Pictured: Anti-snob wine expert and acclaimed writer Mark Oldman, standing proudly with his ’07 Parnelli Jones Mustang.
It was one of those random NYC moments. I happen to be crossing the street when I heard the roar of something otherworldly. I turned my head and caught the glimpse of what seemed to be a NYC taxi on steroids. As this bright orange blur inched closer I decided to raise my arm up and try to hail it down. To my surprise the man behind the wheel pulled over to me and rolled down his window. “Hey what’s up?,” he said. My response, “what the hell is this thing, I heard you from 2 blocks away?” Then the light turned green, and it was time to move. ”my name is Mark Oldman,” he screamed over first gear and then chirped through the light. Shit, I missed the shot..so I went home and googled Mark Oldman.
It turns out that Mark Oldman is one of the country’s leading wine personalities. Seriously, the guy is way into grapes…lead judge on the PBS series “The Winemakers,” a regular on Martha Stewart Radio’s “Living Today, and the wine guru for “Everyday with Rachel Ray.” He also leads wine lectures and courses all over the country, including the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, and the South Beach Food Network Wine and Food Festival. Oh, I forgot to mention the 5 incredibly successful wine books he’s written..including his most recent release “Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine.”
Putting aside all these accolades and accomplishments, Oldman happens to be one of the nicest, most down to earth guys around. I exchanged a few emails with him, and the next day I was sitting shotgun in his bad ass 400 HP Parnelli Jones Edition-Mustang. Oldman lovingly refers to it as “El Tigre.” The “Grabber Orange” paint and matte black details stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the yuppified Range Rovers and BMW’s stacked 5-deep in the garage. Yet, this is the kind of sore thumb you want, the kind that grins at you and says “saddle up partner, we got some fast driving to do.”
This model was named after the legendary racer Parnelli Jones, and his autograph is on the dash to prove it. The power, color, and form of this beast pay homage to Jones’ 1970 Boss 302 Mustang, which ruled the SCCA Trans AM Series in the early seventies. “El Tigre” is #480 of only 500 produced, with #001 belonging to Parnelli Jones himself. This car has all the retro-muscle details you want and expect. The matte black shaker protrudes from the hood to swallow some high pressure air, while the hood pins make sure that hood stays put; side note: they look tough as hell. The jet black louvers that cover the rear window ensure poor visibility for the driver, but also scare the shit out of any would–be tailgaters.
After our ride, Oldman was kind enough to invite me into his new apartment to check out some of his wine, and art collection. And this is only the wine that he keeps at home, there’s a storage facility down the block for the real collection. I also got to see the office where these books are crafted. He only moved in four months ago, and he’s been on a book tour..so give the guy a break about the mess and lack of furniture. Most importantly his car is in the garage below, there’s plenty of wine in the fridge, and there’s art on the walls. We don’t feel so bad..
Check out the real talk with Mark Oldman, after the speed bump.
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