In a previous post I’ve already taken a look at the actual Le Mans event itself, however what goes on off the track is almost as famous as what happens on it. With tens of thousands of car nuts all in the same place for a week, you can be assured that it’s a pretty good time, particularly on the Friday.
Because an event on the scale of the 24hr only happens once a year there is nowhere near enough beds for the fans who come, and most of those few beds are occupied by teams and race officials at hideous expense. Unless you want to stay an hour or more from the circuit, camping is the only option. Camping at Le Mans has become as much of a tradition as the race itself, with fans driving from all over Europe and proudly pitching their tents next to their pride and joy.
Driving the nicest possible car and then camping beside it seems to be the British thing to do. One Porsche driver mentioned to me that he’d had a conversation with a French Ferrari owner, who’d said “I never understand you Brits. You drive your $150,000 cars here, and then get some sort of joy from sleeping in a $20 tent in the rain”. Continue reading →
Adelaide’s Zippel cruises have become somewhat legendary in car circles. Strictly for American cars and their owners only, the meet point, route and finish point of the Saturday night cruises are a closely guarded secret, only distributed to verified owners who have joined the Zippel Cruise Nights club.
The cruises run monthly during the summer and have done so for the past 24 years. The police are notified of the route, and the secrecy is designed to keep hoons and public spectators away. Zippel cruises have had over 400 cars on some runs, so it’s really important that it remains an underground thing to avoid it getting out of hand.
The first time I encountered a Zippel cruise was last year when we went to see a movie at West Lakes. We pulled into the carpark and it was completely full of American cars. It was like nothing I’d seen before, and I was almost speechless. It took a few months of sleuthing to find out what the gathering was and to get the contact details of the cruise organiser, Grant Zippel, and then quite a bit of fast talking to convince him to share the route for the next one with Any Given Reason.
So with a non-disclosure promise akin to top level military papers, yesterday Grant kindly emailed me the route for last night’s cruise. Starting with a 6pm meet at K-Mart Firle, the route headed north to Montague Road before turning back toward the city, finishing the other side at the Castle Plaza Shopping Centre. Continue reading →
In the interests of transparency, I’m not usually a huge fan of American cars, and I dare say most Any Given Readers probably share that opinion. But just look at that ’59 Caddy – you can’t deny its appeal. It’s probably as far removed as is possible from the small, nimble cars we love so much, but in the right context, I doubt it would be any less fun. For quite a while I’ve had a desire to jump in one of these things with a whole bunch of mates, and just go cruising on a hot summer night.
This is the kind of scene I’ve got in my mind. And if B.B. King and Eric Clapton were there with their guitars, well that’s even better.
And on the same day, not even two hundred metres around the corner, was parked this C2 Corvette Convertible. I’m not overly educated on my Corvette history, but this looks to be around a 1966 model, and in my eyes probably the prettiest of the Corvette convertibles. Some, like the C4, look a little uneasy as a convertible, but I think the loss of roof only enhances the C2’s sharp lines. And as one of the smallest and lightest of the American sports cars it ticks all the boxes – it has the American Graffiti aura without the land yacht zip code.