©2000 Bill Ott
Sunday, June 11, 2000.
While waiting in the motel parking lot for Jack Brady, couldn't help
but notice the change in the weather from yesterday, downright cool this
morning. And a local FM station is playing an oldie by Dinah Washington…
"What a difference a day makes." Sometimes there's a lot of
harmony in the Universe.
Jack pulls into the lot 7:30 sharp with the Topolino in tow on an open
trailer (just like the old days) looking bitchin' with its new Sweet
Red/Orange coat, with matching SB Chevy with SIX jugs on top, and spoked Mag
wheels in front. No way this day ain't gonna be cool!
Time to go pick up Wheels (aka Harrison Inglis), but on the way we'll
drop by Larry Stauff's house and meet a few others. Larry opens his garage
door and out rolls a red all steel '49 Anglia Street Rod that I was told
was a GASSER in a former life. About then Ted Johnson pulls up out front in
his all original silver '65 Chevy. After a short bench race session we're
Arriving at the motel our "parade" parked on the lot, while I
went in to get Wheels. At the door I was greeted with "Hey man, did you
see all of the cool cars in the parking lot?" When I informed him that
was our escort to the Reunion, he beat me to the lobby!
Upon arriving at the Reunion grounds, we again were given the VIP
treatment by Bob George and his entire staff. Found us a shady spot front
and center under the pavilion and now the bench racing was about to begin in
earnest! I'd brought my old photos and handouts from Atco and was looking
forward to sharing them with these folks from "up North."
About then a roar was heard that turned everyone's head towards to
center of the show field. It seems that Jack had rolled the Fiat off the
trailer and couldn't wait to fire it up! Sounded crisp and got a lot of
comments. BTW, Jack was ably assisted by his teenage son Pat… who seems
like he's caught "The Disease," too! Man, we gotta pass this
stuff off to the kids, before it's gone forever! Pat also plays a mean set
When things settled back down again we were joined by Mark Hovsepian,
lookin' all business-like in a red 1320 T-Shirt with a camera strapped to
his neck. Mark and I had met before at last years' CHRR… hell, we even
"borrowed" Wheel's golf cart from Ewald and cruised the Famoso
Hey, speaking of Wheels, he came all the way from Santa Fe, N.M., to
attend this thing and they speak a whole ‘nuther version of the English
language here in the Boston area. He coulda done with an interpreter, but
there wasn't one to be found! Seems he spent a whole lotta time saying,
"Huh?" Another term heard a number of times was, "He's not
from around here, is he?"
Got to visit with two gentlemen who had campaigned a Cad powered roadster
in the early ‘50s and eventually moved up to the famous Lloyd bodied
competition coupe "Lil' Patriot" that recently was featured in a
"name the car" contest held by a car magazine. I believe one of
the gentlemen's names was Jim O'Brien. They brought some great old
snapshots of cars and racing action with them that I pored over while they
checked out my Atco stuff.
While on the subject of old snapshots, got a chance to meet Arnie and
Bernie Shuman and grab a copy of their book "Cool Cars Square Roll
Bars." Got ‘em both to sign it, too. Now I've got something to look
forward to every time I head for the "library!"
Time for lunch. Talk about good conversation over broiled steak… Steve
Gibbs, Wheels, Mark Hovsepian, Don Roberts, and Jeff Howe (and maybe one or
two others I've forgotten). Oh yeah, the caterer advised us they WOULD be
counting the Silverware after lunch! Our reputations remain intact!!
After lunch, it was time for the awards presentations and to meet the
gentleman for whom all of this is about… Ed Sarkisian, one of Hot Rodding
(and all of Motorsports) premier writers, now severely handicapped by MS and
living in a Veteran's Home. This is the third Charleston Dragway Reunion
and all three have been a benefit to help with caring for Ed. It's
heartwarming to see all of these folks come out and show so much love and
concern for one of their own who's been less fortunate. ‘Nuff said.
Had trouble hearing all that was said during the Awards Presentation so I
missed the names of many of the recipients. But the 1320 Group was well
represented with Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Inglis, and the absent in body but not in
spirit "island dweller" himself, Mr. Bruce Wheeler (of Wheeler
Dealer fame), all receiving Awards and applause from those in attendance.
Good job, guys! Again I apologize for missing the names of the other
recipients but from where I was standing it was impossible to hear what was
Back to the bench racing, but one couldn't help but notice the
blackening skies off in the horizon, soon followed by the sound of thunder,
and everyone started to get a little antsy. BTW, I have forgotten to mention
the HUGE turnout of Street Rods. Some without tops. This would explain the
exodus for the gate at the first sound of thunder.
Helped Jack and Pat get the Topolino back on the trailer and said
farewell just before the rains came. And rain it did, but hey, ya know what,
a good bench race was never canceled due to rain. We all stayed dry in the
pavilion. Got to meet a few more of the local characters while it was
pouring, but once the rain stopped it was getting obvious that this event
was winding down.
The "Shark" Corvette Funny Car was there and the crew made an
attempt to fire it up before putting it in the trailer, but no luck. Maybe
all the rain got something wet. Was looking forward to maybe a little whiff
of NITRO (it's been since January, you know), but guess I'll have to
wait until next weekend at Maple Grove.
Well, then seemed about as good a time as any to head south for
Harrisburg. It was a long drive and the weather took a major turn for the
worse. Time to put that Stevie Ray tape back on, but… changing the words
around to say, "It's floodin' in Connecticut … and all the
telephone lines are down" true or not, just doesn't have the same
feel to it. More old B.S. later.