Liz and Lee Niner met at a football viewing party in 1964. Liz certainly made an impression, inadvertently blocking the TV the moment the Colts kicked a game-winning field goal. “It was hate at first sight,” joked Lee. That inauspicious beginning aside, they soon discovered many shared interests and one that’s particularly fascinating: British sports cars.
Throughout their more than 40 married years, the couple has owned many cars, but they’re quick to reject the “collector” title. “We don’t collect cars; we drive cars,” said Lee.
No slowing down in retirement
The Niners now live at TidePointe, a Life Plan Community on Hilton Head Island, with their pride and joy, a 1960 MGA sports car that gets “exercised” on the roads of Hilton Head Island every two weeks. Liz uses a walker to get around, but they don’t let that slow them down. They simply strap her walker to the luggage rack and go for a spin. “It’s always funny when we speed past other cars on the freeway,” said Lee. “They see this classic car with a walker on the back and can’t believe it!”
When the MGA isn’t on the road, the Niners keep it tucked away in their spacious garage behind both their modern cars. “We have room for one more if we want!” the couple laughingly shared.
TidePointe’s pop-up classic car show
The Niners’ enthusiasm for classic cars is infectious. In fact, eight times a year, residents of TidePointe get the chance to experience it for themselves when the Niners invite their club, the Lowcountry Oyster & Motorcar Driving Society, to lunch. “We’re into eating and driving,” laughed Lee. “Our group loves eating at TidePointe because we have a fabulous plated meal and the waitstaff is so gracious.”
During the luncheons, the TidePointe clubhouse half-circle drive is lined with many classic cars. “It’s like a mini car show!” said Lee. “The residents get a real hoot seeing all the vintage cars.”
Driving year-round on Hilton Head
Hilton Head is an ideal place for the Niners to drive their classic car year-round. “We have nine months of absolutely perfect driving weather here, and in the summer we’ll go for morning drives.” On these short trips, the Niners pack a bottle of wine, some bread and cheese, and drive the low country looking for an idyllic spot to have an impromptu picnic. Despite the many scenic possibilities on the island, the Niners often return to TidePointe to enjoy their picnic while watching the boats on Broad Creek. “It’s our favorite spot and it’s only about 300 yards from our house!” said Liz.
The road home
In addition to their local excursions, every year the Niners take one big road trip. They’ve shipped their MGA to the United Kingdom for a three-week tour, driven the winding Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina and journeyed 4,200 miles across the United States. The MGA has no radio or air conditioner, but together, Liz and Lee make these long drives a breeze. “Driving together after all these years, it’s become kind of like yoga,” Lee said. “You reach a state of fulfillment, like you’re in the zone and you’re just taking in the sights, sounds and smells together.”
After a long road trip, the Niners love the warm feeling of returning home to TidePointe. “It’s nice to know everything’s been taken care of while we were gone,” Lee said. “After we drop our bags and freshen up, we head up to dinner to meet friends and tell them all about our adventure!”