FALLS VILLAGE, CT – He’s best known as the forever host of “My Classic Car” on television, but Dennis Gage is a motorcycle enthusiast, too, who currently owns eight BMWs and one Moto Guzzi. “I bought it just because it looked so weird, ” Gage said this morning of his 1998 Moto Guzzi Centauro from a comfortable perch on the front porch at Toymakers Cafe here.
His affinity for BMWs is based on experience. “They’re so reliable. They’re just bullet proof,” Gage said. “I love them as machines. They’re nearly perfect machines. Bavarian engineering. It’s the precision – the art of the machine.” In his BMW collection are a 1969 R60/2, a 1973 R75/5 with toaster tank, a 1975 R90/6 cafe, a 1983 R80, two 1993 R 1100 RS models, a 1987 K75 and a 2002 K 1200 RS.
Gage, who is in town this weekend to shoot footage for “My Classic Car” at the Falls Village Car & Motorcycle Show on Sunday, holds a Ph. D in chemistry and previously worked as a product development scientist for Proctor & Gamble and Bristol-Myers Squibb, creating such products as Pringles and Boost.
It has been television, though, that has boosted his own visibility. According to the show’s website, “My Classic Car” debuted in 1997. It has taken Gage to all 50 states, eight provinces in Canada and nine countries in Europe. “Part of the reason it’s lasted so long is because it’s been everywhere,” he said.
The show does so in an unpretentious manner. “I take people with me,” he explained of the approach. The format itself spotlights events – from concours to cruise nights – and individual vehicles. What drew him to Falls Village is the fact that he’s only visited Connecticut once before and that was some 16 years ago.
During breakfast and as he chatted later outside, fans interrupted. “I watched your show the other night,” said one fan to which Cage pleasantly cracked, “Was it any good?”
Besides “My Classic Car,” Gage has also produced and hosted motorcycle programs through his MadStache multimedia company, including “Corbin’s Ride On” and “Trippin’ on Two Wheels,” which ran from 2005 to 2015. His love of motorcycles goes back to his youth.
“I had my first motorcycle when I was 12,” he said, recalling a Honda Cub. “I rode bikes all through high school, got out of it and evolved into cars.” He returned to two wheels in the early 1980s “when I finally wore my wife down.”
It was while attending World Ducati Week in Italy in 2002 that Gage had his hairiest experience. He’d hooked up with well-known moto-journalists Peter Egan and Neale Bayley for a company ride with roughly 50 others from Bologna to Misano. The police provided an escort out of town but soon found entrance ramps to the Autostrada inaccessible. An accident had traffic on the freeway at a standstill. At the town line, the police said arrivederci, leaving them to their own wits.
Gage said Egan and Bayley soon found a way on to the jammed Autostrada, then proceeded to lane split. “We were splitting lanes of traffic in excess of 100 miles per hour for a good 10 miles. I was riding way beyond my ability,” Gage said, recalling that all he could do was hope to keep Bayley’s white helmet in sight. “I literally got off and kissed the ground. I wouldn’t do it again.”
What he would do over is host and produce TV shows about car and motorcycle enthusiasts and their machines. “I’m just really lucky. I just fell into this,” Gage said. “I’ve been on TV longer than ‘Gunsmoke.'”
Gage’s report on the Falls Village Car & Motorcycle Show is expected to air on “My Classic Car” sometime in early 2019.