There are certain "pinch me" moments during my car filled life that I reflect on quite often and 9 years ago today was certainly one of those moments. One day I received a call from a gentleman working with VW on a press event in Los Angeles and they were looking for some :special edition" VWs of the past to display along side of the newest special models. Of course I was happy to help and asked for a few more details on the event and what they were after. When the voice on the other end of the phone said the venue was the Playboy Mansion, I nearly lost my mind. Honestly...as a red blooded American male that grew up in the 70's and 80's, Playboy Magazine certainly had its presence in the world and the "articles" within left a lasting impression. An opportunity to peek behind the veil of this legendary place was not something I was about to miss. It turns out that they were going to pay me for my efforts of car wrangling, so I really had a duty to go...this is "work" I explained to my loving wife. After signing the mental "look don't touch" contract and promising a nice dinner out the following day on Valentines Day, the green light was lit and the gas pedal pushed...off to the land of milk and hiney I went.
I had arranged for three cars to be displayed at the event, a triple white Beetle convertible to match the latest release of the same, a Jetta "K2" model with matching rack and skis, and a 60's era Beetle in a special color combo. The latter of the list I brought up myself while the owners of the other cars handled their own logistics. I called a local VW buddy to see if he wanted to come along and he was in my passenger seat before I hung up the phone. We blasted out to the area and met up with the crew in a local church parking lot that was allowing us to park the truck and trailer. We all caravanned up the road to the mansion and pulled up to the gate. As the gate opened and we rolled up the drive...the "Playmates at Play" sign was the first glimpse that we had entered the promised land.
We were directed to an area near the front of the house, right around a big fountain and a nearby tent on the lawn where chairs and refreshments were being lined up. Once the cars were parked and the hands were all shaken, we had a little time to kill before the crowd was due to arrive. We spent a little time checking out the cars out of courtesy, the new Triple White Beetle Convertible was pretty awesome and the Fahrenheit edition Golf and Jetta with the Fender audio system and VW logo guitar were a pretty neat gimmick as well.
The interest in the cars was genuine, but there were other visions that we all were curious to see. We asked the powers that be if it would be OK if we had a look around the property. The response was positive but we were told that the house itself was off limits as Hef and crew were living there and were not prepared to host guests. A little disappointment there perhaps, but maybe we would catch some bunnies frolicking on the lawn or splashing in the pool...the quest was on to find out!
The property is simply amazing and despite its location near so much hustle and bustle of the surrounding area, it felt totally secluded. Everything beautifully maintained, a wonderful art garden, the amazing swimming pool and the impressive architecture of the house itself gave it an almost "Disney Castle" quality. The grounds were exceptional indeed, but the wildlife was even more of a treat.
The grounds include a wonderful little zoo full of exotic birds and spider monkeys. The final photo in the set above shows the only Playboy bunny that we saw the whole day however, and while adorable, it was not the centerfold worthy specimen we had all secretly wished that we had come across.
We did however explore a little deeper into the den including the fabled grotto beneath the waterfall of the poll where anybody who is anybody has probably been naked before. My buddy Titus was so inspired to try the cushions on for size and show a little nipple action. We also found the lower level exercise room that also had plenty of fluffy cushions and places for "relaxing" after that hard workout. After the stimulating reading of a couple articles in the provided literature, we headed back up to the tent where the event was to be held and enjoyed the presentation. We filled up on food and drink as well as the provided swag and soaking in the sun and the whole experience of just being there on such hallowed ground.
While it certainly didn't turn into the sordid fantasy of our adolescent dreams, it did indeed go down as a day that none of us will ever forget. A great day of playing with cars and at a venue that few ever catch a glimpse of in real life. The paycheck that followed a short time after made the day that much sweeter. Heck...I would have probably written the check to be there and I bet the other that were with me that day would have done the same!