Stephen Boyd Sports Cars – The Dealership!

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I came across something recently while browsing away on Newspapers.com. Stephen Boyd actually owned a car dealership in Burbank for a brief time in the early 1970’s! Now Stephen was of course always fond of cars. Cars were probably his greatest passion – next to golf, or course. But his dealership was specifically aimed at the sports cars from Europe like “the MG, Austin American and Lotus automobiles”.  Apparently Stephen purchased the dealership in 1970 right after the sale of the failing mega-studio MGM sale, when he also obtained his trusty old Messala chariot as well!

The things people are buying at the MGM auction! Still, I guess it figures that Steve Boyd’s biggest check was written to buy his “Ben-Hur” chariot.

He intends to park it as the showpiece at his newly acquired imported car dealership – Stephen Boyd’s Sports Car Center – in beautiful downtown Burbank. (The San Francisco Examiner, May 20, 1970)

Stephen Boyd introduces a new concept in foreign car automotive service called “Old English Service.” We invite you to stop in and try this new concept in personalized service….we know you’ll be glad you did. (Van Nuys News, California, June 26, 1970)

This concept meant customers could have their car serviced in a minimum amount of time while waiting the in the comfortable waiting lounge. The dealership was located at 811 South San Fernando Blvd in Burbank, which is still currently a “Tesla” car dealer. It’s located not too far from a Ralph’s grocery these days. It has been a car dealership location since the early 1950’s.

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It looks like Stephen kept this dealership until about late 1971 when the ads seems to disappear. One of Stephen’s brothers had come to California with him in the early 1960’s as a mechanic, I believe. Per a family tip on Twitter (thanks Thomas!), Stephen’s brother Alex helped run the garage. A ex-restaurant owner named Mort Katz was selected to be the manager. (Van Nuys News, June 28, 1970)

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Van Nuys News, California, June 26, 1970

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In 1970 Stephen Boyd also appeared in the Paul Newman racing documentary called Once Upon a Wheel. Newman hosts and narrates the history of auto racing. Stephen, even though a car enthusiast, doesn’t seem to be into racing himself. He is on the sidelines in the pit crew, and explains “I’m chicken” when asked why he is not partaking. Actor Kirk Douglas is seen as well.

 

Actor and motor sports enthusiast PAUL NEWMAN and professional race car driver PARNELLI JONES seated in red Porsche 914 sports coupe parked in pit alley at Ontario Motor Speedway / Paul Newman wearing white racing suit, walking toward camera in pits, packed spectator stands / Paul Newman talking with honorary pit crew that includes singer LOU RAWLS and actor STEPHEN BOYD/ OMS Celebrity Pro-Am on August 09, 1970 in Ontario, California (Footage by Getty Images) 

 

Stephen Boyd “I do like fast cars”

Stephen Boyd had several hobbies, but among his favorites were golf and collecting and tinkering with cars. Even from days as a poor lad in Belfast, Stephen loved cars. Apparently Ulster boys like to ride fast on the Northern Irish roads. After Stephen moved to Hollywood he continued his love of collecting cars- including a used Rolls Royce he purchased from producer Sam Bronston during the filming of The Fall of The Roman Empire. It seems fitting that Stephen’s most famous role was that of the fast chariot racing Messala in Ben Hur! However, even though Stephen loved fast cars, I have never read that Stephen actually raced cars. He appears in Paul Newman’s Once Upon a Wheel as part of Paul’s racing crew, and says flatly, “I’m chicken.” So there it is- no professional racing for Steve!

In Movieland magazine in May 1961, they asked Stephen this question –

That left just one rumor to ask Steve about: that he likes fast horses, fact cars and fast women.

“I don’t know about horses, “he grins. “I do like fast cars. But I honestly don’t care for fast women!”

Here’s some pics of Stephen in a couple of his cars, and the brief appearance he makes in Once Upon a Wheel from YouTube.

 

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