Peter Pleitner has a great philosophy about classic cars ― drive them! Sure, it’s wonderful to see great old cars in museums or car shows, but nothing beats getting behind the wheel of one on a beautiful day and taking off through the countryside. That’s why Peter issued an open invitation to join him on Sunday, July 10th for a drive out to the Gilmore Car Museum’s annual Mad Dogs and Englishmen British Car Faire. My wife, Patti, and I joined him at the Lighthouse Café in Dexter MI at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast along with seven other stalwarts.
We had four open cars and three coupes. Here’s our line-up parked in Dexter (from the far left) — Erin Lindsay Garzaniti’s 1963 289 Cobra (the real thing), Bill Black’s 1960 MGA, Peter Pleitner’s 1965 E-Type Coupe, my 1967 MGB GT, Dean Mericas’ 1965 TR4, Conrad Zumhagen’s 1966 Sunbeam Tiger, and Bill Milliken’s 1967 Ferrari 330GT 2+2. Dean’s co-pilot was John Russell. Conrad’s cockpit mate was a young lady from Japan, who is studying in this country. She is very fond of classic cars, particularly American muscle cars. She was in a perfect vehicle for a British car show — an English roadster with American muscle under the hood.
Erin Lindsay and Brittany Garzaniti were also along in Erin’s gorgeous 1963 289 Cobra. She bought it in 1999, spent a year having it restored, and after displaying it at LA’s Petersen Car Museum, brought it back here and drives it regularly (see photo below left). It was a warm, beautiful day and perfect for a cruise on the back roads through the Michigan countryside (see phot below right).
On arrival, they gave our convoy a special parking spot behind the Hudson barn. Peter, Erin, and Conrad decided to exhibit their cars. No surprisingly, Erin’s Cobra received a Blue Ribbon!
We thought that Peter got “Lucassed” — people who own British cars understand the verb tense. However, his after-market cooling fan motor decided not to work as we were arriving at the show. By leaving the bonnet unlatched (allowing a one-inch open gap with the safety catch), the Jaguar had no overheating problems on the spirited drive home with the Cobra and the Tiger. We decided to leave a little early with Dean, John, and Bill in a smaller convoy for the drive home. It was a great day and the first time that Patti had gone on one of these expeditions with me. Judging from the terrific time that we had, I don’t think it will be her last!
We decided to leave a little early with Dean, John, and Bill in a smaller convoy for the drive home. It was a great day and the first time that Patti had gone on one of these expeditions with me. Judging from the terrific time that we had, I don’t think it will be her last!
All photos by Patti Valentine except where noted.