Back to the Future
Back in 1981 Ian’s mother, Fern, bought herself this 1981 Delorean [the only model years were 1980 and 1981]. She proceeded to use it daily for work and logged 164,000 miles on it. When she reached an age at which she though she should no longer drive, she gave the car to Ian.
Step ahead to June when Ian found himself with lots of time on his hands and an eagerness to work off his frustration. The answer was the classic Road Trip.
Ian has found similar resources available to him in keeping his Delorean running smoothly – it’s now covered 13,000 miles on this trek. He’s traveled from Texas through California to Washington state, then through the national parks of the northwest all the way to Chicago.
He would up in New England at the offices of Hemmings, which interviewed him and featured his blog in Daniel Strohl’s fine article. Once I read he was heading “Down East” I contacted Ian and we agreed to meet in Rockland, ME yesterday.
I enjoyed hearing his story as well as the company of his friend, Lisa Schreiner, who sounds like someone who has lived in Houston all her life. While it was Lisa’s first trip to New England (“I’m loving it!”) Ian lived briefly in Westport, CT, as as child and looked forward to his visit to his hometown.
Ian noted that “I’m interested in how others are faring in today’s world. My layoff left a bitter taste in my mouth, but I wanted to know about the prevailing attitudes of others. My brother thought I was nuts to make this trip but the people I’ve met have been very friendly.” Obviously, some of that is because of car, but unless they’re the “concours – obsessive” type, it’s really because classic car drivers really care about each other as well as the cars.
Ian also hoped to find a place where he might swap out his defective speedometer cable drive [mounted on the front left hub] and find a shop that could successfully balance the four tires. On Monday morning, I called Copeland’s Garage in Warren, ME, a genuine repair shop staffed by genuine auto mechanics who are genuine auto enthusiasts. Once they remembered just what a Delorean was, they found time to help Ian out and within an hour, installed the new drive [sent up from Delorean Texas] and properly balanced the tires. Despite finding a flat spot in one rear tire, Ian told me in a phone conversation that the previous vibration had disappeared and the speedometer worked perfectly. The entire staff was delighted to see the car in person, too.
The car did rivet attention. Ian had met me at the Maine State Ferry Terminal in Rockland, and when I saw the Delorean in the parking lot, I found myself followed by island friends and a ferry crew member. He remained so transfixed that he bolted suddenly when he realized he might miss the ferry’s return trip!