When does a GT end? When the people return home? Or, when the car returns home? It was this question that delayed the addition of this page to our collection of NAMGAR GT web pages. Although all three of us (Steven, Diane, and PRNCZ) started out for GT-25 on June 13th, PRNCZ didn't make it back until November 5th.
We started out from Barrington the Saturday before the GT and took our time getting to Columbus, OH, to visit our Russian friends for the weekend. On Monday, after two days of borscht and crepes and vodka, we drove down to Lancaster, OH, to visit our good friend, Dave Ream. Talking to Dave a few weeks earlier, he had not planned to go to the GT. When we arrived, we grabbed a cup of coffee and headed for the garage to see "Annie", the MG-TC he's been working on for a great number of years. Sometime during the conversation, Dave announced that the coupe was packed, and he was ready to go. Surprised, we three headed off through the rolling hills of Ohio, on a beautiful, sunny summer day, on our way to West (By God) Virginia.
About 10 miles outside of Lancaster, Dave pulled off to the side of the road. Our fears of an early technical stop were allayed when he poked his head out of the window to ask us if he'd turned off the coffee pot. We decided to split up temporarily. While he drove back home, we'd drive on. We planned to meet at an antique shop we all knew in Zanesville.
Steven, Diane, and PRNCZ continued on, passing through Somerset, which had some festival going on amidst the rotary in the middle of town, which necessitated a quick pedestrian gymkhana. The sun was shining and we'd just passed through one of those picturesque groves of tress whose branches arch over the road. Steven commented on how well PRNCZ was handling and sounding, when BANG! and the oil pressure dropped to zilch. Steven quickly turned off the engine and pulled off the road. After a quick examination, he announced that the crankshaft was broken. We weren't going anywhere.
We're Going No Further
Quickly, Steven got out the cell phone and dialed Dave, but he'd already turned off the coffee pot and was on his way back to meet us in Zanesville. Now we're in the middle of Ohio, between two cornfields and at least ten miles from civilization in any direction. About 30 minutes later, Dave drives up wondering why we'd stopped to wait for him. Ten minutes after that Diane and Dave were on their way back to Dave's, again, to get Dave's truck and trailer.
Now, Steven and PRNCZ are on the side of the road, waiting for the next two hours. But that's OK because just about everyone in the county stopped by at least once to ask if they could help or, in a couple of cases, offer up a beer or cola. One ole-boy stopped and chatted for about twenty minutes. During the times of lesser activity, there were three or four buzzards circling above (truly). Eventually, Dave, with the truck and trailer, and Diane, in an extra car, returned. We loaded PRNCZ up and pressed on to West (By God) Virginia. We eventually arrived, and Diane, having sworn that we'd never trailer to a GT, was very quiet.
Unloading at the Hotel
Well, it's the broken cars at the GTs that get the most attention. And of course, everyone has a theory as to why the PRNCZ was broken.
Meanwhile, on our minds are questions like: how do we get home? How do we get the car home? When we get the car home, how are we going to get it fixed?
Over the course of the GT, we spent a lot of time on the phone, trying to answer all of those questions. The other interesting thing about broken cars at the GT is that they become parts cars for the other cars that arrived to the GT in a little less broken condition. Using some of PRNCZ's parts, a couple of problems got diagnosed. A couple of other parts were on reserve in case replacements, on order, didn't arrive in time for the trip home..
The rest of the meet? Well, it rained during the car show. But that never stops the die-hards from voting and peeking under hoods and gaping at the latest Tom Ball tour. A thrill for us was that all of the past and present NAMGAR chairmen (and chairwomen) were together, for the first time, at this meet. We hadn't seen Len and Ruth in quite a few years, and it was fun to hear about their new hobby, kayaking. Knowing those two, there's probably a North American Kayak Register. It had surprised us to learn that Rink has gone from being a Nuke the Whales advocate to working towards the preservation of the Chesapeake Bay. I wonder what we'll be doing when we retire? Probably still working.
On The Back
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A highlight for Diane was another (third) tour of Fallingwater (GT-19) and the companion Grand Usonian of Frank Lloyd Wright's, Kentuck Knob. Because of structural problems, Fallingwater is near to falling into the water (Bear Creek). FLW was a great architect, but the technology of the day just wasn't there to support his ideas and enable the admiration of his designs for the eons to come. But today there are many engineers and much money being spent working on a solution to save this masterpiece..
Kentuck Knob on the other hand is quite a gem: what a treat! It is now owned by Lord Palumbo (British House of Lords) who also owns the Farnsworth House in Plano, IL: a Mies Vander Rohe masterpiece. Not only is the house in meticulous condition, but the furnishings are equally as valuable and gorgeous: several Stickley pieces and a Charles Rennie Macintosh chair and clock, along with original FLW furniture, archaeological finds and wonderful lawn art (sculptures).
Car Show in the Rain
Although a rather dark cloud hung over us while at the GT, we enjoyed all the activities and MGAs as we do at every GT we've attended. Especially note worthy were Mike Ash's technical talk and a NAMGAR history lesson from Bob Vitrikas.
Since this was the 25th GT for NAMGAR, the banquet boasted an ice sculpture and a 25th anniversary cake. Amazing that the sculpture didn't melt with all of the flashes going off!
We were joined at our table by the Michalaks: Mark, Cindy, and Mark Jr.; Robert Goldman of Moss Motors; NAMGAR's Hal Roeth; the Potters: Ralph and Marita of Canada; and the official photographer.
MGA on Ice
Diane was totally aghast when Dave Smith announced that Steven and Diane were awarded NAMGAR's Mac Spears Founder's Award. We were truly surprised and honored! But we were still stuck in West (By God) Virginia with no established plans for getting us and PRNCZ back home. Over the course of the GT things did begin to pull together, and, through the spirit of NAMGAR and dedication of friends, things began to happen.
Dave Ream, who had saved us going out, offered to take PRNCZ back home with him to Lancaster and hold it there until we could get it to where it was going to be repaired. Bruce and Joyce Nichols, who had driven Detroit Iron to the GT, offered to drive us back to Barrington from Dave's once we'd dropped off PRNCZ -- and the car Dave had loaned us. Dave Smith said that he had a vacancy in his shop schedule, if we could get the car to Holt, MI. The plan hit a small snag at Dave's house, when we discovered that Bruce, Joyce, Steven, Diane, their luggage, and the MGB engine that Bruce had purchased at the GT, weren't all going to fit into his Ford Crown Vic. We left the engine at Dave's, too.
After some marathon driving, Bruce, Joyce, Steven and Diane arrived in Barrington pretty well worn out from the week's activities. But it wasn't quite over...
Steven and Diane with
Mac Spears Award
The next weekend, we were back on the road to Lancaster. There we rented a truck and a trailer to take PRNCZ and the Nichols' engine to Holt, MI. That trip was an event all to its own. We hit torrential rains, construction, and lots of impatient traffic. We finally arrived at Dave and Chari Smith's. Bruce and Joyce came to pick up the engine. We unloaded PRNCZI into Smith's garage, returned the truck & trailer, then moseyed off to a Chinese Buffet. That was the last weekend in July, and we were whipped.
A number of unanticipated incidents delayed the engine rebuild, but on November 3 Dave drove PRNCZ from Holt to the Nichols' residence in Three Rivers, MI. On November 5 we picked her up, and Steven drove her home. Two weeks later, PRNCZ was tucked away for the winter in Wisconsin. Not much of a driving season.
How many times have we said that NAMGAR is about people? This is proof. With the help of Dave Ream, Bruce and Joyce Nichols, and Dave and Chari Smith, and words of encouragement from others in the NAMGAR family, we are on the road again. What a good feeling it is, too. Thanks to everyone for their help and support and to NAMGAR for the Founder's Award. .