My Cause in Vinnie

Flickr Slideshow (click <18>) or Flickr Album

Redondo Beach CA, July 9 2015 - Soon into our first conversation, I knew we would be following this guy around. Vinnie Mandzak was in his element moving cars for RM Auctions/Auctions America; we were looking for insight stories and apparently hit the motherlode. Like a bee visiting every flower, he knew everyone in the business and everything about the cars they traded. He had a story for every occasion, and always an attentive audience.

Vinnie Mandzak volunteers at Steve McQueen Car Show 2013

Steve McQueen Car Show 2013

Vinnie was always working hard, on the move and three-deep busy, but when you caught his eye he’d finish up with others gracefully and give you the time of day. He liked what we were doing in media, and went out of his way to introduce us to anyone within shouting distance and help with events and details.

Vinnie Mandzak at Auctions America Preview 2014

On camera for RM Auctions 2014

We didn’t ask very often, but Vinnie was always willing to go on camera to discuss what was happening at the event. It was always tempting to turn the camera on when visiting, because the stories and friendship just kept coming. Vinnie could have been his own TV show – just point and click.

Vinnie Mandzak at Rodeo Drive Concours 2013

Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance 2013

We saw him everywhere for a while, and he’d call from some far off place I missed to say “guess who I’m with?” (some mutual friend). Then we started to notice that his attendance was waning. For some time, Vinnie did not mention that he had cancer – he carried on the outside as if nothing had changed. Perhaps he didn’t want to waste time on what-will-be instead of good as-it-is-now time.

Lee Iacocca Award to Vinnie Mandzak

 Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance 2015 Lee Iacocca Award winner

We missed Vinnie at a couple of his favorite gatherings recently – Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance and Steve McQueen car show. Unfortunately his condition had deteriorated and he was not able to attend. Vinnie loved sourcing crazy collections of motorcycles for these charity events. He was surely proud to see the awards given in his name.

St. James Church

Vinnie Mandzak passed away June 18, 2015. A celebration of his life was held at St. James Church Redondo Beach CA and La Venta Inn Palos Verdes CA. As testament to the reach of Vinnie’s active life, many hundreds of friends came to pay their respects with family. Every one of them would have a bank of stories about Vinnie and his stories. You know you made an impact when you can fill up a big church. He is a man that lived his dream, and will live on in the hearts and minds of those he met along the way.

Now we just wish we had left the camera rolling after all…

Vinnie Videos:

Auctions America Preview: Collector Car Appreciation Day

Auctions America - 'til the Cars Come Home

Auctions America California - Burbank On Location

Rodeo Drive Concours - Father's Fantasy and the Motorcycle Man

by Randy Berg

Palos Verdes sunset

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