I had promised myself that I’d finish up all the blogging of 2014 road trips before 2014 was actually over, but that didn’t actually work out, so I was shooting for “before January 2015 is over”, and now it’s “before spring arrives.” We’ve got new adventures to move on to…
My next adventure was back in California again. I’d been invited to participate in the first ever Petrolicious “Drive Tastefully” rally, since I was a featured car in one of their recent videos. The car was still in post-trip condition (i.e, beat up), which again seemed appropriate, so I enthusiastically agreed to drive out and rally with all the fancy sports cars.
The deal was that we’d all meet up at a yet-to-be-disclosed location north of Santa Monica near the Pacific Coast Highway, then all travel up through some of the famous Southern California canyon roads to a vineyard in Malibu, park all the cars on the lawn, have a fancy brunch, and generally commune and talk cars. Sounded pretty good to me.
Since I still had about a zillion airline miles and travel points from when I used to travel a lot for work, I figured I’d go full swanky, considering that I was attending a fancy sports car event in Malibu. I got a room at the Fairmont on the beach in Santa Monica, which was really very nice. The valet guys were pretty jazzed by the car, and they parked it up front with all the Ferraris and Porsches and whatnot (dented graffiti fender and all). I stayed there all night, dining down at the bar and getting a good night’s sleep before the rally.
The next morning, I was not super-clear on what the meetup point actually was, as my GPS was a little vague in that regard, but as I got closer I saw a Ferrari 512BB and an old Mustang GT350 heading up the hill, so I figured I was going in the right direction. I followed them, and we ended up at a nondescript parking lot where a couple dozen fairly amazing sports cars were lined up for pre-rally staging. I went on a brief walkabout to check out all the different machinery, and when I got back, there were a couple of old Porsches parked on either side of me, with a number of people checking them out. Somebody mentioned “that’s Jerry’s car”, and it turned out that “Jerry” was Jerry Seinfeld, who’d shown up to hang out with his fellow car geeks.
We chatted a little bit about my car; he said he’d seen the video and really liked the whole idea of the trip, but like a moron I forgot to ask him to sign the fender. Regardless, it was still pretty cool to talk cars with Seinfeld.
The group had a brief pre-rally chat with the Petrolicious organizers, who stressed the normal rally stuff (it’s not a race, don’t worry about getting lost, etc.), and then everybody went to their cars and fired them up to get going. Since I was right next to Seinfeld, I ended up following him and his friend in the other Porsche out, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. They were apparently there just for the meet ‘n greet in the morning and weren’t going to participate in the rally itself, so I mistakenly ended up following them up the PCH past the correct turn for the rally, and it took me a little while to realize that we weren’t going the right way. I stopped, got turned around, and went back and found the correct turn, and then took off in pursuit of the group.
Luckily for me, the road pretty much immediately turned into really tight, twisty canyon two lane, which the Roadster just eats for lunch. I put the hammer down for about ten minutes, and was able to catch the tail end of the group in no time. I dialed it back to a somewhat more normal (and legal) speed and cruised for a bit, until I came upon Dave Scholz’s 240Z and a classic Skyline parked at the side of the road. In a show of Nissan solidarity (and because I had a trunk full of tools and spares), I stopped to see if I could help out at all. Turns out that Dave had just run out of gas due to a slightly premature gas pump shutoff at the station and a non-functional fuel gauge in the car. Luckily, the Hagerty insurance guys were there too (in a classic Camaro), and they happened to have a little gas with them (that was supposed to be for the Testarossa, which couldn’t do the whole trip without a little extra fuel.) You know you’ve got good insurance coverage when they follow you around with a can of fuel.
Once they’d gotten Dave enough fuel to get going again, we sidetracked to a gas station to get him completely topped up, then headed up to the Rosenthal Estate vineyard for brunch and hobnobbing. There were some really great cars there; several that had been featured in previous Petrolicious videos, and a bunch that were there largely because they were cool. Interestingly, there was a pretty heavy Italian and German presence, only one British car (a Mini), and a small Japanese contingent consisting of me, the 240Z, and the Skyline. Lots of Alfa Romeos, several Ferraris, a couple BMWs and Lamborghinis, and several Porsches. It was a pretty impressive display, with several cars there whose hubcaps were worth more than my entire vehicle.
After brunch, we all went our separate ways to the sounds of some of the sweetest exhaust notes this side of LeMans. I took a brisk drive through the canyons back to Santa Monica and then spent the next day at the beach, then packed up and drove back to Vegas. Again, zero problems with the car, and I think it held its own as far as getting attention from the upper crust sports car folks. There’s something to be said for the street credibility of a car that old that actually gets driven that much, and everybody seems to appreciate that kind of style with reliability.
Next: A roadster-less road trip.