Everyone knows me, Atalante, as that girl going everywhere with her Amilcar nicknamed ‘Amillion’, and blogging about vintage cars, coachbuilders, maharaja cars, reports about rallies, exhibitions, etc. All under the name CRANKHANDLEBLOG. This was a great start for me to get involved with the world of vintage and classic cars. I gained a fair amount of knowledge already, and met many nice people who enjoy following all my adventures. While I was very busy pushing this further and further, something unexpected happened…

I was planning to organise an event with cars from all eras at the racetrack. I gathered with a group of young petrol heads among which also the guys from SeasonDrive. SeasonDrive is an organisation that organises rallies for supercars and sports cars. I am always interested in someone’s work, so it was a good idea to go to one of their rallies with Amillion. Let’s show the supercar drivers something that they don’t see everyday, and see how they react when experiencing a sportscar from 1925.

Sadly I did’t make it to come with the Amilcar to the SeasonDrive rally, which was at the end of their season. I tried to arrange another car and I almost went with a classic Rolls, but that did not work out either due to technical issues. So, I went with my daily which is a BMW E61 520d station wagon. This is not a supercar or even a fast car whatsoever, but somehow I managed to keep up with all the fast driving supercars. We started the rally at van der Kooi Sportscars, and there were some striking cars. I did not really have much knowledge of supercars, but the Lamborghini Diablo, 2 Audi R8s, of which one very nice kind of orange one, and a Nissan GTR were crazy cars to me.

I was excited to learn about another world within the automotive branch, since I grew up mainly with vintage and classic cars, not modern supercars. I really enjoyed pushing the diesel, and since I was following the wrong group I arrived late at lunch. Luckily there were still 2 guys eating, so I joined them. It seemed they were driving that nice orange Audi R8, and one of them caught my attention, because he was handsome and attractive. He had already noticed me because he was wondering who that was in the black BMW. He was wondering if I was joining them, because I followed all the time. Quite unlikely for a 520d. He was telling me that they waved, but I was only looking seriously ahead of me. I liked the compliment that I must be a good driver to keep up with the supercars racing around.

Then I started telling my story and about Amillion. The bloke with the cap was very impressed by all I was telling and wanted to know everything about it. During the day I already noticed that he was a vlogger. I had the aim to also start vlogging with CRANKHANDLEBLOG, so how cool would it be to make a video with the Amilcar together! He also told his story that he is racing and a racing- drift instructor. I was all ears, because I wanted to get my racing licence, and I would love to learn how to drift. Anyway, we carried on driving but before we did, the handsome vlogger also took a shot of me with my BMW for his vlog on his YouTube channel Macksee. We ended the day at the parking of the hotel where I always sleep when going to Concours d’Elegance Palace het Loo. Several of the group were drifting and doing burn outs, which was not allowed. It was a fun experience, seeing a different kind of rally than what I am used to. And the guy with the cap? We would stay in touch for sure.

Soon after the rally my dad and I went to the UK to bring the engine of Amillion to Jim Stokes. Stokes is an amazing restoration company as you can find out on their website. There were two cracks in the block that had to be fixed before I was going to drive a rally in Paris. What I didn’t know is that it was going to be a trip to never forget, in a positive, but mostly a negative way…

Before we returned to Jim Stokes to pick up the repaired engine we also visited the Genius of the Lamp. We had to bring the enormous headlights of the Hispano of my dad to Raj and Kam, the owners of the company. This is a great family business and they restore and plate (chrome, nickel, etc.) any lights to perfection, but also other parts. They have an impressive stock of parts that they can use, and a great hall with the chemicals baths to treat the different metals. We got an extended tour around the premises. Kam is an amazing and inspiring person, he became directly a great friend to me as well. He showed us also the drawings of something he had made for the Louwman museum. Whenever you will visit the Louwman museum look up, because then you see a weather-vane in the shape of a Spyker car. Genius of the Lamp is very well known among the industry and collectors and loved by many. Especially before the London Brighton run and concourses such as Pebble Beach they are loaded with work. A part of the business that Kam showed us is how it all started. Making jewellery and a silver smithy.

Since we were in the UK anyways we also went to Thornley Kelham, a great company that is specialised in restoring vintage and classic cars and their engines. Wayne Kelham is a friend, so we just wanted to say hello and see what projects they were working on. Because it was just before the London Brighton run, there was definitely something to admire, as well as a great car that was going to the next concours at Chantilly. We also wanted to visit our dear friends of the Bugatti Trust, but we had not enough time, sadly. The Bugatti Trust is a great initiative. They collect and preserve study material from Bugatti. If you need to know something about a certain Bugatti, they most likely have some books for you or documents. Everyone is welcome in the Bugatti Trust house. So, then we had to rush back to Jim Stokes...

The workshop of Jim Stokes was amazing to see. Alfa Romeos and machines that most of us can only dream of and some other cars you usually don’t see in real life. The crack was fixed within a day by Jim’s Greek mechanic who was so funny, telling me he was a butterfly flying all over the workshop to make sure everything happened perfectly. The next day we planned to pick up the engine again. Sadly it went a bit different. The most horrible thing that can happen, happened… My dad didn’t sleep well and had a strange painful feeling in his chest. That very unpleasant pressing feeling. I wanted to call a doctor just before midnight, but my dad wanted to wait until the morning. After a sleepless night for both of us, I decided to call a doctor in the morning since it only got worse. I had a very bad feeling about this. An ambulance came to the hotel, and it seemed that I was really living a nightmare. My dad had a heart attack. The paramedics were very nice and tried to keep me calm. I felt the ground disappearing under my feet. They put a lot of wires on my dad, and then we had to go into the ambulance. My dad was joking with the paramedic, luckily, because he couldn’t get the needle in his vein, tot he frustration of the experienced paramedic. We sat in the ambulance with sirens; I just couldn’t believe this was really happening. I was calm, but also in shock and had to cry. Let this nightmare stop! Please! 

To be continued.