This was not the first time I’ve driven a collector car in the Readington Township Memorial Day parade. In 2009, the little red bubble car (AKA the Isetta) thrilled the crowd as its 13 hp motor pushed its 770 lb. along Main Street. This year, driving the 90 hp Alfa (at 2,000 lb., its power-to-weight ratio beats the Isetta by a factor of 3), the green machine was not quite the attention-getter that the BMW was. (One person did scream out “an Alfa!” and got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from the owner/driver.)
Fresh off the Hillsborough Memorial Day parade on Saturday, Readington’s was on Monday. Arriving at the designated parking lot, I quickly saw that I was out of my element. The Corvette Club was there in full force, fielding a group of cars mostly from the ‘90s and ‘00s. The Mustang Club was present as well, with almost exclusively current-gen cars. Although I was there at the invitation of the NJ Chapter of the AACA, there was not a single other club member I recognized, nor did the AACA event chair ever show his face to me.
There was a smattering of classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s, so I did have some company. As a real change of pace, my wife and two or our grandchildren joined me inside the Afla, and the young ones got a kick out of waving to the crowds along Main St.
The Hillsborough parade had better prep and much more club participation. If I have the choice, I would like not drive the Readington parade again unless I knew that club members planned to attend in force.
THE PERCEPTIVE 8-YEAR-OLD
My middle grandchild, the adorable 8-year-old pictured here, climbed into the back seat of the Alfa. We hadn’t even begun to move when she proclaimed “Pops, where’s the seat belt?” “Honey, there are no belts, this is an old car, and Pops is not going to drive faster than 5 miles-per-hour”. Next question: “Pops, does this car have CRANK windows?” “YES it does! And how do you know about crank windows?” “We learned about them in school.” (What, is there a 2nd grade course called “Old Fashioned Automotive Technology”? Then after playing with the hinged compartment built into the rear seat interior panel, she asked “Pops, what is this for?” “Oh, honey, that’s called an ash tray. When people used to smoke cigarettes, they would flick the ash from the cigarette into that ash tray.”
I hope this means I don’t need to worry about her taking up smoking.
All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.