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It’s there every morning at a GC’s disposal: intelligent, highly responsive, powerful — with no squeaky wheels. The well-run in-house legal team? Sure, if a GC is lucky. But for speed, perfection, and reliability many GCs turn to their … cars. To find out which automotive toys the 100 GCs on our compensation list own, we scoured state motor vehicle registrations. We found information on 38 GCs and chatted with some about their automotive predilections and passions. What did they buy? The names Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Lexus, and Range Rover pop up frequently. Several own the Jaguar XK8 convertible, dubbed “sex on wheels” by Car and Driver magazine. Centex Corporation’s Raymond Smerge bought one for his wife. A lovely little gift — with a sticker price of $74,155. Even GCs who insist they aren’t wowed by expensive sports cars still buy the best. UST Inc.’s Richard Verheij, for instance, chose an SUV over a car because it was “utilitarian.” But, hey, his SUV is a Lexus. THE GC-MOBILE BMWs are the most popular cars among the GCs we tracked down — about 22 percent own one. The most popular model: the 740iL — a big, four-door sedan with luxurious touches like front seats that adjust 16 different ways. Comfort like that doesn’t come cheap. Price tag: a cool $67K. But owners rave. “It drives great, and it handles like a sports car,” says number 20 on our compensation list, Robert Sharpe Jr., of PepsiCo Inc. Roger Thomson, GC at Brinker International Inc., based in hard-driving Dallas, says: “The car has great handling, and I love the large backseat.” William von Glahn, GC at The Williams Companies Inc., and number 81 on our list, used to zip around in a 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT. “I didn’t have a midlife crisis, but I had a midlife crisis car,” he says. Von Glahn, 58, eventually traded it in for a 1995 BMW 740i. Just one complaint: This car’s trunk isn’t quite wide enough for golf clubs. “What are they trying to do,” he asks, “turn us into tennis players?” HORSEPOWER This one caught us by surprise: John Leekley owns two Navistar 18-wheelers. And that’s in addition to a grab bag of other vehicles: three Ford SUVs, four small trucks, a 1978 Porsche Turbo Carrera, and one motorcycle: a Harley-Davidson Sportster. Clearly Leekley is up to something more than just being GC of Taylor, Mich.-based Masco Corporation. In fact, the 57-year-old and his wife, Gerry Gildner, own Cedarfarm, a Percheron horse breeding business set on 900 acres in Gladwin, Mich. (It’s about 170 miles from Masco’s headquarters.) Their teams of six and eight elegantly matched horses have won a slew of prizes in the United States and Canada. But Percherons are huge, 2,000 pounds each, and require big trucks to travel. Leekley has a commercial driver’s license, and spends his vacations hauling horses and his weekends shoveling manure. It is, he admits, not the usual executive hobby. “It just shows you what my judgment might be,” he laughs. But his judgment is obviously just fine. Number 44 on our list, Leekley took home cash compensation of $913,000 plus restricted stock and options grants worth more than $3 million in 2000. And he’s smart (or lucky) enough to work for a successful home improvement and building products maker. Masco saw revenues beat analysts’ estimates and jump in the first half of this year to $4 billion. Looks like he’ll have no trouble buying more horsepower when he wants to. EASY RIDER Dennis Coyle, the 63-year-old general counsel of FPL Group Inc., is probably the only guy in his tony West Palm Beach neighborhood who owns four motorcycles — and no car. Sure, he commutes to work at the Juno Beach, Fla.-based energy business in a staid, company-owned Lincoln Navigator SUV. But it’s the motorcycles that Coyle adores; he owns two Harley-Davidsons. One is a huge touring bike with saddlebags. The other, he says, is everything that people hate about “hogs”: “It’s loud and garish — and I love it.” Coyle (number 66 on our survey) also owns a 1986 Honda Rebel, his “training wheels” for the wife and kids. The GC also has a 1975 Norton, a British motorcycle he rode from Miami to San Francisco in 1976 as his “own private bicentennial celebration.” He and his wife celebrated the millennium by touring South Africa’s wine country on BMWs. His wife now has her own Harley, and the two take 1,000-mile bike trips together. “You really do,” he says, “leave everything behind.” – Data compiled by Michael J. Ravnitzky

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