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Stories from our visitors
Vasek Polak experiences
from Phil Pausmer
I was so pleased to find this site about Mr Polak. I suppose my friend Bill Walters, the Parts Manager for Competition Motors (John Von Neumann) in Hollywood and myself must be a pair of the very few that made it to Mr Polak’s grand opening of his new Porsche store at 356 (yes 356!) Sepulveda. It later became his Saab store. It had a weird ½ up level parts department. The counter window was about 6 above the service dept floor. I believe Carl Thompson was with him from the very beginning but without the ‘stash. It was nice to read names like Hans Adam and Scooter Patrick whom had a sometimes competing service operation a few miles north. Hans worked for Mr Polak at the BMW store and Scooter drove a few of his cars and I believe worked in the Sales dept in the ‘new’ store further south for a period. They had a partner and I believe his last name was Mitchell, I can’t recall his first name at this time. I worked for Competion Motors and lived in Inglewood so I would shag parts down to the Polak store and the Patrick Adam Mitchell operation on occasion. That made me recall the name of it… PAM. Gads that was about 50 years ago! Ken Miles was in our shop frequently as he drove the early SCCA races on occasion for Mr Polack as well as Von Neumann. Who remembers Englebert racing tires?
I left Competition Motors briefly for a stint in the Army and came back to work for them in the field, calling on the Porsche and VW dealers. Bill Walters left the retail store in Hollywood and became the Porsche Inventory Manager for Competition Motors (Culver City) the Porsche Importer/Distributor for So Calif. I was in the Manhattan Beach store about once a month and dealt primarily with Carl and various other staff in the shop. I would meet with Mr Polak frequently and rag on him about his huge parts inventory. It was way over the top. Mr Polak would visit Germany annually and would clean out the factory racing department of obsolescence. These were the days before sea containers. Mr Polak had a better answer: he would buy high mileage VW commercial vans (no windows) and stuff them full of parts. He would steel band the doors shut and ship them over and unload the parts. On occasion you would see one of these old vans running around the beach all painted up with commercial lettering for a Stuttgart plumber and such. I think Vasek invented the self powered sea container! Very enterprising to say the least!
Competition Motors became VW of America. VW became the national Porsche importer for a while and the Porsche spun off and became Porsche of America. I helped add Audi to Mr Polack’s store. Bill Walters went on to become the Porsche Inventory Manager up in Reno when they relocated to Nevada. I retired from VW and went to work for Subaru. Mr. Polack was also a Subaru dealer for a while, though I was in the store a few times, it was not in my assigned district. I recently ran into Bill Walters and made will him aware of this site. I will egg him on to relate some better stories and maybe correct my memory as well. Wonderful site!
Mr Polak, an incredible man!
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