Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Torpedo

There is a huge "Back to the 50's" classic car show taking place over in St. Paul this weekend, and I noticed there is a Mecum Auto Auction going on at the event as well. If you get the HD Theater channel, you may have come across these classic car auctions on TV. Amazing machines! I would be tempted to go just to check things out, but I am afraid I would be tempted to buy something. :)

The reason I am bringing this up is because I was perusing all of the cars up for auction in St. Paul, and one is a beautiful 1969 Toyota Corona Deluxe. That is no typo; this is not the popular "Corolla" - it is a "Corona," a somewhat forgotten model which actually predated the Corolla and seemingly enjoyed greater success abroad than in the US.

This was of great interest to me, as I had the privilege of driving a 1973 Toyota Corona Deluxe when I was in college. It was originally my Grandma's car, and it totally looked the part with its metallic turquoise paint and a white vinyl roof. I am still not exactly sure what made it a Corona "Deluxe." Perhaps it was the AM radio with a single speaker? :)

I believe it was my Dad who nicknamed it "The Torpedo," which sort of became the standard moniker for a series of cheap "old beater" automobiles that my family drove over the years.

The Torpedo was really a great car; it got me down to Iowa and back on numerous occasions, and made countless trips to the golf course for my summer job. It also was quite distinctive. Everyone at college knew it was mine, and one of my buddies actually convinced some gullible girls that it was the first Toyota ever made. ;-)

It was also very reliable, though occasionally you would have to take off the air filter cover (which was disproportionately large given the small size of the car, and it wouldn't have looked out of place on a big block Chevy) and jiggle a small plate to get it started. Of course, this had a tendency to occur at the most inopportune times, like when rain was falling, or when trying to take a cute college girl out on a first date (astonishingly, there was no second date, even after such a manly display of mechanical prowess). However, the Torpedo always started! It served my family well for many years.

Yours truly behind the wheel of the Torpedo, probably summer of 1992. What a cruising machine!

Anyhow, what a treat to see that at least one Corona Deluxe has survived the test of time. There can't be too many of them left! Love those old cars.

Today was a day off from running, but I went for a 5 miler yesterday after work. It would appear that summer is finally arriving. Yesterday's temperatures were in the upper 70's with dew points in the sticky 60's, making for very humid conditions (I hate the humidity!). This made for slower running for me. Nature notes include more painted turtles laying eggs on the side of the trail, and I discovered an albino gray squirrel in my neighborhood. He is snow white and quite striking!

It is looking like the weekend is going to be sunny and warm. This is the first weekend in the last three where I do not have a race! So I will just be doing a long-ish run on Saturday morning before things really heat up.

All the best to those of you racing this weekend, especially to my buddies running at Grandma's!

Until next time,

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