Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chad's Tornado

The following post has nothing to do with Matilda. For that we apologize. But an amazing thing happened to Chad, friend and Matilda co-conspirator, in the past two weeks that we felt needed some recognition.

As you may know from reading this blog, Chad has an amazing eye for cars. He is the one that spotted Fred (our Matilda body #3) some 100 feet off the road covered in a pile of boxes while flying down Highway 20 last summer. A few months ago, Chad was out driving near Lacomb (southeast of Albany), when his radar went off and alerted him to a white car obscured in the distant corner of a pasture. He had an inkling this was a special car, but didn't see the car's owner and so drove off with the intention of coming back another day to get a closer look.

Fast forward to a Monday afternoon about two weeks ago. Chad again drove out to the pasture, and ogled the vehicle through his friend Eyela's binoculars. He was taken aback by the view of a car he had never seen before. He then spotted a man walking around the property and quickly jumped out to meet him.

The man agreed to let Chad take a look at the car, and they walked over to it. The man explained that it was an old British kit car, chassis and window glass long gone, but had a complete body that is in fair condition. Chad persuaded the man to sell him the car, and then set off for home to wait for its delivery and do a little research.

It turns out the car is a Tornado Typhoon Sportsbreak, made by the Tornado company in Hertsfordshire, England around 1959-60. Very few Sportsbreaks were made, and there are only six known Tornados left in the world. Only one photo of the Sportsbreak is known to exist, and it is pasted here.

Chad sent the photo out to friends to show his new find. When Eyela saw the picture, she noted the license plate looked similar—if not the same—to the one Chad had just acquired. Turns out the car pictured above IS the actual car that Chad bought. He is now the proud owner of the car bearing the British FXU392 license plate! The photo that was taken nearly 50 years ago in a field in Hertsfordshire, England, is of the exact car that somehow made it all the way to Albany, Oregon.

That story in itself is amazing, and we were blown away by it. But it gets even more interesting. Chad came across contact information for folks who are Tornado aficionados, and sent them all emails discussing his find. He was informed that there were only TWO Sportsbreaks produced, a factory prototype, and one other. His car, the one with the FXU392 license plate is the factory prototype. Turns out the car belonged to the Tornado company's founder, and it was his wife's daily driver. The man in England who writes the newsletter for the Tornado enthusiast's club, has notified the owner of the car's existence, and is planning on making this the lead story in the next issue.

We can't wait to hear what happens next!

To learn more about the Tornado car company, visit:


Fresh and Feisty said...

Unbelieveable! Apparently, we should all ask for Chad if we're looking for something amazing. How awesome for him.

She Said said...

Holy smokes! That's an incredible story!

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