The Romans knew it all too well: “Tempus fugit”, Latin for “time flies”. But I don’t think the Romans were thinking of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance when uttering those words. I certainly was saying “time flies” to myself when I looked at the calendar, saw that it was 2007, and realized that the Isetta would again be eligible to be shown at this favorite car show of mine. So I sent in my registration form, got my acceptance letter, and off we went!
Compared to 2004, the weather was much more cooperative, if still a bit warm and muggy for early June. My wife Margaretanne, for the third and final time, accompanied me to the show. The show organizers, Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom, have always made it a point to recognize all the hard work and effort that goes into bringing a car to an event. As such, Greenwich is one of the few car shows where vehicle owners do NOT pay an entrance fee; instead, catered breakfast and lunch are provided, plus this year, we took advantage of a cruise boat ride into Long Island Sound, a non-automotive diversion which my wife appreciated.
As happened in 2004, the Isetta was wisely placed among other BMWs, with some Porsches on the other side of it. And in another echo of 2004, there was another Isetta, this time, a European-spec 300 which had been beautifully restored. I enjoyed my time chatting it up with attendees about my car, and Bruce most generously awarded me with a Concours Europa – Most Fun Car trophy. During the ceremonial drive-by, he chuckled once again when I told him about my US-spec car having the “larger and more powerful 13 horsepower engine”!
At the end of the show, we drove the Isetta back to the parking lot, about a half-mile away, and began the process of loading the car onto the trailer once again. Several yards from me, I noticed an elderly man, who looked to be at least 90, struggling to roll his own open trailer into position. He was a dapper dresser in his plaid sport coat and tweed cap. A woman who may have been his daughter was scolding him that he shouldn’t be pushing the trailer on his own, which didn’t phase him one bit. He looked familiar to me, so I took a chance and approached him.
“Excuse me, are you John Fitch?”
“Why, yes I am!”
“It’s a real pleasure to meet you.”
“Thank you very much!”
With that, I shook the hand of 90-year-old John Fitch, race car driver, inventor, and on this day, just another participant at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance.
All photographs copyright © 2020 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.
8 thoughts on “The Isetta Saga, Chapter 28: The 2007 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance”
Nice story with a surprise guest appearance at the end! However, no surprise that the legendary John Fitch would still be physically engaged at age 90.
Hi Bob, thanks as always for the comment. And agreed, it really was no surprise to see the great Mr Fitch still so engaged at that age. It was a sad day when we lost him.
Hi Richard, I enjoy reading your well written blog, and having a chance to “see” your Isetta (which i regret not seeing in person). I suppose many people you meet our age have an “Isetta story”, i have my own. Riding in or driving an Isetta ranks somewhere near my desire to fire a box of .45 shells through a Thompson in my as yet fulfilled bucket list of small thrills.
I haven’t been out on my 1941 Indian Four w/sidecar older restoration from a complete machine lately (Judged at the “Senior” level). We’ve postponed our planned annual long distance MC ride (this year to the Pacific NW) until, hopefully next year.
Our daughter Hannah just returned to her Sophomore High Schooling. We’re blessed she is quite responsible, motivated and\she keeps us lively.
My (our) international travels have ceased for time being. It’s strange not being in an airport for such a long time. Well, I have to finalize my Medicare plan enrollments, asap. I see some refer to it “MFA”, nowadays. I won’t get started on that topic.
I guess I told you I’ve gotten back into doing some drumming, (mid 1990’s Premier SIGNIA kit) which i enjoy very much.
All the best to you & yours.
HI Brad, nice to hear from you again, and thank you very much for your kind comments. I’ve lost track: are you still working for Volvo in some capacity, or have you retired? It’s hard for me to believe, but I’ve been retired from Volvo for almost 11 years. I see that I have your email address, so I will also send a longer post via that method.
Great story Richard and well done for the trophy.
Thank you Mart!
[…] would see different cars the following year. I had shown my 1957 BMW Isetta in 2001, 2004, and 2007, and when 2010 rolled around, I didn’t hesitate to apply again. The Wennerstroms welcomed me back […]
[…] and chairperson of the show, knew me well, as my Isetta had been at this same event in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010. For 2013, I was grouped with a variety of other beautiful Italian machinery. The weather […]