In the Rearview Mirror: Emptying the bucket list

July 30, 2019

Hagerty Drivers Club Magazine
A Word from McKeel

WHY DON’T WE GO ON MORE OF THE drives of our dreams? In other words, my car friends, why don’t we more regularly dip into our driving bucket lists?

That question is on my mind because a few columns back I mentioned one of my own bucket-list drives, and the emails in response haven’t stopped coming. Some folks told me about epic drives they’d taken. Some sent photos of their prized cars. I always like seeing those.

Many, though, were like George Appel, who wrote to say that he’s been dreaming of plying California’s Highway 1 since the early ’70s. He’s retired now and living in Michigan, and although he’s not sure he has it in him anymore to make the long round trip to California, he’s still dreaming about it and is starting to make solid plans with friends.

George, my friend, I hope you decide to go, and I hope you have a fantastic time.

If its any help, I did. Highway 1 (technically, California State Route 1) was, in fact, the bucket-list road I wrote about. I had always wanted to drive it but never had.

Now I have. Back in April, I shipped my 1967 Porsche 911S—the one I restored with my dad after we found it in pieces in snowbanks behind a barn—to Los Angeles and set off on a three-day adventure with friends. We called it the Tipo Mille, because it wasn’t the Mille Miglia in Italy or the California Mille or any of the other 1000-mile (hence, mille) events. It was a type of mille, just a tour with friends and their vehicles. We had world-class collectors, restorers, racing drivers, event owners, designers, and automotive photographers.

It soon became clear that the Tipo Mille was something much more than a drive up the California coast. It became a sort of rolling conversation about cars, the future of design, of motorsports, of automotive gatherings, and so much more. We talked a lot about how to save the experience of true driving for future generations. Break- fast and lunch conversations bled into dinner debates and a few later-evening drinks.

I watched designer Freeman Thomas draw on the back of an envelope several sketches that explained why every Porsche is designed the way it is. I learned from Le Mans racer Patrick Long how he cofound- ed Luftgekühlt to create a different type of immersive experience for budding car lovers. Miles Collier—collector and founder of the Revs Institute—shared his ideas for a future nonprofit to benefit the next generations of car enthusiasts. And automotive restoration guru Paul Russell explained the complicated machinations of automotive provenance. And so much more.

The drive itself was fantastic—the scenery, the epic roads, some of which seemed to be built just for us and for no other purpose than fun driving. Even the mechanical mishaps were of the “interesting” variety. We pulled together and solved problems.

When I got home, I realized how much I’d needed this trip. I should have taken it much sooner than I did, but you know how that goes. As the late musician Prince once sang, this “thing called life” has a way of getting in the way—kids, families, jobs, commitments, responsibilities. You know the drill.

But these drives must be done. These conversations must be had. The car world needs us to do it. Driving needs to be saved. And these roads must be discovered.

Lets get moving, people! I’ll see you out there.