WHO IS MISTER I? -- Summary

Sneak illegal cars into Cuba? Just take a spin with the elusive Mister I.

If detente with Cuba comes, it may involve that much maligned business – used cars. Ask Fred Burns, the erudite former pro wrestler, and sometime drama critic, who sells classic cars. Roger Deerman, world’s largest car dealer, insists that Burns is also the mysterious Mr. Iconoplast, Philly’s arcane, and reluctant, image maker – and Deerman is selling cars in Cuba.

“I’m risking everything. But, my God, the profit ...!”

Deerman needs a “big, honest guy” to spin and cover the illegal operation. Well, Burns is big and probably honest. His lot is Vintage Ultras. His daughter is Nell, at Penn. Both take a lot of his time, and patience. But he swears, “I’m not Mr. I. Absolutely not!” He refuses the job offer – even when bribed with a 1949 Hudson convertible – but he knows about Cuba and is a liability.

So, Deerman frames him for murder. Within hours, he’s dumped in the bay and escapes like Tarzan. He’s trapped aboard a yacht with daughter Nell. Both escape like Mercury. He’s attacked by a power boat on the Delaware. He escapes and the craft crashes into a battleship. He’s about to be shot on a deserted auction car lot – but is saved by a tattooed lady. He gets shot at while selling a car at the auction – but is only grazed. He winds up in a chase all over the New Jersey and is attacked by thugs, elephants, and rhinos – and escapes them all.

Among his escapes, he meets a fed who’s a very stunning blond and nobody knows whose side she’s on; a hot rodder whose moll he saves from a cop; a federal mole he watches blown up (the cops think he did it); a thug from Jersey who’s oily and talks like Broadway; his tv news buddy who spots the car shipment and calls the Coast Guard; and the tattooed lady, who finally sends him a 300SL in appreciation. It’s for Mister I. Is that you? He drools, but says, “It is not!.”

The Pratt Literary Group