And So It Begins...

Category: The Rear View Mirror & Nostalgia
Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012 14:05
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And So It Begins...

There she was, demurely sitting there on the corner of NW 23rd and May Avenue, just waiting for the right man to come along. She was a charmer; I know because I was the guy that came along and fell prey to her seductive charms. Before that afternoon in August, 1960 was over, a torrid love affair blossomed that has lasted to this very day, albeit somewhat subdued these last few years. A true lady she was, a thoroughbred all the way. She was a 1960 TR-3A roadster, bright red with a jaunty white factory installed hardtop. The dream I’d been nursing for several years had become a reality; I was a sports car owner and driver at last.

I left the shabby old ‘53 Ford “drive-to--work” car with the dealer as a trade-in and took the perky little TR3 home to meet the family. Proud I was, and looking forward to having a little fun driving for a change. Little did I realize that this event would be a major turning point in the lives of the entire England family.

The family, wife Margaret, daughter Sandra and son Steve had already given a favorable response when I previously mentioned I was getting serious about buying a sports car. I had known better than to jump off the deep end with such a large expenditure ($2500.00 was a large sum in 1960!) without getting some family acquiescence, but I still felt a little shaky about it; I needn't have. At first, Steve was my most ardent supporter - no surprise to me! He and I had attended a number of sports car races during the past year and as he was rapidly approaching driving age, I was sure I could count on him to help with the driving when the time came. I had also taken the entire family to Lake Garnett, Kansas a few weeks earlier to watch the National sports car races and they all seemed to enjoy seeing all those drivers, with their little foreign cars, several TR-3’ s among them, whizzing around the race course. It was not long before Sandra, who had just acquired her student driving permit that spring was asking to be checked out in the TR-3, and then Margaret got the "fever’” and suddenly the whole family was engrossed in a new hobby.

In 1961 the TR-3 was actively competing in rallyes and gymkhanas and we had found and joined the Oklahoma Region. This was the start of a long career in our club for the TR-3 and the England family. It opened a new area for our family entertainment and as I look back I marvel at how the lives of all my family changed direction from, that point on. My involvement in the sport has been intense, most of you readers know, and as a result my participation in other fraternal and social organizations dropped way off as did my interest in my two previous hobbies of fishing and bowling. I really didn't expect the rest of the family to follow rile me into the sports car hobby with the same intensity, but they fooled me and soon the whole family was getting with the program.

Margaret loved to drive the little red TR-3 and took to the Oklahoma Region activities like a duck takes to water. Many will remember how very active she was in club activities; she twice was awarded the Streeter B. Flynn outstanding member trophy and at the time of her death in 1979 was the MIDIV Administrator for Registrars.

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Sandra was likewise a serious competitor in region events and brought home many a trophy driving the TR-3. She assured her continuity in SCCA activities by marrying within the club and she, with husband John Saucier, remain very active members. Their son Randy, going on twelve, shows every indication of being “hooked" on the sport also.

Steve, as I have already said, was the first to join me in competing in club events. He soon had his own car and competed vigorously until the Vietnam War caught up with him. Even then, while in the Army and stationed in Georgia, he met his wife-to-be Elsie through a mutual friend and OK Region member David Wood Jr., giving his family a true SCCA background. He has maintained his membership and still competes but the burden of raising four children has slowed down his activity a bit.

Yes, that day in August, twenty-six years ago was a definite turning point for us. The little red TR-3 roadster - she’s still mine. Although I've owned a dozen other sports cars, she’s still my first love and closest to my heart. I haven’t driven the old girl for a couple of years now, and she sits alone in my garage gathering dust, but one of these days soon I’ll repair her starter, renew her insurance and take her out for a spin. I’ll never sell her - she stays with me until the day comes when Sandra and Steve will have to decide whose garage she’ll move into.

Editors Comment: As per George's will, the TR3 was given to son Steve via coin flip with daughter Sandra. Steve is currently "refreshing" the TR3 and hopes to have it on the road again in 2012.