Originally published May 4, 2015
The road is perfection, a twisting ribbon that follows the path of the river, flowing along its bank with much the same jounce, wriggle, ripple, and run. Across the way, you can see the main road, the straight route, fast-moving traffic pulsing along it in bunches. Here though, we’re alone, and together.
This is my father’s 1967 MGB. A particularly good year for the breed, but that’s not what makes it special. Special to me, I mean; this car is not unique because of serial number, or vintage, or provenance, but because it’s been a constant in my life since before I could pronounce the word “car.” Dad’s owned this car for thirty-six years, I’ve ridden in it as an infant, have worked on it with him as a young man, and now I sit at the wheel as a father myself.
We’re at the start of a long journey together, the longest the MGB’s run in more than three decades. The road is perfection. The weather is clearing. We’ve put miles behind us since morning, and our way unfolds out ahead in front of the MGB, waiting to for us to write our story.
Naturally, at this point, the god-damned thing breaks down.
Classic Car Adventures is a small company in BC that organizes affordable multi-day rallies for (you guessed it) classic car owners. The founders are Warwick Patterson and Dave Hord – you’ve met Dave’s fantastic rally-Beetle in a previous Final Drive.
Dave and Warwick are nuts, but they are sociable nuts. Thus, the idea behind CCA’s runs, which gathers together a cluster of like-minded lunatics to cruise very long distances on epic backroads in elderly and somewhat fragile machinery. First one of the season is called The Spring Thaw, and that’s what we’re signed up for.
When Dad and I arrive in Hope, we round the corner to find 80 classics of all possible shapes, sizes, and descriptions. There’s a replica D-Type Jaguar. There’s a pre-war Bentley and a ’37 Rolls. There’s a huge, red 1950s Ford F-series and a whole gumball machine’s worth of brightly coloured Mini Coopers. There are French cars, English cars, Italian cars, classic American muscle, coupes, convertibles, sedans, pickups, a Lotus Super Seven and a Mini Moke.
Warwick’s day job is as a motorsports cameraman and photographer and he’s away. Not to worry: Dave produces a cutout version attached to a lollipop stick. He then runs through a brief driver’s meeting, complete with ceremonial artifacts like the plaid shirt he’s worn at every Spring Thaw for the past seven years, the entrusting of a small Ernie doll to the youngest participant of the Thaw (a toddler), and a brief explanation of the yellow card system. Drive erratically and you’ll find a tag under your windshield wiper at lunch time. There’s also a brief caution against being too enthusiastic on the throttle, as the RCMP are always out there, eager to give out what Dave refers to as “Performance Awards.”