All posts by Andy Reid

Andy Reid’s first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars, “none of them normal or reasonable,” as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

Having owned two, our Andy is excited about TVR’s return to the road

Never has a sports car company gone through what TVR has and somehow still continued to exist.

This is a company that since its launch in post-war England in 1947 has had five different owners, a factory fire, a weak distribution network and every other conceivable issue a car company could possibly experience. Despite this, it has consistently developed and delivered exciting cars with great performance for their eras, often with groundbreaking styling.

Meanwhile, there also has been a loyal audience of enthusiasts who simply love the company and its cars. I am among that group, and I am so pleased that TVR has returned, especially with the launch a car as amazing looking as the new Griffith.

The new car is just what TVR needs and is the most advanced car from the company in any of its incarnations over the years. To me, this new Griffith is exactly what a company known for its radical designs and amazing performance is all about.

The new Griffith was launched at recent Goodwood Revival starts by utilizing Gordon Murray Design’s iStream chassis architecture with a carbo- composite structure and body panels and weighing in at only 2755 pounds.

The new Griffith is powered by a Cosworth-enhanced 5.0-liter V8 engine rated at 400 horsepower and linked to 6-speed manual gearbox that gives the car the capability of a 0-60 time in 4 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 mph. For TVR fans, this is just what the doctor ordered.

According to TVR chairman Les Edgar, formerly known for bringing Aston Martin back to racing, “Today’s unveiling is the culmination of nearly three years of tireless work by the team, and we’re all proud to be able to show the new TVR Griffith to the world.

“This is unmistakably a TVR, a British muscle car that’s as awesome and brutal as it is charismatic and refined. Importantly, the new TVR offers levels of technical sophistication, comfort, reliability and practicality never seen by the brand before.”

At the unveiling | Rolex photo by Nick Duncan
At the unveiling | Rolex photo by Nick Duncan

The car presented at Goodwood is the Launch Edition-spec Griffith which includes a full leather interior, custom alloy wheels, special Launch Edition paint options and a bespoke infotainment system. Starting from £90,000 ($122,000), production of the new TVR Griffith Launch Edition begins in late 2018.

According to industry scuttlebutt, there are many deposits already in for what looks and sounds to be a great comeback car for the storied company.

I personally love the TVR brand and hope that when launched I am invited to test drive one of these fantastic cars. Yes, I am a bit biased, having owned a 280i and a 2500M model.

It is great to see than even with the trend of many cars moving to hybrid-drivetrain technology, TVR has remembered it’s roots and given us a rip-snorting V8 powered supercar.

For more information and to get your deposit down, go to the TVR website.

Feature photo courtesy TVR

 

Lime Rock celebrates history — even in the rain

Lime Rock celebrated it’s 35th annual Historic Festival over the Labor Day weekend and despite a very rainy day during the Sunday In The Park concours, the weekend was well attended as it offered vintage racing, an auction, swap meet, and Sunday concours.

The action on the track
The action on the track

The Lime Rock Historic Festival is one of those smaller events that have everything that larger events such as Monterey Car Week have, but in a more manageable and lower-key style. It is much like the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman that happens at Road America in July. Both events attract great cars to the track, have a concours during the no-racing times, and gather famous drivers from the past.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT 'Speciale' Comp 61 by Pininfarina takes Best of Show at the concours | Andy Reid photos
1961 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Speciale’ Comp 61 by Pininfarina takes Best of Show at the concours | Andy Reid photos

All of this leads to nice-sized but manageable crowds and something for just about everyone who is interested in classic sports cars.

This year, which also is the race track’s 60th, the Lime Rock event had Richard Attwood as the honored racing guest and Bruce Meyer as honored collector. Both were on hand to meet fans, tell stories, and sign autographs at the Vintage Motorsport magazine booth. Meyer also brought an assortment of his many fine collector cars, including the 1960 Chevrolet Corvette No. 2 that competed at Le Mans, 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX 2001, the first production Shelby Cobra, and the 1932 Ford Doane Spencer Roadster (see below).

The action on track was exciting with hundreds of cars competing in classes such as Tin Tops, grand tourers, road-going sporting and sports racing cars, and not-quite-street-legal racers.

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Each year, Lime Rock has a featured class and this year it was Formula Junior reunion with more than 24 of these historic and fast cars on the track. Seeing the diversity of this group was fascinating as each manufacturer executed the Formula Junior idea differently.

The Sunday At The Park Concours was amazing considering that it rained for the entire day. The fact that so many amazing cars showed up to be judged and seen by spectators speaks to the enthusiasm of the owners and the spectators. Some of the cars on display were a 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, the 1963 Corvette Rondine Coupe by Pininfarina, and the 1950 Ferrari 166 MM by Vignale, which was the very first Vignale-bodied Ferrari.

The best of show honors were won by the amazing 1961 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Speciale’ Comp 61 by Pininfarina. This astounding car looked for the world like a 400 Superamerica and had to be the template for that car.

Vintage racers come into focus at Motorsports Reunion paddock

The Paddock scene at the Motorsport Reunion, with a Lancia and the Ferrari ready to race | Andy Reid photos
The Paddock scene at the Motorsport Reunion, with a Lancia and a Ferrari ready to race | Andy Reid photos

For most car fanatics, the events of Monterey in August are all about car shows and concours. But for those who want to witness the cars in action, there’s nothing like the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Motorsports Reunion is where great race cars can be seen performing on the track as they were meant to be, creating an all-immersive kinetic museum of sights and sounds. Race cars engaged in racing is so much more natural than standing on the grass at a golf course.

One of the original Ford Thunderbird 'Battle Birds'
One of the original Ford Thunderbird ‘Battle Birds’

One important aspect of the Motorsports Reunion, you know that the vintage cars on the track are the real McCoys, the actual cars as they raced in period. In order to get into the Reunion, the cars must have racing history; replica cars need not apply. What the spectator gets is the opportunity to see, once again on the track, cars that raced at Sebring, Le Mans, Pebble Beach, Daytona, and many others, including those raced in the period in which they were built.

Much of the fun of the Motorsports Reunion is visiting the paddock area, where you can get up close and personal with the race cars, drivers and support teams. Here you can to ask questions of the owners, drivers and mechanics, and learn more about these magnificent competitors. As an added bonus, many owners will allow visitors to get in behind the wheel, getting a feel for what it must be like to drive the cars in wheel-to-wheel competition on the track.

This past weekend, I spent all my time photographing in and around the paddock area, where I saw some amazing race cars, including a pair of vintage Lancias, scores of Porsches, many Maseratis, and so many others I cannot count.

To me, no trip to Monterey Car week is complete without going to the race track for the Motorsports Reunion, especially taking in the whirlwind of activity in the racecar paddock.

Photos by Andy Reid

Pick of the Day: Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina

The Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina has sporty drivability despite its four-door practicality
The Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina has sporty drivability despite its four-door practicality

Alfa Romeo is largely known in the U.S. for its sports cars. Think Spider, GTV and Sprint. But what often is forgotten is that throughout the company’s history, it built many Berlinas, or sedans, all of them with the same sporting feel and performance of their sports car relatives.

Few of these four-door cars were imported to the United States compared with the sports cars, although Alfa built many more of them than sports cars worldwide.

The original Saddle interior looks to be in good condition
The original Saddle interior looks to be in good condition

The Pick of the Day is a 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina that was brought over from Italy nearly two years ago, according to the Miami, Florida, dealer advertising the Alfa on ClassicCars.com. The car has a complete documented history from Italy, and just one U.S. owner.

The Berlina is an original, rust-free example with all original books, tools, spare tire and keys. The Alfa recent had $15,000 in mechanical work completed by renowned Auto Veloce in Miami, the dealer states.

Quite rare is the fact that this car has been equipped with air conditioning, nicely installed so it looks like the factory did it . The Saddle interior is original and looks to be in nice shape as well. Everything in the car works, the ad says, which is rare for an Alfa of this vintage. The original steering wheel and radio are included with the car.

Alfa Romeo Berlinas are fun to drive, have a great competition history and benefit from being something just a little different from the usual Alfa Spider. They also have a usable back seat so they can serve a family cars for sports-minded drivers.

The asking price for this car is $21,000, which is in line with the current market value of these appreciating Italian sports sedans.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Andy’s picks at RM Sotheby’s 2017 Monterey auction

The Ferrari Daytona known as the 'Harrah Hot Rod' is among Andy's favorites at RM Sotheby's auction in Monterey | Andy Reid photos
The Ferrari Daytona known as the ‘Harrah Hot Rod’ is among Andy’s favorites at RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey | Andy Reid photos

RM Sotheby’s auction consistently has been the place to buy the finest cars on offer during Monterey car week and this year is no exception. There are so many extraordinary cars at the Portolo hotel & spa in downtown Monterey that it is difficult to even take it all in. Continue reading

Andy’s picks at Bonhams’ 2017 Monterey auction

This Ferrari 288 GTO is among the cars Andy would love to take home from Bonhams' sale at The Quail
This Ferrari 288 GTO is among the cars Andy would love to take home from Bonhams’ sale at The Quail

I remember my first trip to Monterey Car Week in 2001, and going to the Bonhams auction and discovering a variety of cars at various price points, everything from full classics and classic sports cars to wonderous supercars and race cars. Continue reading

No drama in Andy’s cross-country drive in 33-year-old Porsche

The view through the windshield of a 1984 Porsche 944 | Andy Reid photos
The view through the windshield of a 1984 Porsche 944 | Andy Reid photos

Well, the 1984 Porsche 944 trip to Monterey came off without a hitch. The first day we drove from Connecticut to Ohio and stayed with my friend, Ted Hersey of 7, a firm that does concours preparation for Amelia and Pebble and collections management. Continue reading

Pricey but dicey: Dr. Andy checks pulse of Monterey marketplace

Andy's Monterey favorite is this 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 | RM Sotheby's photo by Tim Scott
Andy’s Monterey favorite is this 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 | RM Sotheby’s photo by Tim Scott

It’s less than a week before the first hammer drops at the six collector car auctions taking place on the Monterey Peninsula and everyone is anxious about what’s going to happen — what will sell, what will not sell, and at what price?

First, a few data points: Last year by my count, there were 88 cars offered at Monterey auctions with pre-sale estimated values of more than $1 million. This year, I count 72 of them. Continue reading

Andy’s Excellent Adventure: Driving coast-to-coast to Monterey

The 33-year-old 944 is ready to roll, coast to coast | Andy Reid photos
The 33-year-old 944 is ready to roll, coast to coast | Andy Reid photos

So with Monterey Car Week on the horizon, what could be more fitting — or perhaps crazy? — than to drive there, East Coast to West Coast, and not in just any car, but a 33-year-old sports car?

The car in question is a 1984 Porsche 944. Peter Lombardo, owner of the classic car dealership Lombardo Motorcars in Berlin, Connecticut, found the car in question for me. He knew I was looking for a 944 and when he saw the car he knew that it was the one for me. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1988 Porsche 924S

The Porsche 924S was powered by the engine and transmission of the upmarket 944
The Porsche 924S was powered by the engine and transmission of the upmarket 944

It seems that everywhere you look, people are talking about the four-cylinder, front-engine Porsche transaxle cars. The 924 and 944 quite literally kept Porsche in business during a rough patch in the 1970s and ’80s. They were affordable Porsches, and they made great first Porsches for many people to introduce them to the sports car brand.

Like any Porsche aimed at the lower end of the market, they depreciated badly, to the point where you could buy for one as little as $3,500. And like other budget Porsches, such as the once-ridiculed and now wildly popular mid-engine 914, they have started to appreciate and are finally considered collectible Porsches, with prices rising accordingly. Continue reading