Virginia Beach Air and Auto Classic 4

When you show up with seven of anything they’ve got to give you a prize for it. The guy who came with two Mercedes 300SLs got a prize for each–plus one for the Speedster. And he only had three cars total! We had seven. (7).

(!) 7on the flightline Jacks and the rest

On the judging field, our group employed variety of display aesthetics, from “clean. . .”Roy's dash

to “neat. . .” Gabs car displayed

to “Bill’s car.”Bills car displayed So it was only right that, end of the day, the dude with the freaky microphone and dodgy PA system called out our club by name and handed Paul this “Organizer’s Choice” plaque for, I guess, “best Organizer’s Choice.” props from the orgs Yup: they chose us–US!–over all those other clubs that convoyed in from like 400 miles away. Which none did. The dude with the Mercedes’s lives just down the street. He showed up last year with a clapped-out left-hand drive MGTD he said was owned by the boss’s company. This year he came big. 300SLs gullwing arrival grate1 speedy1The three cars pictured are worth at least $2.2 million. I don’t know all the TD guys that well but I’ll wager those three cars are worth more than all of our houses put together. So it’s probably not surprising that Roy did not repeat last year’s win in the “Import Vintage” category.

The weather was basically perfect for all three days. The ride down was brisk but sunny. Paul got underway around 7 a.m., met up with Bill around 9 and made landfall in Glen Burnie, just below Baltimore, right around 11 a.m. Our group gassed up and went south on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, around the DC beltway for about 10 miles and then South on Rt. 5, a somewhat congested strip-malled thing before it turns into Rt. 301.

The going was a bit slower than the highway would’ve had us, but not much, and the line was straighter. All-in-all I’d rather be down off the highway.

I took the lead for the truckstop meetup with Gabor, whose fresh-built V6 TD was practically on its shakedown run. Seeing the toll coming up I went left into the Maryland Welcome Center, which is about a half mile from the appointed rendezvous. But we were still on schedule.

After ooh-ing and ahhing over Gabe’s car for a few minutes we sallied-forth across the bridge and a half hour down to the junction with Rt 17. We met Dale at Hornes restaurant.


We now had five TD replicas on parade.lined up at Hornes

Couple hours south, with the usual traffic jam on I-64, and with daylight still showing we pulled into The Oceanfront Inn, where Roy and Happy Jack were already lounging with drinks in their hands.

Ok, maybe not.

But they should’ve been. Both the North Carolinians towed their cars. Jack’s only owned his a few months and a few hundred miles. Also in the lot: Gabe’s wife’s Cadillac. I never did get to meet her but the happy couple ended up taking all their meals together instead of with us swarthy and uncouth (and wifeless) TD guys.

Six of us went to Murphy’s for dinner while Gabe and his wife went to someplace fancier. Even after dinner the ocean breeze was easy and the talk continued until early evening under the bronze Neptune.

NeptuneNext morning: dolphins.dolphinsAnd runners.runners2 runners1

Yes, those are costumes. I don’t know how far the race was, but road closings made the 10-mile trip to the show airport into a 30-mile maze run–the sort of route you might take driving a white van with a kidnapped secret agent bound and blindfolded inside.

Once on the field, the jackets came off and the fun really got started. Roy met a pilot and snagged a free airplane ride for Bill in a T-6. The guy looped it for him, pulling 4Gs.

at plane

Paul got a long cruise in another plane (pictured behind the gang) & reported that the kid flying it was taking folks on rides to pay it off.

the gangThere was music and beer and lots of cars. This VW won something, despite being a mere donor car.donor1

This was about the nicest GTO I’ve yet seen. It won something. GTO 6pack

I don’t even know what this was. Porsche-based though.something fast

The owner of this Speedster Convertible D schooled me in its intricacies: a real Speedster but with roll-up windows and decent seats. “One-year only.” He’s had it about 12 years, he says.speedster vertD

The exotics were so many they were boring. But the paint on this Lambo–which would look just as subtle and at-home on a Manx–made me smile.factory paint there?Someone brought a serious sled. We actually made them move it to make room for our cars. Didn’t start it though, unfortunately.sled2

A nice couple from Florida showed their Avanti II. Yes, that makeup station above the glovebox was standard equipment, the woman of the car laughed: “they needed to make us ladies happy so we’d let the men buy it,” she said.Avanti makeup station

I did not realize these cars were fiberglass. Kindred spirits!

As things wound down Paul and Bill walked over to the far hangars, one of which turned out to be filled with WWI planes and replicas.yellow

I’m looking for elegant radiator ideas for Bridget’s conversion….whaa? katzenjammer wha?

Yah, keep looking.essential badassery early camo not a camel fuselage flying machine cockpit1 radial

The other hangar was reportedly disassembled and moved here from East Germany, where it had originally been constructed by Nazis using slave labor.

hangar sign1

The planes in there were of WWII vintage. I did not know a variety of the FW190 came with a V12 engine in place of the usual radial. fw190 long nose

That any of this stuff survived is kind of amazing. FW190trimotor2germanplane

Roy bugged out but the six of us remaining lined up for some shots in front of the hangar with the Spitfire and the Mustang in it. short lineup3

We were about to scoot when Bill’s car wouldn’t start.

bill fixin3 bill fixin2 bill fixin1 waiting2

Turned out to be a loose connection on a toggle switch controlling the fuel pump. He got it squared-away after 30 minutes or so and we made it back to the hotel. Dinner this night was at Nick’s, a little hole in the wall Roy’s son reminded him about.

chris with triumphGood seafood and not too expensive. Great hushpuppies. Also: giant beers.

The mess of us ended up back at the Oceanfront for coffee on the covered terrace. We disturbed a birthday party in the dining room honoring someone’s 92-year-old

Next morning, bright an early we ended up going back home in flights of two: Roy and Jack with their sad tow-behinds, Gabor and his wife in his new TD and her Caddy, Bill and Paul up the eastern shore route, which Paul thinks cuts two hours off his very long drive (and I hope he’s right), and me and Schubie back the way we came.

It was a glorious day and an easy run for me; I got back around 3 p.m. despite taking the long way up via 301 and Rt 97 to Baltimore. sunriseAll-in-all a great last-trip-of-the-season.


About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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