Sunday Morning Breakfast Drive, October 22, 2017

You know it’s late in the collector car driving season when the 8 a.m. arrivals at your starting point are still in the shadows, waiting for the morning’s yellow rays to rise above the concrete and steel horizon.

Minutes before departing, the sun finally made its way over to us

And so our final Sunday morning breakfast drive for 2017 began, but we knew the day’s weather would be in our favor. Those of us in the Northeast are coming off what may be the best week of weather we’ve had all year: sunny, dry, daytime temps in the mid-to-high 70s, with the thermometer dropping into the 40s and 50s at night. And all this in late October to boot.

Even though we saw each other last month, there’s still lots to yap about

For our October 22 drive, we had 14 travelers occupying 11 cars. While the turnout was a bit less than our last motorcade, many of our regulars showed up, drawn in part by the attraction of a favorite destination: The Silver Spoon Café in Cold Spring NY.

The route to Cold Spring is an easy one, and includes Seven Lakes Drive in Harriman State Park. It’s a shame that we didn’t give ourselves a chance to stop and admire the view. At such an early hour, the water, smooth as glass, acted like a mirror for the fall foliage. The scene would have made a lovely backdrop for our myriad group of sporting machines.

We arrived at our destination in under an hour, and the attentive staff at the Silver Spoon had a table for 14 waiting for us (calling ahead and being patient when they say “we don’t take reservations” can still provide your desired result).

The Silver Spoon staff hustled to serve 14 or 15 hungry drivers, and the sometimes erratic service was not entirely the fault of our intrepid waiter. Plates remained unclaimed as diners endeavored to remember what they ordered! Even with the delay, the food was excellent, washed down with coffee by the gallon.

While waiting for the food, we …. looked at cell phone photos

As is customary, as the meal ended, the crowd lingered in front of the restaurant, with no one in any great rush to depart. The warm October sunshine will do that to you. It sounds far away to say “see you on our first drive in 2018”, but it will be here soon enough. We’re also hoping to organize an off-season trip to a museum as we did last winter. For this scribe, it’s now time to put the babies away for the year. I’m pretty sure I still have some Sta-Bil in the garage.

Don’t let the jackets fool you – by late morning, it was 70 degrees

 

1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Jr.

 

1972 Chevrolet Nova

 

Porsche 911 #1

 

Porsche 911 #2

 

Porsche 911 #3

 

BMW Z3 roadster

 

1967 Buick Skylark convertible (earlier posts identifying this as a ’66 are incorrect! Thanks Ralph)

 

1966 Dodge Coronet

 

Ford Mustang GT/CS

 

1953 Jaguar XK-120

 

C4 Chevy Corvette

 

See you next year

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

2006: Adventures with Mustangs, Mine and Others

Since purchasing my ’68 Mustang California Special (aka GT/CS) in 2003, my desire had been to use the car as much as possible in automotive-themed events. As related earlier, we drove the car to Nashville for the Mustang’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2004. In 2005, rally brother Steve and I returned to the New England 1000 classic car rally after a 4-year hiatus, where the Mustang proved to be a powerful and reliable performer.

Before the 2006 driving season commenced, I needed to do something about the sloppiness in the car’s front end. While I held no illusions that this car would ever steer like a rack-and-pinion equipped sports car, the amount of freeplay in the steering seemed excessive, even by 1960s American car standards. A check of ball joints and bushings found enough wear to warrant the installation of new upper and lower control arms. (I opted to forego the Shelby-invented trick of relocating the upper control arms by one inch, effectively lowering the front suspension.) With the new suspension pieces bolted up, I happily observed that the dead spot at the top of the wheel was reduced by half.

The Garden State Region Mustang Club held its annual car show at a local Ford dealer in April of each year. In spite of poor weather, my car was there, mixed in among ponies both old and new.

My GT/CS takes its place among its siblings (note new 2006 yellow convertible on ramps)

In July, we joined the Mustang Club of New England at a show in New Hampshire. It was 95 degrees on Route 95, but that big 390 kept its cool. It was neat to discover at least one other California Special in attendance, a pale yellow car restored to a condition several levels better than mine. I took copious notes.

Hood up, ready for judges

 

For once, another California Special was at the same show as me

In the fall, my wife and I had a Mustang adventure of a quite different nature. We decided to take a week’s vacation in Arizona. As I made the travel plans and investigated rental choices, I noted that Hertz was now renting the Shelby Mustang GT-H, a throwback to the original Shelby Mustang rent-a-racers of the 1960s. I signed up for one.

Upon my arrival at the Hertz counter in Phoenix, I was not prepared for the strict lecture coming from the rental agency employee in delivering the car to me. He said in effect: “I’m going to show you every Shelby-specific item on this car, from the hood pins, to the Shelby-signed plates, to the guy wire securing the engine to the body (this to prevent, yes, engine swaps). You must sign here to verify that all these Shelby components are present, and you are liable if the car is returned with any of these missing!” Holy chicken farmer. I was afraid to leave the car in the hotel parking lot!

This was my first time driving this current-generation Mustang

The car looked sharp in its black-and-gold livery, and was an absolute blast to drive. Even with an automatic, the fun factor was off the scale. The car made all the right sounds, and the steering, brakes, and handling were eons above my ’68, no surprise given the almost 40-year spread between the two Mustangs. For the first time in decades of renting cars, I didn’t want to return the rental.

We found a scenic rest area for photos

 

I lucked out; the light was just right for this picture

By the end of 2006, Steve and I were already talking about repeating the use of the ‘Stang in the 2007 NE 1000. I was game. The car was up to it, but there were still a few things on my punch list to attend to.

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Sunday Morning Breakfast Drive, Oct. 2, 2016

We had an excellent turnout for our early October outing, with 16 like-minded friends willing to venture out in spite of a gloomy forecast (for the record, it didn’t rain during the drive). All in, we had 12 classic cars, 2 modern Volvos, plus a motorcycle! Several first-timers seemed to like it well enough that they’ve threatened to show their faces again.

You could be forgiven for looking at the photos and thinking that this was a meeting of the local Porsche 911 club, what with four of them (three red) among our assortment. We still had a fine mix of American, British, Italian, Japanese, and other German cars, old and new.

Our ride this day took us north from the Sheraton in Mahwah, along Greenwood Lake, and eventually to New Windsor, NY, where we dined at the Ikaros Diner. The diner staff had a table waiting for us, and somehow, in spite of constant blabbering, we also managed to consume food and coffee.

The diner’s parking lot made for an excellent staging area for group photos. (Thanks to Bill W and Andy M for the panorama photo of us). We must be doing something right, because at the end of the event, most everyone wanted to know when we’re going to do this again. It must be the coffee.

Ken's RED 911
Ken’s RED 911

 

Peter's RED 911
Peter’s RED 911

 

Dave's RED 911
Dave’s RED 911

 

Ted's NON RED 911
Ted’s NON RED 911

 

Jeff's BMW Z3
Jeff’s BMW Z3

 

 

Enzo's Alfa Spider
Enzo’s Alfa Spider

 

Nick's Mustang
Nick’s Mustang

 

Bill's C1 Corvette
Bill’s C1 Corvette

 

Sal's E30 BMW 3-Series
Sal’s E30 BMW 3-Series

 

Tim's MG-B/C/V8-GT
Tim’s MG-B/C/V8-GT

 

Your author's Miata
Your author’s Miata

 

Red Porsche in front, red Porsche in back
Red Porsche in front, red Porsche in back

 

Porsche, Alfa, Porsche, Mustang
Porsche, Alfa, Porsche, Mustang in Miata mirror

 

"I turned left when you went straight"
“I turned left when you went straight”

 

 

The Z3 serves as a nice foreground car
The Z3 serves as a nice foreground

 

As does Richard's Jaguar F-Type
As does Richard’s Jaguar F-Type

 

"I gotta get over there, they're talking about me"
“I gotta get over there, they’re talking about me”

 

All of us with our machines
All of us with our machines

 

'Til next time
‘Til next time

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Father’s First Ford: The 1967 Mustang

My dad was a GM man throughout the first two decades of his marriage. Although it was a Willys station wagon which served as family transportation when he and my mom got married in 1950, he bought a new Chevy 210 sedan in 1953 (the car which brought me home from the hospital), and a new Corvair wagon in 1961. The ‘60s saw the Corvair augmented with a ’63 Pontiac Catalina wagon, then replaced by a used 1966 Buick Sport Wagon.

 
When the Ford Mustang was introduced in 1964, this 10-year-old car-crazy boy was infatuated with it. Some magazine advertisement at the time offered the chance to buy a promo model, which I did (and which I disassembled so I could paint it.) One advantage of growing up in New York City was the opportunity to visit the 1964-1965 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow Park. The family went six times! Of course, the new Mustang, having been introduced there, was always on prominent display. Dad, who normally didn’t say much, ever so slightly let it be known that he “liked” this new pony car.

1964 1/2 Ford Mustang promo model (hand painted)
1964 1/2 Ford Mustang promo model (hand painted)

 

From the book "Images of America; The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (author's collection)
From the book “Images of America; The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair” (author’s collection)

 

In the mid-sixties, we were a typical suburban American family with two cars, what with two working adults and three school-age children in the household. At that time, our transportation needs were met with station wagons (the Corvair, Catalina, and Sport Wagon). But by the late ‘60s, perhaps there was room for something more fun. (Was it a coincidence that my father turned 50 in 1969 and may have been having something of a mid-life crisis?) To my surprise and delight, “we” got just that in the form of a Ford Mustang.

 
In 1969, my father found a used ’67 Mustang for sale in our hometown of Staten Island, NY. It was a Lime Gold coupe, 289 2V, automatic, vinyl roof, full wheel covers, whitewalls, AM radio, and nothing else. My dad paid $2,050 for it; the number always stuck in my head because of the odd $50. I was 15, and, just two years away from a driver’s license, hoping that someday it would become my car.

 

My dad's '67 Mustang, photo taken by me in our yard in 1969
My dad’s ’67 Mustang, photo taken by me in our yard in 1969

In 1971, with that freshly minted license, the Mustang was ‘mine’ to drive. Dad bought a third car so that he and Mom would each continue to have their own wheels. Giving a 17-year-old a V8 Mustang was maybe not his best decision, although I used the car responsibly as transportation to a part-time job, as well as a weekend “cruisemobile” with my high school buddies. Like many teenagers, I considered myself a good driver, but in retrospect, my driving was aggressive, cocky, and naively self-assured.

 
It is ironic then, that on the morning of December 23, 1971, at the speed of perhaps 10 mph, I rolled through an intersection, having failed to see a stop sign, and was punched by another car. The accident was 100% my fault. The car had 2-point lap belts, but mine wasn’t on. My head hit the steering wheel, I was knocked unconscious, suffered a concussion, and required 10 stitches. (The hospital needed to shave my hairline to sew me up. Today, the scar is well below the hairline!)

The wrecked Mustang in 1972
The wrecked Mustang in 1972

This happened in Brooklyn, which is why my speed was so low. I didn’t know the neighborhood, and was looking at street signs. Dad drove to the hospital to see me. I dreaded his scolding, but he didn’t. He was upset, but took it all in stride. The Mustang was totaled. For reasons possibly having to do with insurance, the car was towed to our house, where it sat for several months before he sold it to a salvage yard. My father went back to new GM cars (Buicks and Oldsmobiles), a new Dodge Dart, and eventually moved to import vehicles (Renault, Datsun, Mazda). “Father’s first Ford” turned out to also be his last; he never bought another Ford.

 
Fast forward to August 2003: I purchased my first collector Mustang, a ’68 California Special, in Lime Gold (my first color choice for sentimental reasons). Dad was in failing health, and never got to ride in it. He passed away in 2006. My ’68 is a story for another time. But every so often, I think back to that ’67 coupe and wonder: did someone rescue it from the junkyard, or did it give itself up for parts so that other Mustangs could stay on the road to be enjoyed today?

The 1968 Mustang California Special in Lime Gold
The 1968 Mustang California Special in Lime Gold

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Sunday Morning Breakfast Run, July 2015

The morning of Sunday, July 12, 2015, dawned sunny and temperate. The promised heat was still a few hours away as 10 cars and 13 participants gathered at our usual meeting spot, the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel in Mahwah NJ, for our planned breakfast drive.

The first arrivals were on site by 8am. We were “all in” by 8:30am and caravanning by 8:35, headed to Cold Spring NY. Cars built by General Motors were again predominantly represented by Bill’s C6 Corvette, Larry’s Z28 Camaro, Ted’s boat, er, Eldorado, and Ralphie’s Buick Skylark.

We had two Mustangs this time, both driven by Nick! Nick D piloted the white convertible while Nick S drove the grey coupe. The only MoPar again wasn’t a car, it was a Viper. It was also a last-minute substitution as Rich S intended to drive his V8-equipped Alfa spider, but “something” was causing a rear tire to rub. And your author’s Alfa had European company from Peter’s 911 and Jeff’s BMW Z3. Enzo, Rich L, and Bob P hitched rides with willing drivers. (Jeff, in a most humanitarian gesture, allowed Enzo to drive his Z3.)

Larry led the charge through Seven Lakes Drive, across the Bear Mountain Bridge, then north into Cold Spring. We were at our spot, the Silver Spoon Café, ten minutes early. Nevertheless, our table was ready and waiting for us. Terry met us there, having ridden his bike from home nearby, so 14 hungry men sat down for a good breakfast. It was our first time to this restaurant, and high marks all around for the food, the coffee, and the service. Thanks, ladies!

No one was in a rush to leave the table, and the staff was in no rush to show us the door. In fact, they kept coming ‘round and filling mugs long after the bill was paid. When we finally made it back outside, the temperature had kicked up considerably. The group still continued to mingle on the sidewalk in front of the café for a few more minutes, and several of us also took advantage of a tour through the charming town of Cold Spring, either on foot or by car.

All 13 of us (with me hiding behind the lens)
All 13 of us (with me hiding behind the lens)

For several participants, it was their first time out with us, and they’re threatening to return. Given that it’s the middle of the summer vacation season, we still had a great turnout from the regulars. We always say the same thing: “It’s about time we did this again!” And so we will. We’re already perusing the calendar for an August repeat.

 

All photographs copyright © 2015 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.