|Update 9/25/05: Greg Parker passed away on September 12, 2005. Click here for Bartsow's tribute to Greg and his contributions to the community. Ed Parker passed away in 1998.|
We stopped at A-1 Towing & Garage on Highway 58 near Barstow, California. A motorcycle with missile launchers attached to its windshield and wicked bayonets protruding from its wheels greeted us at the gate. Nearby an old Hillman boasted tank treads and anti-aircraft guns. "Who lives here, Mad Max?" asked Mark. No ordinary imagination had given birth to this bizarre collection, and we knew we had to meet the mind behind these mad machines. The genius in the desert turned out to be Ed Parker. Ed and his brother Greg welcome vistors who wish to take photographs of their unique cars. "All but one of them actually function," says Ed. "Some have recently been used in movies."
Inside the main garage, Greg, who designs and builds winning off-road racing cars, demonstrated some of his latest innovations, including a floating suspension system that allows the race car to mimic a hover-craft as it rockets across the course. Then Mark got to be a guinea pig. "Hold this," said Greg, handing him a steering wheel, "As tightly as you can." Mark tried his best, but Greg yanked it away from him without trying very hard. "Okay, now hold it like this," said Greg. "Angle is everything." Greg tried and failed to wrench the wheel out of Mark's hands a second time. "Okay, now everybody lift your toes up and down, up and down. That's what you have to do with an ordinary accelerator pedal. But not with mine." Greg showed us how he'd designed the controls on his car to reduce fatigue for the driver. Greg has many theories about balance and weight distribution. "If it's balanced right, it weighs nothing," said Greg, and proved it by lifting his race car with one hand
As we left, Greg gave us one of his business cards, and it's one we'll be sure to keep in a safe place. "Get out of Jail Free," it says on the back, "And the local gendarmes will honor it," says Greg.
Whether you find yourself visiting the Parker Brothers by choice or because your car broke down on your way to Las Vegas, you're in for a treat you won't soon forget.
30939 E. Hwy 58