The classic car world is full of stereotypes; British cars have terrible electrical systems…Porsche enthusiasts won’t drive in the rain…Italian cars only come in red…Japanese cars aren’t really classics…the list is long, and usually ridiculous. The one stereotype that has held up over the years, however, is that American brand car owners “don’t drive their cars”.
The Hagerty Maple Mille began today, as with all our events, at the morning driver’s meeting. Route book instructions, driving styles, cautions and Hagerty road-side-assistance were highlighted, before the entire group set out to explore Northumberland and Prince Edward Counties.
We began in Bowmanville, and quickly zipped down to the shores of Lake Ontario where we wound our way through the twisties and trees, crossing historic bridges and towns you’d never realize were just a stones-throw from Highway 401. We explored north to Warkworth, and down through the lakes of Glen Ross before stopping for lunch in Wellington (or Picton). From there it was the twisty and flowing roads of Prince Edward County, winding our way through the vineyards and farms before arriving at the Glenora Ferry. A quick ferry trip, which helped to gather the group and give a break for stories, before we were off to visit historic Kingston. Finally, a short 20km later, we were pulling into Gananoque for our overnight stay. The temperatures were quite warm all day, and it was either into the pool, dipping our feet, or parking lot beers that helped to cool us off.
Here in year three, you’d be hard pressed to figure out whether American Muscle, or European Sports Car is the predominate enthusiast. We’re almost split 50/50, with the American’s taking a sizeable (yuk yuk) portion of the parking lot. What is going on? I decided I must infiltrate the ranks to find out.
I started this morning as co-driver in Paul Hord’s 1966 Mustang Coupe. I can remember being 5 years old going for Ice-Cream in this particular Mustang, back when it was a 289 Automatic. So it was pretty exciting to ride with Paul in what has become a restored 302 5spd car with wonderfully throaty noise and a fantastic amounts of horsepower. In our driving group today were three other Mustangs, and a Ford Fairline 500. We toured flowing driving roads and wonderful small towns. We stopped for butter tarts, lunch in stone-mason building and even stopped to check out a church…turned brewery. Along the way we gathered a Datsun 1600, the Plymouth Fury and even an original Audi Quattro for part of the journey.
I set out today to discover what makes these particular Ford enthusiasts different, why they love driving their cars so much, and how I might encourage more American brand enthusiasts to try out the Classic Car Adventures brand of excitement…
What I discovered, however, is a group of die-hard driving enthusiasts, friends who are exactly like my driving friends back home. Their love of exploring, driving and road trips is what fuels their passion. The brand of car never came into question, just as my Mini and Italian friends back home don’t look down on me in my lowly Volkswagen. We’re car people, we’re driving people, we love the open road. My new group of Ford Mustang friends are exactly the same. Come to think of it, these Ford folks have done more miles today than 90% of my VW buddies back home have done all summer. Hmmmmmmmm….
Nine years ago, as Warwick and I set out to create the concept for Classic Car Adventures, one of our primary rules was “the type of car doesn’t matter”. Today I re-discovered how true that is. It’s about the people, the love of driving and a chance to get out and enjoy the roads together.
Our wonderful Hagerty Maple Mille Photographer Ralph Saulnier, was out chasing us down on his Motorcycle all day. A selection of his photographs are below.
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