whole thing about raising taxes to create a bigger base. Bullshit, I live in California. Every major production company is fleeing Hollywood to make their films and TV shows in towns where there are tax breaks. I drove Bryan Cranston [Breaking Bad] to the airport. I said, “Where are you going Bryan?” “New Mexico. We were supposed to shoot in Riverside, CA but we get a tax break in NM,” he said. And now they’re on, season five? This is my political belief? No, it’s knowledge. By the way, Riverside is going to be bankrupt. Good, Riverside, have fun with your zero dollars collected for Breaking Bad.
Is there anything in the Obama campaign that you do agree with?
Look, the idea of shifting from fossil fuels to alternative and raising the CAFE (The Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for fuel mileage for cars. It’s all great. It’s fine in concept. We should be drilling in ANWR (The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and raising the CAFE (The Corporate Average Fuel Economy) fuel economy, and working on alternative fuels. In concept, weaning ourselves off of oil is a fine plan. Let’s do it while we’re drilling in ANWR. That’s my thing, as opposed to bringing it over in a double-hulled tanker. I’m fine with a lot of his social platforms. I just don’t believe that throwing money at teachers gives you a better school system. I believe intact families, parents that give a shit, that want to know if you’re doing your homework, those are what create better school systems. Saying that teachers need to get paid more, or that we need more computers, as long as you have a bunch of broken families and single mothers that don’t give a shit, I don’t know how you’re going to fix that with computers.