In our second installment of #takethewheel, we sit down with Mr. Matt Leonard, president and co-founder of Game 7 Marketing, an experience design agency in Brooklyn, NY with deep roots in sport & culture. When he's not helping run an agency responsible for developing innovative and authentic experiences for some of the biggest brands in sports, you can find him driving a back road somewhere outside New York City stretching the legs on his 1972 BMW 3.0 CS. #takethewheel, Mr. Leonard.
Tell us about the day job:
Matt Leonard (ML): My name is Matt Leonard and I am the Co-Founder and President of Game Seven Marketing, an experiential marketing agency based in BK.
Go ahead and take a picture of your keychain…
Tell us what we’re looking at here?
ML: Organized chaos + the keys to my E9.
What other vehicle(s) do you own?
ML: I buy what I like so it’s a little all over the place. I definitely find myself drawn to cars manufactured during the 60’s and 70’s, so right now I have a 1972 BMW 3.0CS // 1973 Land Rover Series III // 1971 GMC Sierra Grande pickup with a 427 Chevy Corvette engine in it (thing is dangerous) and a 2016 Range Rover which is the daily driver.
What drew you to the E9?
ML: It's funny because I came across this car by accident. I was driving on the PCH in Southern California with my wife when I saw a Land Rover Series II pickup at a classic car dealer out there.
Ever since I was a little kid I've always had this obsession with old Land Rovers, so I always stop and check them out regardless of where I am or what I am doing at the time. When I pulled over to get a closer look at this particular Rover I came across the E9 coupe hiding behind it. It immediately grabbed my attention and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening thinking about and researching that car. The next morning I woke up early and told my wife we had to go back and look at it again - she didn’t get it, she thought I was talking about the Series Rover and said something like, “you have seen hundreds of Defenders, you own one, why are we going back for this one.” I told her we were going back to look at the BMW. She really didn’t understand and said something to the effect of “what’s so special about it, it’s just a regular car.” To which I said, “Let’s make a deal. We are going to take it out for 2 hours and if we don’t get more than 15 thumbs up in that time I won’t buy it.” After 45 minutes of driving I looked over at her and asked her for the count - She said “I lost count after 20...just buy it."
What do you love about driving it?
ML: It's definitely a feeling that you wouldn’t understand unless you are a car guy or gal. It's the escape from the normal day-to-day. For me it has never been about the destination and where I am headed to in it. It's always been about the drive.
I can’t sit here and say I drive an old car because it reminds me of my childhood or anything like that. I’m in my mid 30’s - this car is older than me by almost 10 years but it's definitely a bit of a time capsule in some regards. We live in a time where everyone is connected and accessible virtually every second of everyday. These days, cars have wifi and GPS which means getting lost is a thing of the past. The whole point of why I drive is to get lost and disconnected from all of that. I make it a point to turn off my phone when I drive and just go. Hopefully after an hour or so I’m somewhere I've never been, discovering new roads and routes, meeting new people.
What’s the one thing you dislike about driving it?
ML: Honestly, that it has to end after a couple short hours. Never enough time.
Have your eye on any other cars?
ML: I have always been drawn to late 60’s and early 70’s Jaguar E Type coupes. Something about that clown shoe shape is just beautiful. So if I get anything else it'll be that.
What’s the dream car?
ML: The holy grail for me would be a Porsche 356 custom built by the legend Rod Emory. If you aren’t familiar with Emory Outlaws check them out - the man is a genius when it comes to building cars.
Car you most regret selling?
ML: I recently sold my '95 Defender 90 and '67 all original Ford Bronco. Those both hurt.
You have one hour to escape, what do you do?
ML: Try to get lost.
Now you’ve got 2 weeks?
ML: I've always wanted to drive across country in a classic car camping out throughout the journey.
Favorite trip not yet taken?
ML: Monaco Grand Prix. Bucket list trip for sure.
The hotel that feels most like home?
ML: My wife and I spent our honeymoon traveling through New Zealand for a couple of weeks. There was a small little cabin we stayed at in the middle of nowhere that I always think about. It was one of those off the grid type spots where they grow their own food, pump in fresh water from the glacier, etc. There wasn’t anything fancy about the accommodations, it was just a way of living that is so different than my day-to-day here in New York. It's definitely something I hope to do one day again soon.
You can teleport to any bar in the world right now - where to?
ML: There was a spot right on the water in Oia, Santorini that is hands down the best setting I have ever had a drink in.
What’s your drink?
ML: Old Fashioned.
What will we always find on your nightstand?
ML: My watch and my phone assuming my son Jack hasn’t hid them from me somewhere.
The one item you are never without?
ML: Always wear my Panerai, never without it.
Your favorite travel hack?
ML: I don’t know if you consider this a hack but anytime I fly bring a “Carry On Cocktail Kit” for my old fashioned.
Where’s your hometown?
ML: I grew up in North Jersey, a little town called Dumont.
Place we’re most likely to find you if we’re looking?
ML: Our office in Brooklyn or a garage somewhere.
Place we’d never find you?
ML: Anywhere that plays Taylor Swift.
The road you drive to take your mind off things?
ML: There are some great roads in North Jersey, but I always find myself on Route 202 when I need to clear my head.
What’s on the wrist?
Canon or Nikon?
Diesel or Gas?
Rocks or neat?
ML: Depends on what I'm drinking.
Last google search?
ML: Car shows in the month of September.
Biggest risk ever taken?
ML: Leaving the finance world and starting a business with my brother.