It’s a fact that Larry Weisman loved cars. He was a 14-year veteran of the Ponte Vedra Auto Show. He owned an interest in an automotive performance and restoration shop in Jacksonville. He had three classic cars he showcased.
A set of facts leads to a simple truth — Weisman loved cars above all else. A look behind the facts, however, leads to a completely different conclusion, one that has nothing to do with makes, models or speed. Like a magic eye poster, if you really look, the image completely changes. Here are the facts:
According to his March 2019 obituary, “In 1985, Larry graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He went to work for McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach, California where at a 76 Station, in a fated meeting true to his love of cars, he met Stephanie Weisman, his wife of 33 years.”
Weisman is survived by his wife, daughters, Lauren and Sarah, and his son, Jake. His son, who is a manager at Hagerty, said he and his father went on a road trip to Bowling Green Kentucky, where Corvettes were originally produced. Jake, his dad and a family friend all drove their Corvettes, with Weisman driving his Grand Sport. They visited the factory where Corvettes were produced along with the National Corvette Museum.
Additionally, Jake Weisman said his father taught him for the first time how to drive with stick shift in the same Grand Sport Corvette.
He took his son to car shows, the Daytona 500 and the Rolex 24. Along with the Corvette, he owned a 1986 Ford Mustang SVO and a 1980 Turbo Trans Am, all of which will be showcased at the Ponte Vedra Auto Show in his honor. The admiral blue Grand Sport was is favorite, however, telling his family “never to sell it.”
The facts tell a story of a man who loved both the inside and outside of classic cars. Both a hobbyist and enthusiast, he was a person who devoted himself to be a wealth of knowledge in his passion. Between the facts, however, Larry Weisman was the type of person willing to teach a novice on one of his most prized possessions. He saw his wife as part of his fated passion with cars and shared the best parts of his hobby with his son.
“What I loved so much about my dad was that cars were special or important to him, but it was never that Ferris Bueller moment where you had to sneak the cars out or anything like that,” Jake Weisman said. “My dad always trusted me, and he was incredibly cool about it. He wanted to share the cars with me and share the passion.”
Larry Weisman loved cars, it’s true. But rather than an obsession he saw it as more of an enrichment to an already fulfilled life with his family. He was generous with his passion, sharing it and recognizing it for what it was. The cars were one of the things he loved — but they weren’t what he loved most.
For many people, a large part of their attachment to cars are the surrounding associations. A look at how the movie “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds increased the value of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am says enough. Certain cars have collective associations and others have singular ones. A few might remember a road trip in a 1994 Pontiac Sunbird. Or listening to a favorite song with friends in a 1974 Ford Pinto. Maybe even learning to drive with dad.
Cars carry memories in them, strapped in bucket seats like drivers. Many times, they can be vehicles for remembering all the other lives we lived as well. The facts are, we spend a lot of time in a car. Sometimes we are driving to a destination, other times we are just driving. Between those facts, however, is a very full life.