Air & Auto Classic 2015

I have no doubt that the fix was in.

Roy made sure to let everyone know that the awards were coming, and that we better watch the hand-outs because “you never know, somebody might win something.”

our line

It was 3 o’clock on a beautiful, sunny Saturday October 17 at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, and six of us in “Club TD-US” lined up on the apron in front of the main hangar. The announcer ran through the “People’s Choice” plaques and the well-judged winners in the various eras and continents of origin.

Then he says there’s a new award this year for kit cars.

Then he makes sure everyone knows it’s all for charity, you know. “This is not Pebble Beach,” so if you win something it’s great, but don’t worry about it either way, OK? (Like, if you have a great car that everyone knows should’ve won but it doesn’t win you should be a good sport about it).

Then the guy says Bridget won the award for “Best Replica/Kit Car.”

Now, no doubt I pocketed this award. award

But, even assuming mine is the best of the six TDrs that showed up–a very dubious assumption if one takes a minute to note the cleanliness of Roy’s car or the unblemished condition of Schu’s, just for starters–there were two really nice Cobras in attendance, both with correct-looking gauges, flawless paint and more chrome on their big-block mills than all our cars have on all parts of them combined. Then there was the Daytona Coupe. I should have taken a picture. Blue and white, stunning in all dimensions and like nothing else on the field. If I’d had a vote, that car would have won the kit prize.

Much was made, though, of the fact that we TDr guys come from far away, and that some of us drive our cars long distances. This is true–and more on that below.

Roy swears he had no idea I was going to win. But I am pretty sure he knew that one of us, at least, would win something.

So, thanks, Roy.

OK, here are some of the highlights on the field, followed by the story of getting there and back.

This early ’60s 356 appears to be under resto. I like ’em dirty like this at least as much as when they’re all done and worth $300,000 or whatever.


This bi-plane was buzzing around all day. Schu and I got a ride in it a couple years back.biplane takeoff

This Caddy was just the style. I don’t think anyone gave it an award, but it sure made a splash. Also got a prime parking spot in front of the P-40. Caddy with warhawk

Over in the WWI hangar is this little service tractor–apparently a new addition. I was drawn to the “distributer” atop the little flathead motor inside. How can this work?distributor

The German ME-262 was the first jet plane. This is the engine. The docent in the big German plane hangar says the 262 would have been devestating if the Nazi regime could have got the proper alloy from Switzerland. Instead, the heat from the engine melted the last turbine (far left), and the engines needed overhaul after every 9 hours or so of flight time.first jet

This is a 1925 Franklin. The interior–complete with window shades–looks like a cruise ship stateroom, and is original, according to the owner.Franklin1

Overhead valve engines were standard on the Franklin. The engine was also air-cooled. Ferry Porsche is said to have studied the design.Franklin2

I know all this because Sam, the car’s owner, came over to tell us all this. That’s Bill on the right.Franklin3

This Hudson Hornet Pacemaker was totally the shit. Powered by a five-liter flathead six with dual single-throat carbs.Hudson1

The Hudson’s interior. This is the sort of thing (in hardtop version) that dominated stock car racing in the early 1950s. I gave it my vote for best in show–People’s Choice. Pretty sure it won.

Some TDr knuckleheads: Happy Jack Breza (lower right), Dale Schumacher behind him. Then Terry–Dale’s friend–and his wife. Back left is Vicenc, and close left is Roy.our gang

Terry reportedly offered the P-51 pilot $2000 to take him up. The guy countered with 1000 hours’ volunteer work at the museum. He owns the airfield and all the hangars here.p-51 airborn

I wanted a pic of all of us with our Snoopy Hats and goggles on, but these idiots would not cooperate!plane knuckleheads line

Roy’s car. I think this shot will make the 2016 calendar. Note the scarf.Roys car

This TR-250 was gorgeous. There were oh so many gorgeous cars on the concrete.TR250

OK, so here’s how this goes, with the driving.

Bill comes down from mid-south Pennsylvania, about two hours north of me. We meet just below Baltimore off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Bill was dead-on schedule when he pulled into the gas station at 10:30. I’d just gassed-up, then so did he.

We take 3 and 301 down instead of the I-95 + DC Beltway route. Nothing wrong with four and five-lane highways, but, really…

We were shooting for 12:30 at Horne’s restaurant in Port Royal VA. That’s where we pick up Schu and (this time) Terry and turn SE on RT 17. But there was traffic and construction on 301, and with that delay, Bill had to pull over at one point for personal reasons. Bill makes a stop

We got to Horne’s at about 1 p.m. for a leisurely lunch (try the BBQ pork sandwich). Schu arrives at HornesWe hit the road again around 2, after Bill gassed up again at Horne’s, which conveniently has gas pumps. By the map, we were two-and-a-half hours from the Oceanfront Inn.

But it was Friday, and rush hour was coming.

There was traffic, and there were stops. Bill’s leg cramped up at one point. Then he took the lead on our caravan and deftly maneuvered us through heavy traffic to the right lane–but blew past the exit for I-264, which would have saved us a half hour–at least according to the GIANT FLASHING ELECTRONIC SIGN hanging over the road. Then he pulled off the next exit. “I was following my GPS,” he said. We turned and got back on 64 and crawled on, this time with me in the lead. Later on, in heavy, crawling traffic, Schu indicated that he now needed to get gas.

So we pulled off 64 just about two miles from the second 264 exit–about 20 miles from our destination! I could see that the ramp to get back on was backed up past the road below the highway.

Took us half an hour just to get back on where we got off.

Crawling back up the on-ramp, I was pissin’ and moaning. I was growling under my breath. I was even yelling to myself. Schu was right behind me in his car, listening and laughing (quietly) to himself. “I never took you for a Type-A person,” he said later. “You’ve got to learn to relax!”

It was after 6 p.m. when we finally got to the Oceanfront. Jack and Roy and Vicenc had been waiting for hours. Well, not waiting, exactly. While we were idling in a traffic jam, seemingly doing everything we possibly could do to stay in it, they’d enjoyed a lazy afternoon sipping coffee on one of the hotel patios, gazing at the ocean.

We checked in. I shared a room with Schu, who’d helpfully made the reservation.

At dinner Schu was talking with either Jack or Roy about what had happened, and he explained how his fuel gauge was way down past one-eighth when he decided he couldn’t make those last 20 miles to the beach. “How much did you put in?” I asked.

“Seven-point-six, close to eight gallons,” Schu said.

“It’s a 10-gallon tank,” I told him. “You couldn’t go 20 miles on two gallons?”

“Naw, it’s an eight gallon tank,” he replied. Schu built this car more than a decade ago. He should know.

“They’re 10 gallons,” Roy said. “They’re all about 10 gallons.”

“I thought 10 was the aftermarket, high capacity,” Schu said.

“No,” he was told. “Those are 12.”

I was laughing by now, but I probably sounded hysterical, because that’s when Schu told me I had to learn to let things go. “Stress isn’t good for you,” he said. “Doesn’t help anything.”

He’s right about that.

I’m still laughing about it. We’re thinking about trying to get an earlier jump though, next year.

Getting to the show field was pretty easy and it’s a nice ride. I love lining these cars up in public, and a hotel parking lot is as good a place as any.Roy ready to lead

The ride home on Sunday was an adventure. It was 48 degrees when we got underway about 8 a.m., heading for Horne’s again for a late breakfast, and the temperature dropped steadily as we drove away from the ocean. This time Bill saved me from missing the exit back to Rt 17 from Rt 64.

True to form, Schu stopped for gas again, 20 miles from the destination.scu needs gas

I didn’t care. Freezing or no, it was a gorgeous day, Bridget was running well (and getting close to 30 mpg) and I got my pancakes soon enough.

line cropped


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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One Response to Air & Auto Classic 2015

  1. John Barry says:

    Great piece ..Thanks….

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