This week’s FIREBALLER… Colette Brooks and her The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

The best thing about my Wheels and Waves car show here in Malibu is the unique people who come and share their stories.

And although I look forward to each show, every now and then something truly cool appears.

The April 15 event brought a rather large car in my wife, Kathie’s favorite Malibu color. As I was handing out free coffee tickets, my eye spotted a gorgeous 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado in turquoise metallic.

Now, I haven’t seen one of these in many years and this was a treat, but even more so was the introduction to driver Colette Brooks. As Chief Executive Bitch of Bitchfix Chocolate, Brooks has spent her life as a uniquely creative person.

Bitchfix is an artisan chocolate company which delivers the tasty treat monthly to quell a woman’s hormonal swings. A strategically placed business model with a guaranteed captive audience. And 10 percent of all sales goes to spay and neuter rescue dogs. This was cool.

As we know, coolness attracts coolness, so it was no surprise that Brooks’ ride was this classic turq Toronado. And I got to work.

“This was Oldsmobile’s first-generation landmark personal luxury car,” began Brooks. “ … The Toro combined a 425 rocket V8 with a modified TH400 transmission (TH425) and a planetary differential.”

Whoa, this sounds like a spaceship!

“It’s all packaged in the engine bay, driving the front wheels,” she added. “The combination put out 385 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque.”

It was Motor Trend’s 1966 Car of the Year.

But wait, there’s more.

“The Toro featured the iconic vacuum actuated pop-up headlights, plus deluxe model features that included a Strato-seat with armrest which was posh in a luxury car of that period,” she explained. “Plus air conditioning, six-way seats and a power antennae.”

I’m pretty sure she’s describing the Jupiter 2 from “Lost in Space.”

And then Brooks’ story began.

“I bought the Toro in Santa Paula, California, in 2001 and completed the restoration in 2002,” Brooks said. “I have all service records, magazine spreads from 1966 and even the original bill of sale from 1966! After 17 years, I’ve decided to sell my beauty because I have horses that need to get ridden, and simply don’t have the time to get her out as often as she deserves.”

Sounds like a serious opportunity for someone!

“When I was 8 years old in 1966, my girlfriend’s father brought her to school in a brand new Toronado,” she said. “My jaw dropped when I saw it.”

The best part of the car?

“The lines of the Toro are so beautiful that it turns heads and spurs conversation whenever I’m behind the wheel,” she said. “So, the best part of owning and driving this car is the people I meet along the way.”

But more often than not, it elicits broad smiles and happy flashbacks accompanied by the comment “My dad or my uncle had a Toronado.”

“I also get unsolicited quips out of car windows (usually Porsches) ‘first front wheel drive car,’ to which I respond ‘wow, you know your cars,’ and then I punch it and leave them drooling in the dust (for about 2 seconds until they shift into second gear),” she said.

Yeah, that’s the deal, folks.

Brooks cruises on weekends and errands now and again here in the ’Bu.

“I’m actually getting more use out of her in the last six months while I’ve been waiting for my Tesla Model 3 to arrive,” she said. “In fact, the parallels between the Toro and the Tesla are staggering. Both feature breakthrough technology that turned the auto industry on its ear. I’m anxious to see them side by side in my garage.”

Cars have certainly come a long way, but the Toronado literally was a 1966 Tesla with all its innovation.

“Since my other cars have been biodiesel and electric for the past 14 years, I toyed with the notion of turning the Toro electric … for a minute,” Brooks said. “Then I decided that would be a travesty and, instead, remain faithful to the original design and technological innovation that was so ahead of its time. You’re welcome, world!”

And what does Brooks love about driving here in Malibu?

“Malibu, like the Toro is perfect for cruising,” she said. “On PCH, I get a lot of head turning, thumbs up and conversations with other car enthusiasts. On the winding roads of Malibu Canyon, Latigo and Kanan, I sit back and let her do her thing. Next to the Tesla, it’s probably as close to a self-driving car as it gets!”

I’m so grateful to have met Colette and have heard her stories. And now that you have, it’s clear why Malibu is the No. 1 town for cool cars on the planet. And it looks like Colette’s the queen.

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Today’s Fireballer… Malibuite Jo V Cherkas

What is a Fireballer? Someone who’s doing their part to make a positive difference in the world, however small. But as we know, small things add up to greatness…

Case in point? Malibu’s Jo V Cherkas. Although fairly new in the Bu, Jo’s a Mom and currently works at CVS. And if you’re like me, going to CVS in the past could have been “challenging.” Although people do the best that they can, some stores offer that special something which can make shopping a bit more challenging than others. (I’m trying to state this as pleasantly as possible, but you get my drift…)


Enter Jo…

SNAP! When you come into CVS now, this woman is ALWAYS smiling. Always helpful and giving it her all. And that makes going to CVS for stuff I need like super dooper hold hair gel, q-tiplets, chocolate by the bucket and the occasional “As Seen on TV” doodad a much better shopping experience. People like Jo are rare and should be appreciated. Thus…

Today is Jo’s Birthday too, so help me to wish her the best day ever! I mean it people!!

Big thanks to Jo for being a true Malibuite. One who’s giving, warm, fun, smart and has a huge smile. And get to CVS for your stuff but make sure you get in her line. You’ll be glad you did because the real stars of Malibu aren’t necessarily on the silver screen.


Today’s Fireballer… My Wife Kathie


It’s time for some gratitude…

Every year around this time, I look for ways to give. Not because I have to, but because it’s the right thing to do. I would not be where I am without great people around me. People that put up with my shenanigans. And since I’m a pretty big personality in the energy sense of the word, it takes a lot for those around me to have patience. I’m always on the go…

But there’s one person that stays with me always. Puts up with everything, every day. Ideas, books, filming, cooking, cleaning, gardening, traveling, working out, driving and the list keeps going. And that person that I love the most is my wife, Kathie.

A true force in her own right, she’s a Malibuite through and through, having been here over 30 years and being a creative powerhouse. Her costumes have graced movies, TV Shows, Game Networks and hundreds of commercials. But her support of FT has been, and continues to be, a gift from the infinite. She rallies her spirit when we film, directs me when I shoot cars to give them a warm glow, critiques my drawings and concepts with a graceful eye to make them the best they can be and ensures that I stay fit and healthy always. Wow.

We were married in 1996 and she jokingly said she’d be surprised if it lasted 3 years. She has more patience than she knows. And she’s Today’s Fireballer… My sweetie.