So, now, I had from 10:30 am until 5:15 pm to get down to the Port Charlotte airport to pick up my friend Francie who caught a cheapo flight there from Charlotte, North Carolina, and was going to spend the weekend with Carri and me down in Naples.
Now according to googlemaps, it is a distance of 103 miles and should take 1 hour, 44 minutes.
I had 6 hours and 45 minutes.
Am I up to the challenge?
Well, as thejeepjunkie loves to tell ya, the olelongrooffan is the only guy he knows who can make a 3 hour trip into a 5 hour trip, so,
yeah I am up to that challenge.
The following image is dedicated to him. But it could also be dedicated to the Bus, thehorsefarmer and the olelongrooffan just as well.
Seen on the rear of a POS Sentra on I-75. Yeah, I was driving on Eisenhour's highway to get just south of Tampa. I could easily have taken US 41 through Tampa but I didn't want to go through a major urban area while on this relaxing drive south. Just below Tampa I got on US 301 and headed over to US 41 and picked it up just north of Sarasota.
While on 301, I spotted an old car body shop and stopped in to get a few images for ya.
Pretty sure this is a 69 Mustang. I remember in my youth out at Miller High School, when I was in 7th grade, Terry Washam had a 69 Boss 302, all jacked up and ran like nothing I had ever seen. Powder blue and a sweet to me at the time muscle car. Today, not so much.
67 or 8 Mustang, Modified Corvette, Buick Skylark and a 64 Chevy were all parked out front.
This 67 SS was undergoing a full paint job and restoration.
Seen out back.
And a mini chopper?
A dubbed 72
deuce and a quarter.
And I love that roof built over the top of that boat. It was a hoot.
First gen Monte Carlo, first gen Cutlass, mid 80's F150 and a
I am going to say Maverick, based on the wheel covers. But it could also be a Mercury Comet like thehorsefarmer used to own.
Another 67 Chevy Impala, although not a Super Sport.
And a rusty 67 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible like my Uncle Frank used to own, although I don't recollect whether his was a Grand Prix or Bonneville. They both had the same, if not very similar, body styles. I remember one event filled trip thejeepjunkie and I took to St. Louis to visit Uncle Frank and he let the two of us take it out and wash it. After doing so, we put the top down, along with all the windows. When we drove up to his house on Giles, we parked out front and he was sitting on the front steps. He commented, 'Well, at least you guys know how to drive a convertible.' Today, almost always in my oleragtops, when the top is down, so are the windows.
So I was heading down through Sarasota trying to remember the last time I was here and what there is to do to kill a couple hours.
I then remembered and looked off to my left and there it was!!
Yep, The Sarasota Classic Car Museum.
Check out that sweet rare Pontiac convertible, complete with Continental kit on the rear. A mundane 57 Chevy, obviously gutted as I doubt someone gets on the roof everyday to put the top up on that oleragtop. I am fairly certain the other is a Duesey but could be, and most likely am, mistaken on that one.
As always, I headed around back to check out these babes.
Dig that old Morris ragtop.
And that Caddy factory limo was awesome. The roof is long enough for me.
Once inside, I spotted this old woody and, much like the one in this blog, I have to admit that NotSoLilJim may be correct about the panel gaps in these old cars.
Wait!!! I forgot to tell you about admittance to this old car heaven. When I walked in the entrance, I noticed the entry fee was eight bucks. Well, as cash is king these days, I thought about not going on in. When I heard one of the dudes behind the counter mention to another dude surfing the net that I was the 800th visitor that day, I decided to give it the ole college try.
I mentioned to him that should get me free admission. They both started laughing. One of them asked me if I had brought my camera. I confirmed I had and their museum would be featured on my blog in the near future. Did that get me free admission?
Still more chuckles and those eight bucks were exchanged, I passed along to them one of my business cards, or should it be called a blog card as it has no business listed, just my email and blog address, and I headed on into that museum.
Right at the entry they have two huge glassed in bookshelves filled with a diecast of every model I could think of. It was awesome!!! Tried for images but the flash kept reflecting off the glass fronts of those highly desirable display cases.
In addition to many classic US made cars there were a ton of imports in this collection. So many that I have forgotten what a few of them are.
Such as this bronze beauty.
I am leaning toward Lamborgini but probably am mistaken.
But I know this is a Jaguar XJ220. One hot piece of equipment.
While I am not a huge fan of modern SuperCars, I like this one alot, even have a diecast one in my collection.
I also have a replica of this Jaguar XKE in it as well.
And although I know the name of this one off sedan,
I can't seem to remember it. Well, it has been said the mind is the first to go.
The following is an orphaned Plymouth Super Bee,
sister car to the original Dodge Daytona.
And a cherry Dodge Coronet drop top.
and a sweet 67, soon to be orphaned, Pontiac 'Convertible Coupe'.
Next up was a Citroen CX 2200 sedan, as successor to TheGentleManFarmer's DS21.
I have a replica, albeit in taxi cab dressing, of this one as well as several DS's in my collection.
Then, back in the corner of that room off that museum, I spotted this old Truckster of By The Numbers fame
but the one on the right, I am not sure.
I could find no badging on it but I will wager the Bus has an idea of what it is.
Out the side door I saw this trio resting quietly
while this beautiful black beautie was getting washed.
And back inside was this display of carnage.
So much crap was on this that it took all beauty away from it. Admirable to some I guess, just not to this olelongrooffan.
And back into the main exhibit area where I spotted a Ford GPW. I snuck across that barrier chain to see if it had a Ford script on the rear. Nope and it was equipped with a tailgate.
Thanks to the Bus and ebay, I have a few of these in the Taj Mahal.
And once again, I fail to remember the name of this one.
I thought it might be a "bat car" but I just cannot remember.
And you know the car junkie in me, seeing all these rare and cool cars and I can also admire the stantions holding those chains not keeping me from checking out that GPW. Reminds me of the table TheGentleManFarmer made me years ago out of a donut spare tire, a rear axle shaft, a Buick steering wheel and a round glass tabletop. Still have it and greatly treasure it.
A rare Nash Healey coupe,
and this Aston Martin Lagonda are pretty cool situated just across the aisle from each other.
And a series of Iso's
along with an Isetta, but since it is in amongst the Iso's maybe they built, or sold a rebadged, one also.
and another Iso, this one a coupe, a Matchbox sized replica of which I owned in my youth.
Then on the way out I saw this IsoRivolta prototype.
By the way, in the background of the above image are those diecast display cases I mentioned earlier in this post.
So that was it for the Sarasota Classic Car Museum $8.50 tour.
After I passed by that IsoRivolta prototype, I was passing by the entry counter at which I had tried to cajole a free entry just a while ago. Those same two guys were behind that counter checking out a flat screen monitor. As I was walking by, I commented to them, as I do to all participants in the car related events I attend, 'Thanks for the show.' They looked up and motioned me over. So while I sauntered on to that counter, one of the dudes went over to the cash machine while the other came up to greet me with his right hand extended.
"Great blog," he said. "Mike and I are enjoying it right now." With that, Mike hands me $8.50 and comments, "Glad you enjoyed our museum."
"I'm glad you enjoyed my blog and thanks!!" I expounded.
And it is with this blog that I can say,
So I headed out that front door, got in the oleragtop and headed down US41, reeling from a great compliment from fellow car junkies and trying to figure out how to kill another hour or two.
That is when I spot, I think, 'Ultimate Motorcars' and decide I need to drop in here.
Parked inside that showroom filled with highly desirable classic automobiles was this Porsche 356 "Bathtub" droptop.
You guessed it, one of those sits right on the Volkswagon shelf, immediately adjacent to the cool McDonalds Bug ragtop featured at the end of this blog.
Around the corner, I spotted a bevy of beauties, including the Mercedes Coupe in the foreground and the white Mercedes Coupe in the background those dudes are checking out.
And a pair of near matching XKE droptops were lingering nearby along with a sweet Bentley.
And up front was this dashing orphaned Plymouth Fury droptop. It was huge, immaculate and gorgeous.
And another grouping of highly desirable motorcars, especially that Triumph TR3 to the right, Lucas electronics and legendary oil leaks aside, I love them.
So I check out the time on that free Metro PCS phone, and realize I have successfully killed enough time to get down to pick up Francie and get on into Fantasy Land right on time.
However, I ended up being a bit late to pick up Francie. We had agreed she would call me once she had landed and I would then head out to the airport to pick her up. You see neither of us had been to this airport before and were unsure of the parking situation. Turns out the Port Charlotte airport is a one counter, one building facility with free parking. When I arrived, tardy, I parked right in front of that facility waltzed in and, after a big hug and kiss, I sat down in an empty wheelchair next to that broken legged Francie and waited for her one piece of luggage to come around on that carousel. Gotta love a woman who goes out of town for three days and has only one bag.
We then "hopped" in the oleragtop and beat it on down the road to Naples. On the way, Francie desired a cancer stick and inquired if smoking was acceptable in the oleragtop. Well, of course and when it came time to put that butt out, I pulled out a trusty Diet Coke can for disposal as the ashtray is full of Jessica's coins.
You see, when that ashtray is full of stray coins, I cash them in on a gift card to Books-A-Million for the most gorgeous blonde in my life.
Anyway, on the way we ran into some periodic showers. Put the top up? Not just no but Hell No!!! I put those windows in a rare position when the top is dropped, up, and we continued along with the rain beating off the windscreen and flowing over the top across the cockpit and moving obediently to the rear of that oleragtop. Francie, never having experienced it before, was amazed. I know Jessica likes it too. So long as a minimum 45 mph is attained, all is good.
Once we crossed the Caloosahachee River just north of Fort Myers, it was high and dry all the way to Naples.
We got in and Carri had prepared a wonderful meal which we enjoyed with a mixture of hurricane supplies and a great weekend was enjoyed by all.
Oh Yeah, the reason I was tardy in retrieving Francie from that remote airport?
Like Minnie Pearl and all the other huge animals following me around, and there are plenty more than just those, I was traveling through downtown Sarasota and came across the item shown in the following image and I, while I pride myself on being where I am when I said I would be there, I just had to stop and get a shot of it.
And, No you perverts, I did not look up her skirt either.
And just know, taking over 5 hours for a less than 2 hour drive, seeing all those classic old cars for free, spending a great weekend with old friends and getting a blog out of it, all for less than thirty bucks gas money, round trip, still allows me the opportunity to
Hope you do, also.