We are now less than a month away from the start of this year’s Copperstate 1000, and I have been experiencing a slight burst of nerves, and feeling more than just a little out of place. The daily photographic postings on Facebook are a cornucopia of chrome, sleek lines, exquisite styling and tag lines including the phrase “one of only…..” all too often. Every new picture elicits gasps and giggles, and occasionally a quick scan of old auction results!
The Egg is definitely charming and with her ’71 Fuchs wheels, she has a certain tough-girl aura. The sound of her exhaust is far better background noise than any radio, and for a relatively old lady she is still pretty fast. But, we are going to be the company of such luminaries as a ”64Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, ’42 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Berlinetta & a one-off Jaguar Cozzi Special……
Despite my intermittent feelings of insecurity, the Egg seems completely oblivious. I headed off to TRE yesterday as her pre-rally inspection had been completed, and was met with two thumbs up and a completed form covered in tick marks. The brake cylinder and replacement tyres still being the only real serious fixes; apparently sorting out the rather inconsistent speedo by checking its cable and reassuring all future passengers with a new (and now fully retractable) seat- belt were both far easier than I’d anticipated. The boys hadn’t discovered any surprises and as we talked about the route (as much as I know…Phoenix, Flagstaff & Southern Arizona weather conditions is the only information provided so far by Copperstate), they gave plenty of great tips and suggestions, and reassured me that I really don’t need to worry about anything other than having a good time.
Dave kindly explained the concept of, and how to deal with, vapour lock (a distinct possibility with the elevation); and then Jeremy placed a rather understated black canvas bag onto the counter and presented the pièce de résistance of my preparation so far…..a tool kit.
I have a few bits and pieces in the garage. Mostly cast-offs, interspersed with occasional good deals for items I have absolutely no idea how to use, that add a level of reassurance to my future plan to become totally self-sufficient and a little more DIY than I am today. However, fortunately for me both Jeremy & Pete, his assistant in the tool kit endevour, are experienced drivers, with a full understanding of what I may need in case of….essentially any emergency.
Within about 30 seconds the bag had taken on a rather TARDIS like appearance, as Jeremy had pulled out fuses, light bulbs, crimpers (apparently this happens to more than just hair, who knew!), socket wrenches, screw drivers, WD-40, hand cleaner, gloves, spare belt, rags, tie-ons, tyre pressure gauge, and the list went on…….
It was absolutely and completely fantastic!
Suddenly I’m starting to feel like a real driver. Hey, I may not be able to catch Mr. Lusso, but I have ALL the kit! In fact, I’ll hazard a guess, I may even have a few items that could end up helping some of the other neophytes too. I can already see my weekend movie watching including Grand Prix, Le Mans & Bullitt!
We tucked my fabulous new toolkit, my chuck, two extra quarts of oil and the jack into the boot, and after a quick photo op with my brilliant pit crew at TRE, it was time to test the new wheels.
She’s obviously a little grumpy as we haven’t driven any distance for a couple of weeks, but after a slightly gassy exit from the car park and onto the streets, the Egg soon found her stride. Yes, she has a steering wheel that is almost as large as that of a double-decker bus, I have to admit the gate on the gears is probably more tractor than sports car; but once you get her out onto the open road, she’s a total rockstar!
The combination of virtually no weight, great aerodynamics and the ability to still hold her own on the freeway, makes this little German Fraulein a small force of nature. The brakes are reliable, the acceleration is more than enough to avoid trouble, so it’s impossible not to have fun. Dave warned me that the new tyres may be a little smooth, and she does seem slightly more skittish than before as we corner; so the weekend plan is to drive as many miles as possible, just in case there are any teething problems we need to address.
Now I just need to order my warning triangle and we’re done!