UPDATE: The Mayor chose to march with Seattle Police Chief John Diaz rather than ride the car....West Seattle battery car educator & enthusiast Craig Vinton will transport Mayor McGinn in his battery car, pictured on Beach Dr., during this year's Seafair Torchlight Parade downtown, Saturday night, July 28. This is a replica '29 Mercedes SSK Roadster. Pictured left is the bank of batteries under the hood.
UPDATE 3: Mayor makes last minute change due to DOJ report, walks with Seattle Police Chief John Diaz; Mayor was to ride West Seattle battery car educator & enthusiast's Roadster in Seafair Torchlight Parade
UPDATE: Saturday, July 28, 7:15 p.m.
As we earlier reported, Mayor Mike McGinn changed plans and did not ride in the battery car in the torchlight parade. However, we reported in error, that he was not participating in the parade at all. Untrue, as he marched with Seattle Police Chief John Diaz. Seafair officials told us at about 5:40 p.m. that his plans had changed due to the Department of Justice report just released.
UPDATE: Saturday, July 28, 5:45 p.m.
According to a tip from Seafair officials, the West Seattle Herald has learned that Mayor Mike McGinn has backed out of appearing in tonight's Seafair Torchlight parade due to the Department of Justice report released yesterday. The Mayor was to ride with West Seattle's Craig Vinton on his battery-powered roadster.
Vinton was reached by the West Seattle Herald and said he knew nothing about the unusual maneuver other than he was told that his services were not needed.
We have a call out to the mayor's people for a response.
On a hot and sunny day in 2009 West Seattle American Legion Grand Parade, thousands watched with delight as J.P. Patches waved from atop the back seat of a tan, battery-operated 1929 Mercedes convertible replica. Sadly, the beloved the Mayor of the City Dump has just passed away, but has left us with that memory, and countless others.
Mayor McGinn will be seated in the same vehicle for the 2012 Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Parade downtown Saturday night, July 28.
The vehicle is owned by West Seattle battery car instructor and enthusiast, Craig Vinton. He will be behind the wheel. The West Seattle Herald featured Vinton and his solar-charged electric vehicles here.
Seafair reached Vinton through his company, All Star Entertainment. In this case he said he volunteered his car. He has owned the Roadster for just over three years, and before that used Cadillac convertibles at the parade carrying the Blue Angels, Senator Scoop Jackson, and numerous mayors from Wes Ulhman on. King County Executive, and West Seattle resident, Dow Constantine was with the car at the Chinatown-International District Parade, but walked along side the vehicle.
"The car is a replica of a '29 Mercedes SSK," said Vinton, who teaches alternative energy at area colleges. "The actual Mercedes was about half a block long, an enormous car. If you owned it you'd have yourself about a half-million-dollar vehicle. I don't know how far the Roadster goes on a charge because I've never run it down. It used to go 70 miles per hour, but I actually had to slowed it down mechanically. For parades you have to creep along and I couldn't make it creep. It would just throw people off the back.
"Since it has all the aerodynamics of a sheet of plywood I really don't drive it anywhere," he said. "It really has no purpose other than parades. It's not a practical car. I just put in all new batteries. I bought it from a guy in Las Vegas who built the kit there."
Under the hood sit 15, lead-acid, 12-volt batteries. The car weighs 2,100 pounds.
"Seafair used to be sponsored by GM and they didn't want any non-GM cars in the parade, so I couldn't use the Roadster. But now it is sponsored by Alaska Airlines.
"All the years that I drove parades with Cadillacs I realized that you were getting about zero miles per gallon," he said. "And you were getting the worst possible environmental effect because carbon monoxide goes down to the ground where everybody is sitting. Think about it. Sitting and watching a parade with all these gas guzzlers going by at half a mile an hour is not a great environmental message. So I think the mayor will appreciate this car."
For more information on the Torchlight Parade, click here. Seattle performer, former Guns N' Roses band member, and current Loaded frontman, Duff McKagan, will serve as Grand Marshal. West Seattle cinematographer Jamie Chamberlin just announced his film project starring Duff is now set for release shortly.