Jump back, what’s that sound? Here she comes, full blast’n top down.
Sheet metal. Pistons. Crankshafts. Valves. Shocks. Snarling exhaust notes. The smell of gasoline and oil. The squeal of tires. Classic, historic cars, as far as the eye can see. Acres of beautiful vehicles, all glimmering and newly cleaned. Thursday after work, I had driven to Patriot Place, the shopping plaza that surrounds the Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, to run an errand at the arts and crafts store AC Moore. As I pulled into the parking lot, I realized there was a mid-70’s Chevrolet Corvette in front of me. Glancing in my rear view mirror, I saw an early 70’s Ford Torino. I had, it seemed, stumbled into a mid-week classic car show!
The Bass Pro Shops at Patriot Place sponsors a free classic car show every other Thursday from April to November. Mass Cruisers is a local auto club that runs the show, attracting hundreds of vehicles from New England. It has become an extremely popular event. One Thursday last August, the show had over 2,000 cars and motorcycles participate, a one-day record. “AC Moore can wait,” I muttered to myself, as I parked my car and raced over to the show.
As I was walking through the parking lot, a car drove by and I did a double-take. The Trabant that I had seen during my trip to Concord battlefield in April drove right past me! I lost track of it for a while, and spent several minutes canvassing the parking lot, unable to find it. Seeing me walking back and forth, a couple of guys asked me what I was looking for, and so I described the car to them, and they, complete strangers, spread out to help me search for it. One of them yelled to me that he found it, and then connected me to the owner. Nice guys!
I was unsure what the owner would think of some random person stalking his car in the parking lot and approaching him, but Roger could not have been nicer! It turns out that he works in Concord and had stopped by the battlefield on the day that I had visited. He was impressed that I recognized the Trabant, and I had shared with him that after college I had taken several trips to Central Europe to visit my friend Jason, who had gone to graduate school in Budapest. Hungarian roads still had a large number of Trabants at the time, and I had become interested in the quirky little vehicle. He and I spoke for a half-hour. He informed me that his Trabant (a Trabant 601 S Deluxe) is one of only 200 in this country. He imported it from Germany and drives it almost every day. It is a fairly simple car and is easy for even an inexperienced mechanic to maintain. He opened the car and let me sit inside while we discussed his vehicle.
The Mass Cruiser Auto Show was a lot of fun, and an unexpected adventure in the middle of the work week. I will definitely go back and check out this very cool event in the future. In fact, one of the stewards had told me to feel free to enter my car into the show, just for fun. I protested that my 2012 Honda Accord is hardly rare or an antique, but he countered that the show is very low-key and relaxed, and that I would be welcome. Maybe I will… after taking the day off to wash, wax, polish, and detail my car first, so it’s not covered in pollen and dirt like today!