It started with the simple desire to give my dad something other than the usual cufflinks and bottle of grog for his 70th birthday.
Last Sunday, it ended with him driving away in a type of car he hadn't driven for more than 25 years.
Throughout most of the 1980s, Dad had a 1948 MG TC and a few other MGs. He was in the TC Owners Club and even wrote its constitution.
Life moves on though, circumstances change and all of a sudden, 2 1/2 decades fly past. The last time he had driven a TC was sometime in the late 1980s.
So I hatched a cunning plan. It involved seven co-conspirators including Dad's wife and the extraordinary kindness of TC club stalwart Colin Bonney, who owns this stunning 1949 TC.
When I asked Colin if we could borrow his car to surprise Dad by giving him a day at the wheel of a TC for his 70th birthday, Col's response was disarmingly instant.
"If that's all it takes," he said.
We arranged to meet a short distance from the Old Man's house.
With family in tow, I arrived to find Col there at our meeting point, with him wearing his permanent grin and his gleaming TC sporting a definitively pukka set of cycle guards and aero screens.
This particular car was owned for 34 years by another long-time member of the TC club, Darryl Robins, who sold it to Colin three years ago.
Before long, I was on my way to Dad's house in Colin's TC.
About a kilometre down the road though, the plan began to fall apart.
The TC suddenly lost all power, like someone had cut a fuel line. My heart sank. I rolled to a stop, lifted the folded-down windscreen and then opened the side-hinged bonnet.
Nothing was visibly wrong but then the light-bulb moment came - that gloriously unreliable SU fuel pump. I turned the ignition back on, tapped the pump with my fingers, and it immediately ticked away, filling the carburettors with juice.
I pulled the starter and the TC roared back to life, the carburettors' gaping ram tubes snarling in air and washing it down with unleaded. I arrived only 10 minutes late.
It took some time for Dad to comprehend what was happening, and I felt I should clarify that I hadn't actually bought the car for him.
Of course, he remembered this as the Darryl Robins' car from when he was in the club all those years ago.
I sent him out for lunch to Matilda Bay Restaurant, where I'd reserved a prime parking spot for the car and left a few dollars on the tab.
Fittingly, the TC Owners Club concours was taking place on the Matilda Bay foreshore nearby. Dad took the beautiful baby blue TC back to its owner, who was waiting further around the bay, and the job was done.
Despite the rumours in the TC club, you are an absolute gentleman, Mr Bonney.
And happy 70th birthday, Old Man.
Mustang Roundup & Concours.
50 years of Mustangs.
Wesley College oval, South Perth.
Phone 0438 043 081 or see wa.mustang.org.au.
Veteran Car Club
Historic Vehicle Display
At Hyde Park Fair.
Corner William and Vincent streets, North Perth.
Phone 0407 999 290.
MG Car Club Concours & Show ’n’ Shine.
Bayswater Riverside Gardens.
Phone 9206 5624 or see mgccwa.com.au.
Dowerin Tin Dog Motor Weekend.
Competition and vehicle displays.
Phone 0434 269 410 or see dowerincarclub.com.au.
Old’s Cool Car Cruise.
From Tomato Lake, Kewdale.
Phone 0407 444 917 or see torrietorque.com.
South West British Auto Classic
Railway Reserve, Busselton.
10am-2.30pm. Phone 9727 2049 or 9754 3379.
All Australian Car Day.
Phone 0407 333 775 or 0418 936 952.
Send event details to email@example.com