Member Spotlight: Bruce Wanta Story Finish Line

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A lifetime member who went from reading about cars to helping create them.

Bruce Wanta has enjoyed cars ever since he can remember. At age 15, while reading an issue of “Road & Track”, Wanta found his first automotive love, the Maserati Bora. That Bora has now found its way from those pages into his current collection.

Of course, Wanta’s current collection is a little more than a single Maserati — it includes hot rods, muscle cars, Italian Classics and then some. As for what he notices when looking to add to his collection? “Whatever puts a smile on my face,” said Wanta. A real standout in Wanta’s collection is his Ford GT, which he said is a joy to drive year-round and even better when it is on the track.

A car that Wanta’s has been wanting to add to his collection is the “Mulholland Speedster.” Troy Ladd from Hollywood Hot Rods has been working on the ‘36 Packard for over six years, which was a blend of ideas from Ladd, Wanta and Eric Black of eBlack Design. Over those six years, Wanta even jumped in to lend a hand and he guessed conservatively he made about 40-50 trips to Burbank to make design changes and engineer some of the special features on the car (including the disappearing hard top).

America's Most Beautiful Roadster Crowned at the 68th Annual Grand National Roadster Show - AMBR 1.jpg

The Speedster was built to compete for the famous America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) award at the Grand National Roadster Show. Much to the delight of Wanta the car won AMBR and has continued to do well at other shows around the country. At the Sacramento Autorama, it took home the coveted Custom d’ Elegance, World’s Most Beautiful Custom, and the Sam Barris awards, a feat which no car has achieved. A few weeks later it was on to the Chicago World of Wheels Autorama where the car won the Legend Cup. It was the first time in the 55-year show history they had both current AMBR winner and Ridler winner side by side. It also won Best of Show (contemporary) at Benedict Castle and Street Rod d’Elegance at the Good Guys Del Mar.

However, as much fun as it has been showing the car, Wanta can’t wait for June so he can get it home and drive it to his local cars and coffee cruise-in at the Redmond Town Center.

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When Wanta first set foot in the remodeled Petersen he was struck by the breadth and diversity of the collection and its accessibility. Before he was out the door, he had put plans in place to loan his “Black Widow,” a 1926 hot rodded Model T pickup truck, to the museum. He has been a Checkered Flag member since 2009 and has since made the transition to lifetime membership.

Bruce encourages others to become lifetime members too. “The Petersen is a treasure. Your gift will live beyond you and in doing so, protect the Petersen’s future. Becoming a lifetime member is really just icing on the cake,” said Wanta.

Written By James McKeone

Photos by Bruce Wanta and Rod Shows