Popular author and YouTube star has found his niche in the car world.
Some years back, during a Morning Edition segment on National Public Radio, a 100-year-old veteran gave the world his secret to a long and fulfilling life. That secret? “The same things that excited me as a 14-year-old still excite me today.”
In the case of 66-year-old Long Island native Tom Cotter, that means cars.
New cars. Old cars. Racing cars. Touring cars. Restored cars. Need-to-be restored cars. Two-seaters. Woodies. Classic hot rods. Stunning barn finds. Grocery-getters. Everything from the stock Pinto he drove on his honeymoon 44 years ago to an iconic Cunningham C-3 and the 1964 Corvette he races just for fun.
“I’m a one-trick pony, and it’s all about cars.”
“I’ve been a car guy almost from birth,” says Cotter, a runner and even a marathoner (he’s done most of the world’s major runs at least once) now living in Davidson, North Carolina. “I’ve hunted once, fished maybe three times, and never played golf. I’m a one-trick pony, and it’s all about cars. They’ve always fascinated me, always made an impression, even when I was just a little kid. I get as excited about a cool car now as I did when I was 14.”
In one form or fashion for most of their lives, Cotter and his wife, Pat, and their son, 29-year-old Brian, have pushed, pulled, towed, hauled and occasionally driven cars to the garage beside their home. Cotter left college after two years, hoping to become the next Bob Sharp, the famous Connecticut-based championship sports car racer/team owner/businessman. When that didn’t work out, he ran a repair shop, sold auto parts, sold furniture (?!), and spent several years working with motorsports marketing pioneer Dick Bauer. That led to a 1985-1989 gig with Humpy Wheeler at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Cotter’s “pass in the grass” promotion—even though there was no pass—remains legendary.