Sports Car Adventures was born out of the desire to share the passion of driving classic cars on the best roads the world has to offer. My relationship with classic cars started when I was a very young boy, and was fortunate enough to be surrounded with a family of car enthusiasts. When I was in high school, a friend I went to school with was selling a 1968 MGB-GT which I convinced my dad to purchase. The color wasn’t my first choice (metallic raspberry red), My mom drove the car until she ran it out of oil one day, and a full engine rebuild ensued by my older brother who was really into British sports cars (he built his career around them).
I drove the car in college, and learned how to take care of it along the way. My then girlfriend (current wife) and I drove the car from the Bay Area all the way up to Vancouver BC to see the World’s Fair, stopping along the way to check out all the amazing scenery Northern California, Oregon, and Washington have to offer. The little MG worked great, and was a testament to my brother’s engine building skills.
Fast forward more than 30 years, and as life happened (marriage, kids, moving 3 times), the MGB-GT stayed with me. It was part of the family. In the back of my mind, I wanted my kids to experience it the way I did, but would they even be interested?
As they got older, both boys (Quentin and Sawyer) grew up with the car. We would take it out occasionally, and spent time trying to find other classic car owners who enjoyed driving their old cars, not just showing them at local club events. I was always intrigued by the pictures and film clips of the classic rallies that took place during the 1960s in cars exactly like our MG in places like Monte Carlo, the mountains of Italy, Austria, and Germany, and wondered if anyone still offered owners of these now vintage sports cars a way to enjoy them the way they did back in the day.
Quite by chance, I discovered a small, renegade, and maybe even underground group of sports car enthusiasts that had been doing exactly what I was after for over 10 years! They had an event appropriately named the Snowball Rally coming up, and I wanted to enter! The MG was in fair shape, but I had never driven it over 100 miles in one day, and it needed some TLC. My older son Quentin who was 15 1/2 years old at the time would be getting his permit the week before the rally, and he was eager to get the car ready with my brother Emile’s help at his shop in Santa Cruz. Quentin overhauled the brake system (new master cylinder, pads and rotors up front, and new shoes in the rear). He also pulled the engine and had the head redone at a local machine shop, and replaced the clutch. The car came back together the day before we were to drive to Sacramento (125 miles away) for the start of the 500 mile rally.
When we arrived at the start, it was a classic car lovers dream. All of the greats were there… Jaguars, MGs, Triumphs, Alfa Romeos, BMWs, Porsches, Mercedes-Benzs, and even some unusual ones I’d never seen before, all older than 1975. What was even better was that all of these people seemed to share the exact same philosophy about owning a classic car… which is that these cars weren’t meant to be shown at some car show, all polished and shiny. Instead, these cars were meant to be driven, and driven hard, the way their designers and builders intended, on backroads exactly like the ones that California has to offer.
Each year, this same group of enthusiasts gather to drive their machines at their own pace in what’s really a Grand Tour, not technically a rally since there is no prize for finishing first, no stopwatches used for timing intervals, no officials to disqualify your car for being modified. The events are all about driving on the best roads, which means little or no traffic, usually great surface (although don’t be surprised at an occasional dirt section), amazing views with incredible scenery, and an experience that delivers something close to what the drivers of the famous events of the past experienced with their cars on roads just like the ones throughout California.
I’ve lived in California my entire life, and I never driven on most of the roads we took on that first Snowball Rally. It really opened my eyes to the beauty and sheer pleasure that can be had taking an old car on roads it was designed for. Quentin only had his driver’s permit for a few days, but he did most of the driving that weekend, and his skills improved exponentially as a result. We were prepared for the altitude changes as we climbed our way up the Sierras and even re-jetted the Weber carb to maintain a good air/fuel mixture ratio as the altitude increased to over 8,000 ft. The overnight stop was in North Lake Tahoe, where there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground after the cold winter season, but the MG ran great, and never let us down. The second day revealed even more amazing roads as we drove down the mountains through gorgeous canyons along the Feather River.
That weekend changed a lot for me. It brought me closer to my son, taught us both about the wonderful little machine I’d been keeping in my garages for years, and introduced me to a group of like-minded people that put the driving experience above everything else.
This tribe is dedicated to everyone that loves driving older (pre-1975-ish) cars, cars that were pure in their ability to deliver an experience unlike anything a modern car delivers, cars that are 100% analog, cars that actually require you to DRIVE them (no nanny aids), fully engaged, fully focused on what the car is saying to you. Cars with soul. Cars that are slightly outlaws. This is the spirit behind Sports Car Adventures. I hope you’ll share your stories about your sports car adventures.
Really great people!