Last year I came across a great event called the Copperstate 1000 (http://www.mensartscouncil.com/cs/) …an excuse for 75 vintage cars to drive around various roads in Arizona, under the watchful jurisdiction of an organisation called the Men’s Arts Council. It’s been running since 1990, and seems to attract a pretty sensational collection of cars. Four days, 1000 miles…and some great photo opportunities.
As the very lucky owner of a 1964 Porsche 356C, that I affectionately call “The Egg”, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to give her something more inspiring than the usual LA driving we encounter. Not quite confident (yet) to consider vintage car racing, and a little intimidated by some of the more “macho” events that seem to be on offer here; Copperstate seemed to be an interesting option. If nothing else, I could apply and be politely turned down!
So late last year, I sent my application in and then started to run through the information available on their website to work out just what I was possibly letting myself in for. Three things stood out immediately:
- Mechanical inspection
Although I wasn’t a girl guide, and I’m not sure I’ve ever dated an ex-scout; these items made me realise that being at least somewhat prepared would be worth exploring. The mechanical inspection was pretty overwhelming, and included lists of requirements that made me question every creak & groan I’ve come to love when driving the Egg. Maybe that wasn’t just a little bit of old age and appreciation as she took the corner for me? Was it possible that differentials were loose, or cables were unthreading? Does she even have differentials or cables come to that?
Fortunately, the Egg has been lovingly looked after by the brilliant team at TRE Racing in Van Nuys. We’re a little lower on the racing evolutionary scale than most clientele, but the Egg holds her own when she’s there, and seems to gain plenty of points for her beguiling rear end. Quick call to Jeremy and Dave, who reassured me that my lack of diff knowledge and inability to select new tyres based on anything other than tread pattern, would not be insurmountable issues to overcome…all we’d need to do was run through the mechanical check list, and address anything that may come up.
I’ve come to look at the Egg in the same way as I’m sure friends and relatives look at their kids. There are no issues, we just have challenges (this is my way of willing the problems to be cheaper; which I’m happy to report has been pretty successful so far) Obviously its helped by the fact that despite her iconic shape, she’s a pretty simple little beastie overall… essentially a VW Bug with pretensions….and there’s nothing wrong with that! I duly crossed my fingers that the trend would continue should we reach the mechanical check list stage and moved on to #2.
Co-driver…..this required some serious consideration.
- Need someone who can drive, obviously
- Not likely to reduce me to cringe position as passenger
- Tolerable for long periods of time, or just as easy to ignore
- A level of mechanical understanding that will make up for my distinct lack of same
- See point #4
- See point #4
I really didn’t that many options, & figured that I’d have to leave this question unanswered until the very last moment……and then a flash of genius occurred over a canapé last September. Auntie Colleen’s surprise 80th birthday resulted in a number of family all coming together for the celebration. The party included cousin Harry. He’s my charmingly nerdy “older brother by another mother”, who just happens to have an impressive history of restoring, building, playing around with and owning old cars. There was a minor aberration when he acquired a mid 90″s Subaru SVX….but we try to skirt around that whenever possible. Clutching my hors d’œuvre I suddenly realised I was looking at the perfect victim….and proceeded to make my pitch.
Moment of thought, eyebrow raised, slight smile…I had him 🙂
Which of course brought me to point #3 – as we both share one very particular family trait. We are absolutely hopeless at giving or following directions.
You tell me left. I will nod in full agreement and understanding….and then turn right. Can’t help it, don’t take it personally….its just an inbuilt inability for the eyes, brain and direction to all work seemlessly together.
Clearly this will need some more planning…..