The whole notion of heading to sunny Daytona Beach, Florida, on spring break never appealed to me, not even when I was in college in the cold, gray Northeast. The all-night parties, bad dancing, and inordinate amount of vomiting wasn't my idea of a good time. I much preferred my springtime stimulation in vehicular form. You know - jumping cars over enormous frost heaves. And perfecting rally-style e-brake turns through snow-covered hairpins. And seeing if I could get my brake rotors to glow white by the bottom of a badly paved, tree-lined downhill section of my favorite back road.
My cash-starved spring break was usually more of a spring broke - often involving an unplanned road trip in a rusty 200,000-mile heap running on half its cylinders and missing a gear or two. Or an impromptu engine swap. Or both, since they typically went hand-in-hand. But now that I'm ostensibly an adult, there's got to be a way to enjoy spring break in a more grown-up manner.
And exactly such an event was created this year. It's called the Orange Blossom Tour, a five-day-long classic-car drive that draws a squiggly line on the central Florida map, starting from the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance and ending at the 12 Hours of Sebring race. I found out about the Tour from Mazda PR man Jeremy Barnes, who invited me to accompany him. We squeezed our no-longer-college-aged selves into a Playskool-size 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S and hoped the poor old car would survive the week.
After all, the Cosmo is powered by Mazda's first production rotary engine, which was the world's first-ever twin-rotor in a new car. Even better, it has a carburetor - you know, that contraption that all but guarantees you'll be sitting on the side of the road with the same regularity that college students projectile vomit at one another on the beach in Daytona. Funny, this is starting to sound more and more like a slightly better organized version of my college days. Bring on Spring Break(down)!