By The LIght of the Silvery Moon
10A Wednesday,August24,2016 thecalifornian.comThe Salinas Californian PEBBLE BEACH – Leland F. Powells was a little nervous as the judges app app roached his 1912 Moon 30 Raceabout – and what car entrant at the 2016 Pebble B each Concours d’ Elegance wouldn’t b e. Pebble is considered the world’s top- r anked concours. “I’m sort of like that old gunslinger – nervous beforehand and shaky afterwards, afterwards, but I’m always rocks steady during during the big event,” Powells said, winking. Atall imposing figure dressed all in black, complete with a black leather wrapped peg leg and wearing a tweed d riving cap and amber goggles that are more than a century old perched atop a flowing mane of shoulder length auburn hair, Powells cuts a dashing figure among a field of car entrants all dressed t o match the era of their vehicle entries. Except Powells dresses this way all the time. And unlike many Pebble Beach contestants, who rarely drive their pristine pristine machines and likely have never worked on them themselves, Powells drives his magnificent Moon Raceabout often – and often at the limit. “This car was built to run, the open road just calls out to it,” said Powells, w hose history with the car goes back many decades to when his father bought the car when the bulk of the William Harrah Harrah Automobile Collection was auc- t ioned off in the mid-’80s. L eland F. Powells of Cambria can m ake a far better case than most who w ould like to claim they have automotive history in their blood. When his son was born, veteran Lincoln collector Thomas Powells named his son Leland to honor a utomotive pioneer Henry M. Leland, t he founder of Cadillac, and later, the L incoln Motor Company. Of course, along with the Leland name, the younger Powells also inherited inherited a love of fine early Lincoln motorcars t hat dates back to the early era of custom c oach-built automobiles and when V-12 e ngines were still offered by many automobile automobile manufacturers. He keeps coming back to Pebble Beach for the Concours, too – and always with an early car. In 2013, Powells won t hird place in his class with a 1912 Simp Simp lex 50 Toy Tonneau his family restored 35 years prior to the show. Powells said he believes in preserving a car that is already already in fine shape just the way that it is. L ike his Moon: The car may be 104 years y oung, but it has never been restored, j ust maintained. “This car runs great, and the brakes were last done in 1949!” he said, explaining explaining that the Moon might have a few spots of tarnish, but he is loath to restore any p art of it for fear that making any cos- m etic improvement might draw him into afull restoration, or otherwise one shiny part or two will look out of place amidst the overall patina. P owells said, at first, kids often made f un of him at school for being named Lel Lel and, but growing up in a household with antique motorcycles and veteran and classic automobiles made it all seem worthwhile when he got a little older. Even a catastrophic accident suffered s ome 37 years ago while riding a 1929 H arley hasn’t dimmed Powells’ love of early automobiles. “I lost my leg, but that hasn’t stopped me,” Powells said. Now when the open r oad calls, he just stretches out a little bit m ore, and goes and goes. But sometimes n ow, he lets a friend help out by hand cranking that Moon to life. CLASSIC CAR WEEK By the light of the silvery Moon 1912 Raceabout gets driven often and at limit of performance ERIC COYNE SPECIAL TO THE CALIFORNIAN PROVIDED/MICHAEL BRENNER Leland F. Powells, of Cambria, shows his 1912 Moon 30 Raceabout at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, held on the lawns of the Del Monte Lodge. Leland’s father bought the Moon Racebout at auction when the world famous Harrah’s Automobile Collection was downsized in the ’70s.