Donald Osborne ~ Lecture at Blackhawk Museum

So enjoyed the lecture today at Blackhawk Museum by Donald Osborne, author, classic car historian, regular on Jay Leno’s Garage television program, appraiser, consultant and even opera singer! A video of exactly how they positioned all of the cars in the Museum for the exhibition is a must watch.

He was touting his stunning new book Transatlantic Style/ Stile Transatlantico  which beautifully illustrates the exchange between Italian and American car designers from the end of World War II until 1960.

But the most fun was when an audience member asked what he drives every day. He reported that he just bought a 2017 Alfa Romeo Guilia Ti 2 weeks ago and has already put 2300 miles on it. So last month I took a test drive of this very car! So this is what he wrote when he signed his card for me. And I quote: Grandma deserves a Guilia Ti!!

The expert has spoken! It’s a sign! As soon as my ship comes in, I’m going to buy mine!

Vroom! Vroom!

Having had a delightful birthday (hers) luncheon with my daughter at Berkeley City Club in Julia’s (i.e.,  Julia Morgan of architectural fame, who designed hundreds of buildings including this club and Hearst Castle to name a couple), and with nothing else to do on a Friday afternoon, I trotted over to an Alfa Romeo dealership in Berkeley and took a test drive in an Alfa Gulia ti.

So this is my old lady’s dream, to have one more great car in my life. A very nice young man pulled it out of the dealership lot and turned it over to me a few blocks down. Now, downtown Berkeley is not the best place for a test drive, but within a few turns we were on a deserted side street. A perfect place to the put the pedal to the metal and experience that Alfa Romeo smile as it took off like a bat out of hell. Not, of course, the power of the top of the line Quadrifoglio model, but then again, not the price tag either. And how badly do I want to get arrested for speeding at my age…not.

I sunk down into the luxurious interior with it’s wood paneling, softer than soft buff leather seats, adjusted the driver’s seat that moves every which way at the touch of a button to make even a 73 year old back with its attendant aches and pains quite comfortable. I start to imagine long rides on the open road. Although I may have to cave and get the “regular” model with it’s smaller wheels in order not to feel every bump in the road. But then again, with that choice I can’t have the cool rims. Beauty…pain…beauty…pain! Such a dilemma!

The only glitch, of course, is the lack of funds. Do you think a Go Fund Me campaign would fly? Help this elderly woman buy a car beyond her means. Well, one can dream and if I could settle for the “regular” edition, perhaps it is doable. Stay tuned.

Who knows what genius lurks in the hearts of men?

2014-05-17 11.50.16The Shadow does! Only this is a tale of three men whose love for racing and inventive minds created a classic car…the Shadow. The three men, Don Nichols the company founder, George Follmer, the first driver, and Trevor Harris, the designer of the first two version shared their story at the Sonoma Historic Motorsport Festival today.

2014-05-17 11.49.42They told a fascinating story of persistence and inventiveness, of getting the extremely small tires made by Firestone, the cramped quarters for the driver, problems with cooling resolved in part by placing radiators on the rear wing, their race successes and failures, and various versions of how the car got its name. A shadow, of course, is only two dimensional and black. And this car had such a low profile that it was almost like a shadow. Two current owners, racing their models in the days classic races, were also present. A wonderful opportunity to hear the history of a unique car from the men who designed and drove it.

2014-05-17 12.06.14Hundreds of classic race cars take part in the event every year. I had great fun following this Morgan after I encountered it on the freeway on its way to the event. It took part in the Morgan Car Club parade run during the lunch hour. I had no doubt where he was headed.

 

2014-05-17 09.57.002014-05-17 10.18.28

 

 

And, of course, I saw quite a few other favorites like this Alfa.

 

 

In contrast, the San Francisco McClaren dealership also had their latest model on display. I think I prefer the classic cars!