Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis might soon be seen tooling around town in a new set of wheels.
Mayor Matt Collier, of Flint, Mich., bet DePaulis the use of a Flint built Buick LeSabre for a month that the Flint Spirits hockey team would win the International Hockey League's Turner Cup series. De Paulis, in turn, bet a case of home-brewed Wasatch beer and a day's ski pass on the Golden Eagles.The Golden Eagles claimed the series; Collier has to pay up.
The Michigan mayor will be in Salt Lake City for the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June and plans to turn over the keys then. "We hear he likes red cars, so we're going to try to get him a red, Flint-build LeSabre," said Sam Merrill, Collier's assistant.
Now, most people might be excited about the prospect of driving a new car, but not DePaulis, whose dependable, classic '65 Ford Mustang is often featured in the press and likened to the sincere political image he's forged.
"What will I do with my Mustang?" DePaulis asked.
And this isn't the first time a car dealer has tried to get the Salt Lake mayor out of his Ford.
When he was running for re-election in 1987, DePaulis, calling him self an Italian Catholic boy from Detroit who still drives his Mustang, wrote a letter seeking support from another Detroit-type, Lee Iacocca.
Iacocca, of course, is the former Ford Motor Co. executive who sold the American public on the sporty Mustang before switching to the Chrysler Corp., where he is credited with rescuing the ailing company.
Iacocca wasn't able to make it to Utah for the election, but afterward he wrote congratulating DePaulis on his victory.
He did have one suggestion for the victorious mayor, however. The auto executive recommended that DePaulis think about trading in his vintage Mustang for a brand-new Chrysler.