After visiting countless shows as a civilian, this was my first event as proper participant. Needless to say, I was looking forward to talk to other owners and very curious about the interactions with visitors.
The “US Car Classics” took place in Diedersdorf, a village just 15 minutes south of Berlin. But the Bel Air found a way to make the trip last 12 times longer...
I had two goals for the event: Enjoying it for what it is and getting to know other owners. The latter is especially important to me because I don’t have friends who are into (classic) cars and I’m simply missing meaningful conversations about my passion. And on a more serious note I don’t have a network of people who can help me and to learn from yet. I’m aware of clubs, but because of reasons I don’t want to join one at the moment.
Getting to know people is a huge task for me though. One problem is that my first instinct still is to hide behind my father’s legs when encountering strangers. My social awarkness makes networking a struggle for me. And on top of that I’m terribly self-concious. It’s a horrifying thought for me to be the guy who’s monitoring people’s reactions to my car while being enthroned on a lawn chair next to it. That means passively lingering around the Chevy to use it as a conversation starter is not that easy either.
In the end I think I found a good compromise. Since the event lasted two days, I used most of the first day to walk around with friends in order to ease myself into this new experience.
On the second day I returned to the car more often and talked to the people parked around me as well as to visitors who showed interest in the Bel Air. After a while I found myself sitting in a lawn chair on the bed of a pick up truck.
Did I become the cliché I was so afraid of? Fuck it! It was fun and I actually achieved the goal of talking about cars and networking a bit. The Bel Air generally received kind words and respect from other enthusiasts.
And the vistors? Considering the line-up of cars it’s fair to say that the big Chevy wasn’t exactly the star of the show. And yet a good chunk of people showed their appreciation and were quite astonished by the condition.
Speaking of the line-up of cars: Enjoy some of the pics I took at the event.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. Sadly, the Chevy had another electrical hiccup on the second day. She started up just fine, ran normally for a couple of minutes and died while I was locking up the garage. After ruling out that it was the same problem I had when I picked up the Bel Air from the previous owner, I had to face the fact that I needed to be rescued by roadside assistance again.
The guy found a loose cable leading to the ignition lock. After that problem was fixed another gremlin popped up. Somewhere in the dashboard area is a ground issue. The fuel gauge stopped working and when switching on the dashboard lights the water temperature meter is not reading correctly anymore.
It’s certainly possible that those new issues are caused by a mistake the mechanic made. But nonetheless the wiring harness needs a proper check. Currently there’s a bit too much improvisation going on for my taste.
Two total electrical failures and a high beams flicker I noticed a few weeks ago are good reasons to check the electrical system. That’s more efficient than constantly making smaller fixes and it will put my mind at ease when planning longer trips. Admittedly, I didn’t plan to spend that kind of money on the car this year, but I’m stoic about those unexpected costs. It is what it is, as a well-known statesman said when confronted with disaster.
The good thing is that a proper rewiring will last for years. And if possible I’ll also try to attend the check and repairs to learn a thing or two.