|November 7, 1997
Dear Sir John:
Returned late last night from Pennsylvania and it's time to bring you up to date.
The extreme dimensions of the Alfa have been duly recorded. A firm near Leydon's shop will construct the shipping crate. While this means some additonal cost, the result is more likely to give the Alfa better protection in all phases of its trip to Wales.
Until my next trip, I'll devote as much time as needed to packaging the loose items and writing whatever information might be useful to you. My plan is to return to Pennsylvania only when this is done and thus to avoid delays later, probably within two weeks.
In Chris' shop there are several interesting machines. Familiar is a Talbot GP a friend dragged back from an iniquitous fate after it had campaigned in France and at Indianapolis. The ex-King Leopold Type 59 was there again, having been treated roughly by agents of its former owner. A Type 35 assembled from various sweepings in France was being set right. An MG Magnette was getting repairs done. In the engine shop were a Novi V-8 that probably had appeared at Indianapolis, an SS Mercedes, a 2.3 twin cam Bugatti and others I can't recall.
The reason for this inventory is to suggest to you the scope of his work. As you know, the main reason I agreed to sell the Alfa to you is because I could be certain it would have the right attention, and that interest remains. Your abilities and interest in doing the needed work are not in question. However, you might consider having Chris complete the engine and drive train. Presumably you know Jim Stokes. He's familiar with Chris' work on Alfas and can give you whatever information you might need to make a decision. My sense is that Chris knows in great detail what he's done and how the engine would best be completed, and that the end result will be something you can use competitively for a long time to come. A pre-war Maserati he redid ran flawlessly last summer in several events in Olde Albion, and another of his projects set a class record at Goodwoode last summer, so you may already be familiar with his work.
You might want to querry Chris about various deatils as you contemplate possibilities. His fax is 215-794-0635 and his e-mail is email@example.com. Since he doesn't interrupt his work to answer his phone, you could fax him to schedule a conversation. Then you could call him at 215-794-5535. You will find him engaging, knowledgeable, and absolutely honest. His perfectionism and his integrity are two of the qualities that have engendered respect by all who know him.
However, my own efforts will be focused on getting everything ready for shipment a.s.a.p. If you do not avail yourself of Chris' services, there will be no delay. If you do, the instant his work is done the lid can be put on the crate and the shippers notified.
With every best wish,