Shore leave. Classic car event.

By Seaview Siren

‘Inspired By’ entry for A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words - Cobra Crane.


It  was a sunny Saturday in Santa Barbara in the middle of September.  The town was busy this week end with a classic car event. An influx of extra traffic had descended on the town. An array of classics from the 1950’s and 60’s.


Lee Crane had entered his Shelby Cobra, he had spent the liberty tuning her up and polishing the body. This had given his girlfriend Lola Hale many reasons to moan to Angie.

“He just wants to win!”Angie had told her.

Lola knew this but it didn’t stop her feeling neglected. Liberties were for times spent together. Not watching him polishing his damned car!


Lola had also moaned to Admiral Nelson’s PA Claire who had given her a beseeching look and remarked “Why shouldn’t he have a hobby; he needs some down time.”

Lola expected nothing else from Claire. ‘Miss Sensible’, well she did work along side both Lee and Admiral Nelson on the Seaview. She knew how stressful the missions were.

She was very close to both officers. Lola sometimes wondered just how close she’d like to get to the tall handsome captain.

Lee flirted with Claire like he did any other women, sometimes it peeved Lola. Although being his girl had many advantages.


She wasn’t at the Institute, and had decided to take herself shopping


Lee came up into the reception area; Angie was busy at the desk. He looked around, “No Lola?” he asked. Angie shook her head and Lee didn’t look too bothered.

Claire came out of the admiral’s office, “Oh you lost out to a shopping trip,” she told him, setting the file down and adjusting her hair.

The handsome captain now had a flirtatious grin upon his face.

“Then I might stay a while,” he murmured. He tossed his thin jacket over a chair and perched on Claire’s desk.

“You like classic cars don’t you?”

Claire gazed up at him, guessing she was probably not going to get anymore work done.

“Yes, you know I do Lee.”

He had a grin on his face, “Maybe I ought to ask you to accompany me?”

Claire gave him a smile, “Maybe you should’ve Lee, I would have helped you polish your car.”

Lee leaned closer, “You wanna ‘go with me, then?”

Claire stared at him, as Angie shrugged.

“Oh I don’t want to step on Lola’s toes,” Claire said, looking worried.

Lee shook his head, “You aren’t. Lola can’t stand the event. I asked her if she wanted to go. She said she’d rather shop.”


Claire’s face fell. Lola would rather shop than go out with Lee? The woman must be insane.

“She’s stupid, um yes, yes if you’d like to take me Lee. I would be honoured.”

Lee leaned over and kissed her cheek, “Well it starts at 1pm darling.”

Claire looked over her work; she had some to finish up.

“Claire, GO!” Angie ordered, “It’ll do you good!”



Claire climbed into Lee’s Cobra, a headscarf holding her hair back. She had changed into some slacks and a loose blouse and sandals. Had sprayed some musky perfume on and some slight make up. She never wore much.

Lee assisted her with the seatbelt then he sped off making her gasp with a cheeky grin on his face.

“Hold on tight darling!” he said.

Claire managed a nervous laugh. It was a beautiful car. Had an equally beautiful driver. She could smell his aftershave. She was aware of every gear change. This car was a stick shift but drove effortlessly through the streets. And Lee was so  capable and confident.

Claire wanted to relax. She thought of Lola Hale. Then pushed the thoughts away. She had to relax. Relax and enjoy herself.

Lee was talking to her.

“You ok, darling?”

“Oh I’m fine Lee, I’m enjoying your driving and this beautiful car,” Claire replied and patted his hand.

He gave her a beaming smile. “Fancy owning one yourself?”

Claire laughed, “I think my insurance premium would  be too high!”

Lee laughed, “Mine isn’t cheap!”



Lee pulled into the event’s gateway. It was taking place on a large grass field. There were lots of cars.

“OH WOW!” Claire enthused excitedly. There were classic cars from the 50’s with decorations on. Lee had pulled up to hand in his entry form.

“Nice car bud.” The steward told him. He handed Lee a number to fix on to the hood. And indicated to where they needed to park.


Claire was now in her element and Lee was enjoying her enthusiasm. She pointed at a row of souped up classics. There were Chevy’s, Nash’s, Crowley’s and Hudson’s all waxed and their chrome work shining.

“Oh Lee, they’re beautiful, I simply must go and look at them all!”

Lee pulled up near some other Cobra’s.

“Check these out!” he said excitedly.

Claire was out the Cobra and was opening his door for him. He got out and she was pulling him down the row of cars. He burst out laughing.


They admired all the Cobra’s, and Claire was enthusing over a yellow one. “I love yellow,” she told the owner peering in at the interior. It had red leather. The instrument panels were all gleaming.

“You must’ve spent hours on this,” she asked the owner. He was only too happy to talk to her. She asked him about performance and fuel consumption.

Lee joined her and commented about his.


They walked on after a while, there were some Buick’s and some station wagons.

Claire commented on the style of the station wagons. She liked big cars but wouldn’t like to try reversing one.

Lee began to tease her.

“Oh would you look at that,” she said pointing to a DeSoto Firedome. It was in the classic red color with shining chrome. The interior was again red leather.


They walked a bit further dodging other cars arriving, marvelling at more.


“Let’s get some hotdogs?” he suggested.

 “Thanks Lee,” Claire said. She’d suddenly been brought down to earth. Maybe she was acting a little immature. This wasn’t her. But then, she was only having fun.

They walked towards the hotdog stand and Lee bought two with all the fixings they could add, along with some lemonade.


They admired more cars on their way back to where Lee’s car was lined up with the others. Claire walked by his side, keeping up with his pace. Although she was sure he had slowed it because of her. He was such a gentleman. She felt so honoured to be by his side. She reached out and gave his arm a squeeze.

Claire didn’t want him to let it go.


They stood with Lee’s car. Claire used his hanky to wipe a speck of dirt off the headlight. The judges were approaching this section.

Claire gave Lee a crossed fingers sign. He nodded.

The yellow Cobra had received a runner up rosette and the owner had it displayed with pride on its hood.

The judges walked round Lee’s car. Claire graciously opened the doors for them.

It was gleaming inside and smelled fresh, probably of her perfume.

Lee had placed the documents on the driver’s seat and the recorded services. All up to date.

“How much have you spent on her, sir?” Lee was asked.

Lee smiled, “With how much she cost me to buy, round twenty thousand dollars.”

Claire smiled. Lee lifted the hood showing a clean engine bay. He certainly took pride in his car. From the paintwork to the high profile tyres.

“Worth every dollar; she’s beautiful,” the judge said and held up a rosette with ‘1st’ on it.

It was stuck on the hood and Lee shook hands with the judges.

Claire wrapped her arms round Lee and hugged him.

A few admirers came to look at the car, even the runner up. Claire and Lee congratulated him for placing.


They drove out of the exit gate half an hour later. The rosette held by Claire in her lap.

“Thank you for bringing me Lee. I had a wonderful time.”

“So did I, Claire I enjoyed your company, your enthusiasm.”

Claire laughed, “Bet you think I’m some car geek?”

Lee laughed, “Yeah just a bit!”

Claire pushed him playfully. She was so glad she’d accompanied him. “If there’s another car show, I’d be glad to go.”

He laughed but didn’t reply. Then he became quiet and Claire rather thought she shouldn’t have made the offer.

“Sorry Lee, I hope you don’t think I’m being presuming. I wouldn’t. Perhaps you can persuade Lola for the next time.”

“She’s not into all this stuff Claire you know her,” he sighed.

“Well I was fascinated Lee and so happy your hard work payed off.”

Lee gave her a smile, “Well let’s go grab a coffee then and find out about the next show.”

“What a great idea, Lee.”

He looked at her then the rosette she was holding.

“It looks like I’ve got my 1st girl here too.”



The End.