It was a long, improbable journey and the Bradley GT almost made it.
Nearly 4,000 miles from its starting point in Fort Lauderdale, FL, SCM’s 45-year-old kit car finally came to a halt.
It had endured the burning summer sun and torrential downpours. Its brakes, doors and ignition systems had been rebuilt en route.
It got within two miles of its initial West Coast destination, Concorso Italiano in Monterey, when it came to an ignominious halt. Simultaneously, it suffered a dead battery, a gearbox that lost 2nd and reverse gears and the driver’s side door fell off.
Those things combined were enough for us to decide to ship it from Monterey back to Portland, where we could minister to its wounds.
There are a variety of viewpoints around the SCM offices. Some think it would make a wonderful donation to McPherson College, where it could be used as an example of “one of the worst cars ever designed.”
Others think it could be stripped of identifying marks and left in a landfill somewhere.
And then there is me.
I can’t help myself. Like someone who takes in stray cats, I see only the potential of this (goofy) car, and want to make it the best it can be (which is still pretty pathetic).
My plan would be to have the transmission rebuilt, with a “freeway flyer” top gear giving better top end cruising capabilities. I would install vents in the door windows for better ventilation. And I would have the interior tidied up so it didn’t look so much like the aftermath of a college frat party.
The Bradley GT is a hopelessly compromised car, with serious deficiencies from wiper blades to headlights.
Nonetheless, I feel compelled to make it as good a car as it can be.
One person who enthusiastically supports me is my son Bradley. He’s delighted to have a car “named after him” in the garage. The fact that the Bradley was built 35 years before he was born doesn’t faze him. Chronology is only a matter of perspective to a 10-year-old.