Sundance Kid Rides (In An MG)
Sundance Kid Rides (In An MG) Photos and Stories.
Photos and story provided by Dean Lowe Contact Photographer for Information.
Sundance Kid Rides (In An MG)
Every car has stories to tell. They range from the mundane (read: daily commute) to the fantastical. I suppose such stories can be easily validated today with a GoPro strapped to your body, yet this story cannot. For the year was 1980, when VHS recorders were as bulky as a suitcase and the internet was nothing more than a land line.
It began as a beautiful sunny morning, and I had my head under the hood of a car in a service bay while turning wrenches. Perhaps there were easier ways to pay for college but hadn't thought of them. Besides, having just purchased a new British sports car, I would eventually need all the mechanical experience I could get.
From behind, I could hear someone walk in, and without seeing who it was, a voice called out, "Excuse me". And as I turned around I could see a slender man- dressed in boots and jeans- standing in the doorway with a child holding his hand. There was something familiar about him, though I wasn't sure he could be who I though he was. He then said, "My Porsche broke down on the interstate about a half mile back. Do you think a taxi would take me to the airport"? Without thinking, I quipped, "A taxi will take you anywhere you'd want to go if you have the money". He asked if he could use the phone, and just in case my suspicion regarding who he is was correct, I blurted out, "I could drive you to the airport".
I could blame it on my youth, but seriously, why would I offer to drive a man and his child- I'm guessing eight or ten years old- to the airport in a small 2-seat sports car? And we would still have to go to his car to pick up his luggage. What was I thinking? Regardless, he though we could all squeeze in. After calling for a tow truck, he opened the passenger door of my black MGB Limited Edition and got in, followed by his daughter sitting on his lap. Lucky for us, seat belts weren't the law at the time. As I drove away, he explained that the linkage to the throttle of his Porsche had broke and that he appreciated the ride. Curiosity killing me, I turned to him and asked, "Are you Robert Redford"? A half smile came to his lightly freckled face as he said, "Yes, I am".
Robert Redford at 1988 Cannes Film Festival. Photo Source: Wikipedia
Once we retrieved his luggage (Of course it fit in my car, it came from the trunk of a Porsche!), we pointed the car toward the airport. The ride was eventful not just because the Sundance Kid was riding in my car, but because of the stories he regaled me with. He told me of how he raced MG's in Europe and of hitch hiking there as well. On one cold night in particular, while walking through the countryside, Mr. Redford was fearful of freezing. He climbed into a pile of steaming hot manure and slept- it probably saved his life, he said. Truthfully, I don't think I would have offered him a ride the next morning had I been driving by.
Mr. Redford's concern was that he would be late and miss his flight. He indicated how importance this flight was, that he needed to get to New York to sign papers for the release of his first directed film: Ordinary people, staring Mary Tyler Moore. Pressing even harder on the gas pedal, the 1798 cc engine was lacking a bit in ambition with a full load. Still, I didn't have to brake much for turns due to the phenomenal handling of a well sorted suspension and, weighing only 2300 lbs, it was easy to fling the car in and out of traffic. When we arrived at the unloading area, he asked me if I would mind waiting just in case he missed his flight. Sure enough, that boat had sailed and he then asked if I would drive him to the other side of the airport where he could charter an airplane.
By the time I parked, he and his daughter retrieved their luggage from my trunk. And just before turning to walk into the building, Mr. Redford gave me $20 with his thanks. Funny thing, I never thought to ask for his autograph, but maybe the other employee back at the service station may have recognized him and could thereby corroborate my story...
On the other hand, this is my story and with or without a GoPro it resides in my memory, as do all the other car-related stories from over the years- be they mundane or fantastical. So the next time you see someone wearing boots and jeans walking along the interstate, you just might be surprised who it could be.
Dean Lowe ©
MGB Limited Edition sn-GHN5UL498886G 1979