Member Spotlight: Tex Otto
While most people begin driving at 15 or 16 years old, Tex Otto got his start at five years old. Not old or tall enough to drive the Autopia cars at Disneyland, Otto did not let that stop him. Equipped with homemade pinstriped pillows to help him see over the steering wheel, Otto drove his dad's Ford three-on-the-tree all around their Nebraska farm. Otto and his father drove all the time on the farm, Otto sitting on the console of his father's big block Pontiacs and Chevys shifting gears and his father working the clutch.
These experiences helped shaped Otto and his future career. After attending the Art Center School of Design, Otto started his own successful design and branding firm. Merging his passion with his career, Otto began publishing not one, but two Ferrari Club magazines: Sempre Ferrari and Pilota. Otto was even one of the original publishers for the Checkered Flag 200, the Petersen's very own member magazine.
Not only did Otto's career involve the Petersen, but so did his passion. As his business and career grew, his collection and passion for cars and all things automotive did as well, eventually leading Otto to become a lifetime member with the Petersen.
Two staples in Otto's collection include his first car, a 1970 VW Beetle and a 1973 Porsche 911 RS. Otto received the Beetle as a gift from his father, his first car when he gets his learner's permit at age 14. With 45,000 original miles, it shares the distinctive air-cooled heater aroma and the VW "zing" when you click the door shut. Despite the sentimental value of the Beetle, Otto says that there is no better feeling than sitting behind the wheel of the Porsche 911RS.
As well as owning some spectacular cars, Otto has also had some exhilarating motoring memories: the Copperstate 1000 and a trip to Ferrari driving school. Otto and his friend Bob Turner have successfully completed two Copperstate 1000s in a race-prepared Holman & Moody powered Ford Fairlane Sedan. Although his hearing has not quite recovered, Otto said he enjoyed the 5-day road trips through northern Arizona. From five day races to racing around the track, Otto got the chance to drive in the Advanced Course of the Ferrari Corso Pilota driving school at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Canada. With the aid of a Le Mans driver, Otto felt the speed and exhilaration of driving behind the wheel of the 488 GTB on an advanced forest track.
As a designer, publisher, and journalist, Otto has a unique take on car culture. Otto loves the events. No matter the individual interests, car enthusiasts come together for special events. Ottos favorite event is the Jim Hull Bastille Day Rally. Not only does he love the drive through Malibu, but he loves the car show at the end. Otto is also a regular at the Petersen's cruise-ins where there is "something for everyone."
As a lifetime member of the Petersen, Otto loves to be apart of the Checkered Flag events, supporting the museum and his love of cars. He says that supporting the Petersen and CF200 is merely a small token of his appreciated for all that the museum has done and continues to do to unify the automotive community. "Los Angeles, a leading region of transportation design, racing and trend inspiration, is privileged to have a world-class tribute to the automobile in the vicinity of other cultural institutions."
According to Otto, the Petersen and CF200 help foster relationships between those who speak the same language: the automobile. As well as lifetime friends, Otto has also made lifetime memories with many laughs and hilarious stories.