Unlike most teens of my era, I favored old autos and sports cars over tire-squealing muscle cars. So I bought a ’39 Chevy before heading off to the University of Wisconsin.
After two years of worthy adventures, however, the old car’s 55mph maximum speed became tiresome. Then one day the rear axle bearings seized in a cloud of smoke on Interstate 94, and finding replacements took weeks.
So I sold my beloved Chevy and set my heart on an idiosyncratic Volvo P1800S sports car like that driven by Roger Moore in television’s The Saint.
After much searching I found a fire-engine-red ’67 coupe in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, with four-speed transmission, overdrive, and a claimed 60,000 miles.
My younger brother Alan and his high-school buddy Paul Cowdrey were already private pilots, so I hitchhiked home to Chicago and Paul flew me to Sheboygan in a Grumman Traveler.
This was my first time sharing a cockpit with a peer. I’d aviated since childhood with my dad, but although enjoying our destinations had developed little piloting passion since we kids were mostly relegated to the back seat. And while having recently earned my own pilot wings, I’d barely begun overcoming the training traumas to appreciate future aerial adventure.
But tracing the sparkling Lake Michigan shoreline under Paul’s command on such an exciting mission changed all that…
**Read Greg’s entire column, “SPORTS CAR FOR A DAY“** (Mobile version HERE)
Top photo: 1967 Volvo P1800S coupe. Lower photo: Paul Cowdrey at KDPA, circa 1972.
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2018 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!