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Luke Rizzuto in his Chevy

Born and raised on his family’s 23-acre fruit orchard, at age nine, Luke was given the responsibility of keeping the family’s 1930 Model A orchard truck in running order. Even today, Luke's weekends are often devoted to car events and activities, to publicize the 2014 Race.

A native to Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, Luke is a man whose grit, determination, and obsession with vintage cars, trucks and tractors has culminated in owning the car of a lifetime—a 1918 Chevy V8 Touring Car.

Self-reliant and deeply experienced with every element of vintage automotive maintenance and repair, Luke focused his life-long passion for vintage automobiles on a rare car that was actually the first V-8 engine to be created by Chevrolet.

Luke had the opportunity to purchase this car in 1989, from a collection purchased by the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, MI. The transaction almost didn’t happen, as a result of 1989’s magnitude 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake that severely damaged Luke’s home and financially impacted his construction business. Undeterred, Luke eventually closed the deal on this rare vintage automobile, only 1 of 10 known to exist.

It was the 1908 New York to Paris Great Race that fired Luke’s imagination for many years. He was determined to participate or replicate some or all of that arduous race. That dream led him to organize the 2008 Great Race Centennial. That experience then inspired him to team up with co-coordinator, John Quam for an even more ambitious undertaking...the Longest Auto Race World Tour 2014.

John Quam, Co-coordinator

1928 Plymouth Roadster

John lives in Montara, CA, but grew up in Ames, Iowa where he got his interest in antique cars early on from his father, who was an avid collector. The first car he was involved with was a 1903 Holsman; a 2-cylinder high-wheeled buggy car that steered with a tiller.

Over the years the collection grew to over 70 cars, including a Pierce Arrow, Peerless, Hupmobile, Kissel and Auburn to name a few. John now maintains the collection and participates in concours around the country.

John was a participant in the 2008 Centennial Great Race celebration, driving the original US route in his 1930 Chrysler 70 Roadster from NYC to San Francisco. As co-coordinator and participant in the 2013 event, he is looking forward to completing the remaining European leg of the Great Race, once again following the original 1908 route.

This time he will be driving a modified 1928 Plymouth Roadster; the first year ofmanufacture for the Plymouth car line. This particular car was a completed basket case, buried in a barn for over a half century. It was missing pretty much everything, other than the basic body shell and frame. John pulled it out of its slumber and brought it back to life...from sleeping in a barn to driving around the world; now that's an adventure!!


Leo and Plane
Leo G. Janssens

Leo's Vehicle
Leo's 2008 GMC Envoy

A resident of Oclawaha, Florida, Leo is currently an active Pilot, Test Pilot, and Aviation Consultant and owner of a Piper Twin Engine Seneca that he flies for personal business and pleasure trips throughout the United States. A Viet Nam veteran who retired from the USAF as a test pilot in 1980 after a 21 year career in the Military, Leo flew four-engine jet aircraft all around the world in support of US Military Forces.

Upon his graduation from the University of Michigan in 1959 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering, Leo was awarded a commission in the USAF through ROTC and then attended USAF pilot training in Texas. After completing his service in Viet Nam, he graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards, CA then went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Engineering Management.

Old cars have always held a fascination for Leo, since the days when his Dad let him drive his 1928 Chevrolet on their Michigan Farm. In 2005, that interest was re-kindled when he bought a 1928 Chevrolet Coach in need of restoration. With professional help, Leo completed a frame–off restoration of the 28 Chevy in 2010. Since then, he has displayed the car in several local car shows. In July 2011, Leo took it to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in Flint, MI, where he met Luke Rizzuto.

Since then, Luke and Leo have been talking and planning for the longest Auto Race World Tour from Japan to San Francisco. Rather than drive an older car, Leo will be driving his 2008 GMC Envoy, 4 wheel drive, SUV, with 41,000 miles on it – a rugged, dependable car more suited for this tour. As a resident of Florida, he plans to ship the touring vehicle to Los Gatos, CA. It will then be shipped to Japan with the other participant's cars. When departure time arrives, Leo will then fly to San Francisco to meet up with Luke and the others for the flight to Japan in May, 2014.

Considering this adventure the “trip of a lifetime”, Leo urges others to join in the fun and camaraderie.


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