Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Don't Leave Your Car With Bruce

This weekend a lot of good things happened for the TR6. I was able to fix the heater fan without buying a new one. The door and window seals arrived and I was able to install them easily. And a long with the seals the new clutch master cylinder arrived and I was able to install that without issue. Everything went so well that I was able to take it for a drive around the neighborhood late Saturday night.

Since then I have dropped the rear diff cover and am letting it drip clean so I can reseal the diff – to resolve a, not dire but persistent, puddle under the rear end.

As these things get accomplished the car looks more and more like those last 30 years never happened. But those 30 years did happen and that was my life – half of that was my childhood. This restoration is a bookend to period. It only makes sense; the car came off the road shortly after I was born and will go back on the road shortly after dad died. I guess it’s only around when it’s needed – something like the Littlest Hobo (very Canadian reference).

This car is truly an experience in tandem. When it’s done the car is going to tell me the little stories – not dad. If he were here when it’s done and we went for a drive together I imagine the visceral experience of him driving it again would bring back memories and learn-ed insights about the car he would feel compelled to pass on.

Thinking about riding with him makes me remember one night a few years back. My brother Neal had purchased a mid-90s 3 Series BMW Coup. It was a punchy little five speed and was sitting on the acreage as Neal was working up north on the oil sands for the summer. For some reason I was out on the acreage for Saturday night dinner. I suspect I was kidnapped sometime during the day to look at a car or go to a farm auction and was talked into dinner. Anyway before we could cook dinner the barbeque ran out of propane and Dad and I had to run into town to get it filled so we could eat.

I remember dad being coy and saying “What car should we take?” Then saying, “Well let me dig into the key basket and whatever key I pull out that’s what we’ll take.” If he was actually doing that it would have been rather high odds that he would have picked a key to one of the many work trucks he had historically but have long since been replaced, or one of the many crashed Plymouth Acclaims and Dodge Spirits that littered the healing line. The odds of him grabbing the keys to Neal’s Beemer were rather low. I think he cheated.

When we got to the end of the driveway he looked at me and said, “Your brother doesn’t know how to drive this car… I know how to drive this car – hold on!” Before that day and since I have never heard that car, or another car for that matter, scream like that as we peeled out of the driveway. It was a six mile trip into town and we easily broke the record getting in there as his big right paw put the stick shift up and down through the gates and left foot dumped the clutch. At one point he looked at me and said “This reminds me of driving the TR6.” Knowing what I know now I imagine the Beemer was a little quicker.

Sure enough by the time we arrived back at home Neal had phoned home and opened with, “Who the hell is driving around in my car?”

Apparently he had got a call from, his then girlfriend, now wife, Michelle who had just spotted the car in traffic and was wonder why he hadn’t let her know he was back in town.

Bruce caught shit on that one.

And I should end there as that makes the most sense but the ending of that story reminds me of an email I was copied into once that was between Dad and my brother Lachlan. I had just got a company car for work as my work wanted to recoup all the money I was making charging out my truck. Until I decided what to do with my truck I parked it at the acreage. I can’t remember exactly what the email was about but there was a line that said “Lach, if you need to, you can probably grab that white truck. It’s been left here on the acreage for an undisclosed amount of time.” The biggest surprise was that he bothered to copy me.

Stay tuned…

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