Route 66 in an E-type – Really?
It’s been said that, if you can remember the 60’s, you weren’t really there. However, most of us who were there, can remember them pretty well. Of course, it would be hard to forget the almost daily chaos that sent shockwaves throughout the fabric of America. What may have been forgotten, however, is that the decade dawned with all the promise and innocence of newly-minted penny (think Camelot). One lasting memory for me is a TV show that aired in 1960 and ‘61, entitled “Route 66.” The show featured Todd and Buzz, two rootless young men driving a shiny new Corvette along the Mother Road. Each week they encountered a new town and a new adventure – and every teenage boy in America wanted to travel with them! And this repressed desire still simmers in many men of a certain age – almost 60 years later. The time has come for me to scratch the itch and to find out if that era was real and if it can it still be experienced (cue the music: Cher’s “If I could turn back time.”)
Now, if you are going to truly explore this fantasy, you’re going to need a 1960’s sports car. I don’t have a 1960 Corvette in my garage, but I do have a fully restored XKE (cue The Beachboys’ “Dead man’s curve.”) This car is a red 1969 Series II short wheel base coupe. It has been the beneficiary of several upgrades (if you are a purist, cover your ears). First, the anemic Stromberg carburetors have been replaced by triple SU’s with velocity stacks – effectively providing 4.2 liter Series I performance. The cooling fans, brake booster, and rear wheels are all from a Series III. While the car is stunning, it’s no trailer queen!
The first step in this undertaking has been to convince my long-suffering wife to indulge this fantasy and accompany me on this journey back to my imaginary past. Even though she was a toddler in the 60’s, she’s still a “car girl”, so it wasn’t really that hard.
Planning is rudimentary. I have purchased a copy of Jerry McClanahan’s EZ66 Guide (don’t leave home without it – really!) and watched a few YouTube videos. Looks like we’re ready.
Bob and Jeannie Sidi
Bob and Jeannie are both retired – he from mechanical engineering and she from teaching. They share a passion for restoring and driving iconic sports cars of every imaginable marque. While their four grown children often look askance at their annual journeys, Bob and Jeannie are always ready for the challenge of the open road.