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Driving up the New England coast line in a convertible is not what I would call a bad day at the office.   Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to support our client, The Haartz Corporation, at the annual New England Motor Press Association’s Rag Top Ramble and Crustacean Crawl.  Haartz supplies the topping material for almost every soft-top convertible manufactured around the world, making the event a perfect fit.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – other than temperatures soaring above 90 degrees and humidity at about 65 percent, plus 30 convertibles of all makes and models, 60 members of the media and a handful of OEM representatives. It turns out all of those ingredients produce a wicked amount of fun!


The cars were lined up outside of the Larz Andersen Auto Museum, prior to the drive.

The Ramble kicked off at the Larz Andersen Auto Museum outside of Boston and extended up I-95 North into Kennebunkport, Maine.  Keys to the vehicles are surrendered at the Larz Andersen and tossed into a bucket.  Media members randomly select a set of keys and then immediately start negotiating (bargaining, begging, etc.) with each other to switch.  They then partner with an OEM or a PR representative and start the drive.  To keep it fair, drivers switch cars at the half-way point.  Lucky vacationers at the New Hampshire rest stop were able to check out and take photos of a lot of cars you wouldn’t normally see cruising up and down the New England coast (or many other places, for that matter!), including the Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Edition, BMW Z4, Porsche 911 C4S Cabriolet, Lamborghini Avendor Roadster, Jaguar XKR CV, a Bentley and a McLaren.

The adventure wasn’t all about the drive.

After the switch, it’s up to Kennebunkport, Maine for a New England lobster boil and clam bake at the (beautiful!) Colony Hotel. Don’t worry, the native New Englanders taught this Detroiter how to eat a lobster – and didn’t laugh too much when I made a few rookie mistakes.

My first ride was a Volvo C70, the second ride was the new Volkswagen Beetle Turbo.  Both were fun and sporty to ride along in with the top down. And a bonus, I did manage to work on my tan!

The Volvo C70 is the first car Ann Marie rode in, from the museum up to the rest stop in New Hampshire.

What’s the most fun/exotic car you’ve ever driven?

Ann Marie Fortunate is an Account Manager at Franco.

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