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Tempting Fate: A late-November road trip in a vintage car, Part 2


#1

I drove to Virginia Beach to speak at The Coastal Virginia Auto Show the weekend before Thanksgiving, which wouldn’t be a big deal except for one thing. I decided it would be a great idea to drive my 1973 BMW 3.0CSi on a 1200-mile, late-season road trip from Boston to Virginia Beach and back. And in a bit of irony, I left the same day that Hagerty posted a story I wrote about winter storage.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/12/04/tempting-fate-part-2

#2

Great article (and I never knew about Waze). But I have to admit, I don’t practice the “lane discipline” Rob suggests. I try to drive (or ride my motorcycle) in the left lane whenever possible so the nuts can only come at me from one side. I do try to travel at the speed the left lane is moving so I’m not hindering or constantly passing people. Why isn’t that OK?


#3

This was fun. I have experienced many similar emotions & strategies when employing my 72 Citroen SM as vehicle of choice. Everything from “what could go wrong” to “what route do I choose?” It excels at highway travel, but I experience the exact same “progression of confidence” as the author… Starting out slow-ish in the right lane and going more boldly as the miles roll on. And then I try to imagine myself in 1972 and what it would have been like. These things were meant to be driven!


#4

Great writeup Rob. I did 1100 miles each way from Tampa to Columbus (the Buckeye Columbus) two summers ago.in my '75 Malaga 2002. What I didn’t know was that there was crud in the float bowl of the Weber, and every 50 miles it would block the fuel supply. Somehow each time the car would cut out, there was an exit, and I pulled off and changed the fuel filter _again._That little respite would allow the crud to settle out of the way, then off I’d go as if nothing was wrong…until about 50 miles down the road. But I got there and we diagnosed the problem. The return trip was just fine.


#5

I agree with you - this was fun. Any long trip in an older car can be an adventure, especially this time of the year.
I’ve driven my 77 280Z from Seattle to LA roundtrip twice without incident. In addition to having it thoroughly inspected before each trip, I chose to drive it daily for 3 or 4 weeks before hand as a “shake-down.” Anything that is questionable gets taken care of before the long trip because I always prefer the mechanic I know to the one I don’t, especially if the one I don’t know has me at a disadvantage.
If you’ve got 'em, drive 'em.


#6

Great article, Rob. I used to have a big car to take long trips in too…a 2800CS but now I only have little cars. Does that stop me? Heck no! I have taken seven trips of over 1,000 miles each in my 1968 Lotus Seven which doesn’t even have a top (One of 4,400 miles) and an even greater number of similar trips in my 1965 Lotus Elan. I concur with your prep strategy and even the progression of confidence strategy. Where I differ is that I will not take any divided highway unless there is NO OTHER OPTION. For example, crossing Utah east/west requires at least a portion on I-70. When I do that, I stay in the right lane at a moderate speed, 60-65, and relax as the 18 wheelers and SUV’s flash by. .

It seems to me that the driver’s attitude needs to mirror the capacity of the car…you know what they say about horses for courses, and the cars I drive tend to thrive on the state routes that are designated by a grey color in the Rand McNally. Boy, do I enjoy those roads since I am rarely on a schedule or, like you were, committed to a presentation time. And, as Charles Kuralt once said, the Interstate “…makes it possible to go from coast to coast without seeing anything or meeting anybody. If the United States interests you, stay off the Interstates.”


#7

As usual, nice writing, Rob. As the owner of a fjord '74 Coup and an 85 Burgundrot Euro E24 I’m well aware of all the comments. It’s seldom that I park the Euro and don’t have someone comment on how beautiful it is. I’ve sort of gotten used to it. And both are SO much fun to drive!

Anyone who has driven in Germany understands that EVERYONE in the country knows and obeys the traffic rules - well almost. There are many hours of school and practice to get a license. The 11th commandment is “Thou shalt NOT drive in the left lane except to pass”. Transgressors can get flashed, honked or killed by fast upcoming grosse, dicke, Mercedes Autos doing 200+ kph. European cars even have a feature on the turn signals that if you barely touch them they flash about 3x to allow you to signal for a lane change and back. Does anyone in America even KNOW what that lever to the left of the steering column is for?! I wonder sometimes.


#8

Excellent article and beautiful car, Rob. We owned a white 2800CS from 1970 until 1980, first in Europe from purchase until late 1973, with over 110K miles, probably with 80% driven over 90 mph. Top end seemed to be a little under 130. The car performed beautifully but initially, had a recurring problem running roughly which the dealership would fix but after about the 4th time, the shop manager asked me to take him for a ride. After about 2 km. he very Germanically said (insert heavy German accent here)"You haff no idea how to drive zis car!! I vill haff ze BMV driving instructor show you how zis auto must be driven!) Two weeks later, I received a call from the dealership, scheduling my driving lesson. I showed up and was introduced to my instructor, clad in the official Team BMW racing suit. He jumped into the driver’s seat, me on the right. I’d never before ridden with a professional race driver. The car was so unbelievably capable of things I’d never dare try, not would my wife allow, that I realized only embarrassment over my ownership. I had a far better understanding of the withering looks I’d gotten on the autobahn as vehicles screamed past un on the right.

But German winter road salt rain began its inexorable work on the Karmann body, which only was further stressed when we shipped the car back from Calais, and it was “prepped” for export to the USA by hoisting up on a lift, and powersprayed vigorously from beneath, before I realized that the powerspray was not sourced from the Seine but rather from the Atlantic!! The vehicle immediately after mine was a gorgeous Rolls Silver Wraith, probably 1929 or so, and likely even more devastated from the salt water douche. On return from Germany, it did not take long for the emergence of bubbles in the front fender wells, and on the firewall. The car was pristine to look at, but in and out, except for that. I’d purchased spare front fenders, but they were useless without the inner surfaces. I sold the car, fenders and other spare parts in 1983, sadly, but having had some amazingly wonderful road time in Europe, Canada and the USA.


#9

Loved the story, although I kept thinking you were building up to tell about some type of disaster. Glad it was relatively uneventful, and keep the articles coming.


#10

A beautiful auto and a great road trip story. Loved the comment, do not pick your nose. Love driving my 1966 T-Bird conv, but I am a somewhat a private person and sometimes feel too exposed. People taking pictures of the car, I tend to drive with a hat and dark eye glasses.
Mechanics have told me I could drive my Bird coast to coast without issue…do not trust. Would like to drive my 1966 with top down from Virginia to Florida one more time, like I did back in 1966. Think when I hit Florida would stay on coastal Hwy Rt. 1, the road I traveled for many years before the interstate was completed.


#11

Nice ride, and a nice drive. Did my adolescence in So Joisey in the early '60’s and recall the turnpike well. Always with the punch cards. And the cops were running Chrysler 300’s with dual carb 426 hemis if I recall correctly.

BTW, I do use my turn signals relentlessly, but I drive in the left most lane to reduce crazies to only be on my right. Normally travel at higher speeds than traffic, and if someone going faster than me, they can pass on the right as I do. I do appreciate the rabbits that will go faster than I and are targets for the hunters.


#12

I hate to sound like a “fan” but I really enjoy Rob’s articles wherever I read them. He doesn’t try to sound cute like a lot of journalists. A true car guy.

And he has great technical tips! Second only to Mike the tech editor at BMWCCA Roundel magazine.


#14

Mr. Taglieri, it’s not OK to drive in the left lane unless you’re passing (which is also the law in Connecticut and elsewhere) because it interrupts the flow of traffic. Yes, people shouldn’t exceed the limit but they do. When someone is clogging the left lane like you apparently do those who aren’t patient enough will try to weave their way past the offender. That’s when most accidents happen. So while you’re trying to improve safety for yourself you’re diminishing it for everyone else you share the highway with.


#15

When I said I was traveling at the speed the left lane was moving, what I mean is that I’m NOT “clogging” the left lane. I’m going as fast as everyone else there, and if someone wants to pass, I pull over and let them.