Every time I hear those words, from the unforgettable Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” I am reminded of my own story about the Hoosier State. A while back, on cold December day I called about an ad for the sale of 1970 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible. An older gentleman went on to talk about the car’s condition and history. Towards the end, out of the blue, he asked, whether was there any chance I would be interested in another car he owns. It turned out he had kept a 1967 Mercedes sedan in a barn for 35 years, and he pretty much would have liked to let it go as well. I didn’t think twice, just asked where to send the deposit for both.
Within a few hours my friend Cesar, from Fidler Auto Transit, rolled out his rig and we were out on our way west towards Indianapolis. The next morning, exiting the interstate at the southern end of the metropolis known for the greatest race track in the world, we found ourselves in the middle of cornfields, which stretched beyond the horizon. Our destination was an unassuming set of buildings comprising a farm resembling others in the area.
“She grew up in an Indiana town
Had a good-lookin’ mama who never was around”
I confirmed my assumption on the spot. Mercedes sedan was indeed a W111 chassis code, an early predecessor of today’s “S-class”; a 230S model, complete and very well preserved. Owner was very nice and forthcoming as we listened to the tale about his cars with great curiosity. It turned out that they were part of the inventory from Jaguar dealer who had gone bankrupt in the early eighties. A British car enthusiast himself, he had adopted “hostilely engineered” machinery just because nobody else would… I asked hopefully, if there were any E-Types left around but he smiled and said those had been taken care of right away.
And just like the couple of boys from small Indiana town we headed out to New York, carrying two German automotive legends from endless cornfields farmland. We had 750 miles to go.
“Into the great wide open…”
Seeing Tom Petty live in concert was on top of my bucket list. It’s well known fact that his jam sessions were amazing. I thought there’s plenty of time. Now it’s too late, will never happen. It’s one of the few things I regret. Hence my message out there: There are things in life you don’t delay. Go do it, before it’s too late. As for Tom Petty, he might be gone, but will never leave my speakers, no matter where I drive.
“I won’t back down”