A Sentimental Journey

Last week, to celebrate the reopening of Highway One, Visit California, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and the California Highway Patrol arranged a convoy of over 80 cars from Monterey to Morro Bay, each representing a model year from each year that the famous route has been in existence. Members of the media traveled in each car to write about their adventures and to spread the word that Highway One is again open for business.  The convoy stopped in Ventana for brunch, at Hearst Ranch for hors d’oeuvres, and at Morro Rock for dinner.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to participate with my beloved 1953 Chevy Bel Air, “Maybellene,” named after the Chuck Berry song of course! The media members who rode with me were a husband and wife travel writing team, Hannah and Adam, who own a travel website, www.gettingstamped.com. We spoke about my automobile, the “car culture” of California, and the proclivities of car enthusiasts.

My interest in Chevy Bel Airs can be traced back to a trip to Disneyland when I was in 4th Grade. The theme park held a “Fabulous 50’s” celebration where 50’s music, cars, and fashion were on display. I was in awe.  My mother bought me a cassette tape that I wore out from listening on a continuous loop.  As a ten-year-old in 1989, my favorite song was “Only You” by the Platters!

In high school, I worked at a classic car consignment where I was surrounded by fine machines of all eras but I was most enthralled by the cars for the 1950’s.  At that time, I found an ad for what turned out to be Maybellene in the local Auto Trader newspaper.  To quote the Alan Jackson song: “My first love was an older woman.”  I was 16 and “she” was 42!  Maybellene was my daily driver throughout high school.  

There is truly something special about driving an “analog” car on a beautiful, iconic road. No air conditioning other than rolling down the windows (I truly despise the invention of power windows); not one computer chip in the vehicle; and the simple feel of the rumbling motor as the miles of the road are eaten up by the big machine.   In our digital age, it’s a feeling for which many increasingly yearn – even the youngest among us.  When my son was about five years old, as we were sitting in Maybellene waiting for her carburetors to warm-up, he asked me: “Dada, when you die, I’m getting this car, right?”  Apparently, he understood the concept of estate planning at an early age!

For much of the Dream Drive, I followed behind a 1959 Aston Martin convertible.  Russ, the owner of the British sports car, said that his father purchased it from a dealership in San Francisco in 1964.  The car was chosen over a Mercedes Benz SL Roadster because his mother had trouble getting into the German vehicle.  His father paid $2,500 for it and today it is worth more than $1,000,000! (I was very careful to keep a good distance from it during the drive!)  I’m sure the car is worth far more to him given its family history.

My dad has a special car of his own: a bright red 1988 BMW E30 nicknamed, “The Red Baron.” He has owned it for nearly 30 years and continues to enjoy it. It’s definitely a “keeper.” As I explain to my wife, when a couple has a new child, they do not get rid of their old child – the same is true with cars!

Comprehensive estate planning often involves careful planning for sentimental tangible items, such as classic cars and other collectibles that can be links to our past.  Often it is the sentimental tangible items that have the most significance to beneficiaries regardless of their monetary value.  The special drive down Highway One certainly reminded me of this fact.

KRASA LAW, Inc. is located at 704-D Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, California 93950 and Kyle may be reached at 831-920-0205.

Disclaimer; This article is for general information only. Reading this article does nto establish an attorney-client relationship. Before acting upon any of the information presented in this article, you should consult a competent attorney who is licensed to practice law in your community.