Simanaitis Says

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R&T’S NEW PLACE—1968

YESTERDAY’S SIMANAITISSAYS concluded with a rendering by architect Bill Ficker of R&T’s building at 1499 Monrovia Avenue, Newport Beach, California. Immediately below this rendering here is a photograph accompanying R&T’s September 1968 article celebrating its new home.

Above, architect’s rendering of new offices of Bond Publications Company, Newport Beach, California. Scheduled for completion in March 1968. William P. Ficker AIA. Below, image from R&T, September 1968.


Here’s a collection of happy snaps from the 1968 housewarming party, plus two more recent ones.

The building’s architect Bill Ficker and his wife Barbara.

Bill Ficker’s other architectural assignments included the home of John R. and Elaine Bond. John began as R&T’s technical editor back in the 1950s. He and Elaine were soon its owners and publishers.

John, Elaine, and one of the Bond cars.

The 1968 move took R&T from a one-story industrial block venue a few streets away to Ficker’s two-story building. A ladder in the telex room led to the rooftop, where a third floor could have been added. Instead, it quickly became a great place for overhead photo shoots. There was room for an elevator, never realized, next to the stairway to the second floor. For a long time, a Stan Mott Cyclops resided on the landing.

My grandkids (as little ones) on the Cyclops landing.

Dave Black was managing editor. A jazz trumpeter as well as wordsmith, he encouraged me to compose a limerick in his honor: “Give Dave a flat tire and he’ll pump it./ If it’s a dead battery, he’ll jump it./ He’s a talented man/ who helps when he can./ And on weekends, he’ll play with his trumpet.”

Dave Black, managing editor.

Dave was amused by the Shakespearean “strumpet” reference.

Dottie Clendenin was the editorial assistant at the time. Other staff members at the 1968 housewarming included Jon Thompson, who used to tell an hilarious Henry Ford anecdote, and Ron Wakefield, still a great friend and proud Hudson owner.

Jon Thompson, Ron Wakefield, Dorothy Clendenin, and Editor Jim Crow. Jim and his wife Joyce were early Baja explorers.

R&T resided at 1499 Monrovia until late 2012, through various ownerships including the Bonds, CBS, Peter Diamandis, Hachette, and Hearst. The building emptied when Hearst moved the brand to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1499 Monrovia today. Image from Google Earth.

For a while [this updated after initial publication], the building was owned by basketball great and entrepreneur Kobe Bryant. I like to think that he’ll occupy my old office. Upstairs, at the northwest corner, it has the best view in the place.

This just in! I was checking on something else entirely and came upon an August 2017 announcement of Pacifica Christian High School acquiring property at, you guessed it!, 1499 Monrovia Avenue, Newport Beach, California. According to its press release, “What began as a dream is becoming a reality…. The building is located just 40 yards from our current campus and allows us to double our enrollment capacity–so Pacifica can educate even more students.”

If the walls could talk…. Then again, I hope they keep quiet. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2018

8 comments on “R&T’S NEW PLACE—1968

  1. Mark W
    September 20, 2018

    Looks like fun, covering the car business from glamorous Southern California. Clean and contemporary style, I always thought it was neat that R&T was based in Newport Beach instead of New York or Detroit

  2. Gene Herbert
    September 20, 2018

    Great column Dennis. The Stan Mott Cyclops and Eames Chair and pipe smoking now seem distant. I read where Mr. Bryant is going through some zoning nightmares where he is supposed to return the building use to residential. My free advice; build his own residence atop the building using inspiration from Richard Neutra as William P. Ficker himself might have conceived. Keep the large roof overhang clear. Or get Stan Mott to get out his drawings for that mega-ship Cyclops and build it atop and paint it yellow as an artistic statement !

    • Gene Herbert
      September 20, 2018

      . . . and then apply for historic landmark designation!

  3. Frank Barrett
    September 20, 2018

    The Cyclops was there when I first visited, in 1977. At the time, I wondered why R&T gave the first floor to Cycle World, then I realized that the second floor offered far better views. Anyway, the place seemed almost holy to me.

  4. Michael Rubin
    September 20, 2018

    I want to feel sad looking back at this but I have only great memories of R&T and it’s folk during this era. Interesting to recall the major automotive magazines, the pubications’ different personalities and the personalities of their editorial crews.

  5. Bob DuBois
    September 20, 2018

    Unfortunately, R&T lost a lot more than just a great location in a great California beach town when they changed ownership and moved to Michigan(??!!).

  6. Gordon Craig
    September 24, 2018

    Was Denise McCluggage a contributor to R&T? In general, I know she was a free lancer, very prolific motorsports writer. Thanks, gordon

  7. carmacarcounselor
    December 6, 2018

    When I first made the pilgrimage (That is definitely the word.) to the R&T offices around 1970, I think the Cyclops was still there, accompanied by Craig Vetter’s prototype for the Triumph Hurricane Triple in the lobby. I had been friends with Craig and his brother Bruce when we all attended the U of IL Champaign-Urbana. I had his second prototype fairing on my Yamaha YR-1.

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