‘Wishing You Were Here’

IT WAS THE SUMMER OF ‘67, Canada’s centennial year. Canada celebrated in many ways including that year’s world exposition, Expo 67. It was there, as a 16-year-old, that I saw my first real-life Grand Prix car, a BRM in the British pavilion. It was green and had a dayglo-orange nose cone. I was with my dad and I talked him into going back to see it again on consecutive days. But the big celebration that year for me was to witness my first-ever F1 Grand Prix of Canada, again with my dad. My new heroes were Jim Clark and Team Lotus. (I quickly forgot about the 1967 Maple Leafs.) I was hooked as it turned out, forever. I have never missed attending the Canadian Grand Prix since. And I wanted a green and yellow Lotus Elan.

Fast forward to the world premiere of a new motion picture at the start of the ‘70s, Le Mans starring Steve McQueen. The racing aside, I was smitten with the opening scenes and the King Of Cool driving that beautiful 911 S through the French countryside outside of Le Mans. Just like seeing Jim Clark and the green and yellow Lotus F1 racecar, that 911 vision is indelibly marked in my mind. I promised myself I would have a 911 S. I remember vividly watching Porsche 917s racing at Watkins Glen for the annual Six Hours race after that movie.

As life rolled out, I graduated through a myriad of cars — Fiat 124, Mustang Mach 1, Corvette, Volvos, Volkswagens, Hondas, MGs, BMWs. The Lotus opportunity presented itself and I was on a journey of restoration, again with my dad. I did Team Lotus proud and I was the proud owner for 22 years of a 1971 Elan. In 2006 I took my first Porsche step, purchasing a very new 2006 Boxster in Arctic Silver. I took many road trips to my favourite tracks.

As I attended motor-racing events through the years at venues like Daytona, Watkins Glen, Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) and Île Notre Dame, I never stopped noticing people arriving in their 911 Porsche automobiles both old and new and then harkening back to the opening scenes of that special movie years ago.

Enter my new love, Scarlett, and a fond farewell to my faithful old Boxster. Scarlett is an extremely well-maintained 2007 911 Carrera S in Guards Red.

Knee-replacement surgery caused me some grief regarding driving my trusty old Lotus Elan. I realized it was time to find a new custodian for it. Bittersweet it was but I did. Enter my new love, Scarlett, and a fond farewell to my faithful old Boxster. Scarlett is an extremely well-maintained 2007 911 Carrera S in Guards Red. Our first real outing was to the VARAC Festival at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in early summer 2018. I packed a lunch, rain gear, camera and set out before sunrise, driving east through Hamilton, Toronto downtown, north along the Don Valley Parkway to the 401 with the sun slowly rising and then realizing the incredible grin on my face. I noticed the old Heuer stopwatch swinging from the rearview mirror which had been my dad’s. I looked to the empty passenger seat and a teary “wish you were here, dad” swept to mind as, after all, it was he who started me down this journey and, look where we are now.

Miss you, Anthony Palermo. And godspeed on your journey! </>

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