Facebook didn’t exist when SCM was created. My first posts with pictures of Bradley were made 12 years ago, when he was 3. The equivalent period of his sister Alexandra’s life is captured in piles of three-by-five-inch photos scattered and stashed and filed and piled in innumerable places.
I tell myself I will someday gather them all up and digitize them. However, that’s the same me that says someday I will take a class in rebuilding manual transmissions and learn why reversing the synchro rings in an Alfa split-case gearbox will improve my shifts into second gear. (You’ll recall that I haven’t driven a manual-transmission car in three years.)
On this day
Each day, Facebook retrieves posts you have made on that exact day in previous years.
That’s how I came to realize it was seven years ago when I bought the SCM Porsche 996 Turbo. Eleven years ago, I slogged through foot-deep snow in our Defender 90 to reach Pinnacle Peak in the Tillamook State Forest.
My friend Rob Siegel (“The Hack Mechanic”) has remarked that he’s enjoyed watching on social media as Bradley grew from toddler to middle-linebacker on the Lincoln High School football team. (“It’s also a little weird,” he added.)
Alexandra has gone from a teenager to being a leading voice in the vocational truck division (think cement mixers and dump trucks) at Western Star. Having SCM DNA in her blood, her two favorite cars are our 2006 Lotus Elise and the 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce. She drives both “con brio.”
She has her Grade A commercial driver’s license and can back a 40-foot trailer around a 90-degree turn and into an unloading bay. She took her test in a tractor equipped with a 6-speed, non-synchro manual transmission.
She remarked that after mastering the gearbox in our SIII Land Rover 88, anything else was a “piece of cake.”
So many roads
As each annualized post pops up, I am reminded that the cars are just excuses to make memories. I think of the Christmas-break dash Alexandra and I made to pick up a 1989 Range Rover in Manhattan Beach, CA, from SCMer Jeff Stout. (He recalled he had once taken Sir Stirling Moss to breakfast in the Rangie.)
Another time we attended an Italian Style gala at the Portland Art Museum and the next morning flew to San Jose, CA, and drove a quite wonderful 1963 Volvo P1800 home. Black with red interior, it had an almost sinister presence as we carved our way up Highway 101 through the Redwoods.
When our twin-turbo Porsche arrived, she and Bradley were there to watch it being unloaded. The two of them washed the car, and then Alex asked if she could take it for a drive. It was two weeks before I saw it or her again.
Bradley’s experiences as a driver are about to begin. But he has already been on multi-day road trips as a passenger in the Spider Veloce, a Bug Eye Sprite and our turbodiesel Land Rover D90 which will now have a new quality diesel injection pump.
It was on an off-road camping trip in that rig, with the Pacific Coast Rover Club, that he told me, “The best thing about camping is if you have to go potty, you can just dig a hole and poop in the woods.”
What could have been more satisfying for an 8-year-old?
His current favorite is our 1971 Jaguar E-type V12 coupe. Guru Ed Grayson taught him how to adjust the idle speed on the four Stromberg carbs, and he enjoys having that sense of mastery.
My newest favorite is the 1971 Citroën DS21 Pallas we purchased from SCMer Greg Long. At this point Bradley is not feeling much Citroën love, as he refers to it as “the French car that looks like a dead fish.” Sacre bleu!
The magic number
I also recall the “trip-for-no-reason” Alexandra and I took in our first-gen Porsche Boxster S. My lack of planning caused us to spend one night in the Klamath Falls, OR, version of the Bates Motel, which included a spa pool green with algae and a microwaved mac-and-cheese dinner in our room.
This was the trip on which my daughter first experienced triple-digit speed. On an empty back-country road, I encouraged her to push the engine enthusiastically through all the lower five gears to get the engine into its sweet spot in sixth.
I still recall her expression of satisfaction when she watched the digital speed readout show 80, 85, 90, 95, 99 and finally the magic 100 miles per hour. In retrospect, I am both proud of encouraging her while feeling slightly guilty about travelling at triple-digit speed on a public highway.
Unless there’s a forgotten shoebox of snapshots somewhere, I have only my memories of this pre-digital-era trip to savor.
Some of the cars have moved on, but their memories have stayed. Every car is a memory maker of some type. The digital world makes revisiting these memories possible more often. I’m appreciative. ♦