36th Annual Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s

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Quite frankly, the parking lot Citroën sighting might be my favorite. Not because a less than water tight top yielded a sweaty-gym-sock shoved in a leather bag, trapped inside a locker smell. Or because the tow hitch with dangling wiring might spark a ground fire that lights up the gas tank. Paint fade? Sure it’s got it. Mechanical issues? Bet you there are one or two. An old car driven to the show with all the crust and must simply entices me.

I know what you’re thinking, it’s only original once. That’s not the point here. Those original cars are out-pampering 100 point restored ones for collector status. The point is, a car on concours grass original or restored is less likely to be driven or enjoyed for the transportation it was built to provide. They are held onto by collectors, enjoyed for stunning beauty, glorious sounds, appreciated for heritage, honored. When driven, white knuckles prevail despite agreed value insurance because everyone else on the road that day is a jackass.

But parking-lot-tow-hitch Citroën is an old pair of jeans, your most comfortable shoes or favorite baseball cap. It has been along for the ride and then some. It’s a “go to” and maybe even a daily driver. It’s doesn’t pretend, it doesn’t worry. It doesn’t care that it’s going up in value any more than when its value tanked. Drive it, park it, forget about it until you come out of the grocery store to find it waiting faithfully amongst SUVs and minivans to take you home, again.

1st Annual Autobahn Night

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Friday night I took Stickers to the first annual Autobahn Night in the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s parking lot. It was a sponsored event for German cars only. Parking was free, a can of beer was $5 bucks. I actually found the beer price to be reasonable, what’s wrong with me. It was a great event. One, because I love me some German cars but two because we got to preview the RM Auctions with no crowds.

In the art room, we met up with Tom Hale. I’ve grown to love his work which I’ve seen at Pebble Beach many times. In fact, he painted the 2005 Pebble Beach artwork that appeared on everything from brochures to jewelery boxes. The painting bottom right I dug, the 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK “Count Trossi” from Ralph Lauren’s collection. I asked him the layaway plan. We “shook” on $10 bucks a month which after 20 years gets me about 1/2 way to asking price.

Porsche 1968 911 L – $50000 (Westland MI)

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This was for sale on Detroit Craigslist a few months back for $15,000 or something close to that amount. I almost fell out of my chair but never heard back from my emails. It’s hard to tell from the write up if it’s the same owner who wised up to a higher price or if someone bought it and is now flipping it now on eBay with no reserve.

1965 Century – Best Woody on the Market – $14900 (Bellaire, MI)

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“This boat compares faborably with Chris Crafts and other wood boats.

This 1965 Century Resorter is the quintessential mahogany speedboat in excellent condition. The boat has been used less than 200 hours since new and is powered by a Chrysler Marine 318 cubic inch engine that produces over 200 horsepower and gives the boat a top speed of over 45 mph. Six adults can sit comfortably in the wide front and stern seats. Her removable sliding convertible top is a rare factory option. There are a factory, built in swim ladder and ski tow pylon. There is a “sunbrella” mooring cover and tandem axle trailer with new tires.”

This is a good looking boat. I have more hours on my three-year old riding mower.

On Northern Michigan Craigslist.

Tentville and the Tractor That Could, or Couldn’t

It’s been an interesting couple weekends. Last weekend I was invited over to a friend’s house, the owner of the building I store my cars, to take a tractor ride and go fishing with the kids. To my delight, I got to drive the tractor. John Deer. An awesome display of torque, wheels and two stick shifts, one for gears 1-3 plus R and the other for speed 1-3. I pulled a Chuck Woolery, two and two.

The kids were all about the ride with daddy around the beans until I got the tractor stuck. How did I get the beans above the frank? When you take the wrong path and end up in four foot tall grass aiming towards “hope this is the way out.” Leave it to a novice to take down the tried and true companion of the farmer forcing mercy grip in the very soil it was meant to hoe. Tall grass hides lots of stuff: bumps, small critters, ticks and mud bogs. The latter was our downfall. Spinning sticky, stinky mud. I decided to cut my losses and carry the kids through the fields of joy to safety. That tractor photo is after we escaped.

“Hey Nate, got the tractor stuck…  Oh, so that’s not the path you meant for me to go down?… Yes, I see the fine cut grass path to our left — now.  So the tractor does have four wheel assist? Good tip. Leaver on the floor you didn’t show me. Got it… Thanks for getting it out Nate. See any little black bugs burrowing into my children’s skin? No? Sweet. Let’s go fishing.”

This past Friday night I took part in tent village on Lake Michigan, just south of Arcadia Bluffs.  My buddy Kevin invited me to crash their 14th annual golf outing extravaganza comprised of:

• One cottage with too few rooms and beds
• 25 guys with smarter wives who stayed home
• 14 committees to run everything from trash to fireworks to catered and cooked meals
• Too much alcohol, probably not enough dope
• Horseshoes and hand grenades
• Lots of golf
• One trophy
• No hand grenades. What are we infants? The fireworks were da bomb though

Since I was up with my family, I ditched them for the night and arrived at said party perfectly timed — meal o’clock. The champions dinner was on the grille cooked by, you guessed it, a committee including my buddy Kevin. Steak. Oat-Daddy, old college roommate, sashayed by in flannel pajama pants as I wandered and wondered up. Thinking this might be time for a beer I headed for the keg and checked six on the pants. “Today was dress up day on the course” Oat-Daddy commented. Oat-Daddy had picked out his finest. And while the pants gave him a loose and fancy free approach, only one of the clubs he held that day left him with any reward.  Boo-yah!

I sat with the Daddy for dinner and started meeting the guys.  Great group all with friendships going back decades. Damn, this steak is good. The perfectly cooked steak was absolutely excellent, complimented by spinach salad, baked potatoes and garlic bread. If it’s one thing we’ve all gotten to appreciate as we get older it’s good food.  Breakfast was on par too. The rest of the evening was typical guys stuff. Swapping stories, drinking, tunes, playing Jenga with logs on the bonfire, fireworks then reading the team results in a decidedly ritualistic fashion beach side at 10:30 pm.

Earlier I had set up my new Coleman tent, purchased at Costco, in middle pack and adjured there about midnight-thirty excited to sleep on the shore with crashing waves. My sister-in-law commented to the same effect the next day. “It must have been great sleeping with the sound of the waves.” True that. They were certainly peaceful. But common things happen to ordinary men that drink beer all day and night. The beer has to go somewhere. And go we did. Zzzzziiiippp. Footstep footstep, tiiiinnnnnkle, wave crash, footstep, wave crash, zzzzziiiiiippppp. Zip, wave, zip zip zip, footsteps, tinkles, ahhh, wave, cough, zip, wave. Pass out, wake up, damn it. Zip.

My intentions were to repeat on Saturday night but hanging with the family including my parents who came up for the weekend prevailed.  Plus I was hood winked by 9 pm.  A big shout out to the cottage hosts Tim and Brian, my buddy Kevin for the invite and all the guys for a great time. As always Oat-Daddy, great to hang out. Uncle Waltie, thanks again for reading.