I was born on October 18, 1953 in Windsor Ontario Canada to Everett and Dorothy Adams, I had one older sister Nancy that sadly passed at age 49 from ALS. Nancy was a huge Mopar car gal and my biggest fan; I miss her dearly! My father Everett was an Automotive Designer that worked for Ford Motor Engineering of Canada in Windsor until 1957 when he joined Chrysler Engineering as an interior trim designer in Highland Park Michigan. My car roots run deep, I always loved Automobiles from a very young age. My Dad always drove big finned Chrysler products, these left a lasting impression on me.
I began building model cars at the age of seven, my first model was an AMT 1936 Ford that I built entirely myself. I entered it into a local model contest and won first place in my age category. The winners’ pictures were taken and published in our local paper “The Northeast Detroiter”, I was thrilled! That jump started my model building hobby that quickly progressed into Slot Car Racing and ultimately real four wheeled automobiles.
During my middle school years, I saved money from my Detroit News paper route, this was an invaluable experience for me learning to be a small businessman. Of course, my plan was to build my own Hot Rod, I was an avid reader of any and all Automotive Magazines.
At age 14 I landed a job at a local Marathon Service Station that specialized in servicing local Muscle cars and Hot Rods that roamed the streets of 1969 era Detroit. This invaluable experience set me on the exact path I that was looking for. The mechanics that I worked with were great to learn from…I was very fortunate!
My first car was a 1960 Dodge Dart that I quickly upgraded the engine to a 383, cheater slicks and ET mag wheels rounded out the look.
At age 16 I became employed as an Auto Mechanic during my High School years at a larger Amoco Service Station in Warren Michigan. Here I serviced customer cars and a small fleet of Cadillac ambulances, a great learning experience.
At age 19 in 1973 I discovered from a friend that Chrysler Engineering was hiring in nearby Highland Park Michigan where my Dad worked as a designer. As a Mopar to the core young kid I was thrilled to be granted an interview and was quickly hired as a Driver/Mechanic in the Road Test Garage. In a few months I was asked to work in the Prototype Build Shop where we hand assembled all the corporate prototype Program vehicles, quite an honor for a young mechanic.
I also attended Macomb Community College taking Business Administration and Auto Mechanics for several years in the evening.
In the fall of 1973, I bought a factory Hemi powered 4 speed 1970 Dodge Challenger that I modified for Drag Racing. This was just the first of many Drag Racing oriented vehicles that I built and raced over the next 40 years.
Fast forward to 1982 when I met my future wife Lorette at a local Detroit Bar/Pool Hall. She was on traveling Pool league, and quite a talented player! (Pool that is LOL) Her beauty stopped me in my tracks, my friends said I didn’t stand a chance with her, but she gave me her number! We were married in 1984 and still are today. Lorette is my rock and the true love of my life.
In 1988 I heard from Team Shelby members Don Jankowski and Pete Gladysz that Chrysler Management was seriously considering forming a team to build a Production version of the recently revealed Dodge Viper sports car. I was honored to be invited to the first informal meeting in the Chrysler Styling area hosted by Bob Lutz. I was shocked to learn that Chrysler was actually seriously considering building a vehicle that was such a radical departure from any previous model! Many questions quickly came to mind. Was our management really serious about following through with this level of commitment? Or would this be one of those stop/start programs that were dissolved as quickly as they began? Many folks were unwilling to risk their careers except for a small group of car lovers and real risk takers that became Team Viper. Our leader Roy Sjoberg armed with his Corvette background and engineering experience inspired his small army to build what turned out to be a true American sports car icon.
I am honored to be selected to the Viper Hall of Fame, but honestly every Team Viper member deserves this title. We all risked our careers to be a part of one the greatest automotive icons ever, I have high praise for the vision of our management team. They made a commitment, kept their promises, and Team Viper followed through.