John Harrison was one of the lucky few who partook in the real Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash in addition to the first One Lap of America. The man knows what goes into such grueling, unsanctioned automotive events. What proved to be even more challenging was tracking down the Lotus Esprit he used in the Cannonball later.
We’ve all been there: a car we had back in the day slipped through our fingers. Maybe you sold it because you couldn’t afford to maintain it or you just wanted to try something new. Whatever the reason, later you regretted the decision and wish you could reverse it.
Hunting down these long-lost cars oftentimes is a pretty fruitless endeavor. The power of the internet helps, but sometimes you just don’t have any luck. And even if you do find the car, the current owner might not be in the mood to sell, at least for a reasonable amount.
In this case Harrison didn’t even try looking for the Lotus. He had moved on, but out of the blue a guy called and told him he thought he knew where the Lotus Esprit had gone. A records keeper from Lotus then called Harrison and asked if he wanted contact with the current owner, who was living in Holland.
Remotely, Harrison was able to help the new owner figure out what had been incorrectly changed on the Lotus, including the paint color. The car went through a full restoration process, all of which was shared via the internet.
This is an amazing story of how cars might never be far from our hearts, especially ones we use to do phenomenal things, like the Cannonball. The fact that someone else not only would restore it but care enough about the history to reach out to a stranger and ask questions is something truly special.
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