My job was arranging a 35 mile driving tour for the early Thunderbirds, ending at an 'interesting' destination. I chose a route that highlights scenic vistas and then follows the coast road from the hotel to a pleasant botanical garden. It was more work than I expected, since I had to set up the parking with the garden staff, plan (and replan) the driving directions, train the lead drivers on the specifics of the route, make and layout the tour route signage, and then organize the drivers into groups on the day of the tour. Fortunately, I had a lot of help!
On Wednesday the parking lot at the hotel began to fill up with about 150 baby-birds in different categories; Display (not judged), Touring (driving cars, and judged against each other in their sub-class), and Concours (intensely judged against a fixed set of rigorous criteria). Some Concours cars have been recently restored and the owner want a check on the work of the restorer. Other Concours cars are being judged so that the owner can get a detailed list of things to fix. The Touring cars are there for fun and friendly competition!
As the hotel became more crowded, my introverted nature became more and more uncomfortable. I also started to question if my planning was adequate, and started stressing out about the myriad of details that I might have forgotten!
Once again, I entered "Nell" in the "Hoods-Up Touring" class... because, well, her engine compartment is very pretty and still clean! Plus, 'Hoods Up' is a smaller class, and the likelihood of getting an award should be good... or so I thought!
|Nell is looking sharp!|
Nell was looking better than she ever has! I have made lots of subtle improvements since her last convention in 2013. Then I found out that the other four cars in my class were owned by members of my club... I knew that their cars were very, very nice! I didn't expect Nell to win anything.
We had two planned outings during the convention... the first was to a stylish local shopping/eating neighborhood. The T-birds made a colorful spectacle in our reserved parking area!
|The lineup at the 'dinner cruise-in'|
I was blessed with enthusiastic compliments and affirming comments about the driving tour! No one got lost, and the few minor breakdowns we had were quickly remedied! I was frankly amazed that everyone enjoyed the tour so much!
While I didn't have time to participate in the Swap Meet before the tour, I contributed in my own way. Note that nothing was left when we returned from the tour... not even the box! I'm sure the spare parts found a good home.
There were several silent auction and raffle prizes in the vendor room. I bid on a couple, but I really wanted the aftermarket soft top provided by Prestige Thunderbird! It's lightweight, compact design would probably fit behind the seat, even with it moved farther back than the stock position. I figured that I might not get another opportunity like this, so I decided to make a serious bid.
I placed a bid that was about 20% less than retail, and won the auction! Prestige still needs to send me replacement rear latches (it came with latches for a '57, which won't work on my '55), but I placed the top behind the seat... and it fits! Once the latches are sorted out, I will post pics of the top up on the car.
|"top in a box"|
|The top stows behind the seat. The Prestige top is lighter and simpler than the factory top.|
|It actually (barely) fits, even with the seat 2" farther back than the stock position!|
I never expected Nell to win out over the other excellent cars in her division! I am extremely pleased, but also humbled. At the banquet I received still more accolades about the driving tour. I feel totally surrounded by God's blessing and grace!