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Older drophead owners keep on coming

That’s Sandy Turner’s green drophead just over his shoulder. Sandy, kneeling, holds his hat in his hand. From his wheelchair, John Minatel, 96, smiles at the camera too. Earlier that day two weeks ago Sandy picked up John and took him to the Indiana British Car Union’s annual meet at Indianapolis, a tradition they share. Three years ago a few of us were with them when Riley was marque of the year. John had sold his drophead a few years earlier, shortly before he was widowed. Sandy banged his up a bit trailering it back to Indiana from our AGM meet last year at Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. He hammered out the damage and finished with a bit of bondo. The car has been his since it was his father’s, purchased new in Oakland, California. Last year I had the honor of driving it from Boiling Springs to Gettysburg.

For years it was a midwest tradition for Riley owners to bring their cars to this Indianapolis meet. Don Caldwell came from Knoxville in his Kestrel or his RMA or his RME; the last Riley Don drove to Indy was in 2008, his yellow and black RME, but he’s sold all of them in recent years and kept only his MG Airline Special. Ken Nelson came from Grand Rapids in his 1954 RME; lately he’s had engine problems. John’s not as spry as he once was, as when he landed at Normandy for example, but he still appreciates a good look at a drophead, even one he knows as well as Sandy’s. The model and marque at this year’s meet, not held next to the raceway as in the past but at Lions Park north of the city, was the Jaguar XKE. More than a dozen were among the more than 150 cars shown.

At last year’s AGM Sandy was our first recipient of the Varlie Gordon-Bill Lewis Award for service to the club.

For a better look click on the photo.

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