Outdoor events get rained out. That is an inevitable consequence of holding an event outside.
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) had been staging an annual car show for a couple of years. One year I decided to go big with a display tent filled with several restored cars, I and my team had built.
Well, it rained. Not a sprinkle. Not a shower. It downpoured. The SAE organizers determined to hold the show in spite of the weather. The volunteers dubbed their raincoats and boots. They looked like a crew of “Gorton Fishermen”.
So I am standing under my tent, lamenting the cost and time. A wasted Saturday. Wasted time cleaning, detailing and preparing all these collector cars for the show. Approaching is a Gorton fisherman, attired in the boots and raincoat, plus an umbrella. He looks like a man with a mission. I am expecting to be informed the show has been canceled. It turns out he is not an SAE show volunteer. But he was on a fishing expedition.
I welcomed him under the cover of the tent. He introduced himself, “Hello there, my name is Bob Affleck” in a strong British accent. We engaged each in a lively conversation about old cars and the art of restoring them. After a while, Mr. Affleck asked, “Have you ever heard of an HRG?” I answered “Yes”. In fact, I had recently been reading about them. Mr. Affleck followed with “Well it would seem you are the man for the job”.
Bob Affleck was the owner of a rare 1938 HRG coupe. How rare? The only coupe they ever built. And so began my journey restoring a prototype which never saw production.
My lesson for the day: When it rains at an outdoor car show, you won’t be busy but the car crazy, totally sold out Gear Heads / Petrol Heads will show. Only the earnest in heart shows up.
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