What now? Revcounter 386

By: Guy Allen

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phillip island historics phillip island historics

Ever find yourself dithering about going somewhere? Here's the solution

From Unique Cars issue #386, March 2016

What got me thinking about this was the deeply worrying discovery that I was dithering over something that really should have been a simple decision. You see daughter Ms A jnr had just sent a text saying she was taking her Mustang to Saturday Night Live (an informal weekly unique cars meet) and why didn’t I leap into the Mighty Kingswood and join in?

[note: The Saturday Night Live meet was cancelled in Feb 2017, see more here]

Instead of just grabbing the keys and heading out, I stood there wondering whether I shouldn’t mow the yard, fix that damned fuel leak on the Triumph, maybe write that story for which a deadline was looming and, I dunno, probably dust the bookshelves. Pathetic.

We’ve met a few people recently who I’m pretty sure wouldn’t have this problem, ever. Unless their house was actually on fire, they would grab the keys and get going. After all, what’s not to like? A quick cruise in an old car, see everyone else’s toys and catch up with the youngest unmarried. Simple.

In fact one of the people who is living proof of why you should do the opposite of sensible is Wolf Grodd, ringmaster at Sleeping Beauties, the restoration house in Brisbane. We interviewed him previously and he came up with one of my all time favourite lines on how you should set your priorities in life.

Allow me to repeat it: "I had 16 cars," he said. "All my contemporaries bought factories and blocks of units – all that sensible stuff. Their lives passed them by without too many highs and lows. They’re all dead now – they died of boredom. Whereas I had a fleet of cars, I’ve had some of the best cars on the planet. I’ve always done the non-sensible thing of living life to the fullest – no regrets."

Another example springs to mind – the bloke you see behind the wheel of the Bugatti pictured above. His name is George Hetrel, and that’s a real Bugatti. It’s a museum piece that’s worth a lot more than my house, possibly my whole street. Yes, he’s in the pits at Phillip Island raceway.

(Just as an aside he generously loaned us the use of his shed and property for a recent feature shoot.)

I don’t know exactly how old he is, but I’m guessing he may have given up ambitions of kicking off a career in rock ’n’ roll. I’ve seen him race that thing and, frankly, it’s inspiring to watch. He goes belting into corners so hard a you’d swear the tyres were about to be torn off the rims. There’s no messing around – he’s clearly a man who takes the word ‘racing’ very literally.

Now I reckon if he can drive a car that’s worth more than the GDP of Tahiti as if it was just any old clunker, the rest of us can probably make some easy decisions about getting out there and having fun while you can.

So, next time I’m dithering over whether or not to grab the keys and get out of Dodge, the answer will be found in one simple question: What would George do?

 

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