Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
In 2019, Hagerty (the classic car insurance company fast on its way to becoming a lifestyle brand for old cars) published a book called “Never Stop Driving” to encourage the digital generation to take advantage of the freedom offered by the automobile before it becomes a transport module one rents from Google for a trip. The book promoted local and scenic drives and self-maintenance of the older car as ways of staying grounded and a way to escape from the digital world. Before the Covid pandemic, that would have been meaningful, now it is imperative. They divided the book into sections about finding a car, working on it, driving it and finally the social aspect of old cars.
Among the last section’s topics was a segment called “My Last Drive” wherein a number of noted people in the classic car world addressed the topic which was stated like this: “If we could plot our ‘Last Drive,’ our perfect final time behind the wheel, where would we go? And in what? And with whom?” Among those who answered this query were Bill Warner, Dario Franchitti, Patrick Dempsey, Bob Lutz, Mario Andretti, Jay Leno and Peter Egan. While their answers were diverse as to the location of the drive, they all spoke of a favorite car and wives or family to accompany them except a few who saw it as a solo trip. Now it is my turn to address it and I have done so in the planning and blogging for one big, last hurrah in the Cross Country Elan.
I know there will be other drives; in fact I have two already in planning. We will be going over 800 miles on each; to Salt Lake City for LOG 40 and to Telluride with Driving for Kids, both in September. So, technically, this is not my last drive, but, spiritually, it is. I will do two, three or four day drives in the future but never again will I undertake anything of this magnitude. So, I think this is the perfect way to end the pre-trip blog posts as I begin final preparations for My Last Drive. With all the preparation I need to do for the trip, there will be a break in the posts to this blog until just prior to departure when I post the actual start date.
Meanwhile, I’d like to echo the sentiment of the subtitle of the book, “A better life behind the wheel” as it has proven true for me. The fun I have had with these silly little cars made by Lotus and others, the friends I have made through the hobby and the places I have seen because of them have all enriched my life beyond measure. I had no idea the rewards awaiting me when I bought my first car. It was not a mere transportation device even then. No, I got a brand new Corvair Monza and had it outfitted with a Fitch Sprint kit I ordered from ex racer John Fitch. It cost more than a standard Corvair, but I took it with me to my Army assignment in Europe and began my love affair with spirited driving in a capable car. I have never looked back.
And now, in the autumn of my car life, it is time for My Last Drive. I hope I see you along the way, and if not, I hope you too will plan at least a trip to stretch out of your comfort zone, perhaps to come my way so I can join you on your grand tour or last drive. See you soon!
Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!
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