Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline August 2015

The Steering Column

David Novak
Left Hand Drive
from our President
Chicago can be a funny place. The other day, it was an early morning, and I was running errands before work (read: taking shirts to the cleaners) in the MG, and I realized I wasnít going to make it to work without another stop. So I pulled into the neighborhood gas station with nothing more in mind than filling up, and dropping the top before the long drive to work. As Iím filling up, an older gentleman finishes filling up his well-worn Chevy Lumina that was slightly rusty, with at least one mismatched panel. I may not be the savviest judge of character, so didnít pick this guy out to know the difference between a Beetle and a head of lettuce. So I didnít expect him to look up at me and ask: ďIs that a Ď73?Ē

I had to blink a couple of times and replay the words in my head, just to make sure I heard what I thought Iíd heard. Half stuttering, half afraid that I didnít hear him correctly, I came up with this witty reply: Uh...No. Itís a Ď74. Now I know, gentle reader, that youíre wondering how a wordsmith, such as myself, came up with such a stunning retort. Well letís just say that I was wildly un-caffeinated. And it was early.

This gentlemen, clearly impressed with my verbal skills, complemented the B, and began telling me about the time when he worked somewhere in the south loop. Since I was still missing a large dose of caffeine, the more primitive part of my brain was working hard to figure out where this story was going. Before I knew it, I had to call upon the higher regions of the old gray-matter to do another double-blink and audio replay, when he told me about how he watched a Triumph TR-7 be unceremoniously dumped into the Chicago River. It was from a dump truck that was otherwise completely filled with snow! It turns out it was winter, and where else are you going to dump a truckload of snow, but in the river. It just so happened that a front-loader driver didnít notice (or, I like to think they DID notice, but thought: Huh, Triumph), and a small British car was in the bucket when it was dumped into the waiting truck.

Like I was saying, Chicago can be a funny place. You never know who youíre going to run across, or where that chance encounter will lead you. But if youíre interested in SCUBA diving in the Chicago River to look for a TR-7 with me, give me a shout.

-- Dave Novak      


Ray Hansen

The Steering Column
Right Hand Drive  
from our Vice-President  

It was 100 years ago when Edsel Ford drove his ďtin-lizzieĒ (a Model T Ford) from Detroit, Michigan to San Francisco, California to visit the Panama-Pacific International Exposition at The Worldís Fair, commemorating the opening of the Panama Canal. I am sure it was mostly for the promotional purposes but I believe it was the place to be in 1915. Approximately 25,000 cars drove to the Fair from all around the country.

On July 17, 2015 two vehicles representing the Historical Vehicle Association began their journey to retrace Edselís drive. Not only are the road trips 100 years apart but the cars making the drive are also 100 years apart. They are driving a 1915 Model T accompanied by a 2015 mustang convertible. The plan is to visit the places Edsel stopped at along the way. In 1915 Edsel was 22 years old, a great age to drive across the country. Three short years later he would become president of Ford Motor Company.

When I first read about this I thought, how exciting, driving in an open car across the country. The roads in 1915 were all rustic (by todayís standards) and scenic. The retracement route should be great. When I thought more about it, a long drive with a top speed of 45 miles per hour, it doesnít seem to be so exciting. Donít get me wrong, I enjoy driving small roads and even at 45 miles per hour or less itís still fun. Driving 45 miles, or less, per hour for 2000 miles, may not be as much fun. I imagine myself looking down a long open and picturesque road, wanting to feel the wind in my face (notice I did not mention hair) and feeling the surge of the car as it leaps forward and not having the power to go faster than 45 MPH seems like a bit of a letdown. I know what youíre thinking, how much surge is in Maggie? Not a lot, but she can go faster than 45.

I hope you have a chance to take a road trip this summer and feel the wind in your face. Not a 2000 mile road trip like Edsel but an enjoyable trip in the sun.

~~ Ray Hansen & Maggie    
(AKA Little Red)

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