words & photographs by John R. Paul
The Great Racers are starting to arrive in droves, their heavily-logoed classics populating the streets of downtown Traverse City and catching the eye of both old and young alike. Anticipation for Saturday’s Grand Start is running high and there is an electricity in the air that will surely be kicked up a notch or two with tomorrow’s prologue Trophy Run which will see all participants making their way out to Empire, MI and surely some gorgeously scenic vistas amidst the dunes that run along Lake Michigan. But it will be best to keep one’s eyes on the road, following the directions accordingly while simultaneously making sure everything is in fine running order.
Over ninety cars will begin amassing over the course of the next 24 hours, all of which will participate in tomorrow’s Trophy Run and, perhaps more spectacularly, Saturday’s Grand Start beginning shortly after nine on a blocked-off Front Street in downtown Traverse City. It will certainly be an event not to be missed for any and all car guys and gals in the area, with cars ranging from the 1900s all the way up through the 1960s and a bit of everything in between.
One of our favorite sights so far, spotted both last night on the ride down to pick up the Olds Super 88 and then again this afternoon at the Hagerty garage, has been car number 10, the red 1916 Studebaker racer. Very sharp looking and with a great engine sound. Many other Great Racers have been spotted checking out the sights and sounds of Traverse City, a slight rain shower this morning doing nothing to dampen spirits as the excitement builds for all of those involved.
Much of this afternoon has been spent making last minute adjustments and tweaks to ensure everything on the Olds Super 88 is in fine working orderand ready to head out on the 2,300-mile trek that lays ahead of us over the course of the next ten days. Following last night’s adventure with Miss Adventure (our perhaps too-appropriate name for the Olds), our team has begun to regroups, learning quickly that a late-night breakdown is all part of the experience of driving an old car. Regardless of Wednesday’s misadventure, all involved are excited to get out on the open road, meet some new folks, see some fantastic cars and gather some great stories.
The forecast for the next several days calls for sun and mild temperatures, the perfect combination for the race (especially for those riding al fresco), and one that will surely bring out car lovers in each stop. Along the way we hope to be able to spread the word about This Car Matters and collect stories and photographs from the car nuts around the Great Lakes region. We know you’re out there and we’re coming to meet you!