After a while it became clear that we were lost... not just the Lloyd, the whole group. A few cars had peeled off after lunch and a few more cars had drifted away during the ride, and now there were less than a dozen cars cruising... none of us exactly sure where we were since Mark had gotten separated from the group. We were behind the 250 cc Goggomobil sedan - it was really struggling to keep up on the hills and I think we must have missed a turn that the lead cars had taken.
Chris had already done a bunch of work and it was running pretty well. There was some stuff that still needed to be done, but it was a serviceable driver, and by far the neatest car I'd ever driven. To say I was torn is to way understate the situation - I was in knots. In the end, I said no. Parts availability was one of the things that had made the Crosley so appealing - whatever I bought was planned to be my daily driver at that point - and parts availability for Fiat Multiplas in 1997 was basically zero. So, I said no, Chris sold the car to Tony Grillo (who totally restored it and still has it) and I haven't stopped kicking myself ever since. The Fiat Multipla - my unrequited love.
He'd lost a cap just as we'd started the tour - it had zinged off as we rounded a corner and rolled into the bramble-filled ditch on the side of the road. He'd pulled over and made a quick look at the time but hadn't found anything so we stopped again on the way back for a more thorough search. The whole gaggle of cars pulled off, making for quite a sight for passing cars. The roadbed was raised about 10 feet above the ground level and the slope was full of bushes, small trees and poison oak. We all started digging into the bush and after ten minutes Tony emerged, hubcap in hand. "I figured it'd be in the darkest, deepest spot, so I started looking there and there it was!" Amazingly, the hubcap looked brand new, with no rash from bouncing down the road.
Tin Block Times for any Crosley nuts I might meet. I promised to help him try to find some of the bits he was missing for his restoration.
We chilled at the ice cream place, swapping stories about absurdly tiny cars and the interesting folks you meet driving them. After about an hour we headed back to McMenamin's to put the cap on a very full day....
to be continued
Back to Part II