Tribute to Pat Goss
by MotorWeek Staff
With the unexpected passing of Pat Goss recently, MotorWeek lost much more than a weekly contributor. Over 41 years and more than 2000 episodes, Pat became an icon. He was known as much for his no-nonsense maintenance advice as for the unmistakable resonance of his voice. Pat loved sharing what he knew, loved helping people solve their car-care problems for themselves, and enabling them to ask the right questions when seeking a repair professional. Pat will long be remembered, and cannot be replaced, so this will be the final newly produced Goss’ Garage segment you’ll see on MotorWeek, and fittingly, it’s a tribute and look back to the incomparable career of our friend and mentor, Pat Goss.
PAT GOSS: Now, you never want to see your battery looking like this. If it does, you want to take care of it as soon as possible. Yesterday would be preferable.
JOHN DAVIS: The stern timbre of his voice was unmistakable, and his favorite words of caution…
PAT GOSS: Well, don’t do it…Old-fashioned booster cables-- throw them away… Thicker is not better… Look at the owner’s manual…
JOHN DAVIS: Well, they became catchphrases for millions of MotorWeek viewers.
And the outpouring of comments we received after pat’s passing only reinforced the reach and impact that Goss’ Garage has had on generations of car owners.
Pat was essentially self-taught when it came to car repairs, and by the time he finished high school, he already had an 11,000 square foot body shop of his own, and employed more than 20 people!
He moved from upstate New York to Maryland in 1966 and opened Pat’s Gulf and Diagnostics in the early 1970’s. Pat was an early apostle of electronic diagnostic machines, embracing technology to take the guesswork out of car repairs.
During that time, Pat also served as an expert courtroom witness specializing in odometer rollback fraud, and shady repair shop practices. This led to appearances on news shows, 60 minutes and our own local series: Consumer Survival Kit. This in turn, earned Pat a bit of fame, along with a reputation for unwavering honesty. And that made him a natural fit for our fledgling TV series when I knocked on his door in 1981.
PAT GOSS: but remember that there are all kinds of crooks out there that would like to take your money, and sell you something that sounds wonderful, but in reality, doesn’t work.
But look out for the shop that tries to sell you four-wheel alignment right up front. There’s no way that they know that you need it until it has been put on the alignment machine.
JOHN DAVIS: Pat truly believed that an educated consumer was the best customer his repair shops could have, and he routinely read through mountains of trade journals and OEM service bulletins to keep himself on top of the latest auto repair issues and equipment.
CRAIG SINGHAUS: I appeared in the pilot episode, ironically, wearing this old lab coat, in a segment called motor shop, but I was just a shade-tree mechanic. Now Pat Goss-- he was the real deal.
JOHN DAVIS: And the rest, as they say, is history. Pat appeared in our very first broadcast with a primer on oil changes, and anchored the maintenance segment of MotorWeek for the next 41 years.
Pat Goss did for car care what Bob Vila did for home restoration; with his trusty welding rod pointer in hand, he demystified the inner workings of cars, empowered do-it-yourselfers, and taught us all how to maximize our miles per dollar.
In fact, that idea of know-it-yourself if you couldn’t do-it-yourself was a common thread in all of his MotorWeek segments.
PAT GOSS: Checking them is very easy, you can even do it yourself with a few simple tools and so on. But before you can do that, you have to have a little bit of an idea as to what the parts of the disc brake system are, and how they work.
JOHN DAVIS: With a flair for the dramatic and an eye for the unconventional, pat always came up with new and interesting ways to make a point. He understood the tv medium, the need for good visuals and solid information. And that’s what made his segments so memorable.
For those of us who had the privilege of working with pat over the past 4 decades, a day in the studio was never boring.
PAT GOSS: To the back of the van, to the back of the van, the back of the van, this is the back of the van, I’m at the back of the van.
JOHN DAVIS: But that’s not to say it always went as planned!
PAT GOSS: Gives better fuel economy, better performance, and…. Something… anyway, yes, they are…
Here’s something-- the E-Z oil changer. Interesting piece of equipment…
JOHN DAVIS: That was especially true when pat and our crew built the Maxton Roller Skate component car in 1991 and accidentally got light-headed from the glue fumes or when pat took the Maxton prototype for a spin-- quite literally!
PAT GOSS: And if you have a question or a comment, pleeeaase write to me.
JOHN DAVIS: Pat had camera presence, perfect timing, a great sense of humor, and a passion for education. He always wanted to leave his audience with one or two “a-ha’s” or “I didn’t know that’s” after every segment.
Pat Goss certainly accomplished that, a thousand times over. And despite the tremendous changes in cars over the past 41 years, from the first segment to the last, Pat’s doctrine of basic routine maintenance still rings true.
Thanks for everything, Pat…you will be missed, but never forgotten. Godspeed.