Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ferrari Life Posts: 739
Dear Dinosaur followers,
In trying to keep this thread as the repository of all of the postings concerning the blue car, I am listing a comment on another site which dealt with the use of the term "custodian" as related to car ownership.
Originally Posted by swift53(Alberto)
I am curious Admiral, when you first bought that fantastic car, did you think yourself as a custodian, or just a passionate car fellow? Now, of course, you qualify as both.
Of course it is difficult to remember exactly my feelings 56 years ago. At the time I was running my MGA in local autocrosses and had started the SCCA drivers school to get my Novice Permit. The car culture in Northern California had an interesting foreign car class structure. MG drivers waved at every other foreign car. Other MG, Triumph, Alfa, Mini, Lancia and Sprite drivers always waved back, not so often from Porsches and Jaguars and never from Mercedes and Maseratis or Ferraris. Two more pieces of background, at the time I was earning about $3,250 annually before taxes, and my total automotive mechanical experience was having replaced a head gasket on the MGA with the help of the thorough MG Manual.
After hearing that a Ferrari race car was for sale sitting in a storeroom at the Richmond California Rambler Dealership, I was intrigued. I knew very little about Ferrari race cars and when I first saw a forlorn filthy muddy car on jack stands with no wheels, hood stashed in the cockpit, no seats and 2 inches of Bondo obvious at the rear of the car sitting over a wooden box filled with broken pieces of metal and gears, my first thought was that it was one of the Bill Devin fiberglass bodied specials. At first glance the mud covered motor looked like a V-8 with no carburetor. Someone had used the side of the car to test a spray gun pattern before painting another car. In other words a complete turn off. As I started to walk away I wondered what motor had been put in the Devin, so I picked up a rag from the shop floor and wiped the grime off one of the valve covers. The name FERRARI appeared and as my parents later said "I had taken leave off my senses" when I said to myself "I have to save it!" In retrospect it clearly was not a rational decision.
The same frame of mind was still in place when I took out a personal loan for $2,500 and arranged to buy the car (for $2,225). After being told by Ferrari that there was no such thing as a shop manual for the car I had absolutely no choice but to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Over the next 9 months I learned automotive mechanics on this car with its twin cam, roller cam followers, dual ignition 1954 F1 motor design and broken 5 speed crash transaxle. I learned as well how to form and gas weld aluminum and how to paint a car.
Now back to your original question, I am not certain when I become aware of my current feeling of responsibility for caring for the car. The term custodian may not translate well but other terms such as caretaker, steward or guardian all have the same connotation that I feel toward the car. Looking back I clearly recall in 1964 doing research and measurements on the path to replacing the old four banger with the Buick/Old/Pontiac lightweight 225 V-8 but my time in Vietnam followed by the Harvard Business School MBA studies intervened and by then other things in life like my son Bryan and wife HelenAnn evolved in importance to me and the car began its long sabbatical until 2000. The car and I have had great times together from racing on both coasts, to driving coast to coast, to winning an incredible number of Concours trophies. So in this instance I think my irrational decision turned out pretty nicely.
Past: 500 Mondial S2 0556(0446)/MD owned 58 years from June 1960 to August 2018