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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

“I’ve been picking up pieces for the Lotus 23 when I find them.”

Over the summer, I picked up another full body, full body mold set and Hewland box from a 23. I think you’ll find the following story about getting them kind of funny:

My son, Steve, and I rented a bright yellow Ryder truck here at home and drove the 300 miles to a town about 10 miles from Gettysburg to pick up the parts. Once we packed up the Lotus stuff, we decided to visit the park. I had never been before. We drove in with no problem and started the “motor car tour” – driving round and getting out at all the important parts and walking about, taking pictures etc. Since it is in a mixture of a wood and fields, one parks their vehicle along the side and simply takes their time going into the woods, climbing the hills, milling about, or visiting the visitor center.

Well, since we had just recently packed up, I wanted to check the precious cargo before we headed home on the highways. That meant opening and closing the truck's rear door which makes lots of noise and taking out boxes and packing material and re–positioning etc. I did this a couple of times before I noticed a Park Ranger shadowing us, almost out of view. When we moved on, he moved on, when we stopped, he stopped.

Steve had wanted to do an hour’s walk for a famous part which would have put the truck out of sight for that time. I had said “no” as I was worried about the precious cargo. Once I saw the Park Rangers shadowing us I decided that was the answer...I stopped one more time, opened up the back, and sat there drinking water for about a half hour. I had Steve go back and forth, forth and back, in and out of the woods, then we took some boxes out and walked right round the truck and put them right back in. Then I backed up 10 or 15 feet, then went right back forward again and stopped. We figured they must have been “hooked” by then, so we drove down to the area of “Pickett’s Charge”, locked up everything, and went walking about for an hour and a half without a care.

When we returned, the truck was safe, the Park Rangers , still almost out of sight, but apparently keeping a watchful eye on our truck! Our tax dollars at work – our own private security service, guarding the most precious cargo in all the park!

This was the weekend right before the July 4th celebration. When I told the story to friends at work I told them I thought that they were following us thinking that we were stealing monuments, or rocks, or whatever, to sell on ebay. Now that we look back on it, they were following us thinking we might have something more destructive hiding in the back...thank goodness we did not park near the Visitor’s Center...we probably would have had the truck impounded, the Center cleared of all people, cops all around, us on the ground, and those guys tearing the fiberglass to smithereens!!!!!

Paul Chuddy

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