These days they live in Detroit - or more properly, outside Detroit - in Birmingham, Michigan. They both got teaching jobs in the area, so that's where they went. In true Richard and Mary fashion they met me at the airport with a tambourine and a homemade 'Welcome to Michigan' flag accessorized with pinecones. I'd been hearing stories of Detroit's decline but I was unprepared for the tour they took me on when we left the airport. Two words sum it up: abandoned skyscrapers.
Even odder are the patches of the city that are holding it together. We stopped by Lafayette Park- a neighborhood completely designed by legendary architect Mies van der Rohe. Less than a mile from bombed-out sections of the city, Mies' leafy modernist subdivision is incredible, and perfectly kept. The architect designed a group of connected townhomes, two apartment towers, a school and even a strip mall! Everything is immaculate.
I was taking pictures and noticed a sports car parked behind a truck in one of the driveways. Further investigation revealed that it was a TVR. I was taking a picture when the owner came out- LeRoy had owned the car since new and was just starting to think about selling it. We chatted about cars for a bit and then we had to get moving.Richard and Mary drove me out to pick up my rental car at the airport, and after a quick dinner I headed south on I-75 around 7:30. By the time I pulled into Wauseon it was just getting dark. I found the fairgrounds and pulled in, trying to get my bearings. Even in the dark I could see plenty of Crosleys on trailers or parked next to campers. I saw a guy near a big RV and asked him where I could set up a tent. The guy turned out to be the best East Coast engine builder, Barry Seel.
I've talked to Barry many times - he offered a ton of advice when I was in the planning stages of building a hopped-up Fageol motor, even suggesting the perfect cam grind. Barry just may know more about the Crosley engine than anyone else on the planet. We talked for a few minutes and he told me a horrifying story about buying a Bandini Torpedo, only to have the seller refuse to turn over the car, and then scrap it out of spite! That Barry didn't strangle the guy is a testament to his self-control.
The Fibersport was there, waiting.
To be continued...