At the beginning of its Miami to Monterey Drive, SCM’s Bradley GT could barely go 100 miles without mechanical meltdowns. Breakdowns were constant, and we got to know — on a first-name basis — mechanics from Florida through Kansas.
The latest driver, Don Welch, drove one of the loneliest stints in the car — from Vail, CO to Las Vegas, NV. His route included one leg up to 120 miles between gas stations, with spotty cell service most of the way. If this stint were the Bradley’s maiden voyage, it would have needed to be entirely downhill.
However, after the guys at McPherson College’s Automotive Restoration Department got their hands on the Bradley GT, every report since then has gushed with praise over the car’s reliability and ease of use — reports I thought I would never hear.
Not only did Welch make it without a problem, he drove it through Weston Pass, CO at 11,921 feet! I’m unaware of which 1,600-cc VW Beetle engine is powering the Bradley, but I imagine a wind-up toy would give the Bradley a run for its money at that altitude.
As Welch cruised into Vegas — followed by his son in a chase car — the temperature rose to 111 degrees, Welch wrung out the towels previous driver Luke Chennell left in the A/C-free car. Then he handed the keys to Daniel Nelson, who quickly decided to tackle a few issues the McPherson team weren’t able to get to.
Not satisfied with the top-of-the-line zip tie used on the fuel line, Nelson replaced it with a new line and filter. He also reinforced the window frame. As he continued his shakedown, Nelson took the Bradley for a test drive with the gullwing doors open. During this drive, the Bradley took its gullwing doors seriously and tried to “take first flight” in the Vegas heat.
After safely landing, Nelson installed some new speakers and went to grab some tapes to make the best of them. After learning that “tapes are making a comeback,” from an optimistic store owner, he stopped by the famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop where he was welcomed with front-row parking.
The latest update from the SCM Bradley Facebook page shows the Bradley in Beverly Hills, CA — without incident! I expected this expedition to end in a lonely junkyard, but, at this rate, it looks like the Bradley GT will make it to Monterey Car Week.