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The Fat Lady Sang?

Austin Healey Conclave 2008

Most of us were having too much fun to notice. But meetings were over, gymkhanas, rallies and tech sessions, too, and all the awards were going off with happy winners. But there are awards for everyone who attended the 2008 Austin Healey Conclave in San Diego. Good memories; and I'm going to enjoy mine for a long time to come.

What's it take to plan and put on a conclave? Of course any club that's done this can answer that question, but how many conclaves will ever top 2008's? More than a dozen members of the Austin Healey Club of San Diego began working on this conclave two years ago. The closer is got to June 29th, the harder they worked. Their efforts didn't go unnoticed of unappreciated by some 200 folks who came from just about everywhere to what we call America's Finest City.

I spoke with thirteen people I'd never met, but with whom I'd shared communications for years. They came thousands of miles to enjoy these series of events, and went home with smiling faces. They, and another 185 people.

You'll read articles by chairpersons about each of the events. There will be lots of photos to Oooo and Ahhhh over, and familiar names you'll recognize, but if you weren't here you really missed something. AHCSD set a bull's eye target for other clubs to shoot at, a red center circle riddled with winning shots!

I don't know about you, but one of the things I enjoy most about conclave is meeting and making new friends. It's the people part of a get-together, that for me, is the most fun. That said, I'm going to tell you a story about just one person. I met her at one of the best cars shows I've ever attended - an unbelievably beautiful venue! You'll see the pictures. She should have an award for who she is, and how she accomplished the task of restoring what's said to be the earliest factory 100M still on its wheels. Here's her story, just as Judy Rowbel told me. I wouldn't lie.

"We named our Austin Healey Agatha. Her restoration is not complete without discussing finances. Why? We didn't have $40,000+ in excess monies in our back pocket. We had to rely on good old fashioned luck, and indeed this is a true 'good luck' story.

Seems I'd won about $300.00 at Harrah's Cherokee Casino in North Carolina and thought I'd try my luck in the High Rollers Section in order to play a machine that a good friend of ours always played, a friend who tragically was killed in an airplane crash. I walked into the High Rollers, bought ten $10 chips and went over to the Lone Wolf slot machine. Gingerly, I began to feed it $10 chips. The first coin was followed by five more. On the seventh pull I wasn't feeling at all lucky. I'd already lost $60.00.

Now you have to know that if you get a wild symbol on this 3 wheel machine, in this case, a lone wolf, you can lock the wild symbol and re-spin. Lo and behold I got two wild symbols and was about ready to accept a partial win, when further thought asked, What would my friend do? I knew instantly. He would re-spin. I locked in the wild symbol on wheel one and wheel three . and held my breath. Is there really such a thing as real luck? I pulled the handle. The middle wheel stopped on a lone wolf.

Bells and whistles went off! Several casino officials appeared and asked for all sorts of information. When asked how I wanted my money, smile on my face, I loudly replied, "Cash of course."

They seemed off-put. "We are unable to do that."

I replied, "Why not, don't you have $5,000 in cash?"

Their response? "Madam, you have just won $50,000!"

I excused myself and went to use the restroom facility, and returned to receive my check minus taxes. Without hesitation, my husband Doug and I said almost in unison, "Now we get to restore the Healey!"

So you see, luck not only played a major part in Agatha's restoration, but she also turned out to be a factory certified 100-M."

Judy assured me that this is a true story. I loved it! Just owning an Austin Healey is hitting a major jack-pot. Owning a factory certified 100M, the earliest one on the road - I think that also qualifies as major good luck! Thank you for sharing the story, Judy. I bet a lot of Healey owners will think you're lucky, too!

Drive safely - and have fun!
david coyote
www.dcoyote.org

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