Home Again

I'm back from an amazing trip to Santa Monica. I spent 4 days soaking in the breezy sunshine, driving the little old coast highways and swooping through the brushy canyons surrounding the city. My mother, my daughter and I took beautiful drives up down through Santa Monica canyon, up the Pacific Coast Highway, into Topanga Canyon, and up the coast to Ventura. We drove with the windows down, inhaling the scent of eucalyptus trees, hot sage brush, and the faint salt of the sea. Beautiful!!!

Our second day of the trip Cora and I decided to go to Disneyland. I love Disneyland. I must admit, the magic totally works on me, the minute we drive into the parking lot. As we get to the front gate and I see the little train that runs around the park, I start to hyperventilate a little. It's all I can do sometimes not to skip down Main street on my way to Frontier land.

(Although Walt Disney would think it vulgar to say so, this band totally kicks ass!)

There are moments when I realize I am now nearly the exact same person my mother was when I was Cora's age. Now I'm the driver, the parent who takes you to Disneyland, the one who gets you through the airport,etc. And it's so fun!!

The last day of the trip was the real reason we went in the first place: The 2009 Ventura Motorsports Gathering Car Show. Now I'm not a car person. I know nothing of cars, except that the old ones are beautiful. And we were there to see one beautiful old car in particular: my grandfather Charles Spurgin's 1948 Chevy 4 Roadster race car that he built, raced, and broke records with alongside his buddies and partners, Bob Rufi and Bob Giovanni. (Grandpa's the one standing on the left side of the car.)

The show was amazing. Absolutely amazing. It took place in Ventura, about an hour and a half up the coast from Santa Monica. A man named Ernie Nagamatsu along with a fantastic team of super-skilled, dedicated lovers of hot rods rebuilt my grandfather's famous car and rolled it out for the first time at this show. It was immaculate. The love and care and meticulous attention to detail was obvious from afar. Up close, Ernie pointed out how they had thought carefully about how to do it the way the original team would have, and stuck to that technique, using only materials and tools that would have used at the time. The car was displayed along with the trophies it won, the helmet that was worn to race it, and an enlarged poster of the 1949 cover of Hotrod Magazine it appeared on. There was a small army of photographers and film cameras around the car, taking pictures of all the adult children of the original team, and Ernie who is the spirit behind the reunion.

The stories and memories and feeling of long-lost and new-found family were fantastic. The camaraderie of the original team of Spurgin, Giovinni and Rufi was evident in this next generation as the children of all 3 men gathered together. We all felt like cousins, sharing stories about our fathers and grandfathers and feeling as if they were with us, grouped around this beautiful car that had brought everyone together and been such a super star in its own right!

Go here for the story of the legendary team and this car.

And watch this video of the guys moving the car back to the shop after the show was over.

A HUGE thank you to Ernie Nagamatsu and his wife Elaine and to ALL the guys who have put their love, blood, sweat and tears into restoring my grandfather's car. It means the world to us to know you all have worked so hard to preserve the legacy. Stay in touch, and we'll see you at the next one!


Bonnie Story said…
What a wonderful post!! I have read it all five times, I'm just amazed by that car! Would I ever love to go cruisin' Topanga with you... I remember those beautiful smells and sights. So glad you had a wonderful time and welcome home!!
Ernie said…
Thanks for being there for the "Roll Out" of the Spurgin- Giovanine Roadster... it was so important to all of us involved in bringing back the honor and legacy of a couple of guys that dreamed big in 1948... and they astounded the racing scene and they were the Albatas... You were the 'spiritual thread' that made it so important...Ernie
Diane said…
Ernie, you were the magic that made it all happen, and we can't thank you and Elaine enough!! What a memorable day that was in beautiful Ventura. I would love to come to the next one! xoxo diane