Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Joe Mack Schubert

We are sending best wishes today (09/23/13) to Joe Mack Schubert on his 76th Birthday!

I should have put a chapter in Beltsville Shell: You Are What You Drive all about Joe Mack.  Of all the gear-heads in Hollywood, Beltsville, Berwyn or Greenbelt Maryland none are more adored or better known than Joe Mack.

My life intersected with Joe Mack's in so many ways.  Joe Mack and my Dad were United States Marines and they both worked at the CO-OP Store in Greenbelt; my Dad always laughed when he told stories about Joe Mack's escapades.  Joe Mack attended Berwyn Baptist Church with my family, the Schinners, and many of my friends.  When we were teenagers all the boys thought it was so cool that Joe Mack's wheel chair was decorated with bumper stickers advertising race car parts.  Joe Mack was involved in a number of car-related businesses but his most successful one was upholstery.  After I bought my 1959 Corvette I decided that it needed a nice custom interior, so I turned to Joe Mack for ideas and help.  Joe Mack made custom seat covers, door panels and a nice padded dash.  During the project Joe Mack warned me that I was lucky that my car had a Naugahyde interior because the Naugas were becoming extinct and he might not be able to get that special material much longer!

Joe Mack is legendary far beyond the suburbs of Maryland, thanks in part to Steve Coonan, creator of the Rodder's Journal.  Steve documented for the entire world Joe's adventure driving his 1929 Ford Roadster across America.  The picture below is an amazing classic (and Joe Mack autographed a copy for me for my garage).  Look at that smile!  Joe mack was on his way to California -- the mecca for Hot Rodders everywhere.  Joe Mack made a lot of friends in California including many of the legends of the Hot Rod world.

I talked to Joe Mack this morning for about 30 minutes.  He was a upbeat as ever, describing his trip yesterday to the "Church of the Holy Doughnut" in Burtonsville.  He gave me permission to write this article and post it to the BLOG.  Joe Mack told me that the LA Roadster Club is planning a 50th anniversary celebration next year and he is thinking about driving across America again to attend it.  I asked him if I could ride along. 

There are so many stories about Joe Mack and so many of his friends that I have not been able to mention here.  If you like, you can add your birthday wish to him, or post a story, by clicking the comments link below.  Very Special THANKS to Darryl and Janet Richards for photos and historical facts about Joe; I couldn't have written this post without them.

Happy Birthday, Joe Mack, from all your friends everywhere!


  1. Happy Birthday Joe. I still have your work in my 41 Ford, and I still have to smile any time I remove a panel to find your word of wisdom written on the panels.

    Jimmy Noll

  2. Joe Mack. A special birthday wishes from Rick (Dickie) Schinner. You transformed my '34 Ford into a fabulous Hot Rod to be in. The remembrance of the beige Naugahyde replicating the original style of the mohair interior is still embedded in my mind. Most of all the continental tire cover with the "Ford" written across was genius. I hope you have a great birthday, knowing that many of your old friends still think about you.

  3. Hey - That's my '47 Triumph Seat! ... as stitched by Joe Mack Hisself in my home garage in Van Nuys that was converted into Valley Cycle Trim in late 1968, until I got drafted in '69 and Pete LaBarbera and Joe returned to Merryland. After returning from Vietnam, I followed them east in '72, staying upstairs from Joe Mack and Sandy in Riverdale while working for Pete at -- and eventually managing -- Beltsville's Rod Shop.

    Darryl Richards, one of MANY mutual friends I owe to those guys, forwarded the cool birthday link, Cary -- and made me aware of the Greenbelt Shell book, which I'll be ordering soon.

    Warmest regards,

  4. Happy Birthday Joe Mack. You were my Dad's buddy for as long as I can remember.
    Love you!
    Candy LaBarbera Brown (Pete's oldest daughter)

  5. Happy Birthday Joe! I have many fond memories when you were hanging around at the Rod Shop with Pete. You also helped with the upholstery work at Doug’s Upholstery on my 1967 Camaro that I restored in 1992/93. Still holding up great today.

    Vince DiCamillo

  6. My Dad lived on Gardenway and I used to see Joe doing his magic. He was friends with my step brother, and I was always amazed by work and his attitude. Haven't seen him in 40 years, but many of my gearhead friends always enjoy seeing him at the various car shows they attend.

  7. Greenbelt IS Great- Lisa, Mack wife#2

  8. Happy birthday Joe from old friend Doug Thompson now located in Middletown MD

  9. Where is Joe Mack living now?