Classic Cars at Best WesternMar 8th, 2011 | By Lynette | Category: Community News, Front Page
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
If it weren’t for the modern highway in the background in one direction, and the Best Western Hotel in the other direction…and of course the modern cars mixed in among the horseless carriages in the paved parking lot, Friday, March 4, might have looked exactly like a day from the early 1900s.
This was where the members of the Horseless Carriage Club of the North Florida Region had paused to spend the night on one of their driving tours. The Club goes on one or two tours a year in their classic automobiles, just for the pleasure of driving them out on the open roads. Usually the Club is for the pre-1916 automobiles, but this tour is allowing autos from up to 1927, “because there just aren’t that many of those really old cars left,” said club member Steve Cook.
For the few cars still in existence, maintenance takes some know-how and know-where, especially knowing who still does such specialized custom work. For example, custom made replacement tires, no wider than a hands’ breadth and attached to custom made wooden spokes and rims, can cost up to $600. The side light lights and taillights are kerosene lanterns. Headlight lanterns use acetylene for the bright white light.
They go on a couple of driving tours each year, said Cook and the tours can be anywhere from one day to two weeks. They usually try to average about 100 miles per day, at 30 to 35 miles per hour. Rather than traveling together in a pack, they take separate routes to avoid causing traffic jams, and meet up at their agreed-upon destination. Friday, the group stopped at the Best Western in Madison, Saturday, it was the Opera House in Monticello, and Sunday their destination was Cherry Lake, often taking back roads – country highways and even dirt roads. “That’s what these cars were made for,” said Cook, of the cars that predate much of modern paving. “The pleasure of driving the open road.”