SCM’s 30th Anniversary Tour is fast approaching, so it’s time to test and finalize the route.
The route master is Neil d’Autremont of Sidedraught City. He’s given me the instructions for the last section of the final day. By freeway, it’s about a 100-mile stretch.
I’ve been planning to take the 1960 Bugeye on the scouting expedition. My plan is to head to Astoria, on the Oregon Coast, then down to Newport, then over to Sweet Home. It’s about 250 miles.
Chip Starr just finished some more fettling on the Sprite, including fitting new tires from Coker.
However, I just read the forecast and it calls for a high of 60 degrees on the coast, with rain likely on Saturday.
Of all of the cars in the SCM fleet, the Bugeye is probably the most primitive. It has marginal weather protection, the wipers still fail when they get too hot and the heater is mostly theoretical. Putting the top up is like assembling an erector set — one where the pieces don’t fit well.
I could just walk over and get into the 2003 Porsche 911 and drive towards the ocean without a concern. I wouldn’t have to pack a greatcoat or an umbrella. I wouldn’t need a sponge to get the water out of the floorboards.
I could listen to my favorite tunes on Apple Car Play, as opposed to blasting out music on a tiny blue-tooth speaker between the seats in the Bugeye.
I would arrive rested and ready for a nice dinner, rather than looking for a place for a therapeutic massage.
But what fun would that be?
Driving old cars is how we make experiences. We struggle with things that those driving newer cars don’t even notice. Each hill becomes a question about when to downshift to stay in the minimal power band. With our marginal brakes, we have to constantly be mentally calculating stopping distances.
We are constantly attuned to any strange sounds or smells from an old car — or the possibility (actually eventuality) of some type of electrical malfunction. It’s why we always carry spare fuses and a tow strap.
I know if I take the 911, I’ll can scout the route and arrive home with the car and my body in the same condition before I set out.
But the story I would have to tell would be, “I drove to the coast and back. It was nice.”
If I take the Bugeye, I’m sure the car will make its own share of adventures along the way. And isn’t that why we drive old cars? They provide a fun escape from the ordinary, and they help us create adventures to share with our friends and kids.
I vote for the Bugeye.