Nannete Clark
Nannette Clark was born and bred in San Diego, Ca. She enjoyed attending elementary and high school in La Jolla. She has one brother. Her father and brother both liked cars, so the love for cars was always in her life.

Nannette met Ray, her soon-to-be first husband when she was 16 years old. Little did she know that their future together would total 44 years of solid marriage, and two children to carry on their legacy. With her interest in cars growing up, she learned how to rebuild the one barrel carburetor on the 1937 Plymouth convertible that Ray owned at the time. After they married a few years later, she subsequently became Ray’s mechanics helper.

I asked Nannette the history of their ’55 Imperial. She responded that “When the 1955 was in the show rooms, we knew we would buy one in a couple of years.” They did, and the Imperial became her daily driver for the next few years. Nannette and Ray enjoyed working on their 1955 Imperial together. One day they met the founders of the SCIOI (Southern California Imperial Owners Inc). The club had just formed. In 1984, after they repainted their ‘55 Imperial, they became members, and were able to attend the 2nd Statewide meet, in Yosemite. Over the years, Nannette has only missed 3 Statewide meets. When Ray got sick, Nannette missed two meets to care for him, but with her dedication to the Imperial Owners Club, she has only missed three State meets ever. Nannette enjoyed a full life with Ray, and their family, until his passing on April 6, 1993.

During car get-togethers that Nannette and Ken would attend, I would hear her speak about different car clubs she belonged. I asked what other car club Nannette had membership, and she said that she and her 2nd husband, Charlie, belonged to SCIOI, NCIOC, IOASV, Cadillac, AACA, Classic Car, Rolls-Royce and Studebaker and Austin 7 of New Zealand car clubs. Wow! Nannette and Charlie DEFINITELY enjoyed a common point of interest in their car clubs. Sadly, Charlie passed away, and left Nannette too soon. They spent six happy years of marriage together.

In those years, NCIOC and IOASV were two different Northern California Imperial Clubs. In 2003, both clubs agreed to merge and become IOANC. The two distinct clubs in Northern California comprised of an Imperial club in the San Francisco Bay Area, and an Imperial Club in the Sacramento Valley. Both have merged to become a very active Imperial Owners Association of Northern California. Today, Nannette has only kept membership in SCIOI, IOANC, and AACA . (Antique Automobile Club of America).

With Nannette’s generous and kind heart, it is not surprising that Ken Munson, her larger than life current beau shares in her GUSTO for LIFE. Nannette met Ken in First Grade at La Jolla elementary. They would always greet one another at the high school reunions. From an elementary school friendship, to acknowledging one another at High School reunions, life would bring their two paths to a crossroad. On April 30, 2006, Nanette remembers that Ken met her at her home to help her unload her Imperial from the Statewide Meeting in Solvang. Since that time, he has supported her in everything she does. Nannette has been “lucky in love” with both her husbands peacefully laid to rest, and now sharing a full life with Kenny, as she fondly refers to him. She kept her heart open, and was generously rewarded with Ken’s loving and attentive companionship, although I am sure Ken would say he is the lucky one.

On the next page, you will read Nannette’s exciting account of her invitation to present her Austin 7 at Pebble Beach. What an honor that was, and she is proud of that time in her life. You will stay riveted as I did, while she unwinds her experience of of how she got her Austin 7 to partake in the time honored Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance extravaganza in Northern California. On page 5, you will view photos of her beloved Austin 7, and a cherished photo of Ray and Nannette with their ’55 Imperial. The ’55 received TWO “Best in Show” awards during its active lifetime. Pictured is a WONDERFUL photo of Nannette and Ray during one of the two years they won.

It was my honor to Spotlight Nannette. She is a busy lady, but took time to share her life with us.
Many of us know Nannette for being a staunch supporter of both SCIOI and IOANC, and we love her for it. Thank you, Nannette for sharing and being our 2012 New Year Issue Spotlight.


The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance just celebrated 53 years in 2003. Each year they strive to include a class of cars that is of special interest and a real crowd pleaser. This year they chose the British Austin Seven and its derivatives. This included the American Austin, American Bantam, the Dixi, the Rosengart and other licensees.

After I had been contacted last November about my 1933 British Austin Seven being considered for the Concours, and had mailed the committee pictures and information about it, my little car was accepted in March 2003.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003, my son, Jim and wife, Pam, accompanied me to Pebble Beach in their car (so we would have transportation while we were at the Concours) and I drove my motor home pulling the new enclosed trailer with the little Austin inside. At Paso Robles we phoned the local police and they told us where there was a safe vacant parking lot to spend the night. Jim and I have an adventuresome side so we decided to leave highway 101 at Greenfield and drive to Carmel via G16. This road was about 45 miles long ending up in Carmel Valley. It was very narrow and windy, and sometimes was only one lane wide – the beautiful countryside was well worth the journey. But can you imagine a woman behind the wheel of a motor home pulling a trailer on a one-lane road on hair-pin-turns?

We showed our passes at the gate to the Seventeen Mile Drive and made our way to the Polo Field at the Concours on Wednesday. What a sight – many of the commercial and private transporters were already there, lined up in rows. We could only imagine what type of cars they might have inside. The entire field had been covered with composted bark to keep the dust down and there was also a water truck wetting the area. We found parking along side another Austin Seven. During the afternoon, the cars started coming out of the transports for last minute preparation for the Tour d 'Elegance that would be held the next day. You could feel the excitement in the air, as the cars were being cleaned and polished. This was the sixth year of the 50-mile tour. We slept in the only motor home on the Polo Field that night.

Thursday at 7:30 A.M. we lined up for the tour, got our instructions and were off by 9:00 with police escort (Jim was my navigator). As I had only driven the car about fifteen miles before, I was not sure it could finish all 50 miles. We drove the Seventeen Mile Drive, past Cannery Row, on to Laguna Seca Raceway, down the famous Cork Screw, up and down the Laureles Grade (a 1,200 foot climb) to Carmel Valley Road and into downtown Carmel. The main street was blocked off for our cars as we parked four abreast. While we ate lunch in the park, the public enjoyed looking at our classics. Then we were back in our cars to finish the tour, which ended at the Polo Field. People were lined along the entire 50-mile route with their cameras aimed at us, cheering and waving us on. There were 128 cars registered for the tour. We had our passport stamped at three checkpoints along the route and again at the finish line where we were presented with a lovely Rosette Ribbon, a framed picture of us on the Seventeen Mile Drive and lots of champagne. I was on cloud nine. Later we checked into our hotel room for a three-night stay, and then proceeded to get ready for the big Kick-Off Party that night that was hosted by the Ford Motor Company.

Friday found us checking out the 2004 Rolls-Royce Phantom and the new Maybach by DaimlerChrysler (at a starting price of $350 thousand). We saw concept cars by Cadillac, Chrysler and a few others. The Blackhawk Collection had many interesting cars for sale. After walking all around the area we headed back to our hotel to get ready for the evening events. Lexus held a Fashion show and reception; the Aluminum Association held a reception and Christie’s Auction Preview held a VIP Reception. We slept well that night!

We had not been able to see the unveiling of the new Maserati (in the Ferrari Group); so Saturday morning we made our reservations for 11 A.M. As we parked our car in their parking lot we were welcomed by a lady who handed us mimosas; then came the hors d’oeuvres. It was a beautiful display inside the tent and so were the cars. We went back to the Polo Field to do the last minute cleaning and detailing of the Austin for the show on Sunday. In the afternoon the Automotive Fine Arts Society had a wonderful Preview Reception – then – the big Gala Pre-Event Dinner sponsored by Chrysler and Automobile Magazine. The invitation requested the ladies wear red cocktail dresses – which we did. What a grand time we had.

The BIG day came – Sunday, at 7 AM we backed the Austin out of the trailer and with Pam in the passenger seat, on towards the 18th green we drove. Jay Leno, who must have over slept, as his hair was all askew, stumbled out of the Pebble Beach Lodge, leaned into the Austin and said, “Ladies, the service entrance is back that way!” A man in a golf cart ushered us to our spot on the far side of the show field. With the little Austin parked, we walked back to the motor home and got dressed up for the day. What a wonderful display of cars including a Bugatti Royale that had been flown from Molsheim, France. During the Concours, the participants were invited to a Hospitality Patio that included a continental breakfast and light refreshments throughout the day. We were also given a picnic basket with a blanket, goodies to eat and a chilled bottle of champagne with glasses. The awards were given out as the cars drove on the ramp. My Austin was not to be judged but for “display only” and after the awards were handed out all the participants were invited to drive on the ramp to have a picture taken (I chose not to). We drove back to the Polo Field – secured the Austin in its trailer for the trip home and then guess what? We all dressed up and went to the Post-Event Party, sponsored by the Mercedes-Benz Co.

Monday morning saw Jim and Pam heading north to San Francisco to see friends and me heading south to San Diego. I-5 was over 100 degrees so when I reached the Grape Vine I decided to stay in a hotel for the night to cool down. It was nice in the morning, driving over the Grape Vine and in a few hours I arrived home, still on Cloud Nine! What a GRAND experience I will never forget!

Nannette Clark
August 2003
Nannette, her son Jim and his wife Pam standing beside theChrysler Concept Car at the show
The Austin 7 was a car produced from 1922 through to 1939 in the United Kingdom by the Austin Motor Company. Nicknamed the "Baby Austin", it was one of the most popular cars ever produced for the British market, and sold well abroad. It wiped out most other British small cars and cycle cars of the early 1920s; its effect on the British market was similar to that of the Model T Ford in the USA. It was also licensed and copied by companies all over the world. Such was the power of the Austin 7 name .

Nannette’s ‘55 Imperial was her daily driver for a years. It won Best in Show twice during its lifetime.
Nannette & Ray “Best in Show” by taken by long time member Tom Johnson