WHITTIER – In the 14 years Bud Gilley spent traveling the world as the tour bus driver for the late musical superstar Ray Charles, he rubbed shoulders with the Rolling Stones and countless other entertainment giants. But Gilley entertained himself by collecting miniature model cars and other transportation items. In virtually every town he stopped in, from St. Louis, Mo., to Hamburg, Germany, he picked up little cars, trucks, buses and planes to add to his collection that now fills every nook and cranny of his small Whittier apartment. “It started out small and just sort of mushroomed,” he said, as he showed off his latest addition, a 1970 black Ford Torino. “I guess I just get a nostalgic kick out of it.” Among his acquisitions are replicas of bulletproof black stretch Mercedes limousines of the kind that carried Third World dictators. His miniatures include replicas of President Eisenhower’s Lincoln Cosmopolitan Bubble Top, President Nixon’s Lincoln Continental and President Clinton’s black Cadillac. There are even a few Secret Service escort cars. Cars that movie stars once drove in films and real life are also represented in his collection. There’s a 1949 Buick Roadmaster, like the one Tom Cruise drove in the movie “Rain Man,” a Mercedes-Benz 500K, built for actress Marlena Dietrich, and a Duesenberg car like the ones driven through the streets of Hollywood by actors Gary Cooper and Clark Gable. Miniature police and fire department vehicles, including a battalion chief car from the Mesa Arizona Fire Department and the first motorized highway patrol car, can be found in his apartment on shelves next to circus trucks with animal cages from a European touring circus. Friends who have seen Gilley’s collection are impressed. “It’s really awesome, a truly phenomenal collection,” said Carl Foster, who was Ray Charles’ valet. Which piece is closest to Gilley’s heart? It’s a red and cream colored 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. “When I was a kid growing up in … Virginia I used to drool over them. They were the bomb car to have back then,” he said. “So when I found one in Davenport, Iowa, I snatched it up.” His job driving the bus for Charles ended when the singer/pianist died at age 73 in 2004, but Gilley continues to collect. Now delivering buses for Motor Coach Industries, he seeks out the unique miniatures whenever he can. “I guess I’m a crazy old fool, but I enjoy this,” he said. “When I go, I’ll just pass it all on to my young relatives.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Gilley, 67, started driving for Charles in 1990, after years of working in the rental car business in Texas and driving charter buses on turnarounds from Palm Springs to Las Vegas. His duties on the road were making sure the tour bus, carrying spare keyboards, Charles’ dressing room, band members and from time to time Charles himself, who usually flew to his gigs, was always parked outside his concert venues. With time to fill between concerts, Gilley turned to collecting the miniatures that now number about 400. “Whenever I got a day off, I would go mosey around,” he said. His sources ranged from hobby shops to presidential museums, catalogs and the police escorts who rode with the tour bus when it came to town.
shining Latest Football News “We’re all just passing through in this profession, everything goes very quickly. The important thing is the day-to-day, and the excitement we approach it with.”Santiago Solari’s words at his debut press conference in charge of the Real Madrid first team suggest he has no illusions about his position. The interim coach of Los Blancos is not Florentino Perez’s choice for the long-term and, unless something unexpected happens, his stay in the Santiago Bernabéu hotseat will be a temporary one. Always in the background are murmurs of Jose Mourinho, still a favourite of president Perez, but the Manchester United boss won’t walk away from the payday he would be owed at Old Trafford should they decide to relieve him of his duties at some point down the line. And who is to say they will do so anyway?Then there is Mauricio Pochettino. Rumours linking the Argentine with Madrid continue to surface, though they tend to originate in England. Regardless, it is no secret the Spanish giants have long coveted his services, and for good reason: the Spurs man ticks more boxes than any other coach linked with the job. Unlike Conte, he would be welcomed by the dressing room, a stumbling block for the Italian which is an even bigger problem for Mourinho, who fell out with senior players by the time of his departure in 2013. 3 REPLY Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars RANKED Pochettino, a former Argentine international, shows off his skills on the touchline. 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The dust had barely settled on the 5-1 thumping Barcelona dished out to Los Blancos on Thursday when the word started to go around the Camp Nou that Antonio Conte would arrive in the morning.By the time Julen Lopetegui left his final media conference in the Catalan ground, sullen-looking in defeat, several well-positioned Spanish journalists were reporting that Conte would replace him the next day. Word travelled so quick that it arrived on time to be put to Sergio Ramos in the post-match mixed zone.The Madrid captain’s response wasn’t exactly a glowing endorsement. “Respect is won, not imposed.” Whether his thinly veiled message was enough to divert Florentino Perez’s hand is not clear, but in any case, Conte has yet to arrive, four days later, and now Madrid are reportedly unprepared to meet his contract demands. Which leaves the European giants in search of a new option. The big problem is that there aren’t many available. huge blow 3 3 The problem, however, is the timing. Madrid need a coach now, not next year, and as testing as things have been for Pochettino at Spurs as of late, it is hard to imagine him walking away mid-season from a job into which he has poured so much energy.Football is a ruthless game but we have seen enough consistency to afford him the benefit of the doubt: if he wanted to go to Madrid last summer he could have. Instead, he penned a new deal in north London. Murmurs in Spain that Perez may have to look for a stop-gap alternative until next year suggest there isn’t a great deal of optimism the Tottenham man will have a drastic change of heart.Which brings us back to Solari, the only coach Los Blancos are certain to have on the books at the moment, regardless of who they desire. The former Real Madrid player started off by delivering what was expected of him on Wednesday, comfortably winning a Copa del Rey fixture against third division UD Melilla.Next up, a much tougher test: Valladolid, owned by his former teammate Ronaldo, who are currently placed three positions above Madrid in the Liga table. If he can win that and start to turn things around, perhaps Solari’s stay in charge of the seniors will be longer than planned. Or at least long enough to buy Perez the time he needs. Pochettino’s natural ability to inject energy into a squad is another factor the other two cannot summon, and one that is not without importance considering the flagging, aged-looking performances several key Madrid players have produced this season. Potentially, he could help entice Harry Kane, a player who not only fits the bill as a Galactico-style signing that Madrid have lacked for some years now, but would also provide new talent in the desperately sparse centre forward position.The cherry on top? The Tottenham coach also happens to detest Barcelona more than most, and has never hidden his admiration for Real Madrid – “one of the best teams in the history of football,” as he described them. The fit couldn’t be better. Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won