A Weekend of Wonder - W.O.W.!
by Scott Fohrman
As if that wasn't enough excitement, this year the BRIC included a Mecum Classic Car auction. I had never been to one before. I registered as a bidder, but gave the paddle to my friend Dick for 'safety reasons, as I have impulse control issues. We watched many fascinating cars cross the block - about a third of which actually sold. I had my eye on a 1947 MG TC - rough, but a nice driver - my kind of car.
The auction was supposed to have run from 7 to 10pm, but as of 11:15, there were still more than 25 cars to go, including "mine". Then IT crossed the block- a 1932 MG Midget J-2. I hadn't seen it in the pre auction inspection--in fact, I had never actually seen a complete one before. But when it drove in, I was transfixed. I could see why this model established the look of MGs for years to come. The bidding began brisk but stalled at a ridiculously low figure. Suddenly the reserve was liftedóthe car was going to sell! The bidding continued up a little, but the price was still very low. I poked Dick in the ribs, saying, "Bid."
"Now remember, you brought me to keep you under control and blah, blah, blah.. "
"You'll be mad at me tomorrow if I let you bid on a car different than the one you came for.."
Meanwhile, the auctioneer is saying, "Fair warning, it's gonna sell. Going once, going twice..."
Now one thing I had learned that evening was that bidding is done discreetly--a small wave of the paddle, a slight lift of a finger. Me, I jumped up and shouted out my bid at the top of my lungs. Heads turned, bidding stopped, and moments later, I was the proud (and fearful) owner of a car that I knew nothing about!
I could have sworn they had driven the car into the tent, I though as I watched it being pushed out. Oh-oh. It took me about 15 minute to screw up the courage to go out to the lawn and see what I had bought. The car was easy to find. On the lawn next to million dollar cars was a small crowd of people staring at this little car. In 1932, the average Englishman was maybe 5'5" and they probably had trouble getting in this thing. I'm 6'5". When I tried the door, it came off in my hand. I found that, by lowering myself down the seat, and then wiggling my knees under the huge Brooklands steering wheel, I could get fairly comfortable, if entombed. I found the floor-mounted starter button, but she wouldnít pop. By this time it's getting on toward 2:00am and I am supposed to race the next day - actually later this day, so off to the hotel we went.
I came back the next morning around 8:00 am with the trailer and loaded on my prize. It was encouraging that I was thrilled with the car in the daylightóthere were serious questions about the buyerís sanity, but no buyerís remorse. I needed the trailer to bring home the racecar, so I took the J2 as far as Milwaukee, dropped it there and zoomed back north to make my race. On the way south, I stopped to get gas and filled the J2's tank as well. When it was time to unload the car, I gave it one more try. Know that S.U. pump sound when a car is out of gas and first starts to pump up? I waited until the pump was quiet and pressed the floorboard switchóit popped off on the first crank. The cable brakes worked, the clutch worked, the gears worked (kinda sorta). What a thrill!
Back north to the track. My race was at 3:40pm, and what a race. I was jumped by three cars at the start and battled back to pass my competitor/friend Ray in the last half of the last lap. It was a great race and I set a personal best time of 2:48! I later found out that I had won my class as well!
None of this would have been possible if not for the people who helped replace that head gasket. I canít thank you enough, but how about a spin in the J2? Again, thanks to all my friends who made my wild and wonderful weekend a success - Judy, M.L., Les, Jake, Ann, Dave, Kim and the rest of the M.G. club members; and of course, my new dog Sonya!
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