Article By John Kuhn Bleimaier

2.3 16 valve - Robby AckermanThe winding road trails off into infinity. We have chosen the path less taken. The journey has rendered the destination irrelevant. Power out of the curve and steer with your right foot. Blip the throttle and down shift for the next bend. Crest the rise and put the pedal to the metal. We are the past, the present and the future, a legend in our own time. We are the vintage racers.

Let others stretch the envelope of electronic technology. Theirs is the world of black boxes and microchips. Ours the arcane alchemy of internal combustion; the physics of gnashing gears and slippery bearings. There is something splendid in the use of a tool which was crafted by a hand of flesh and blood. The superficial imperfections which mirror the flaws of nature are perfect in our eyes. We are the readers of poetry, the balladeers and bards. We are the vintage racers.

There is peril in staking life and limb on the vagaries of stressed metal. There are risks in trusting the designs and calculations of engineers long gone to their repose. There lurks danger around the next curve and down the following dip. Wrapped in historic insulation is the spark of a potential conflagration. We are the heroes who fly in the face of glowering fate. Courage is not ignorance but defiance. We are the vintage racers.

We are living in a prosaic age. Warriors hide behind layers of Kevlar and hunker down in the shelter of laminated steel. The finger that pulls the trigger can be flexed at ease a thousand miles from the theater of conflict in an air conditioned bunker. Gone is the mace and battle ax, obsolete the bayonet and saber. Seek we not the laurel leaves on Flanders field or on the heights at Balaclava. We are the vintage racers.

But we look yet to the Halls of Montezuma under an Aztec, azure sun. There the snaking byways know no guard rails. There the detour has no name. High in the Sierra Madre old adversaries duel to the death in the stark, thin morning light. On the tarmac heaved and broken lay we rubber in earnest fight. Carrera Panamericana, the name alone a clarion call at dawn. The great Mexican road race, an epic chess game in which we are more than just a pawn. We are the vintage racers.

Oh you sons and daughters of the torque converter, pray for those who dare and do. Think and dream of us who double clutch and follow through. If, per chance, you ride behind the silver star, root for us who hoist your standard from afar. In a 2.2 liter Finback six, we’ll do our best to avoid the roiling waters of the River Stix.

(By John Kuhn Bleimaier, a freelance writer and member of the MBCA Northern New Jersey Section)