CRE's Coolest First Cars
What car someone drives says a lot about him or her. So, we asked to see some of your first cars, hoping to gain valuable insight. We learned that most of you are way cooler than we are.
Henry S. Miller Brokerage SVP Tom Grunnah’s first car was a '74 BMW 2002. He was the original owner and still has it. “It's in great shape, still original, with various mods that I had done to it over time,” he tells us. He had this pic snapped just last week. Lucky guy drove the BMW in high school and college and it was his son’s first car, too. Tom says he plans to keep it forever and maybe his future grandson will try to impress the girls with it some day. (He says that car has been on many dates through the years and survived some steamed up windows, too, we suspect.) The car also survived—unscathed—in a snow collapsed barn in the winter of '79 in Chicago. Tom tells us he just closed the sale of 4.35 acres for the new Cliffview apartment development adjacent to the Belmont Hotel, civic leader Mary McDermott Cook's new home, and Sylvan 30 in West Dallas.
NAI Robert Lynn office division prez Tom Lynn’s first car was a bright red ’76 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It was his mom’s old car and it was huge like a steam ship, he tells us. Even though it only had two doors, he managed to squeeze eight people in it, routinely, as well as his dog, Jarvis. As the first of his friends to have a driver’s license, Tom was the group’s driver. “I still joke that George Dutter, my high school best friend and the CEO of NAI Robert Lynn, still doesn't know how to drive because he was always riding shotgun with me,” Tom says. Against his parents' wishes, he had a sunroof installed, had a CB radio, and a PA system under the hood (which he used to terrorize his Richardson High School classmates, along with a Q-beam spotlight.) On the work side, Tom just closed a 10k SF deal at The Addison office tower, a 9,000 SF office deal in One Lincoln Park, and a 13k SF office deal in the Legacy market.
Cresa Dallas managing principal Susan Arledge’s first car was a used '74 white Toyota Corolla that she drove to UT. “The only thing cool about this car was the fact that it got about 110 miles per gallon, which was great since gas in Austin was about 29 cents per gallon,” she tells us. (Don’t get it confused with the much less lame Toyota Corona, this car was Toyota’s answer to the Volkswagen, she tells us.) We learned more about Susan, including a pair of her recent deals she worked with colleague, Jeff Pappas. The pair repped NorthStar Anesthesia HQ in a 28k SF lease at 161 Corporate Center in Irving (Case Commercial’s Tom Sutherland repped the landlord) and the 35k SF lease for PAE Applied Technologies at 6500 West Freeway in Fort Worth. NavStar Commercial’s Phil Sandlin repped the landlord.
Not to be outdone by his nephew, Robert Grunnah (who recently left Henry S. Miller to form Novus CRE, a full-service commercial real estate in Dallas) tells us his first car was a ’62 Corvette that he bought while working for Neiman Marcus his junior year at SMU. He's pictured with his ’69 Corvette, snapped at base housing at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. He had just returned from Southeast Asia after 18 months without leave. He was able to save enough money over there to pay cash ($3,995) at the former Steakley dealer on LBJ. After a week’s leave in Dallas, he and Jeri Grunnah (still a good friend) packed up everything and the cat, and drove to Homestead where they spent two years before coming back to join the Henry S. Miller Co. In 1972, they traded it for one of the first Datsun 240Zs to come to Dallas. He still has the groovy pants, he tells us.
Thank goodness our DFW reporter Tonie Auer’s first car was her mom’s sturdy old '72 Chevrolet Monte Carlo (with a sweet 8-track player), because she wrecked it less than a week after getting her DL. Her parents bucked the tradition of taking away the keys after that, instead buying her a bright yellow '78 Porsche 924 with a fin, moon roof, and a set of Pirelli tires. That car lasted almost an entire year. “I was the only girl in Kennedale High School with a Porsche and probably the only one who could talk about engine size and horse power with the guys,” she says. Her dream car would have been a ’69 Camaro SS. Today, she’d take an Escalade (much easier to drive the kids around and they have seat warmers).