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June 12, 2007

2007 Classic Motorcar Rally, Day One. Photos and Story.

Filed under: 2007 CMR,Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 9:12 am

The first day of rallying was clear and pleasant… well, the weather that is… the rallying was unclear and unpleasant for Dad & I. We were very rusty on TSD rallying, and messed up several times… including the very first odometer-calibration segment where we missed a turn! That put us completely off the rest of the day. Oh well. We enjoyed ourselves though, as we can never take ourselves too seriously. The story follows…


BMW 3.0cs
BMW 3.0cs
BMW 3.0cs
BMW 3.0cs

Some great cars were collected for the start. Two E-types, an old Corvette, several BMWs, including one old 3.0CS coupe, a Daimler SP250 “Dart”, an Austin-Healey Sprite, an MG, a really nice MB 280sl, an Aston-Martin DB4, an Audi TT, and an Alfa-Romeo Guilietta. Oh, and of course the Dino 308 of Rally Organizer Doug Breithaupt.

We waited in the hotel bar, receiving our route instructions at one minute intervals, with ten minutes for the navigators to prep for the rally.

Cars left at one minute intervals in the morning sunshine. It was intoxicating, as always, to be sitting in the lineup, listening to the rumble of so many fine machines.

Our initial run out of Anacortes in a south-easterly direction was supposed to be a simple odo calibration, followed by a short TSD run to a grade school in La Conner. I know these roads well, having driven them a zillion times in both normal day-to-day driving, and the annual Tulip Rallye in the Spring… but somehow I was really out of it and made some really dumb driver errors. Mostly I wasn’t listening to my navigator and just doing what he said. We made two wrong turns mid-way through the segment, and completely blew our chances to calibrate our odometer. D’oh!

Then we arrived at the 10 minute buffer area (a church parking lot) where the first TSD started and a bit of road construction had messed up the route. Mass confusion reigned and rally cars were all over the map, even being suckered into a dead-end street. We finally sorted out the right route and I had to make up time. Thankfully the route fell onto a road I knew well… we even used it to drive up to the rally start at Anacortes from home. It is a long, straight stretch of two-lane through the woods on Fidalgo Island, and I cranked the Jaguar up unreasonable speed and put ground behind us. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) my Valentine started screeching a loud warning about K-band radar about halfway through this long lonely straight, and I had to back off to the speed limit. Sure enough, over a rise pops a country sheriff. We ambled the rest of the way, and missed the checkpoint at the bridge to the mainland near La Conner by 33 seconds. (Accuracy provided in hindsight by the scoresheet.) Had I been able to maintain my pace we likely could have been within the “zero” range of 20 seconds. We start the rally with no odometer calibration, and 1 penalty point. The former is going to hurt us far more than the latter though.

We arrived at the La Conner Elementary School, as the sixth car (seven if you include the Rally organizer), when we should have been 11th! The rest of the rally had been confounded by the construction and dead-end, and without my “local knowledge” of the roads, we’d still be out there too! The kids were noisy and cheered our arrival. They remained in an orderly ring around the cars as they slowly trickled in, cheering every one loudly. Once all the cars were there 9actually one was missing!) the kids all did a big lap around the lined up cars, keeping their distance, but clearly having fun being out of classes and doing something different. I upped the ante of kid drool by opening the bonnet of the E-type. The full-body tilt-up from the nose astounded them and ooohs and aaahs emanated from the kids as they paraded by the 65E. At some signal, they all turned and went back into the school and an eerie silence fell over us after the din of several hundred kids vanished.

The lost rally car arrived shortly after car #1 pulled out of the lot at their appointed checkout time. We took of and enjoyed the wonderful weather and performed dismally at rallying. We fell for every trap, and not having our odometer calibrated really hurt us. We were late to every checkpoint, by anywhere from 8 seconds to over seven MINUTES. We went through THREE checkpoints in the wrong direction. Five segments left us with maximum 5 point penalties. We zeroed two segments, were assessed 1 penalty point for one segment, and three penalty points for another. Thirty four points for the day put us in DEAD LAST. Oh well.

Two more things happened that day, lunch and a “Monte Carlo” rally segment. First let’s talk about lunch.

For lunch we rallied to Siegfried Linke’s house, or more accurately his garage, where we viewed his collection of cars. Mr. Linke is a noted collector of Mercedes-Benz cars. He left his native Germany in the early 60s and worked in Seattle as a mechanic for Phil Smart’s dealership, then founded European Motors. he is now retired and living near Stanwood with a garage that is larger than his house… truly a “Garage Mahal”.

We arrived and lined up our cars on his lawn, so of course I started shooting photographs:


Above: My father has a healthy obsession with SL Mercs.

Then we wandered over to the garage, where lunch, and other treats awaited…

I couldn’t really capture the entire feel of the place with a still camera, so I decided to stand in the middle and pan around with my camera in “video” mode. You’ll see the whole “garage mahal” here, starting with (I think) and old Buick, a pair of 280SEs, a 190sl, a 300sl, a 300s, a 290(?), a 190sl, FIVE more 300sl, and in the middle, a 540k special roadster undergoing restoration/recreation (I say the latter as the project started with a frame and engine.) Amazing.

No comment on the schmaltzy German tunes.

Since I couldn’t capture the essence of the space with the still cam, I focussed instead on the smaller details. The walls were crammed with memorabilia and the workbenches were scenes of wonder…

Above: The “K” in 540k.. the supercharger from the 5-liter 180 BHP straight-eight engine out of the 540K Special Roadster. This was the fastest production car in the world in the late 1930s.

It was hard to pull myself away from all this amazing machinery and sit down for lunch. It was certainly the most amazing collection of Mercedes-Benz cars that I have ever seen. It was very gracious of Herr Linke to share it with us.

The afternoon of rallying was just like the morning, with beautiful weather, and awful driving and navigation by the team in car#11. We managed to rack up the maximum five point penalty at EVERY segment except the final one… where I knew the roads very well. We did have one issue on that segment where the v-belt of the Jaguar started squealing. I pulled over at the Rexville grocery between Conway and La Conner and tightened it up. We timed it with the stop watch and made a 4 minute time declaration after we arrived back at the hotel. Our final segment saw a 3 point penalty

(I was very proud of myself for turning a roadside repair is such swift time. I’m writing this a bit over a week after, while I’m watching the 24 hours @ Le Mans… where in 4 minutes they can swap an entire drivetrain… so my 4 minutes to tighten a belt in hindsight seems pretty lame!)

We finished the day happy to see it done!

At dinner, Herr Linke shared the story of his now 7 year project of building the 540k special roadster. Just prior to that however, Doug read out the results for the day and we were DEAD LAST.

Thankfully, we get another chance tomorrow! 😉

5 Comments

  1. “The lost rally car arrived shortly after car #1 pulled out of the lot at their appointed checkout time. We took of and enjoyed the wonderful weather and performed dismally at rallying. We fell for every trap, and not having our odometer calibrated really hurt us. We were late to every checkpoint, by anywhere from 8 seconds to over seven MINUTES. We went through THREE checkpoints in the wrong direction. Five segments left us with maximum 5 point penalties. We zeroed two segments, were assessed 1 penalty point for one segment, and three penalty points for another. Thirty four points for the day put us in DEAD LAST. Oh well.”

    Wait..you mean there’s *another* method to rallying? Sounds like me, in my heyday…ergo, why I DETEST rallying!
    LOL!
    Great shots, as always, chucckie!

    Comment by vrooomie — June 14, 2007 @ 7:52 am

  2. Thanks… Dad & I usually do very well, but we were just very rusty and particularly off our game. You will see soon hat we found redemption on day two! 😉

    Comment by cg — June 14, 2007 @ 8:45 am

  3. why so many of the same Merc in that collection I wonder….

    Jerome

    Comment by gondwana — June 17, 2007 @ 3:13 am

  4. Jerome… likely because:
    1. He loves them
    2. they are about the best collector car investment you can make. They have never failed to appreciate in value.

    Comment by cg — June 17, 2007 @ 10:35 am

  5. With a garage like that, who needs a house ?

    Comment by ove, norway — June 17, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

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