Conversational protocols

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    edward ericson


    Dear Miss Demeanors:

    I ran Bridget into work today (my boss’s boss asked after her yesterday, and I don’t need a lot of coaxing), and as I’m backing her into a parking spot at work a guy walks up.

    “Is that car all original?” he asks.

    “Well, mostly,” I answer: “she’s original for what she is.”

    “How long have you had her?”

    “Since November,” I tell him.

    “So you didn’t do the restoration.”

    “Restoration? No,” I reply, “previous owner built her about 1980, ’81.”

    And off he goes on a five minute monologue on how much he loves British cars, and how he’d seen a dude he thinks must be a Ravens player driving a Cobra (“a real one; the body had a few nicks in it,” he says). He asks me which cars had those leather straps on the hood. Morgan, he answers.

    All in all, pretty amusing interlude. It was obvious that he thought my car was an original MG TD, and I finally concluded that telling him Bridget was built in 1980 from a fiberglass kit made in Pennsylvania would make no one any happier, and might actually ruin his day.

    Did I do the right thing?


    Truthiness Driver


    Paul Mossberg



    Some car experts merely want to be “right”; not necessarily accurate.

    Two stories, both involving the Jovi Mercedes I used to own as a daily driver. The Jovi was a Mercedes SL replica, built on a second generation Chrysler LeBaron Convertible (the egg shaped one that came out after the k-car based convertible. Mine was a 1991 LeBaron.)

    Story One: My family was in New Hampshire on vacation. Came out from dinner one night to see a bunch of the kitchen crew looking at the car. The “expert” in the group asked, “Why did you put a Chrysler steering wheel into a Mercedes?” I tried explain it WAS a Chrysler, with a fiberglass body on it. In response I got this, “No. I KNOW cars. This is a Mercedes.”

    I left it at that and left the parking lot with them thinking I was a fool for making such a change. Even my daughter, about four at the time, thought it was funny.

    Story Two: I came out of my dry cleaner. Four senior citizen gentlemen were looking at the car. As I got close enough to hear their conversation, the car expert of this group said to his friends, “Wow. This guy must be loaded. Mercedes only built the 4 seat SL for the German market. So he brought this the car over here himself.”

    Well, we all know the SL is a two seater, everywhere in the world. There is NO four seat version. But this guy’s friends were so impressed with him and with his car knowledge, I did not have the heart to correct his story. I laid back until they all left. Sometimes not saying anything is best.

    That said, the second story is the ONLY time I have ever knowingly let someone deceive themselves about my kit cars. The guy in the first story was just a knucklehead who could not accept the truth.


    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

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