When Life Gives You Lemons…
By Keith Gramlich
Sunday, October 25 started out looking like a good day to stay in. That doesn’t sit well with those of us who planned to go to a car show. The Cradle of Aviation meet has become a “go to” meet for my family, as Jim Barnes and his crew from the Long Island Sound Region of the Classic Car Club of America make it a wonderful event for everyone, and, who can beat the venue?! Dad had been planning to get “Big Bertha”, his 1934 Nash Ambassador out for one more big run before laying it up for winter, and I was doing the same with the Studebaker. My younger son Andrew, who is becoming quite the “gear-head” has become my “shot-gun” passenger to a lot of these meets, and was all anxious to help me get the car out, but alas, the rain wouldn’t stop. Finally at around 9:00 a.m., the clouds broker, and I figured “better late than never”. We got the car out, packed a lunch, and headed out. Dad was going to stay back till I gave him the word that the show was on. As we pulled up to the museums, Jim Barnes sadly waived us on, as there was only two other cars that showed up.
On the way out, we pulled up next to two fellows from the military vehicle club, who had a military jeep and another “running chassis”. The chassis was complete with all the running gear, just no body. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a little show and tell with Andrew. We did, and found two very knowledgeable gents happily ready to discuss their vehicles with a very impressionable and car-nutty youth, so we had a great time with them.
Moving on, Andrew remembered seeing some cars in the Nassau Coliseum driving through what appears to be a “course” of some sort. We found an out of the way entrance to the parking field, and found out this was the Sports Car Club of America’s Auto-Cross event that they hold several times a year. Members can bring their sports cars out and drive the timed course to see who does the best. We were both fascinated by this, and greeted warmly by a member who passed by us and suggested we go on ahead up to the main gate where we could watch better. We did, found a safe place to park the Studebaker, and watched in awe as these cars made their way deftly around the track at reasonably high speed. Amongst the cars were a 1963 or 64 Ford Falcon that had been modified for road race use with beefed up suspension and a high performance engine. Also on the field was an old Triumph convertible that didn’t do too shabby either. Andrew was in his glory though when he was invited to sit in a Lotus and have his picture taken. We spoke to several members who were eager to tell us about their cars, and also were interested in the Studebaker. It was a great day with car guys after all.