UPDATE - A DRIVE HOME: LeMay Museum, Tacoma To Detroit Auto Show- Chapter Three - On The Road With Steve Purdy
A DRIVE HOME – Chapter Three
Three old cars go from Tacoma to Detroit in the dead of winter
By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Photos By Bob Giles
To recap: Three vintage cars – a ’57 Chevy Nomad, a ’61 Chrysler 300G and a ’66 Mustang left their safe haven in the LeMay, America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, WA for a 2400-mile cross-country drive to help open the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The project, called “A Drive Home,” will promote the museum and the auto show while showing these great examples of Detroit iron are still competent. A few journalists join the drive at different points along the route.
We start out just about dawn with me at the wheel of the Nomad. I barely fit in behind the steering wheel with my unconscionable girth but manage to get positioned. She starts up enthusiastically in spite of the 15-dergree temperature and idles with a wonderful rumble. This is the only car that is not exactly stock. At some point her 283 V8 was replaced by a 327 small block with four-barrel carb and a 4-speed with Hurst shifter. I wrestle her into gear and struggle against the non-power steering out onto the street to the Shell station a mile away. Shell, by the way is a sponsor of the event and is providing all the fuel.
At our first break we decide I’ll switch to the Chrysler. After a coupe of tips about her eccentricities from Bill Hall, a Wisconsin journalist and sports car enthusiast who has driven her the whole way, I ease into the swiveling front seat and buckle into that amazingly stylish (for its day) cockpit. This was another of Vergil Exner’s exuberant designs with a plastic dome covering the instruments, push buttons for most functions including shifting, padded dash and all manner of odd features. She is powered by a 413 cubic-inch V8 with two four-barrel carbs and ram induction.
The rest of the drive was easy and mostly scenic as we passed through many hilly areas and lots of flat land, some of it along the famous Snake River. We tried to understand some of the geology and geography. Everything out here is covered with deep snow, a welcome feature in this dry land.
As we got out of the cars in the underground garage at our downtown Salt Lake City Hotel I realized how physically tired I was. Thanks to the local Porsche Club we had a wonderful dinner at the Red Iguana 2 restaurant and I was in bed early.
Tomorrow – Salt Lake City to Grand Junction, Colorado.
© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved
On The Road With Steve Purdy - From Lemay Museum Tacoma To 2016 Detroit Auto ShowChapter One - December 28, 2015
Chapter Two - December 29, 2015
Chapter Three - December 30, 2015
Chapter Four - December 31, 2015
Chapter Five - January 2, 2016
Chapter Six Final Chapter - January 10, 2016