Being Older than Your Car

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T

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Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Mark Twain 1912

Others may expand on convention activity, actual events, and please, be assured the cars are the focal point.  However my interest is the character pheromone that attracts people to attend.  It’s true the women are attractive, and too, they smell good, either on the elevator or in the overhead ski lift bucket.

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Kim, a 6′ model from Early, TX allowing an elderly 5’6″ voyeur to fondle her 3½ lb. dog.  So cute, and the pup was a real looker too….

The men, while this may sound peculiar, will not be auditioning to become Chippendale dancers.  They have good taste in both women, cars, and collectively, are a living encyclopedia of all things 190sl. Understand, however, Chanel #5 is not interchangeable with 15W/40, synthetic or not.

On our first climb above 9000′, my 2nd carburetor becomes inoperable. Egads, a deep six tragedy, akin to the century old anthem, “Pike’s Peak or Bust”.  Busted, truly; in a state allowing legal marijuana ?

Able to drive only 5 mph at 500 rpm, or, roar through hairpin turns at 5000 rpm, nothing in-between. In little more than an hour, club gurus, the Two Dons, had it running in fine fettle.

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The doctors make a highway call……Don Drabik does the re-install,
Parts and tools from Don Freese, this is gonna be a breeze.  

Sung as a rap tune       

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The air breather assembly, removed, appears to be a primitive saxophone, cast aside by KennyG

At dinner, with no assigned seating, I always attempt to sit with people I do not know, and have never been disappointed.  At the opening salvo, I land between the Craigs, non-member guests from KennyG’s hometown of Seattle.  Ray to my left, a retired test pilot of the 700 series Boeing jets, and to the right, Jan*, a recent public health nurse retiree, all three of us sticky eating BBQ ribs, while discussing the breakdown of the healthcare system.

At the last luncheon, over salad, soup, and Tommyknocker beer, we were  entertained by aćcented brits, Theresa and Andy Holmes, from Buckingham, UK, 5000 miles from home.  The subject matter was not cars, the distance traveled, nor lunch, but Brexit.

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Reminiscent of the PBS sit-com, “As Time Goes By”, it was like having lunch with Lionel & Jean.

The only member who has attended every 190SL convention (30 plus years) is club statesman, Don Drabik, who takes delight in disregarding warning signs.  We know he can read. We know he can see.  His wife, Kathy, is a knockout.  Literate, he is an accomplished artist, reader, and Studebaker fan, so why is the evidence caught on camera so difficult to interpret…?….⬇

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A planned adventure drive, suitable for glamour photo-ops, takes the parade north to Grand Lake, almost missing this stunning antler array in a Fraser, CO, C-Store parking lot.

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Rudolph the red nose light fixture, price on request

From the Grand Lake Lodge estab. 1920, peering down at the shimmering lake framed by glittering aspens in golden glory, three of our very best absorb the serenity from Colorado’s Favorite Front Porch.  An easy task following a 3000 calorie brunch at 8,769 ft. above sea level.

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Train bust….no…a Brain trust.  Southern statesmen contemplating the good life.
L-R  Kent VanMeter, TX; Walt Puryear, GA; Kip Gibert, LA.

Next, the beauty of the long ride home on the road less traveled.

 

*sister of popular members, Mary Anne Westphal and sidekick Ken Lowman
KennyG photo courtesy, Chapman Baehler©/Kenneth Gorelick

 

©insightout2016

 

Not the Hilton, but It’ll Do

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T

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“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

Mark Twain 1916

Miles slip by, encouraging random thought. Road burn and fatigue are ameliorated by the gentle rumble of four cylinders, soothing flap of the fabric top, and static from a radio receiving only a single AM station….Christian radio. The combination is a stimulant equal to a monster 5-hour energy drink, freed from caffeine, so help me God.

Signs on the roadside provide constant entertainment. Passing LaClede, MO, the billboard notes the birthplace of General J.J.Pershing, where on this very day, 13Sept2016, he would have turned 156 y/o. Although no longer alive, having fought the Sioux wars and then leading forces to victory in WWI Europe, he survived 88 years.

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Remarkably, he made the news in Feb. 2016, when a U.S. presidential candidate made reference to a myth about old ‘Black Jack’ Pershing. Although the story turned out to be a fable, I’d wager the general would have relished the acknowledgement.

156 years beats 15 minutes of fame, like a flush over a straight, every time. Wouldn’t I love to have him riding shotgun with me today ?

Our three roadsters pass through Atwood, KS, a burg of 1000, self-proclaimed “Pride of the Prairie” and note its sole accommodation, the It’ll Do Motel, and hence, this essay. Intrigued by the clever title, I vowed to stay here on the return trip and I did. For $66, it beat any Route 66 motel.

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When was the last time you had a key to your room ?

Room eight was a winner. It featured the 100 year background, enclosed within several window box wall displays, of the local Williams Bros. grocery.

Both Williams boys died years ago, but the three generation Braxmeyer family is carrying the torch into the 21st century. Being drenched in supermarket history is soporific, resulting in a good night’s sleep. Who needs Ambien© when bananas are on sale for 56cents a pound.

Add, too, a star to the rating card, for the toilet paper prep in the popular paper airplane motif.  Which strikes me as a miniature adult diaper, in waiting.

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And one more for the hand towel/washcloth, a work of folded art.

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The drive entering eastern Colorado is pleasantly boring, however the stunning windshield horizon of the Rockies is dampened by tortuous bumper-to-bumper Denver traffic, high temperature, and oxygen starvation causing Parker’s baby blue to overheat. A push downhill, an hour cooling off period with Stella Artois in the Hyatt Regency (for us, not the car) and we’re off to the Winter Park Vintage Hotel.

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⬆ Following bug removal, dispatching of leaves, the carcass of a dead bird, the nasal passages are polished and aligned for inspection on the runway.   What Germans term reduktive nasenchirurgieENT doctors a rhinoplasty, is quite simply, a nose job.

Long live the It’ll Do,

and to the upscale duplicates;

Choice® Hotels, Marriott®, Hyatt®, and Hilton®,

It’ll Don’t.

 

©insightout2016

 

Coupe de Grace II ….three plus decades later

Carchitecture
VIN: WDBBA25ABB002268
MODEL: MB 380 SLC
MILEAGE: 93,250
s-l1600-3Factory brochure 1981

In April, 1981, an engineer/inventor living in East Grand Rapids, MI, drove to Loeber Motors in Chicago to take delivery on a special order Mercedes Benz 380 SLC coupe.  One of only 3,789 produced from very late 1980 through 1981, the model designation was quite rare, however, adding nothing to the value*.  The MSRP $46,638 at purchase was reduced to $43,000 cash ( = $ 117,850 in 2016 $).

Norman Rautiola selected the coupe for his wife, Kathleen, who drove it 88,500 miles (~ 3000 mi./yr) until it was donated to the Holland, MI Hope Rescue Mission 32 years later.  Always garaged, no pets, non-smoking, the primary miles gained on the fair weather commute between Grand Rapids and the Nartron Corp. HQ in Reed City, MI.

CEO and founder of Nartron, Mr. Rautiola holds > 1400 patents, notably the first keyless entry system for automobiles, and in 1995 Nartron invented the electronic sensory device for touch screen technology.  Listed by Inc. Magazine as a top 50 innovator in the nation, the list of Nartron 1sts is extensive.  Of signifigance to car enthusiasts, many of the patents will be utilized in the inevitable development of the perhaps unwelcome “driverless vehicle”.

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Courtesy JEFF BRODDLE | CADILLAC NEWS©, 10June2008

The Apple I-Phone on the left and the control panel on the right being held by CEO Norman Rautiola have one thing in common: sensing technology pioneered years ago by Reed City’s Nartron Corporation.

As 2nd owner, I found the car to be exceptional, requiring attention to only normal areas of maintenance to drive in “as new”condition;

  • replacement of outer sway bar links, bushings, steering dampener, rubber suspension components
  • Oxygen sensor and idle control unit
  • Radiator hoses and thermostat
  • Precautionary, replacement of OE timing chain tensioner, strengthened timing chain guides, and new chain rails

Adding four Michelin Defenders, aligned and balanced, resulted in a safe, reliable, modestly spirited ride.  The profile is elegant, the 111 inch wheelbase a far more comfortable ride than the 97 inch SL roadster, and much better proportioned.  Although the roadster has the open top panache  (overrated), like ø Miss Piggy, the coupe, with the sun roof open, is like ♥ driving with Marilyn Monroe in shotgun.

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 ↑ 2x click to enlarge

A big plus, the increased length and lowered footwells, allow exceptional room for two additional passengers…think, Helen Mirren and Vanna White.  Backseat comfort, unlike most coupe designs, which are restricted to dwarfs, snot-nosed kids, or double amputees.

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Finished in 473H, “champagne”, the color varies from japanese pewter to gold, depending on the sun.

Note, below, two examples of the short version, which appear rather clumsy with the elongated bumpers.  Ugh, insert a frown face, in both directions, a double yuk.

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Below

  • the burled walnut transmission, hazard, and window lift cluster
  • rear seat with armrest, sumptious pleated cowhide
  • unusual butt-end leather stitching (only year offered) vs. standard piping

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Investment grade, the coupe would only rate a D, however, for driving pleasure at < 12% of the original purchase price, a resounding A for the purist. The coup d’grâce never sleeps, it just needs to be rocked.

 Not for sale

*IN THE U.S.A., 1972-1980, the same coupe wore a 450 SLC badge, and in 1982 it became the 500 SLC.  All three, virtually identical, less minor differences in cubic inch displacement of the V-8 engines. Euro versions were available in six cylinder, however few were imported.

 

©insightout2016