Classic Car Convoy

Dillan Robinson's two Japanese Classic Cars warm up at idle at a rest stop in New Mexico during the early morning on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The left car is a 1978 Datsun 280Z and the right car is a 1986 Toyota MR2. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

Dillan Robinson’s two Japanese Classic Cars warm up at idle at a rest stop in New Mexico during the early morning on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The left car is a 1978 Datsun 280Z and the right car is a 1986 Toyota MR2. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

For a long time, I have been planning on helping one of my best friends, Dillan Robinson, move to California from Colorado. Originally we planned on moving him toward the end of 2013, but the date was postponed so he could save money. During that time, he acquired a 1978 Datsun 280Z to add to his Japanese Classic Car collection. He already owned a 1986 Toyota MR2, so this presented a bit of a challenge for him to move farther west on his own. I saw this as an opportunity in early May and flew to Colorado and drive one of the cars back to California with him.

To prepare for the trip, we bought a flat of water, boxes of gummy snacks and chips to divide between the two of us, and walkie talkies to communicate quickly between vehicles.

Originally, we planned on leaving Colorado Springs on the morning of May 20, but due to my school schedule, we tried to get back as soon as possible. After stuffing everything he owns into these two small Japanese sports cars, we left on the night of May 19. It wasn’t much of a head start, but it was something. After a good three to four hours of driving, we stopped at a rest stop in New Mexico to sleep.

We didn’t anticipate encountering problems with the aging cars because Dillan had been restoring the 280Z for a few months and the MR2 is his daily driver. However, after the first leg of the drive, the belt on the Datsun 280Z came loose and began to squeal with fury.

Dillan Robinson repairs a squealing belt on his 1978 Datsun 240Z, Tuesday morning, May 20, 2014, at a rest stop in New Mexico. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

Dillan Robinson repairs a squealing belt on his 1978 Datsun 280Z, Tuesday morning, May 20, 2014, at a rest stop in New Mexico. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

After a two-hour sleep, we woke up early in the morning to repair the belt and hit the road.

The drive through New Mexico was beautiful, but long and trying. The heat was sweltering and hard to deal with because the air conditioning systems were removed from both cars. Surprisingly we found that keeping the windows rolled up was actually cooler than leaving them rolled down.

Dillan Robinson drives his 1986 Toyota MR2 through Arizona on his way to California, on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

Dillan Robinson drives his 1986 Toyota MR2 through Arizona on his way to California, on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

A view out the window of the 1986 Toyota MR2 from the highway between Colorado and California on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

A view out the window of the 1986 Toyota MR2 from the highway between Colorado and California on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

Dillan Robinson drives his Datsun 240Z down a highway in New Mexico on his way to Ventura, California on Tuesday, May 20 2014. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

Dillan Robinson drives his Datsun 280Z down a highway in New Mexico on his way to Ventura, California on Tuesday, May 20 2014. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

After what seemed like an eternity, or more specifically 12 – 13 hours, we finally made it to the California border. We were home.

Dillan Robinson drives his 1986 Toyota MR2 into the sunset as we move closer towards our final destination of Ojai, California. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

Dillan Robinson drives his 1986 Toyota MR2 into the sunset as we move closer towards our final destination of Ojai, California. (©Joshua Schock 2014)

The trip totaled out to almost 18 hours with gas stops included. I had a great experience driving the two cars, especially since I own a classic Japanese Car myself. It was fun to see how his cars handled differently or similarly to mine. On the outside, our MR2’s look the same, but his has the suspension tuned with polyurethane bushings, motor mounts, sway bars, and a shock / spring combination. I can’t explain the difference in handling. The 280Z was a different beast altogether. I felt honored to be behind the wheel of an infamous classic Japanese race car.

I am proud to say that both cars made it to California mostly problem free (except for the slight belt issue).