Alright, call us prejudiced. Besides GT-20, why would anyone want to go to Lansing, Michigan? Maybe to go to East Lansing, Michigan, to visit his or her alma mater, the real university of Michigan: Michigan State University! How do you recognize the MSU alumni at a football game? They're the ones reading the words to the fight song from a crib card. As we're writing this, MSU's men's basketball team is beating Florida for the NCAA championship. Rah, team, fight! Victory for M S U!
This is NAMGAR's twentieth anniversary, so it must be the Michigan Rowdies turn to host.
Back in October of 1994 we both quit Ameritech to join a start-up company in Pasadena. PRNCZ was back in Illinois in a body shop. So we continued the restoration remotely. Every three to four weeks we flew back to Chicago and spent Saturday at the restoration shop, answering questions and generally supervising the completion. We were really psyched up to take NAMGAR #541 with us on a shake-down cruise to GT-20, but alas, she wasn't quite ready. It was just too difficult to do all this from a distance. By the time GT-20 rolled around, we were back in Barrington and telecommuting.
The trip to Lansing in the SAAB was quick and uneventful.
On The Back
Mouse Over to Read Back
At the hotel we ran into Bill and Martha "Buckeye" Ludtke, whom we hadn't seen in quite a while. Bill was still futzing with the restoration on their coupe. Although he hadn't been working on his as long as we had on our (16 years to this point), he was retired, and Martha was frustrated that it wasn't completed. So, we took the opportunity to challenge Bill and Martha to a race to see who could complete their restoration by GT-21.
The Rowdies planned a real throw-back to the '50s event, complete with poodle skirts and dice. Diane spent the year previous searching antique shops and flea markets for the right ensemble. She found several accessories but left them at home with the restoration. The one thing that you don't see too much of at the GTs are period costumes. Maybe Diane will make a fashion statement at a future GT.
The weather for the GT was not the most cooperative. Rain plagued the four day event. However, there were many, many tech sessions to choose from. And everyone crowded into the conference rooms reserved for these sessions. Those who couldn't get in, even SRO, were offered a later session - or an equally enjoyable session in the Hospitality Room, viewing videos and pictures of previous meets and restorations.
Wednesday evening was the '50s dance: "Rock 'n Roll is here to stay." There was a Car Cruise planned for that evening, but we recall it being rained out. So we turned the SAAB around and drove into Lansing for dinner at the converted Train Station. But not before stopping in East Lansing to stock up on MSU regalia for the winter and check out Steven's old haunt, the Physics and Astronomy Building.
1950s Themed Dance
The costumes were really special. Donna Quinn outdid herself in sewing an Elvis costume for Dave and a Priscilla costume for herself. But the best impersonation of a '50s geek goes to Bill Heller. He was not only in costume, he was in character. Or maybe that's the real Bill, hiding behind his academic demeanor. Everyone had a great time on the dance floor. The DJ had all the right disks, and we had all the right moves. Old Ben Gay helped us out the next morning.
Many of the GTs were plagued with rain, but this time we seriously considered building an ark. The morning of the car show found several As literally floating in the low spots of the parking lot. The rain did let up a little so we could witness the latest Tom Ball tour and generally see most of the cars. This was another GT where the ballots never were completed because we got stuck chatting with friends and observing lots of tyre-kicking.
The Car Show Awash
Being another mid-week meet, the banquet was held on Thursday evening. We had a great table of friends to enjoy the evening with: Bruce Nichols, the Potters, and the Housers. It was non stop conversation all through dinner and into the early hours, continuing in the Hospitality Suite with the Ludtkes (planning dueling restoration events), the Smiths, the Youngs and many, many others.
The Rowdies worked very hard at providing a fun-filled week, even if Mother Nature chose to show us who's Boss. So, after the traditional morning-after breakfast, but this time including yummy scones, we started home, both of us with thoughts of seriously completing #541 for GT-21 at the Track. Steven was ticking off his to-do list, while Diane was writing the items in her journal. We'd ended up over the years with many of these lists after the GTs. We'd get so psyched up, just itching to get back in the A. We certainly had missed many years of top-down motoring, and we were determined to make up for it.