Burning Man Z Patrol Car

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Houston Gray’s 240Z Patrol Car at Burning Man Festival

In 2002 a young man named Houston Gray, decked out in a white cowboy hat and western boots, came to my ZPARTS parts yard to buy a used door for his Z.  He drove up in a dust covered, white painted 240Z that had definitely seen some use in it’s life.  Hood was a bit tweaked, air dam was cracked and damaged and had a modestly bashed in driver’s door with a very circular  graphic logo image of some kind on it that said “Black Rock City Ranger“.  Perplexed I inquired as to what it referred to?  What ensued was a tale taller than most gleaned from other Z owners I had met over time.

The owner informed me that he was a member of a dedicated  group of personal that ran perimeter security patrols at night in the Nevada desert for what he called the  “BURNING MAN FESTIVAL”, an event held annually in the Nevada desert where  5000+ “revelers of life” created a city in the middle of nowhere called “Black Rock City” in order to spend a week of night and day celebration of free spirited and creative social interaction on a scale difficult to imagine by the world outside it’s dust blown, desert boundaries.

He told me that most of the security team drove SUV type of vehicles out in the desert at night, loaded with radar scanners, CB radios and “flashing cop car lights on top, but because he had volunteered his help in the early days of the event, he was allowed to patrol the desert boundaries in his only personal car at the time, a 240Z, which he has continued to use every year since 1998 when he first “signed on” to the Burning Man gig.

Needless to say, neither his story or my involvement with this car ended with his first visit.  Intrigued with his story and the banged up looks of his “hard working Z”, I started  to photo document Houston and and his 240Z over the next several months.  Some of my early photos of his car were first featured in my Z CAR SHOWCASE Gallery back in 2004.  Several magazines also showed an interested to publish my photos and a write up on the owner and his car’s story, but nothing came of it in the end.  Houston later sent me an interesting write-up of his own explaining a bit more about the origins of Burning Man and the ideas behind the logo graphic used on his car door.  In the near future I hope to publish that write-up here for visitors that may find the whole story quite intriguing.

In 2012 I reconnected with Houston to find that he had continued to patrol the festival in the Nevada desert up to his last year of involvement in 2005.  After that the car went to pasture and Houston went off to law school and a reconnection with his roots in Petaluma, CA.  Requesting photos of his car taken at Burning Man, he told me that he was usually too busy patroling and sleeping off a night’s work to take many photos of the car juxtaposition amongst the vast array of surreal visual sights typical of the Burning Man celebration of life, but he did have a few to share and told me he would look for more.  See a few of them in the drop down Gallery Section menu below this text write-up.  – Eric Neyerlin – owner of ZCARWORLD.COM



  • Houston Grey posed in front of his "Burning Man Z"

Posted: August 28, 2012

Author: SleekZ

Category: 240Z, Events, Nevada, United States

Tags: , ,


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