Cross-Country Classics

cross-country-classic

Epic drives in vintage cars are nothing new, but these days they're more tempting than ever. Spare parts are a mouse click and an overnight shipping fee away. On-the-fly advice can be solicited in seconds with a smart phone. And thanks to social media, the trip itself can make you and your car (almost) famous. Here are four such road-trip celebrities.

1961 Chevrolet Corvair 500 Lakewood (freshly purchased)
Ned Coonen
Oakland, California, to Downers Grove, Illinois
September 2008 | 2100 miles

Reason for trip:
"It seemed like a fun idea. Really."
It gets cold in Nevada at night, doesn't it?
"Turns out the heater worked very well. A little smelly, though, as if you were using a lawn tractor to heat your kitchen. Not exhaust gas, just a hot air-cooled engine smell. We were pleased."
Too much information:
"My co-driver and I both thought we might have permanent nerve damage to our asses from the broken front bench seat. It was weeks before all the feeling returned to my nether regions."
How he shared it with the world:
bmwcommunity.com, bmw2002faq.com

1964 Dodge Dart 270 convertible
Dick Franke
Talent, Oregon, to Delaware, Ohio, and back
June 2003
8400 miles

Reason for trip:
"When I retired, I decided one of the many things I wanted to do was take a road trip in an old convertible."
Major mechanical failures?
"Depends on whether you consider having the push-button automatic transmission rebuilt (in South Bend, Indiana) a major failure."
Special preparation:
He called the Car Talk radio show and asked what he should bring for parts. Click and Clack's response: "Another Dodge Dart!" "Maybe two!"
How he shared it with the world:
richardfranke.com, Car Talk

1959 Renault Dauphine Deluxe
Jonathan Burnette
Austin, Texas, to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, and back
July 2010 | 10,000 miles

Reason for trip:
"I wanted to see Alaska and wanted to go there in an old car. And I wanted to show people that a French car is better than a British car."
He might not tell you:
He's a highly regarded mechanic who specializes in French cars, and his co-drivers included the president of Concours Cars, a Colorado European car repair and restoration shop.
Major mechanical failures?
"I put fuel injection on this car, but the valve seats began to erode from not having any lead and the higher temperatures of fuel injection. I brought along another cylinder head, so I put it on in Alaska."
How he shared it with the world:
facebook.com, bringatrailer.com

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