You know, none of us really own our cars. Most of us are just the doting curator of our one exhibit museum. It’s because of our efforts, our waxing, our polishing and our meticulous maintenance that these cars live on. It’s because of us that they are still here to remind onlookers of their place in automotive history.
This point was “driven home” (no pun intended here) when I dragged my latest project into the garage. The car had been languishing in a barn for the last 10 years. In fact, I soon discovered that it had more in common with an artificial reef than a sports car (we evicted several animal and insect species during the first week of restoration). The car was certainly a mess, but as we stripped it down there were signs that someone had cared for this car, and they had been that doting curator not to long ago. Things that should have been rotted or destroyed had been clearly replaced, it wasn't as bad as it seemed.
The car really began to grow on me. I knew this car had a story to tell and I was anxious to hear it. After much research we had documentation showing that this car was the 99th car off the line for the 70 model year. It was numbers matching and had been flown by British air faeries to the Netherlands in January of 1970 to start its life. From there it traveled around Europe and ultimately made its way to the U.S. There it spent the next 42 years passing through Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and then finally it trekked through Ohio, to the place where I found it hibernating in the barn.
The goal was always to renovate the car, tailor it to my personal taste and then really drive the car. So a few months after acquiring it, the body was sent out for its Aston Martin inspired color scheme while simultaneously many parts orders were placed and Victoria British parcels began to fill my shop. After 12 months and a good amount of labor and patience, it all came together on December 25, 2015, which was complete happenstance (although I took it as a gift) .
The weather was an unseasonably dry and warm day so we decided to take the car out on its maiden trip. With a turn of the key the engine immediately came to life, and with the easy release of the clutch it began to roll under its own power for the first time in at least a decade. The car has performed perfectly and true to my goal, has so far logged 9k miles! I cannot imagine the stories this car could tell me but what does speak are the clear efforts of the people before me. Thanks to them and suppliers like Victoria British, Number 99 and cars like it are still with us and will continue to be here for generations.