The Drafthouse

When I lived in Austin, Texas I used to hang out at a place called THE DRAFTHOUSE in the mid 1980’s and it was the closest thing to a German gasthaus that I had seen since returning to the states.   I got into so much trouble there.  It started with a bunch of guys smoking cigars and drinking draft beer and talking auto racing.  The best we could hope for was a monthly autocross.  The big problem was that nobody had a suitable car.  My 1970 Mercedes 220 diesel was offered, but nobody wanted to drive that.

Trey showed up one day and stated that he had the perfect car.  He had found a clapped out Volkswagen Rabbit, taken it to Earl Schieb and told them to paint it with what ever color they had in the gun.  “Oh, don’t bother to prep it, just shoot it.  No, don’t tape off the places that don’t need painting.  $50 is too much, I’ll give you $35!”

The next day Trey brought the car, all smiles and excited.  I think that it was the first car I had seen that the tires and the windshield matched the rest of the car.  The paint stuck to the tires but that was about the only place.  We took it to the autocross but they wouldn’t let us run it.  Just as well because it broke down on the drive back


More discussion about the perfect autocross car ensued at the round table.  Somebody said that a Lotus Super Seven just had to be about the coolist car for autocross.  That was when my trouble began.  I knew someone who  had a Super Seven and it was for sale.   My banker was not a car guy, but he let me have the money.   C.P. bought the community helmet and cigars, Norm bought the gas, Trey and the rest of the guys agreed to be the pit crew which meant that they would push the car up to the starting line.


The next problem was that the car sat so low that the first time I did a lane change, the lane marker embedded in the road knocked a hole in the oil pan.  New taller tires solved the problem.  On the autocross course the little car was a screamer.  So were a couple of people we took for rides.

Back at the round table C.P., the oldest regular of the group confessed, “The older I get the faster I was”. He had raced sports cars back in the ’50’s.  Trey and Norm both admitted that while pushing the car to the starting line the car had rolled over each of their feet.  Norm said “I didn’t know what to do.  It started up over my foot and thought that it was going to hurt, but it just went up over my foot and then down.  It hurt a little, but not bad”.  Trey said that he had had the same feeling.

We autocrossed it several times with limited success and no incidents but alot of fun.  As all things must it finally came to an end when a guy in Georgia offered to buy it for more than I wanted it.



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