For those of us in San Antonio, Steve Gehrlein needed no introduction. He owned Cambridge Auto Center and had a car talk show on AM 550 KTSA on Saturday mornings. When not talking cars on the air, he was testifying in court about them. That man knew everything about engines.
And if you think I’m exaggerating, you would be badly mistaken.
Before moving to Michigan in 2004 for what would be a nine-year sojourn, I spent a few months screening calls for Steve at KTSA. Being the son of a mechanic, I loved being around him.
Steve was indeed a unique person. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he moved to Texas as a youth and had a strong Texas twang. He was colorful when not on the air, but he could take it as easily as he dished it out. When I counter-teased him about finding his toupee on Eharmony, he didn’t get upset in the slightest.
I remember once needing caffeine one morning and seeing him in the breakroom. I asked him if I could borrow 50 cents from him. He pulled a dollar out of his thick wallet and gave it to me and then shook off my promise to pay it back. “I have plenty of money, Richard,” he said. “Don’t worry about it.”
On the air, Steve would also make jokes about his intelligence in all issues unrelated to cars. He was actually very sharp. Politics, social issues, common sense, he mastered them all. I often thought that if Ricci or Trey Ware ever needed the day off from their talk show, Steve could’ve filled in and easily held his own on any topic.
Steve also talked about his faith also, and I thought that in Michigan in 2013 when I was making plans to return home. I googled him to see how he and his show were doing. As it turned, out, he’d passed away in 2011 of a heart attack.
Until perfection is restored to the world, there will be tears and heartache in heaven. For Steve Gehrlein, there will also be boredom, as there are no more cars to repair.
R.I.P., Steve. See you someday on the other side.
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