On The Road with Johnny B ..My Family Of Grand Ole Friends and Grand Old Cars
Like all of us what seems to be "Forever Single People" on this Great Big Twirling Green Globe you tend to beat yourself up and regret some choices you made. Despite what we think is a mistake all of what happens is part of God's Grand Plan for us.
I never had the honor and blessing of getting married or having children. Think I would of made a great Dad. Hey who knows My Fish are still swimming, it still could happen. Now don't get me wrong I have a superb loving family. Sister, Brother-In Law, Nieces and Cousin's I really should re-connect with. I'm not an Orphan for God's sake..
Since boyhood in the 1970's when my Brain Box got filled with the writings of David E David and Car and Driver Magazine I knew my life would be filled with a Family of Grand Old Cars, Grand Ole Friends and all the adventures, mishaps, skinned knuckles, top down drives and heartwarming stories. Funny I only recently got this as fact whilst enduring one of my famous "Regret-A-Thons"
My first car was a 1948 Chevy Fleetmaster Convertible. That Crusty Ole Stovebolt introduced me to the beauty of Wide Whitewall Tires, the horror of an aging 6 volt electrical system, the floor mounted starter pedal, Hemmings Motor News, the 3 on the Tree Vacuum shift and the stunning styling of Harley Earl. Ya never forget your First Time and perhaps romance about it more than you should.
A few years after I sold the 48 the purchase of a 1949 Style-Line Deluxe was secured and my obsession with the Semi-Custom began. Called the "Runaway" it featured self imposed upgrades such as Cruiser Fender Skirts, Outside Sunvisor, 216 Stovebolt Six with a 12 volt alternator, Fenton Header, Offenhauser Manifold with 2 One Barrel Rochester's. Other dumb touches were Candy Apple Paint, Triple Outlet Lake Pipes, Wide Whites mounted on Appliance Wire Basket Wheels.
If I owe one debt to the 49 is it introduced me to Carlisle Car Shows. In 1983 at a ripe and dumb age of 23 I came upon a mecca of rusty junk, cruddy old cars and slice of personal heaven that gave me a soul filling Banquet of Friends that are my Family
Even though the 48 Chevy was my first old car my first Car Love was the Triumph TR6. When my Dad's friend pulled into our driveway in a new 74 TR6 I was hooked. It was so different than anything else compared to the portly American Iron of the 1970's. My first TR6 a red 1969 took almost 25 years to find. In fact my Mom found it. On a side street with no plates. Reluctant to knock on the door to see if it was for sale it was her gently prodding "Don't be a jerk go knock on the door" If you knew my Mom you would get that was her way of booting you in the Arse and telling you she loved you at the same time.
The 69 TR6 became a family member. Introduced me to the Quirky and Berserk event known as Import Carlisle and yet another new group of crazy British Sports Car Friends who are also Family. I have such heartwarming memories of my Mom or Dad riding shotgun in the 6. That little British Roadster was family and I plan on buying another soon.
I could Blabber on for hours about the highways and byways I have traveled in pursuit of old car Nirvana. How blessed I am to have known these amazing loving car nuts thru the decades. From 1975 I have owned close to 175 different vehicles. Romanced about all of them. Proudly admit to owning a gaggle of Diesel Rabbits, VW Beetle's, Chevy Chevette's, Lebaron's, AMC products, 1939 Packard, Triumph's, Austin Bugeye, Diesel Benzes, 1930's and 1940's cars. Everyone of them unique in glorious ways.
Perhaps this collection of now gone misfit vehicles are my Children that I sent out into the world all grown up. Not Fruit of my Loins but fruit of my love and imagination.
I could also Blabber on for hours about my lifetime of Friends. My Family is my Friends who somehow put up with my self loathing, stupidity, same old boring stories, in-decisions and odd habits. Perhaps I am not too bad of a Bloke after all is said and done.
My Family of Friends is far and wide. Long Island to the West Coast, Carlisle Pa and across the Big Pond. Truly blessed indeed.
Not sure what God's plan is for me. Will I find my true Love? Will I be a Step Grand Dad? Will I buy Pants? Only the Big Guy Upstairs knows those answers. I do know whatever of Life's Highways I go down my Family of Friends will be by my side and in my heart.
One of my hopes is to drive from California to Carlisle in July of 2020 for my 60th birthday month in a TR6 along the Lincoln Highway. Fulfilling a boyhood dream. Stopping along the way for adventures, grand meals, staying at roadside motels,sharing soon to be boring old stories, a cup of grog and a new Family of soon to be found Friends. It will indeed be Glorious.