Monthly Garage Keeping
Spring Tune-up: the Spring Tune-up will be once again held at Quality Tire & Auto in Willowbrook on Saturday, April 24th. Come join us and use the lifts, change your oil, lube it up and do some light tune up work. Be sure to bring your own oil, filter, other fluids and tools. When you are there, please say hello to Mark Leuck for the use of his facilities and for hosting us for 25 years.
Directions: You will notice that there will be a new monthly column entitled Directions. This will consist of information on driving tips and suggestions, the leader board, and upcoming driving events.
The February Natter ‘n’ Noggin
The even month Natter 'n' Noggin’s at Roundhead's in Downers Grove have had their fair share of bad weather already but February 9th, 2010 beat everything. A major snow storm went through the area. We were already more that 30 minutes on our way in Henneke's truck and we were not even past Woodfield (less than halfway). "Shall we turn around and go home? I can't believe that anybody is going to show up" Henneke suggested. "Nah, we're almost there now and who knows..." you can guess who said that, right?
And sure, there were four more die-hards at the Roundhead's: Joel Paul Brossard, Scott Davis, Jim Vondran, and Barney Gaylord. Many of you know Barney and of course he didn't disappoint and showed up in his MGA. We helped him a little bit to clear the show before he could take it home, as you can see on the photo (Joel Paul had just left)
Hopefully that was the last snow storm of the winter, I can't wait to get Emma on the road!
-- Reinout Vogt
Barney digging out his MGA after a fun night of Natter ‘n’ Noggin at Roundhead’s in Downers Grove. Photo courtesy of Scott Davis
Amtrak Road Trip 2010
Everything connected with the annual Amtrak touring weekend went exactly as planned, a very remarkable happening in itself. The trains were on schedule, there were no delays and the fellow passengers and crew were affable. Joanne and Leigh Clark and Debby and Bill ‘Wilbur’ Mennell met us in the lower level of the bar on the food court in Union Station on the fourth Friday in January prior to boarding the Wolverine to Dearborn, Michigan for the North American International Auto Show at Cobo hall in downtown Detroit.
Snacks and drinks began to be passed not too long after boarding the train and leaving the station and continued on for hours into the trip. There was a large assortment of treats and more than made up for getting to the hotel long after the restaurant had closed.
This particular hotel, the Greenfield Inn in Allen Park, is a pink-painted three storey building that sprawls across a small rise of land near the Interstate. Virtually every bit of space on the corridor walls of the first and second floors have automobile paintings, promotional posters and photographs from the early 1900’s on. Of particular notice this year were the advertisements for the 1941 Lincoln Zephyr V-12: having read the nearly seventy-year old copy on the wall of the Greenfield Inn, seeing one at the NAIAS as part of an exhibit was almost shocking.
There is much to see at this show in terms of mechanical details. Virtually every automaker had cut-away engines and gearboxes. There were double clutch Ford gearboxes and a cut-away Ford 6-speed. Subaru had several of the boxster engines: these were rather old-fashioned in that there was direct contact between the camshafts and the valve tappets, something that we have been told contributes to cam wear unless unusual steps are taken in blending higher zinc oils for an MG. Many other manufacturers’ engines used rocker arms with a rolling contact on the camshaft. Manufacturing robots capable of handling complete engines or small assemblies with equal deftness collected constant crowds. This year there were few piles of literature for distribution. Porsche was absent again, Ferrari and Maserati had very few cars and Fiat had only one example of the European model of the 500. And there was no Corvette row this year, although a Saleen-engineered 1000 hp car was on display.
Attendance at the show seemed lighter than other years, though we noticed that many cars were arriving as we left in the late afternoon. The taxi driver with whom we had arranged the return trip told us of how he had to drive on the sidewalk for quite a distance to get around a traffic jam that threatened his appointment with us. Fortunately, the ride back to the Greenfield Inn did not require any repeat of such a driving technique, though we did get a short tour by the Rouge River.
Then a nice dinner after a quiet hour in the lounge prepared us for the evening’s rest (well, just a little while in the lounge again), the morning swim, and back to Chicago at noon. And we did this all without any car troubles and in seating as luxurious as a limousine.
Please join us next January for an Amtrak Road Trip to a different city. See the pictures on inside back cover