Only The Earnest Show Up In The Rain

Tuesday, Oct 16, 18

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.

Bill Hahn

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