Regular column readers will recall that I finally tied the knot back in March and that one of the issues was the wedding car. We finally decided on a white 1957 Thunderbird, but finding one for the Big Day proved to be, well, impossible, actually.
We made out better than I thought, in the end, but I had no idea about the rumors circulating.
It began when hubby, Ilya, and I recently struck up a conversation about the L.A. wedding with John, a friend from Tennessee. He was telling us that he had a wonderful time and he was sharing some of his favorite moments of the weekend when he said, "And, wow, what incredible wedding gifts you and Ilya got for each other."
A strange comment, you see, since I had not told anyone about the earrings Ilya had given me as a wedding gift and I had yet to give Ilya his present. I gave John a perplexed look and there was a bit of silence before he continued.
"We were talking to a group of folks during the wedding cocktail hour, and we were all remarking about how cool it was that the Aston Martin and Shelby Cobra parked out front at The London (West Hollywood Hotel) were your wedding gifts to each other."
Ilya and I burst out into laughter over it, but an explanation was obviously in order.
Some of our favorite cars for the wedding day were the 1957 Thunderbird, the 1969 Camaro, 1971 Hemi 'Cuda, a vintage Corvette, Porsche and an Aston Martin. Oh, and one of my very favorite rides of all time, the Ford GT also made the cut. But, after all of our discussions and attempts to wrangle one of these vehicles, fate led us in another direction.
When we realized it's not as easy as we thought to get a hold of exactly what we wanted, we decided to keep it simple and use my 2004 Ford Thunderbird -- the same one designer Chip Foose tricked out for me in 2005 -- as our wedding car. It's gorgeous and a it's a convertible, two of our prerequisites. It is also a car that will always be near and dear to my heart. I adore my baby 'Bird. But, as it would turn out, the Thunderbird was still in Huntington Beach, Calif., getting some added modifications from the man, Foose himself, and Mitch and Tara Lanzini from Lanzini Bodyworks, as a dream-for-a-car-girl wedding gift.
Bottom line? The car needed some more time away and would not be ready until after the wedding. We would ordinarily have been sad, but certainly not with a wedding in the works. So we let go of that idea and Ilya made the great point that we should use the other convertible in our garage, which is an Aston Martin DB9 that I got for a bargain in 2005 because of a strong relationship with the dealership and the fact that the car was sort of a "demo" with 800 miles on it. The Aston seemed like the perfect choice for our wedding day.
But then a couple of weeks later I received a call from a good friend who works closely with Carroll Shelby and his foundation that helps sick children. Shelby is a former racer who's likely better known for the Shelby Cobra roadster than anything else. His foundation, however, is huge.
When we ran into our Shelby friend at the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., back in January, we mentioned that we were considering a 1965 Shelby as a just-married-car possibility. It's Ilya's favorite ride of all time. We even had an ice sculpture made for the wedding reception in the shape of a 1965 Cobra. The problem, of course, is finding a real Cobra to use/rent/borrow/steal.
What we didn't know is that our Shelby friend had launched a crusade to make the Cobra happen. She revealed the good news to us a week before the wedding. Even better, it was going to be car from Carroll Shelby's personal collection. I almost dropped the phone in disbelief. Of course, relaying that news to Ilya was the fun part.
So we decided that it would be a heavenly picture if the convertibles -- the Cobra and the Aston -- were parked side by side on the shimmering black cobblestone beneath the gorgeous green ivy arches in front of the chic, elegant, art-deco-meets-modern-style London Hotel in West Hollywood. We asked our artist friend, who is also a talented florist, to make some strings of white orchid petals to adorn the sleek and sporty black Aston and the elegant, curvy, perfectly polished, midnight blue Cobra.
Indeed the cars looked so stunning on the wedding night underneath the lights that every passerby could not help but gawk.
We took plenty of photographs with the cars, and while actually I laid across the hood of the Aston, I had to be coerced to even sit behind the wheel of the $1.8-millon Shelby.
A dream wedding in more ways than one.
Among her numerous accomplishments, Courtney Hansen is the author of "Garage Girl's Guide," the host of Spike TV's "PowerBlock," the former host of TLC's "Overhaulin'" and a writer with Wheelbase Communications. You can e-mail her by logging on to www.wheelbase.ws/mailbag.html.