They say cars are “just machines.” They say that automobiles don’t have personalities. We tend to agree, but with a disclaimer.
Not that we think cars are a lifeform, have souls, or something like that. We do believe that some cars elicit feelings that are more than mechanical. It is hard to explain the passion involved when it comes to the automobile, although easy enough to feel. There have been many great things directly tied to four wheels and the mechanisms engineered together to make up a car, a refuge, a get way, a family member, whatever you want to call it. A car is many things more than just a machine. How far someone wants to take that definition is up to them—and the depth of character of the car, and the passion that it prompts.
This has been extremely obvious when it comes to one little British car in particular. Said car is a 1965 Triumph TR4A of Drive Away Cancer Iowa. He has been named Johnny. A car with a devout purpose: To spread smiles one mile at a time. Primarily offering awareness and support to cancer patients and fighters, but definitely not limited to only them. The many miles that have been put on this car are shared by each person that gets to bask in the aura of this joy on wheels. The appeal is the ever improving paint job. It is a direct reflection of the good that this car spreads wherever it goes.
With a permanent marker, those patients can make their mark. They can jot down their name on the panels and body parts of this TR4A and instantly become part of a supportive club and know that they are not alone. These cancer patients, fighters, warriors, heroes, princes, and princesses find comfort in the fact that there are people out there fighting just like them. Beautifully adorned in gold marker on a deep green paint, each name stands out in a shine of prominence. Some just put their name and others share messages of hope, drawn inspirations, and beautiful designs. The tears that sometimes drip on the paint help to give it a lustrous sheen. The feelings conjured up with every stroke of the pen give them comfort and support with uncannily perfect design most of the time.
The fighters and survivors are not the only ones to share in this reaction. Anyone affected by cancer are also welcome to sign a name. Most sign in support of someone they know going through the trials of this abhorrent disease or want to pay homage to a loved one lost. These names and messages are written in silver permanent marker. They are presented as a different color so the fighters and survivors can feel an exclusivity. They are no more or less important since all names, messages, and designs are an essential part of that feeling we’ve been talking about. The unexplained passion, the mysterious vitality, the sense of belonging are evident ten-fold when it comes to a car like this. Being able to write a loved one’s name offers a recorded display of support and even a sense of closure for those already gone. There is a sense of healing involved in that as well.
Let us not forget the many people with outstretched arms who offer help and shelter while this car brings smiles and lets patients forget the med schedules, doctor visits, and treatments for just a few valuable minutes. While offering that comfort to those that feel helpless in their loved one’s fight. There are many out there that give the most valuable contribution to this mission: TIME.
They offer their time, knowledge, parts, and elbow grease to keep this car between the lines and on track to its mission. There are many out there that will drop what they are doing to aid in that mission. We are honored to carry them with us. At first, it was almost a mystery why some would freely give so much. It didn’t take long to clearly see that Johnny’s mission offered them a blessing as well.
To all the people out there that have helped on this mission, whether it be your time, efforts, knowledge, finances, or car parts, we offer our thanks not only on our behalf, but also on the behalf of each name penned on Johnny’s ever-improving paint. This mission is an ongoing effort to bring us all together to help in any way possible. We believe that every smile is indication that we are doing something good.
The collection of photos is of the Iowa British Car Club going to work on an engine rebuild with parts supplied by Moss Motors. This will surely extend the life of this amazing car and get Johnny where he is needed most. Their expertise is proudly felt with every turn of the key. An amazing group of enthusiasts that are always willing to help Johnny’s mission. A huge thanks to the men and women of this club for their donations of time and effort.
A BIG thanks to Moss Motors for their enormous help with this mission. Without you, it would not be possible… The Drive Away Cancer Iowa crew