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Car Talk

Vero Beach Sports Car Club honors history monthly

Richard Kesler’s red 2016 Z06 Corvette powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 with 650 hp

Richard Kesler’s red 2016 Z06 Corvette powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 with 650 hp

On the first Friday of each month, Lawrence Westfield arrives at Panera Bread at just after 5 a.m.  before the night bakers finish their shifts. He parks his car and takes a stack of orange traffic cones out of his trunk. One by one, he places the cones in the spaces of the side parking lot, covering more than 40 spots. When he’s finished, he drives home, washes his silver Mercedes roadster and returns a few hours later to claim a cone and direct traffic. It’s time for a meeting of the Vero Beach Sports Car Club, and that means the next few hours are reserved for honoring the good old days. 

Westfield has the blessing of Panera and the owners of this Miracle Mile shopping center, along with the other shops, whose businesses benefit from the four-wheeled centers of attention. Rows of washed and waxed sports cars are a happy talking point for patrons and club members alike.

A sports car lover since he was 14, Westfield remembers agonizing over whether he should buy an MGA 1600 or Triumph TR3. He would stay up nights poring over magazines about the popular British sports cars, ultimately deciding at age 19 on an $1,800 MG, even though he had only saved half of the money. “My Dad said, ‘We’re going to get you a loan for the rest of it’ and he said, ‘If you don’t pay it’ – he was trying to teach me about money – ‘they’re going to take your car away.’” Westfield quickly paid the loan off and made his way through college and graduate school in England by buying and selling special interest cars. “I ended up also buying the TR3 so I had both at the same time,” he says happily, “and it’s grown from there.”