looking at cars in the driving rain

Last Saturday, the hourly forecast showed quick storms at 1:00 and then again later in the afternoon, but with otherwise sunny skies and relatively low chance of precipitation. Even with the chance of rain, we decided to motor on to get to Micro Mini Car Day.

As predicted, the morning was clear and hot. We’d hoped to leave around noon to make the start of the car show at 1:00, but with the typical challenges of getting everyone fed and otherwise ready to go, it was closer to 1 by the time we got the kids buckled into the car. As I ran back to the house to grab one last thing, John called out to me to also grab some umbrellas.

I don’t have many superstitions, but I know for certain that the best way to avoid rain is to bring an umbrella. In this respect, the umbrellas failed us. Which is not to say that we were sorry to have them with us.

The hourly forecast was partially correct. It did indeed rain around 1. But it then continued to rain. And rain. And rain hard. And then it rained harder, and it rained some more. And did I mention that it rained?

I did manage to get a few photos, though, as I huddled under my umbrella.

Here is Phoebe with a bigger Mini. (I have a photo of her with the same Mini from last year.)

As you can see, the attendees were still very enthusiastic about the event. Here is someone braving the rain to photograph a convertible Isetta along with some sort of matching toy version. (I was very curious about the sort of pod-like, three-wheeled gray thing on the right, but didn’t have much chance learn what it was. Note that there is also what appears to be a black pole sticking out of the roof of the museum. That was my umbrella strap.)

Here’s are a couple of bigger Isettas. They seat 4!

Here’s that gray pod thing again, which I think looks a lot like the end of a bullet train or monorail. But a whole lot smaller.

I took this photo from the gift shop, up in the museum building, where I’d gone to get a t-shirt for John. (John’s shirt had gotten completely soaked while he was pushing Theo in the stroller, while trying to keep his umbrella moderately covering Theo.)

We spent quite a while inside the museum waiting for the rain to lighten up. Um…it didn’t.

By 4:00, the scheduled end of the show, the rain finally started to slow. By the time we returned to our car, it was barely raining at all. Then the clouds parted, and the sun came back out.

This is all to say that we went to the car show, but it was very wet. This wetness was, further, the only period of such wetness the whole weekend.

I was not sorry that we went, but it wasn’t quite the experience I might have hoped for. For one thing, they weren’t able to have the rides in the cars, at least not after we arrived. The rain was torrential, for one thing. And the attendees were drenched. (Would you want soggy-bottomed strangers plopping themselves down in your car?) And then to top it all off, a retaining wall collapsed from the rain onto part of the circular driveway where the car rides typically passed. So, no ride in an Isetta for me after all.

But I did have some fun.

Beep beep! It’s Micro Mini Car Day!

I decided not to go to away to the conference this week after all.¹

A sweet bonus of not being away this weekend is that I’ll get to go to something fun that I would have otherwise been sad to miss: Micro Mini Car Day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Car shows are not generally my thing, or at least not what I would think of as being historically my thing, and I don’t necessarily consider myself a car buff.

There are, however, a couple of noteworthy exceptions: British cars, and really small cars.² Last year, we went to and enjoyed British Car Day³, a lawn event at the same museum, and when we saw the upcoming listing for Micro Mini Car Day, I was well and truly intrigued.

I have to say the event was even cooler than I’d anticipated. In addition to the Minis and MGs and Smarts and such that I’d anticipated, I got to see all kinds of little cars that I’d never even known existed. I’ve been meaning to share some of the photos from the even for ages, and here I am finally getting around to it. Buckle up!⁴

Seeing as they were my first car crush, I was happy to see some classic Austin Minis. I have long said that I wanted to pinch their little cheeks.

In front of the very impressive museum building is a pair of Isettas, a car that was totally new to me.

The Isetta was also known, not too shockingly, as the “bubble car.” Fond as I am of the Austin Mini, I may want to pinch the cheeks of the Isetta even more. I mean, just look at it!

One of the most striking quirks about the Isetta is that the driver enters through a single front door. (Observe that the little 2-seater above has no side door.) The front door opens sideways on hinges, much like a refrigerator door. By the way, the car was originally made by a company that also made refrigerators. Coincidence?

Below is a picture with one of the “larger” Isetta models with the door open. (In the foreground is one of my own smaller models, who answers to the name of “Phoebe.”)

An especially cool feature of this event is that many of the car owners offer rides to attendees. (You can see people and cars lined up in the background in the photo, below.) I got to go for a ride in this Austin Mini, which was my first time actually inside a classic Mini.

I also went back in line a second time, and scored a ride in this cherry Nash Metropolitain, whose enthusiastic owner was dressed in colors to match her paint.

This year, I’m hoping to have a chance to go for a ride or 2 again–maybe even in an Isetta!

Even if I don’t manage to catch any rides, I’m looking forward to a fun day outside in a beautiful park. There is lots of room to run around, and Phoebe happily did so. (Theo, on the other hand, could barely yet stand.)⁵

And in case you want to see more photos of tiny cars, I’ve put a bunch more in the slideshow below. (If you want to slow down or stop the slideshow, put your cursor over the slideshow to have the controls appear.)

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¹ Much as I wanted to attend the conference itself, I couldn’t bring myself to commit to the travel involved. I’m still recovering from two biggish trips in the last couple of months, and it seemed unusually hard on John and the kiddos to abandon them so soon after my return. What finally helped me stop the waffling, or to tip the waffle into the “stay home” side of things, was taking into account both the expense and the fossil fuel gluttony of such a trip. (After all, I am trying to cut down.)

² You might remember the photos I posted from last year’s British Car Day.

³ And yes, I really love the really small British cars. Really.

⁴ Or otherwise brace yourselves, as many of the vintage cars probably didn’t have seatbelts.

⁵ You may recognize the setting as the same as in my photo I called Theo’s World. That’s because I took that one the same day.