Classic Car Corner: Stranded

  • Written by Tom Berg, Windermere

Alas, if you own classic cars, you’re going to need to be towed now and then.  Thank goodness for AAA. In the last year I’ve been towed FOUR times. This time they told me was my last free tow and they were going to charge me a modest fee for any tows I may need the rest of the year. They aren’t making any money on me but I’m sure lots of people with new cars go years without needing AAA services so it must average out because they are still in business.

studie 48 vmg

Recently, just after I got my 1948 Studebaker Commander convertible out of the shop I came to town to see how it ran. It did fine coming to town but it was a very hot day and I had a fuel problem heading back home. I have lots of fuel problems with modern gas in my old cars. I was heading up the hill east of town when the Studie decided to quit on me. I could see that it was done for the day and managed to pull over in a nice wide shady spot and call AAA for a tow. They are usually pretty quick but this time it took two hours to get to me. I am very patient when I need to be but it turned out to be a very entertaining wait as well.

I was just relaxing in the driver’s seat when I heard someone talking behind me. My Studie had the top down of course so I was quite exposed. This is not a pedestrian area so I turned around and a lady and her teenage son had stopped to check out my car and see if I needed help. We chatted awhile about cars and mine specifically and they were off. I then got back into my relaxing mode and soon saw a cop car in my rear view mirror pull up in back of me. I didn’t think much of that and didn’t even turn around but I was surprised when I heard a voice in back of me say “Mr. Berg.” I wondered how did he know me?? Well it was a local guy that I knew from Windermere that is a cop once a week so we chatted for awhile also. When he offered me water I replied that I thought my radiator was just fine but he meant did I need water for myself! It was nice of him to stop by.

Next a couple of local B&B owners stopped by to chat. They were driving a nice Mercedes convertible sports car with the top down of course. We talked about cars, B&Bs and local stuff. A few more minutes went by and just as I was about to become bored a guy pulls up in a late 70’s Camaro convertible (as best as I can recall). We talked about cars including the 65 Chrysler Imperial convertible he just got. When he told me he has an 18 car garage and about where he lived I knew right away where his house was because I get around the area a lot in my business and I’m not about to miss that many garages. He invited me to stop by one day and I will certainly take him up on that. Oddly enough the next guy to pull over owns a late 50’s Chrysler Imperial convertible that he’s working on so we talked cars for awhile also. During all this several people just stopped beside me in the street to see if I needed help. Interestingly, one even had a flatbed truck with a car on it! The last to pull over was a 1940 Ford that was beautifully done with modern running gear. The driver was young (at least by my standards) and said his grandfather had done the work. His grandfather was obviously very talented and I don’t think he’ll be breaking down anytime soon.

I’m a glass half-full kind of guy and so I felt that waiting two hours in a safe, wide shady spot just watching traffic go by and talking to some interesting people was not so bad. AAA showed up eventually and we loaded up the old Studie, hauled it off to Mike’s (my dedicated mechanic who works on all my old cars) and I was dropped off at home. There’s a lot of nice people here in Woodinville and if you’re ever in a spot perhaps you’ll get to meet them as well. My apologies for any mistakes on the year and models of cars I’ve mentioned and to anyone else I may have forgotten.

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