Autosport, Inc. Final report
Friends, customers, fellow racers, followers,
Autosport, Inc has come to an end as a formal company after 42 years. After 75 years, my check engine light came on and interrupted my program in a big way. First, I developed a partial loss of eyesight in my left eye. I noticed this when I couldn't see the left side of the boot, (trunk) area of a '54 Austin Healey 100/4, I was welding in new sheet metal. After along protracted wait, operations, I was left with about 90% of what I had, along with a couple of floaters, which to me was unacceptable as a race car driver. During this period, I was also informed by another doctor, that I had aggressive prostate cancer. After a bone scan to determine if the cancer had spread to the bones, it hadn't, I was subjected to a few months of radiation treatments, which left me in a weakened state that took month's to recover from. No sooner than I recovered from that, another specialist, all the doctors I'm seeing are now specialists, I forgot I had a general practitioner, informed me that I needed heart surgery. Gees, I'm dealing with all of this other stuff and now you want me have open heart surgery? It was explained to me in great detail, that that was the only alternative. OK, I went and had that done, which was the biggest wound I've ever had as an adult. Friends where glad to see me, but said I looked sick, which I was. That episode took the better part of a year to recover from, with the help of family, friends, and cardiac rehab. Through all of this I couldn't run my loved business which was being kept alive by my daughter, Erika and my right hand man Ajmir. Without them It would have ended in an ugly way, but didn't.
I decided to close Autosport, Inc. after becoming aware of life outside a shop. I had a lot of time to think about life and what it meant to me and my family. So In June of 2018 I had a retirement party for customers, friends and family. It was a humbling experience, which I will never forget. So what does one do with all of the equipment, books, parts, and customers? It took me a while to figure it out, but I've ended up giving it to my protégé, Ajmir. Once in a while a person comes around who needs a break, because of their attitude, their loyalty, and genuine interest in the process. So, Autosport, Inc. will live on, perhaps with a different name and new spin on it, which is to be expected, but all of the blood sweat and tears I put in it, won't die.
I'm back working part time, in a semi-retired position, which is new to me, working alongside my friend and able to continue teaching him and passing on the complex trade. Fortunately, he went racing with me, learned enough to get a job rebuilding a Porsche race car, driving it at PCA events, and getting his motorcycle license. So now, I feel he knows enough about the mechanical side of the business to begin running his own business. It's a very difficult situation to accomplish, but when one does, it's a real high.
My wonderful daughter, who now has her own message therapy business going, after working for me for 18 years, is going to help Ajmir out with learning the money side of the business, which is something I didn't learn, until late in the game. So, having the family behind him should make it easier to for to accomplish his new mission.
Me, well I'm happily married to wonderful woman, without who's undying help through all of the stuff I went through, has made my life very enjoyable. I'm a happy man, pretty much all the time, with so much less to worry about, life is fun again for the first time in decades. Bought a like new, previously owned Honda CR-V with most of the bells and whistles, all wheel drive and really like it. I've relaxed enough to enjoy living in our house and getting projects done I only thought about. We spent a month in Fla last year without a worry, had fun, saw family and old friends we hadn't seen in years. We're going back this year, if the Corvid-19 is under control, after having to cancel our New Orleans, Panama City Beach Thanksgiving vacation we've been doing for years.
I've gotten some projects done that have been on a back burner for years, like a Volvo' I've had for 30+ years. The Elva race car is still apart waiting for me to get the time to rebuild it, my MGA is coming along, with more stuff in the works. I can't quit, mainly because I don't want to, as I think it would be the end of me. So much to do and literally beginning running out of time.
So, stay tuned for an announcement about the reopening of Autosport, Inc. soon, as they say, under new management.
See you on the grid,