Volunteer Spotlight: Peter Linsky

Q: When and how did you become a motorsports enthusiast?

I was first exposed to motorsports in the early ‘50s. My late brother-in-law was an engineer at North American Aviation in West Los Angeles. He and a close friend both drove MGTCs and were drawn into the burgeoning SoCal sports car racing community. When he was engaged to my sister, they would often stuff me into the tiny space behind his MG’s seats, and all three of us would drive around to SoCal race tracks including Pomona, Paramount Ranch, and Torrey Pines. He and my sister became friends with a now-famous group of drivers including Phil Hill, Richie Ginther, and Carroll Shelby. My sister once related going to a birthday party at Phil’s apartment in Santa Monica, parking their first baby son and his bassinet in Phil’s bathtub. Her family and the Hills have remained friends ever since. My brother-in-law was also a professional photographer in his spare time, and shot many features for the old “Road & Track” magazine, and all of that rubbed off on me.

I was into hot-rodding and drag racing as a teenager and my early 20s, and owned several old ‘20s and ‘30s Fords that I’d love to have back today! After I left the Navy, I bought a new Triumph TR4A, and that drew me back into the sports car community.  Eventually, I bought an MGB roadster to race.

Q: What kind of influence has that had on your life?

My childhood interest in broadcasting eventually led to a 40-year career in radio, starting as a DJ and then moving into news. I was able to combine both interests as a track announcer and commentator. After my all-too-brief racing career ended in 1980, my wife and I acquired a Porsche. We joined the Porsche Club, and I began writing a monthly column for the Oregon Region magazine. I began writing commercially about Porsches a few years before I retired, and I have continued that as an avocation. Besides the magazine, I also am a copywriter for several major automotive auction companies. I really enjoy that, as I meet many interesting people and discover cars that I had previously known little about. I am constantly learning something new.

Q: What makes volunteering at World of Speed meaningful to you?

As volunteers, we have frequent opportunities to meet guests who are very well-informed about certain aspects of the sport we love and are eager to share their knowledge and experiences.  In turn, we can pass that information on to other visitors. It’s always fun to hear guests tell us about the various old cars they own, or used to own, or how their families were, and often are, still involved with racing in one form or another.

Q: What is the most memorable experience of your time volunteering?

Seeing someone’s eyes light up when they see first-hand a certain car they remember from their youth.

Q: What do you wish other people knew about World of Speed?

That World of Speed is a unique experience. It is probably the only facility of its kind in the country. I’d like to see an expanded marketing and PR effort.

Q: If you could choose any vehicle to be displayed in the museum, what would it be?

I have long been a fan of the German “Silver Arrows” of the late ‘30s, the magnificent and technically advanced racing machines from Mercedes and Auto Union, which waged an epic struggle for Grand Prix supremacy before World War II.  A supercharged V12 or V16 Auto Union in the gallery, accompanied by period videos, would be a knock-out!

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