The voice was muffled, but the words were audible and ringing with authority: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Back out of there slowly and keep your hands in sight.Ã¢â‚¬Â At the moment of that command, I was headfirst down the driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s side well, with a flashlight in my mouth, my hands desperately trying to re-join the linkage of the accelerator pedal to the carburetor rod, and my legs sticking out above the driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s seat. From the viewpoint of a passing California Highway Patrolman, the image of a bright red convertible parked by the side of the highway with a pair of legs waving like semaphore flags, may possibly have created at least a degree of suspicion.
It was 10:00 on a moonlit summer night, and I was on my way back from San Luis Obisbo to my home in Santa Barbara. The top was off on my custom built Ã¢â‚¬â„¢28 Bugatti Type 55, and the throaty exhaust of the modified Porsche engine in third gear was like a massage to my soul as we cruised under the bright light of a full moon through the pass on Highway 154 alongside the lake and stream, and eventually over the incredible historic bridge just south of Lake Cachuma. Just as I roared across the bridge, I felt a pop under my foot and the Bugatti instantly decelerated. I braked to a stop in a wide spot off the road and turned off the motor. With the help of a flashlight, I could see that the accelerator pedal had pulled loose, and since there were no doors on this coupe, I had to dive headfirst to the bottom of the well to repair the damage.
After ten minutes of fumbling with the apparatus, and an increasing pressure as the blood pooled in my head and befuddled my brain, I had heard the sound of a car abruptly braking, a door open, and footsteps approaching in the gravel.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I saidÃ¢â‚¬Â, the voice was definitely more insistent now, Ã¢â‚¬Å“get out of the car now and keep your hands where I can see them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
I struggled to get out. The CHP Officer was standing there, flashlight in my face, and gun in his right hand. I suppose the image of a red-faced man, wide-eyed, hair totally disheveled, with a flashlight in his mouth, now standing outside a classic car in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere, may have deepened the OfficerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s curiosity.
That experience, and many others dealing with rebuilding classic collectorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s items like a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ37 Packard Convertible straight 8, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ38 Plymouth Touring sedan, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ39 Ford hot rod convertible, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ36 Ford Cabaret coupe with rumble seat, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ47 Chevrolet four door Woody, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ48 Studebaker, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ51 Mercury Convertible, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ76 Mercedes Benz SE sedan, and through my own dealership customizing reproductions of ancient Jaguars, Auburn Speedsters, and domestic Woodies, brought me a love of the automobile that influences a lot of what I do today.
Enough said. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m excited to join the group as a writer, and maybe between us we can toss in some tasty ingredients into the mix, and see what we can get out of the auto pot. Here is some of the stuff I will be running past you in the coming months with The Garage:
Innovations in automotive technology. (Wait until you see what incredible things are happening with affordable turn-key green electric vehicles. And these vehicles are available now!)
A totally unique approach on buying autos from dealerships. A guaranteed way to not only save money, but have a great experience. What a concept.
Women are now on 64% of all automotive purchase contracts. The emerging womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s auto buying market, the power women have at their fingertips, AND how to use it!
A sure-fire, step-by-step easy method for Canadian residents to buy cars from California without hassles with Canadian help, AND save money in the process.
Trends and new releases at the auto dealership level, and the increasing power of the consumer.
The alternative market of re-constructed and redesigned classic cars, as well as explorations of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kit CarÃ¢â‚¬Â market. Are these practical? Just how easy is the assembly? And what about having them built for you?
See you online!