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Just southeast of Indianapolis, attorney Sue Figert Kennedy watches her husband, Larry Kennedy, fire up her 1954 Hudson Jet Liner for the first time this year. They have waited patiently for the snow and rain to clear out of Indiana before pulling off the car’s protective cover and getting behind the wheel. Larry carefully maneuvers the car out of the cavernous detached garage. The chrome accents gleam as if the Jet Liner just rolled off the assembly line.

In Zionsville, attorney Jim Voyles is looking forward to taking his cherished 1958 right-hand-drive Bentley for a spin. For collectors like Voyles and the Kennedys, fair weather means they can park their everyday cars for a while and enjoy driving strictly for pleasure. And this month, they had the opportunity to show a crowd of car enthusiasts their prized possessions.
 

500-lawyers03-15col.jpg Attorney Jim Voyles says his love of cars is hereditary. He is the nephew of George M. Ober, a founding member of United States Auto Club. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

In observance of the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, classic car collectors were invited to participate in the 100th Anniversary Indy 500 Celebration of Automobiles held May 13 and 14. Voyles’ Bentley was featured in the car show on May 14. The Kennedys were unable to attend due to a Hudson car meet-up in Fort Wayne, but Larry drove his 1971 Dodge Challenger at the 100th Anniversary Pace Car Reunion, May 21 and 22.
 

500-lawyerss01-15col.jpg Sue Figert Kennedy, of-counsel attorney for Rubin & Levin, reveals the work of more than 1,100 hours of restoration to her 1954 Super Wasp convertible. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Racing enthusiasts may remember the car from its crash into the photographer’s stand, prior to the beginning of the race in 1971.

On being a “car person”

Some of Voyles’ other cars include a 1972 Jaguar E-Type, a 1959 Triumph, and a replica of the Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the movie “Bullitt.” Standing inside his garage that houses the Bentley and a 1932 Highboy Hot Rod, Voyles explained that his love of cars is hereditary.

“I grew up as a car enthusiast. My uncle was a car enthusiast, and I think it just rubbed off on me,” Voyles said. His uncle – George M. Ober – was a founding member of the United States Auto Club, which was the sanctioning body for the Indianapolis 500 from 1956 through 1997. He was USAC’s Midwest vice president from 1955 to 1965.


500-lawyers06-1col.jpg Jim Voyles, attorney at Voyles Zahn Paul Hogan & Merriman, poses for a photo alongside his 1958 Bentley. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Sue said she was born and raised on a farm, where she and her family reused whatever they could. As an adult, that background made her respect classic cars. She couldn’t see the point of buying a new car if she had the ability to restore something.

She bought her 1954 Jet Liner – the “Jet,” as she calls it – while she was a student at Butler University in 1976. “Every year, I gave it some time and money,” she said.

After 29 years as a litigator for Rubin & Levin, Sue retired in 2010, primarily to spend more time restoring Hudsons. She still serves in an of-counsel basis for the Indianapolis firm.

Donn Wray, attorney for Indianapolis firm Stewart & Irwin, said he clerked with Sue, and he used to own a Hudson. “Of course, her husband is one of the preeminent Hudson restorers in the world,” he said. Larry is vice president of the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Club, Southern Indiana Chapter.

Wray owns his grandfather’s 1958 Buick Super and a 1937 Cord Westchester, which spends its winters on display at the Kokomo Automotive Museum. “Better to sit up there where people can enjoy it,” he said.

“I’ve always been a car guy ever since I can remember, quite literally, and actually it influenced my practice pretty profoundly,” Wray said. When he was a student at Valparaiso University School of Law, he assisted with the prosecution of Ford Motor Company after a series of deadly explosions in Ford Pintos were linked to the car’s faulty fuel system design. Wray now specializes in representing automotive retailers.

The nuts and bolts

Larry performs almost all the restoration work on the cars he and Sue own, except for major body work or chrome work. Sue is more of a detail person these days, she said, but she can keep a car running in a pinch.

She recalled driving her Jet to a meet in Atlanta in 1985, when somewhere around Louisville, Ky., an engine ring blew. “We kind of limped all the way to the national meet in Atlanta. I drove it home from Atlanta without shutting it off,” she said.

Wray knows his way around an engine, too.

“I drove clunkers all through law school and a couple years thereafter, so I learned how to keep a sled running,” he said. The Cord is highway-worthy and capable of reaching 100 mph, he said, but the car’s “got a front-end shimmy that kicks in at about 70 that acts as a governor.”

A big hobby

The Kennedys and Voyles both have hydraulic lifts in their garages. Voyles uses his lift to store two Porsches in the same amount of floor space – one perched above the other. Since he and his wife, Joan – daughter of 1950 Indy 500 winner Johnnie Parsons – bought their Zionsville property 16 years ago, they’ve built two additional garages for the car collection.
 

500-lawyerss06-15col.jpg Sue Figert Kennedy and Larry Kennedy’s garage is home to a large collection of Hudson cars. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

The Kennedys own 60 cars. They built an addition onto their home with a two-car garage and hydraulic lift. And they have several carports and a 50-by-100-foot garage where cars are neatly parked alongside each other and end-to-end. Outside, idle and weather-worn Hudsons offer convenient access to parts.

In 2010, the Kennedys carried spare parts as they drove their 1949 Hudson on a 6,000-mile cross-country trip, just in case the car needed a quick fix along the way. This month, they finished restoring a 1954 Hudson Super Wasp Convertible, after investing 1,100 hours in the project.

“When I retired, we had five convertible projects. We’ve finished one,” Sue said. “I hope to be 85 and still doing this.”•

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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