Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gray Pinstripes Complete the Look...

After changing the fender color to red, we needed to tie-in the fenders to the body. The car came from the factory with red pinstripes hand-painted on the body to compliment the interior color. Mario and I researched all Clenet pics we could find published on the Internet. The one photograph we kept coming back to was the 3/4 view of Jerry Capizzi's wonderful Series I with burgundy red fenders and sand-colored body. I enlarged the photograph and we both decided the pinstripes were exactly what we wanted on our car.

Back in early April I found a guy here in the Chicago suburbs who specialized in hand-painted pinstripes. His website had many pics of his work and I knew he was the pinstripe artist who would finish our car. He and I spoke several times over the next few weeks and we agreed that the next time the Clenet was brought to Chicago, that he'd come downtown and stripe the car in my parking garage.

Mario and I wanted the car striped before we left for the LCCI grand invitational in Saint Louis. The day was set as Mario needed to attend a meeting at their Chicago headquarters. He drove the Clenet to Chicago the night prior and spent the night at my place. The next morning our pinstripe guy arrived with Mario eager to get him started. He set up shop in the parking garage and went to work.

When I arrive home after work, the car was complete and Mario was already on his way back to Michigan with his business partner. The Clenet would stay in Chicago another night before we would leave for Saint Louis. I couldn't be happier with the stripes and took the car for a quick drive through the Gold Coast, Lake Shore Drive and the South Loop. The car looked wonderful and complete.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meet Me in Saint Louis

We attended the LCCI Grand Invitational held in St. Louis, hosted by the Show Me Region of our club over the extended Memorial Day holiday. Mario and I were able to catch-up with some friends we hadn’t seen in a few years as we were unable to attend the 2007 nor the 2008 Grand Invitational shows.

A small group of us from Chicago agreed to caravan down into St. Louis early Thursday morning. We agreed to meet about seventy miles southwest of Chicago in Dwight, IL with the caravan promptly departing the local BP/Burger King at eight o’clock sharp! Mario drove the Clenet to Chicago a few days earlier so that we could have the fenders hand-striped in time for the invitational. This will be another story, so keep checking in!

I set my alarm for five a.m. and woke up just before the alarm sounded. Mario was already up as I approached the guest room to wake him. We were both eager to get on the road to start our journey with the Clenet. We had the car packed by 5:45 and made our way to the local Starbuck’s in Sandburg Village by 6:00. With our morning coffee in hand, I was behind the wheel heading south on LaSalle Boulevard.

The drive down Interstate 55 was uneventful so early in the morning, however we both noticed that the traffic inbound to Chicago was already backed up for miles and miles well into the next county! Mario and I were the first of our group to arrive at the designated meeting place. We had just finished topping off the gas tank as other members from our region started to arrive. Our caravan was comprised of a very eclectic array of cars, ten in all.

Mario and I chose to drive down with the hardtop fitted to the car to make the highway driving more bearable. To our surprise, the replacement vent window seals coupled with the hardtop gave us a very quiet journey. The air conditioning was cycling as it should and we were very comfortable the entire way.

We departed at eight o’clock and continued along the Interstate in formation. Mario and I would periodically pull out of the caravan to snap some pics of our friends in their cars. As we approached St. Louis, the caravan made another stop to top off our tanks before getting into the metro area. After refueling, we had our first minor incident. The white Cadillac DeVille Convertible lost control of his throttle linkage. Mario and I hopped out of the Clenet to help resolve the problem. Mario eventually made a quick and effective roadside repair to get us on our way.

We arrived just in time for lunch that was already taking place at a lovely historic park near St. Louis University and being served under a striking Victorian-era gazebo. We were delighted to have many of the people coming over to our car, showing interest and asking many questions about the car and the make. After lunch we toured the Anheuser-Busch Brewery with the club where we enjoyed the architecture, stables, company history and some ice-cold brew afterwards. We arrived at the hotel and promptly asked the bellman to check our hardtop after removing it from the car just outside the lobby doors.

The five-day meet cumulated with the grand car show held on Sunday afternoon with an awards banquet following later that evening. I was disappointed that the Clenet did not receive any of the popular vote, however I was very proud that the car received as much attention as it did. Many, many people from the club and the public who attended this semi-private show gave the car a good deal of attention.

After meeting with a few friends at the farewell breakfast early Monday morning, we repacked the Clenet and my Jaguar XK8 that good friend Larry used for the entire weekend. The weather turned against us as we endured several wicked thunderstorms near Springfield, IL. The Clenet handled well during the torrential rain and high winds that persisted for the first hundred miles or so. The rain subsided to infrequent showers all the way through back to the Chicagoland area. We arrived back at my home where Mario then continued his journey with the Clenet back to southwest Michigan.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chicago Yacht Club at Belmont Harbor

LCC-LMR Spring Dust Off at the Belmont Yacht Club of Chicago.

This past weekend Mario and I drove the Clenet from Michigan to the first LCC-LMR event of the season hosted by the Belmont Yacht Club. We arrived about twenty minutes into the gathering with most of the attendees already there. A parking space for the Clenet was saved closest to the harbor for the Clenet.

The last official LCC-LMR event was the Fall Driving Tour back in October of '08 just a week prior to us dismantling the fenders for the repairs over winter.

This was our official unveiling of the car after its winter transformation. Mario and I headed out from Lakeside, MI early Saturday morning after having breakfast at Bailey's in Three Oaks with Ken. We had just returned from a road trip to North Carolina via Daytona Beach, Florida. The day was cool, windy and a bit overcast. We encountered some rain through Northern Indiana, however it quickly dissipated and we were able to enjoy the Spring Dust Off event.

Many people within the car club, members of the yacht club and the general public who happened upon the car show gave us very positive feedback and many compliments. We fielded many questions and were very eager to tell the Clenet story. One man who saw the cars assembled from his high-rise across Lake Shore Drive hurried over to see them. He struck up a conversation with me and at first, didn't realize our car was a Clenet. When I had begun to tell the story, he then remembered the Clenet factory in Santa Barbara when he lived there back in the late 70's.

This coming week prior to us leaving for the LCC Grand Invitational being held in St. Louis over the extended Memorial Day holiday weekend, we are having the fenders pinstriped with a light gray paint to match the body. We will do our best to have the pinstripe artist match similar stripes that were painted on the Clenet owned by Jerry Capizzi.

We are looking forward to the caravan that is leaving Chicago next Thursday morning via I-55 to St. Louis.

'Til then...