Goddard, who drives an Austin-Healey 3000 back home in England, had surprised himself by liking the pea-green Sunbeam so much -- with its big trunk and electric overdrive, which made it an unexpectedly useful highway cruiser despite its four-cylinder's meager 1725-cc displacement -- that he refused to relinquish it. Offered the choice of the hard-top-wearing Triumph -- a potential enticement as the skies began spitting rain -- he instead donned gloves and skull cap and soldiered on, all the way to our evening's lodging outside Trumansburg, New York.
Spadaro figured the B could make it in on battery power alone and we set out, with Jake Gouverneur in the Datsun, Travers in the Alfa, and me in the B. (As Emily Post once wrote, the gracious host always volunteers to be the one to die when a wheel falls off one of his cars.) In an effort to conserve time and juice, I'd drive the MG top-down, with no headlights and minimal use of wipers, through a steady rain that had arisen annoyingly to follow us most of the way in. We made it, too. As a longtime British car owner, I am well versed in the press-on possibilities when such familiar electrical gremlins strike, but in the morning we'd have to begin an aerobicizing regimen of frequent push-starts.
At least our first order of business was clear: a trip to a local shop with a taste for old English cars and Lucas electrical systems. An ad for Smalley's Garage, longtime tech inspectors for races at the Glen, cried out to us. Tom Smalley, chief proprietor of a family enterprise that opened its doors a couple days before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, settled into the B's charging issues. Travers and I went next door to Mr. Chicken, a local landmark known for its toothsome broasted birds. Dining at an outdoor picnic table, we were treated to an amazing display of classic sports cars on parade, the fine luncheon fare accentuated by the fumes of passing Allards and other historic gems cruising along the old route.