Racing A Convertible Rolls in Southern France (Summer, 1977)

 43° 44′ N    7° 25′  E

Man’s capacity for the ridiculous seems infinite.   Take, for example, the race we entered into along the A8 in southern France back in the summer of 1977.   Halfway along our journey from Madrid to our summer home in the south Austrian Alps and suddenly an absolutely stunning woman in a white Rolls Royce Corniche comes up alongside of us just west of Monaco…

“Floor it, dad!”, I yell immediately.   I’m only 17.

My brother fuels the fire and poor dad, pressured as I now appreciate, complies and the race is on!   Like the parting of the Red Sea, there seemed to be very little traffic that morning, as we raced along, high above the seas and through the dark tunnels, the little villages passing by us so far below.

Mom became increasingly angry, but at 3:1, was temporarily outmatched.   After all, our silly ’76 Ford Mustang could surely win.   Well, not really.   And so it played out like a bad chase scene; the beautiful woman seemed so calm and natural in her perfectly paired, fine luxury automobile in contrast to the insanity brewing in our little car.

Kilometer after kilometer, we were taunted.   Seems to me, that it’s best to yield gracefully when so obviously outmatched; maybe learn not to engage to begin with, yes?

The beauty and the beasts… my poor mother excluded, of course.

“Jean Pierre, there was this odd little American car trying to keep up with me.”, she says as she settles into her lounge chair overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from their magnificent villa.

“Now, Monique, really…   We’ve talked about that before.”