May Volunteer Spotlight – Earl Baker
Position(s): Docent and Tour Guide
Volunteering since: January 2018
Q: When and how did you become a motorsports enthusiast?
I became a motorsports enthusiast in the early 1960’s when I became exposed to drag racing at Lion’s Drag Strip in California. My father worked for a Pontiac Dealership where he helped prepare several 61 and 62 Pontiac gassers, as advertisement cars for the dealership. We spent many Wednesday and Saturday nights at Lion’s. Thus my exposure to motorsports.
Q: What kind of influence has that had on your life?
My father and grand father were both auto technicians. They insisted I be with them during the diagnosis, evaluation and repair of cars and trucks. Once that blood blend gets into your system, its there for life. Thanks to the automotive trade I have enjoyed a life I would not change.
Q: What makes volunteering at World of Speed meaningful to you?
It has to be the guests, my colleagues, and the mixed display of various race cars. Saturday Cars & Coffee and the friends I have met also make it a tremendous experience.
Q: What is the most memorable experience of your time volunteering?
My most memorable experience at the WOS was meeting Danny Thompson (Mickey Thompson son). He had just delivered the Challenger 2, and I had the opportunity to speak with him. This was on his return trip from Bonneville where he set the piston driven engine speed record at 446.
Q: What do you wish other people knew about World of Speed?
I wish other people knew that WOS is more than a museum staged for the display of race cars. WOS is one of the nation’s few (if only) museums taking on the challenge of educating high school students in the automotive field. And, we provide tours of our learning facility to encourage our guests to share more of what the WOS represents.
Q: If you could choose any vehicle to be displayed in the museum, what would it be?
If I could choose any vehicle to be on display at WOS, it would be a collection of early year race cars manufactured by Mercedes Benz.
Q: What is your dream car?
My dream car is an early 60’s Rolls Royce. In 1988 I had a neighbor who owned a 1964 sedan, maroon and black in color and like new. He was the original owner but not too good at maintenance. He drove the car with a leaking water pump and seized the engine. I have kicked myself many times as he offered to sell me the car for $500.00. DARN another one gets away!