Art Grindle

I got to know this guy personally back in the 1980s when he was in politics… He was a great interview and a really nice, yet very interesting fellow…

Art Grindle: Former car dealer sold used cars, raised millions to help Central Florida college students
By Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

Art Grindle (Jun 14, 2012)
Known for loud and outrageous TV commercials in which he jumped through a convertible top and exclaimed, “I want to sell YOU a car,” auto dealer Art Grindle earned a more admirable reputation through philanthropy.
Grindle, who died Sunday at age 89 at Waterman Village in Mount Dora, helped raise more than $2 million for students and programs at Seminole State College of Florida, and was the first person to give the school $1 million.
“Art will be remembered for so many things, but our students will remember him most because he made their futures possible,” said Dr. E. Ann McGee, president of the college, which named its honors program for Grindle and his wife, Phyllis, who died in 2004. “This is his true legacy: He changed student lives.”
Born in 1923 in Chicago, Grindle was managing a car dealership in Houston in 1964 when he first appeared in front of a TV camera as a pitchman. His son, Artie Grindle of Winter Springs, recalled that his father was so frustrated by dull, scripted lines that he threw down the script and ad-libbed into the lens. “Look, I’ve got all these cars! They’ve got to go!” Grindle thought he had failed on live TV.
But after the show, he called the dealership and was told, “Boss, we’re covered up with customers!”
The business-savvy Grindle moved his family to Central Florida in 1968 and opened a dealership at 4101 W. Colonial Drive, where his bombastic car commercials turned him into a regional TV personality in the early 1970s. Customers recognized him as the auto dealer who jumped on car hoods and tore up oversized price tags.
Kathryn Williamson, one of Grindle’s four children, said some people teased her about her fast-talking father as “the nut case on TV” who put up a giant, bespectacled statue of himself at his dealership. The 30-foot-tall statue had a mechanical arm that mimicked his trademark television gesture, pointing at viewers.
Off camera, he was soft spoken, she said.
He owned used-car dealerships in Apopka, Orlando and Sanford that he called “Wheel Ranches.” He invested successfully in commercial real estate and developed a diverse business portfolio that included interests in insurance, mortgage lending and stocks. He taught small business administration at Rollins College.
A Republican, Grindle gave up selling cars and was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1982. He served 10 years and helped draft a “Lemon Law” to aid consumers who buy a car that develops recurring mechanical problems.
He earned recognition for his contributions to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs, the March of Dimes and Rotary. He hosted a Cerebral Palsy Telethon for eight years. But Grindle held Seminole State College close to his heart.
Seminole State credits him with helping to create its “Dream Gala,” an annual fundraising auction. He often served as its auctioneer and emcee. His endowment helped establish The Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute, which challenges students to study an advanced curriculum, encourages volunteerism and provides scholarship opportunities. The program can boast that it helped transform a homeless teen mom into a Harvard graduate.
“Dad believed in giving people a boost up ? not a hand out,” Williamson said. “He believed we all have great possibilities in us. But some of us have [resources] and some of us don’t. He wanted to give everyone an opportunity.”
Daniel Leon, 23, a graduate of the honors program, said Grindle did not just put his money into Seminole State’s students, but also invested his heart. Leon said Grindle often asked students about their goals and dreams.
“He cared,” Leon said.
Grindle also is survived by daughters, Elizabeth Grindle of Orlando and Gale Chiodi of Mount Dora; seven grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. A memorial service will be held later at Seminole State College of Florida.

Hey Dave thanks for putting that up,I remember him well, and he did a lot of good.I think back to his ad’s and those of Stanley Hanins Allied Discount tires with old Sam the shoe man Baer. I was just talking about the both of them and
even the old Dialing for dollars on channel 9.That was some good TV when you only had 3 choices 2,6,9 LOL.

I got to meet him a while back at a C.F.A.D.A. function and sat at the table with him. What a gracious man. My sister knew him from politics when she worked for Dick Batchlor around that time. And when I went to that C.F.A.D.A function, my sister went with me and he remembered her like it was yesterday.