I've loved cars most of my life. I think it's a tie between trains and sports cars, really. I blame my father. The stories of him working the pits for Briggs Cunningham, or doing Gymkhanas, or racing were always a highlight of the day for me. Oddly enough, finally at 41 for me and 74 for him are we working on a car together. It's a 1962 Triumph TR4 which was pretty solid and ran great when we picked it up from our friend Dave. Actually, it's the fastest TR4 I've ever driven, and still is.
Of course, that was before I decided to tear the car apart so we could replace all the rusty bits. So now it's quite a bit different. However, as fun as it is to work on it and make progress, there's something more. In some ways I'm dreading the conclusion, though it's months away. The planning with my dad, figuring out what direction to go with the car, has been an absolute joy. His flying out from Hilton Head to Austin to work with me each month for a week at a time is priceless.
We work hard, but while working we relate experiences and have learned lots about each other. I have heard things he did when he was in his 20's that I wonder if even my mom knows. He's learned of some of my most haunting experiences when I was in Special Forces. We've come to know and accept each other. Most importantly, we have built up a level of mutual respect most peers don't have, let alone children with their parents.
It's fun to work and problem solve together. Even better is to see the knowledge come back to my dad after close to 50 years of not having a big TR. So soon it's plasma cutting out floors and sills, and welding the new ones in. Then on to paint and interior work. Another few months and this awesome process will be over.
I like to add lightness. It does still drive well. But I realize the process of most things is what I enjoy the most.
I autocross a 1978 Triumph Spitfire (we're a Triumph family, with at least 3 at any one time) in FSP in my local club, the Texas Spokes Club. I relish the idea of taking an obsolete, inferior (pick a way: weather protection, comfort, speed, crashworthiness) car and making it fight above it's weight. The choices of what carbs to use, what needles in the carbs once selected, and tracking down other tweaks is what drives me.
Right now I'm driven by messing with exhausts to get some more power while not breaking the DB limit at events. The suspension is getting some much needed research as well. Then the lightening of the car will continue. I've been on championship teams in a few sports in my life, and all were the same. Chasing, analyzing, improving proved to be more fun than winning the titles.
So right now I'm living the moments of the process, as the end will be here all too soon. I'm damn lucky part of this experience is shared with my dad. Not all of us can be so lucky for various reasons.
Special thanks to Jon Etkins for the pic of me at my first event this season. All other pics by me.
Typically I end up chasing my other love enroute to where I work on the cars. another process I love, finding places and planning shots, and experimenting with my camera settings.