Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline September 2014

Tales of the Mongrel
The Cars of My Vacation

In July and August Susan and I took a road trip (not in the “B”) which took us from Chicago thru TN, VA , MD, NY, CT, ME, Nova Scotia, Quebec and then home – 6 weeks. The trip primarily was to stay in touch with friends, ex neighbors, family, etc… We also added a few sites of interest. Everything was well planned and the trip (and the weather) all was great. The MGB was probably one of the last things on my mind!

What I didn’t plan for were some surprises. The first came with a visit to Jane and Allen, friends who lived in Naperville, but moved out of ILL to a house on Cherokee Lake in eastern Tennessee. Allen is a motor head like me but unlike me he had a “new” little surprise in his garage. A jet black Aston Martin Coupe with a retractable hard top. The car was loaded and even had the optional $700 Aston Martin umbrella carefully mounted in the trunk. That evening we went for top-down spin and I got to drive. I was not worthy but gave 6 speed manual trans a try. With horse power at 8 million I had to be careful on those winding Tennessee roads but for a moment shifting from 3rd to 4th gear I glanced at the speedo and saw I was doing just under 100. A spiritual experience!! Oh, and by the way Jane has a Porche.

When we reached MD we stayed with other ex-Naperville friends i.e. Terry and Anne. Terry is a very smart and unassuming guy and the last thing I assumed was that a Corvette lurked in his garage. Damn, what is going on here? The Corvette had all the power but I was also amazed at its creature comforts interior-wise and fell in love with it. I am actually thinking of making it my next car….ka-ching, ka-ching! I hear Corvette’s are no good in winter….need check that with Reinout Vogt in our club!

OK, next stop was an old boss of mine, Mike who also lives with his wife Carol in MD. Guess what car I got to drive next!!! Mike is the proud owner of a 1964 Austin Healey 3000. The car is concourse and Mike has won many show awards with it. Even having a MG in my life this car took some finesse to drive with its non-synch 1st gear and electric overdrive. Another heaven-like top-down experience on back roads made for the car.

Next was a trip to another country and again old ex-Naperville friends, Bob and Rose Marie (is it me or is everyone getting the heck out of ILL??). Nova Scotia is a beautiful place. Seemed like all forest and ocean! However, as you might imagine Canada is a big country and you need a comfortable car to get you between drinks of water. Why not a Jaguar XJ. The biggest Jag I have ever been in and sitting even in its back seat is like stretching out in your family room. No stick shift here but the comfort and big V-8 made up for that.

Oh, by the way, Susan and I saw some scenery too!

~~ Ralph Arata

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