We thought he'd go on forever, and he almost did.
Stan Brams' vitality and expansive mind belied his years. He was 89 when he died of heart failure on Christmas in Atlanta. Until very recently he showed up regularly at automotive previews and conferences just as he had done since his first preview in 1935 for the '36 Plymouth.
Mr. Brams likely was the world's oldest automotive journalist and sometimes referred to as "Dean of the Auto Writers." But he was much more than that: A successful businessman and publisher, labor relations expert, a collector of fine art and wine, a shrimp-loving gourmet, world traveler and one of the best poker players on the automotive beat.
Raised in Bay City, MI, his journalism career started at age 14 when he became school editor of the Bay City Times-Tribune for $6 a week. Among his first jobs after attending Columbia University was editor of Ward's Automotive Reports from 1936-40.
In 1945 be launched Labor Trends, an influential newsletter he published for 40 years. His most successful venture, however, was the Press Relations Newswire, which he established in Detroit in 1961, later adding similar outlets in Washington, DC, Cleveland and Atlanta. He sold all four offices in 1985.
During his long career Mr. Brams also worked for Iron Age magazine, headed the Detroit bureau of McGraw-Hill, published the Michigan Beverage News and wrote for numerous national publications including The New York Times and Reader's Digest.
He was a frequent contributor to Ward's Auto World for nearly 30 years. Among his WAW stories: A May 1996 piece chronicling the birth of the original military "jeep" in 1940, which he had covered firsthand.
Stan's exuberance and hearty laugh will be missed, but there's an upside: The shrimp shortage at auto previews should be resolved. And now maybe his poker pals will at least have a chance.