Classic Car News » Larry Nutson Your daily dose of steel, rubber and soul Wed, 23 Aug 2017 12:45:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Klairmont Kollection: Chicago’s hidden gem Tue, 16 May 2017 09:25:16 +0000 Read More

Love affairs develop in various ways. Like many loves, a love affair with the automobile can start with an interest and grow to a passion.

Illinois native Larry Klairmont’s interest in cars was already evident as a 5-year-old with a fondness for hood ornaments. Following Wold War II, Klairmont founded Imperial Dry Cleaners and it grew to become of the nation’s largest dry cleaning chains. While running his business, Klairmont began buying a car here and a car there.

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Nutson’s nuggets at Mecum MidAmerica motorcycle auction Fri, 10 Jun 2016 09:30:43 +0000 Read More

About 350 vintage and antique motorcycles line the floor of the Schaumburg Convention Center just northwest of Chicago for this late spring chance for many to get a new old ride for the summer.

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Eye Candy: Rise & Drive in Chicago Fri, 10 Jun 2016 09:25:43 +0000 Read More

Rise & Drive is Chicago’s twist on the cars-and-coffee cruise-ins taking place across the country.

Now in its third year, Rise & Drive has a new gathering place, the Collectors’ Car Garage. The free event is open to a variety of cars — vintage classics, sports cars, muscle cars, exotics and microcars, with a few hot rods and customs among the nearly 100 cars that attended the most recent monthly gathering.

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Eye Candy: Chrysler 300 Club Spring Show Sun, 05 Jun 2016 09:30:08 +0000 Read More

Appropriately titled “TorqueFlites and Tulips,” the Chrysler 300 Club International held its recent Spring 2016 meet in Holland, Michigan. Club members and Chrysler 300 letter-car owners along with spouses, significant others and guests toured the countryside of western Michigan and staged a show on the grounds of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners.

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Eye Candy: Pontiac-Oakland Museum Sun, 03 Apr 2016 09:05:00 +0000 Read More

It all starts with the horse and buggy. In 1893, Edward Murphy founded the Pontiac Buggy Company in Pontiac, Michigan. Murphy then started the Oakland Motor Car Company in 1907, Oakland being the name of the county in which Pontiac was situated. Not long thereafter, Oakland was purchased by and eventually absorbed into General Motors.

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Eye Candy: Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals 2015 Sat, 28 Nov 2015 09:25:45 +0000 Read More

Mother Nature cast a kind eye, of sorts, on this year’s Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals show. On this pre-Thanksgiving weekend situated just north of downtown Chicago, an early winter storm was bearing down on the load-in day for the expected more than 500 show cars.

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Eye Candy: Milwaukee Masterpiece Sat, 29 Aug 2015 09:35:22 +0000 Read More

Early morning light rain didn’t discourage exhibitors or spectators at the 11th edition of The Milwaukee Masterpiece. A light breeze cleared the skies quickly at the picturesque lakefront location.

The Milwaukee Masterpiece takes place on the shores of Lake Michigan at Veteran’s Park, a spectacular venue situated between the Milwaukee Yacht Club and the stunningly modern Milwaukee Art Museum with its kinetic “wings.”

More than 200 unique cars, trucks and motorcycles were arrayed on the show field. Complementing the rolling sculpture for the first time were “Beautiful Boats,” an array of classic wooden boats from mid-20th century.

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Eye Candy: 17th annual Mid American Motor Works VW Funfest Wed, 24 Jun 2015 09:25:15 +0000 Read More

Mike Yager bills himself as the chief cheerleader at Mid America Motor Works, which is located on a 200 acre campus in Effingham, a city in southern Illinois. One of the annual events hosted by Yager and his family is the VW Funfest, a gathering and celebration for air-cooled Volkswagens billed in its 17th edition as “Cars and Stars” and featuring the legendary Bruce Meyers, creator of the Meyers Manx. Also shown was a 30-minute sneak peak of the new documentary The Bug Movie.

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Eye Candy: 2015 Hot Rod Power Tour Sat, 13 Jun 2015 09:30:44 +0000 Read More

The Hot Rod Power Tour is billed as the world’s largest road trip. The 2015 Power Tour has been off and running, hitting seven cities in seven days chasing the Mississippi River south from Wisconsin to Louisiana. The 21st running of the Power Tour features thousands of cars from all over America and beyond. This year that tour, with sponsorship from Chevrolet Performance and Continental Tire, ran June 6-13, starting in Madison, Wisconsin, and ending in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Eye Candy: Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals Sat, 29 Nov 2014 09:30:59 +0000 Read More

R-Code 1964 Ford Galaxie XL convertible 1955 ChevyGasser big block with Holborn injection Shaker hood 1959 Devin drag racer with 426 Max Wedge and Torqueflite transmission 1958 Corvette 1966 Dodge Coronet 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge 1940 Willys Stone, Woods and Cooke tribute 1957 Corvette trunk 1971 Hemi 'Cuda convertible 1960 Chevrolet El Camino Restored 1966 Cheetah Hemi-powered B/A drag racer Pace cars Pair of Avantis A Nickey Camaro 1968 Camaro resto-mod One-off vinyl-roofed 1968 Shelby GT350 Mark Donohue-signature 1970 AMX Javeline 390 Pair of shoebox Chevys Trio of C2 Corvette 1963 Chevrolet Impala with bench seat Badge: 1970 Dodge Super Bee 1958 Buick Limited convertible 1968 Dodge Charger 'Warlock' 1961 Shasta Airflyte Plymouth Superbird Bill 'Maverick' Golden's 1964 Dodge Hemi Super Stock 1956 Chevrolet pickup Pair of '64 Plymouth racers Vintage SUN distributor-testing machine C1 Corvettes 1963 Studebaker Lark R-2 Super Lark Ford corral 1940 Willys Gasser 1966 Penske L-88 Corvette racer Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals neon

Photos by Larry Nutson

With no snow on the ground to deter travel on this pre-Thanksgiving Chicagoland weekend, young and old alike got to see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cars that delighted all and brought a smile to many a face at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals.

As the show’s title suggests, there are muscle cars both vintage and new, Corvettes, drag race tribute cars, nostalgia drag race cars, a midway of vendors for car enthusiasts and hobbyists, as well as an assortment of vehicles for sale.

A 1971 426 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible that sold for a record $3.5 million earlier this fall greeted show visitors at the entrance.

VIP celebrity guests included the likes of Jim Wangers, the Godfather of the GTO; Ohio George Montgomery, the famed gasser and pro-stock drag racer; members of the Plymouth Golden Commandos drag race team from the mid-1960s, and Corvette road racer Tony DeLorenzo, who was recently inducted into the Bloomington Gold Hall of Fame.

Dennis Pittsenbarger, star of the Discovery Channel television show Highway to Sell, emceed weekend premier unveilings of recently completed restorations such as the Clark Rand 1964 Hemi-powered Cheetah.

A field of Cobra Jet Fords, L89 Chevys and Hemi Mopars brought oldsters back to their younger years and educated youngsters about the history of performance cars in the U.S. auto industry.

Did you know that the drag racing term “funny car” had its beginnings in 1965 with the Mopar altered wheelbase race cars?

For those looking for a winter project, a display of dusty and dirty “barn finds” offered various muscle cars and ex-race cars, each one waiting for a hobbyist. Free seminars offered information and education for the muscle car enthusiast.

Preliminary estimates had it that about 20,000 folks would visit the show and from about 30 different states.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of many, many of these iconic and unique contributions to the American automotive scene. The sixth annual Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals featured nearly 600 mint condition muscle cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s, first generation Corvettes up to today’s Stingray and a collection of local hobbyists cars and trucks.


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Eye Candy: Mecum’s 2014 Chicago auction Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:25:27 +0000 Read More

Yes, it’s an auction for buyers and sellers. However, it’s also a wonderful car show.

Mecum Auctions’ 2014 Chicago classic and collector car auction returned to the suburban Schaumburg Convention Center with an exceptional lineup of nearly 1,000 collector cars headlined by a healthy variety of American muscle, Corvettes and more.

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Eye Candy: Route 66 Motor Tour begins Fri, 10 Oct 2014 14:22:55 +0000 Read More

Olds 442 Who needs four wheels? Keep on Truckin' Chevys of different eras The license plate shows the way Tribute car carries Marty Robbins' racing number 1939 Plymouth-bodied dirt track racer tribute 1961 Chevy survivor Fords of varying vintage The Travelall is packed and ready to roll If you can read this, you're too close 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible Blues Brothers cop car Color-keyed Olds wheel A 'bird and a Mustang Jan Miller's 1947 Olds convertible Family hauler before the minivan Follow the signs 1953 International Harvester Travelall Pontiac Bonneville hits the road A pair of Chevys Remember the vent window air deflecter? Fueling up for the 'Marathon' drive Hood ornament GTO, the newer version Vintage road wear Historic Route 66 Texaco station

Photos by Larry Nutson

The inaugural Route 66 Motor Tour is on the road. On October 9, under slightly hazy skies and mid-50 temperatures, approximately 25 vehicles departed Joliet, Illinois on their trek south and west.

Following the Illinois Historic Route 66 signs along with the aid of a map and route instructions handed out at the morning driver’s meeting, the first overnight stop was Litchfield, Illinois. That’s about a 240-mile drive that the “Route 66-ers” have all day to complete.

Along the way they’ll pass the Blues Brothers car, Gemini Giant in Wilmington, the Polk A Dot Drive In, as well as a very historic Texaco gas station. The Pontiac-Oakland Museum is a must stop as well as the Cozy Dog Drive-in in Springfield, home of the corn dog.

Event organizer Craig Parrish says that about 80 cars have preregistered, of which 40 or so plan to drive the entire route. Many cars will join along the route; the total number is an unknown. Leaving Joliet were cars from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Florida.

Steve Wild of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and his mother Ruthann are driving Ruthann’s 1961 Chevy Impala that she bought new. Steve and his mom were looking forward to the drive in their “survivor” with an expression of hope that they encounter no car troubles.

Brothers Tom and Wally Bailey of Lansing, Michigan, are driving their 1953 International Harvester Travelall that’s powered by a 403-cubic-inch Oldsmobile engine. Jan Miller of Ovid, Michigan, is driving her customized peach colored ’47 Olds convertible. Jan’s husband passed away four years ago and she is now doing the driving, as he would want her to, she said.

Two sisters, Pearl Cooper of Orland Park, Illinois, and Bonnie Stump from Florida are Thunderbird collectors. Bonnie has a ’56, ’62 and a ’65. Pearl has a ’56 and they are driving her turquoise green ’02. She recently sold her ’65. Pearl’s T-bird love started with her now -eceased husband. Bonnie says she has a following of about 100 folks that she will be e-mailing a daily travel log.

Jerry Mattson and his wife are driving their tribute dirt track racer. It’s a ’39 Plymouth body mounted on a ’56 Chevy pickup chassis and powered by a 350 Chevy small block. The car has no heater, no A/C and Jerry just put in a blower to help defog the windshield instead of his wife wiping it with a towel.

John Weiss is the director Of preservation for the Illinois Route 66 Association and the author of a three books on the Illinois section of the “mother road.” He is along for the trip and will be providing lots of insight and history on the world famous Route 66.

Day one was planned to end with a visit to the Sky View Drive-In for a two hour cruise and then viewing “American Graffiti” on the big screen.


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Eye Candy: The Milwaukee Masterpiece Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:35:38 +0000 Read More

AMC drag racers 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spyder by Zagato 1955 Nash Ambassador Fins from the '50s 1939 Buick Special Series 41C Sport Phaeton 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser 1919 Haynes Model 45 Light Six 7-passenger touring 1969 Maserati Mexico by Vignale with art museum in the background Pair of 1950 Allards 1963 Gazelle 360 1909 Knox Model R Raceabout dirt track racer 1952 Lagonda 2.6-litre DHC by Tickford Mod couple and 1969 Plymouth Barracuda Mod Top 1934 SS Jaguar SSII Four Light saloon Fuel-filler detail: 1932 MG A pair of E-type Jaguars Pontiac GTO circle 1950 Austin A90 Atlantic convertible Concours program cover 1929 Stutz M Supercharged "Lancefield' coupe 1929 Hudson Model R roadster Corvettes in black 1935 Auburn 851 supercharged boattail speedster 1933 Delage D8S roadster by deVillars leads a field of classic grilles 1958 Dodge Regal Lancer Mercedes-Benz 300SLs Wheel cap: 1928 Packard 1914 Stutz Series E Bearcat 1957 BMW Isetta 300 sliding-window coupe 1934 Studebaker Dictator sedan 1959 Jaguar XK 150S 1930 Graham Paige Model 615 1961 Austin Healey M1 'Bugeye' Sprite 1958 Lister-Jaguar 'Knobbly' Cunningham team car 1928 Gardner Model 75 roadster 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Scaglietti Berlinetta Lusso 1932 MG J2 Midget 1928 Packard 533 7-passenger sedan limousine

Photos by Larry Nutson

My early arrival well before the 10 a.m. opening offered a field of more than 200 unique cars, trucks and motorcycles blanketed by a hazy sky and cooled by the Lake Michigan breeze. With mother nature’s big silk flying overhead, this delightful scenario allowed for photography from nearly any angle with little or no wait for spectators to finish their viewing and give me a clear shot.

The Milwaukee Masterpiece takes place on the shores of Lake Michigan at Veteran’s Park, a spectacular venue situated between the Milwaukee Yacht Club and the stunningly modern Milwaukee Art Museum. Inaugurated in August 2005, the Milwaukee Masterpiece has accomplished a good deal in just nine short years, making itself a destination for local residents as well as regional travelers. The show has grown to be counted among the most respected events of its kind in the nation.

2014 marks the 10th edition of The Masterpiece, which headlined “Our Favorite Automobiles, Motorcycles and Trucks.” Festivities ran throughout the weekend of August 23–24, 2014, culminating in the concours d’elegance.

Three 50th anniversaries were celebrated – the Pontiac GTO, Milwaukee’s own Excaliber, and the Ford Mustang. Special guest Jim Wangers, the godfather of the GTO and the marketing guru behind the introduction of the GTO and the muscle car concept, was on hand to chat with show visitors and provide autographs.

There were 224 motorcars and motorcycles in 29 judged classes selected from all over the world and invited to celebrate automotive art and history.

Related events included the Style & Speed Social traditionally held in an historic Milwaukee landmark and the Seminar Series, which spotlighted various entries, their owners and their histories in a moderated discussion.

In 2006, Club Day was established as a companion event, held in the same venue prior to the concours. “Club Day At The M” has grown to nearly 400 entries – a completely separate roster of fine vehicles than those seen on Sunday.

Proceeds raised by The Masterpiece benefit social and medical service programs.
The Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Meta House have been designated as the 2014 beneficiaries of The Masterpiece Ltd., the non-profit organization that operates The Milwaukee Masterpiece.

Attendees saw award-winning vehicles that placed in other major shows such as Pebble Beach and Amelia Island, with owners from countries as far flung as Italy, Switzerland and Canada, as well as U.S. states from Florida and South Carolina to Utah and California.

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In The Great Race, its ‘Race, Repair and Repeat’ on a daily (and sometimes nightly) basis Thu, 26 Jun 2014 09:25:31 +0000 Read More

I caught up with the officially named “2014 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty” at the end of its third-day at the overnight stop in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. On a 2,300-mile journey from the coast of Maine to central Florida, 104 vehicles are competing in this time speed endurance rally for vintage cars.

The prize, beyond just finishing and checking it off your bucket list, is more than $150,000, with $50,000 going to the first place Grand Champion.

Participants in this the 29th Great Race are from all over the United States, as well as Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. From Berlin, Germany, Thomas Karr and his 18-year old son Benjamin are driving the Team 97 1934 Ford Deluxe Phaeton in their second Great Race. The Karr’s are proud to be nicknamed “the Krauts” and drove three years ago around the Great Lakes in that Great Race.

A 1970 Nissan Laurel is being driven by Guillermo Wam of Peru, now living in Miami, with Toshi Haru from Akasaka, Japan, as his navigator.

Each driver and navigator team is given printed route instructions. Beyond knowing where they will stop for lunch and at day’s end, they don’t know the route that they will take to get there. And consider there are no on-board navigation systems or smart phone maps allowed.

The trek is grueling. Cars break. At Valley Forge, only 94 were still running. Some get repaired over night. Ed Habetz in his 1928 Model A Speedster had a transmission breakage needing an overnight repair in Valley Forge. The evening before, a head gasket was replaced on one of the oldsters.

For the first time by any team ever in 31 years, Irene and Barry Jason from Keller, Texas in their ‘66 Mustang had a perfect day. They arrived exactly at all the checkpoints perfectly on time and had no penalty deductions. The Jasons were the Grand Champions for the previous two years driving a ’35 Ford Coupe.

To make the Great Race happen requires a team of about 60 staff and volunteers. Ashley Caldwell is a 17-year-old from outside Atlanta. She is participating in her tenth race… yes she started at age 7. Her parents, Chad and Jennie Caldwell, drive the Team 31 1931 Auburn Boattail Speedster.

At each stop along the way, Brian “Motormouth” Goudge is the voice of the Great Race, welcoming each car under the “arches” at the finish. Motormouth Brian gives details of each car and tells the story of the team, entertains folks in every local community and explains the complexities and scoring of the very competitive Great Race.

Cars can be no newer than 1972. Some vintage cars have been “modernized” within allowable rules, for example, equipped with an alternator to provide reliable electric supply. Some older closed cars have been fitted with air conditioning to help with a bit of relief from the heat along the way.

Mary and Ted Stahl from Chesterfield, Michigan are driving to raise funds for VCRA to fight Autism. They are driving a 1935 Auburn 851 and their two sons Brett and Dan are in a 1941 Packard Coupe. The Stahl’s motto is “Race, Repair and Repeat.”

The race takes nine days with drivers covering about 225 miles each day over about nine hours. Cars are divided into five divisions. The oldest car is a 1915 Hudson 6-40 driven by Frank Buonanno of Newton, Connecticut and Chris Clark of Ansonia, Connecticut. Of course you couldn’t have a race without some police help even in vintage cars.

Departures are early each morning as racers aim for their goal: To Finish is to Win.

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Eye Candy: Jaguars at the Simeone Sat, 07 Jun 2014 09:30:40 +0000 Read More

1953 C-type 1971 E-Type Jaguar Dual carbs on the '38 SS-100 SS-100 grille Hood topper Folded windshield on '38 SS-100 Curvaeous A trio of Webers on the D-type They raced this D-type The 1938 SS-100 The 1938 SS-100 Just gorgeous E follows SS, follows C, follows D Fender forms D-type starting and shifting instructions 1971 E-type C-type shifter Sensuous lines SS-100 cockpit and driver's cap D chases C Triple wipers on the E-type C-type cockpit

Photos by Larry Nutson

After its beginnings as the Swallow Sidecar Company, Jaguar leapt onto the international racing scene in the 1950s, establishing itself as one of the greatest automotive marques in history. Thanks to the Simeone Museum in Philadelphia, a look at the progression of Jaguar from its beginning through to the 1970s brought us some wonderful images and insights.

Bill Lyons founded the Swallow Sidecar Company, first making sidecars for motorcycles and then car bodies. In the mid-1930s, Lyons decided to build complete cars, initially a sedan, then the SS-90, the 90 referring to a top speed of 90 mph. In 1936 came the SS-100, first with a 2.5-liter engine and later with a 3.5, which enabled the car to top out at 125 mph. Only 116 of the 3.5-L models were made between 1938 and 1940.

Rallying was a popular way to advertise cars and the SS-100 was successful in the Alpine Trials, the Monte Carlo Rally and the Royal Automobile Club Rally.

Following World War II, the SS nomenclature was for obvious reasons now inappropriate and the Jaguar brand was born. Of interesting note is that the name change was also due to Coventry, England having been heavily bombed by the German army during WWII.

Rallying gave way to track racing after the war and Jaguar competed in the international racing scene. The basic Jaguar engine continued for many years with dual overhead cams added to provide more horsepower. The C-type was the first production car to have disc brakes. More horsepower to go fast and good brakes to slow quickly before a turn made Jaguar successful on race tracks and the winner of the 1951 and 1953 LeMans race.

Shown in this Eye Candy are a 1938 Jaguar SS-100 3.5-L, which represents the classic pre-WWII rally car; a 1953 C-type that finished third in the 1953 Sebring 12-hour race; a 1956 D-type that also ran at Sebring, finishing third in 1956; and a 1971 XK-E 4.2-L.

Of interesting note for music fans, when the Simeone Museum bought the Jag D-type, the underbidder in the purchase was Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones who was quite miffed that he “Didn’t get no Satisfaction.”

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Eye Candy: Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals Tue, 27 May 2014 09:30:50 +0000 Read More

'Objects in mirror are losing' when you drive a Porsche Speedster Speedster in reflection 1968 Opel Kadette John Jeffrey's 1972 Datsun racer Meyers Manx A row of Speedsters Nothing sleepy about a row of Zzzzs VW patina Healeys all in a row Ford GT40 BMW 2002tii Opel GTs in salute Austin Healey 3000 interior 1966 Datsun 1600 Healeys all in a row 2009 Factory Five Cobra replace Volvo P1800s Maxi and Mini Minis DKW alloysDSC_6105 1955 Volkswagen Beetle Audi 'Uhr' quattro Austin Healey 3000 Jaguar XK-E Ron Polimeni's 1959 Volvo PV554 racer Triumph TR3 Triumphs Boattail Speedster replica 1950 Citroen Traction Avant hubcapsDSC_6106 Austin-Healey 3000 grille A slice of the scene 1967 Volvo The evolution of the Mazda Miata headlamps A Beetle in reflection

Photos by Larry Nutson

Sunny skies and a cool breeze made my first visit to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, as well as to the Import and Kit Nationals, quite pleasant and memorable. Every auto enthusiast should make at least one visit to the Carlisle Fairgrounds and take in one of the dozen or so auto events held there each year.

This was the 29th edition of the Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals. What’s really unique about this three-day, mid-May car show is that nearly every car is driven to the show. There are very few trailer queens, save for some out-an-out race cars.

British marques took center stage. Austin Healeys, Jaguars, Lotus, Minis…both small and large, MGs, Triumphs, TVRs and more were in the multitude. I also was amazed at the huge number of Saabs. Nissan was on board with a Heritage Collection display. License plates from all over the eastern U.S. as well as Canada were evident.

A vender midway and swap meet had folks searching for restoration parts both new and used. Seminars thru out the weekend provided tips on maintenance, troubleshooting as well as restoration and kit building.

The Carlisle Club Program provides access to perks, recognition and parade participation. Saabs@Carlisle, the Audi Club, Speedster Owners, Volvo Club of America, and yes, the Manx Club for street-legal dune buggies, were all on the scene.

The Susquehanna Region of SCCA conducted autocross runs for anyone who wanted to have a go at it. IMSA champion Bobby Archer of Archer Brothers Racing from Duluth, Minnesota, was on hand and ran some hot laps on the autocross course in a replica of his winning 1984 Renault Encore.

The enthusiasm at this event is mind-boggling. Show goers and car owners are of all ages. I was impressed at the large number of young folk who brought their own personal prized car to exhibit, with some of the cars being about the same age as the owners.

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Eye Candy: Red cars of the Mille Miglia Thu, 01 May 2014 10:33:56 +0000 Read More

1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 Mille Miglia signs 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 Red cars all in a row 1956 Maserati 300S 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B 1956 Maserati 300S 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300 1956 Maserati 300S 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300




Photos by Larry Nutson

From the late 1920s through the 1930s, Alfa Romeo was the world’s preeminent sports car. Alfas won Le Mans four consecutive years from 1931-34 and the Mille Miglia an astounding 10 times in 11 years from 1928-38.

At the Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, we took a look at four cars that ran in the Mille Miglia and heard why they were successful. On a bright spring day we saw only red cars — a 1933 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300,

a 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A, a 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B (the actual winner of the 1939 Mille Miglia) and a 1956 Maserati 300S

Mille Miglia means “Thousand Miles.” The race first was contested in 1927 and immediately was one of the most popular in Europe.

“The most exciting road race event historically ever,” said Dr. Fred Simeone as he shared insight into why Alfa was so dominant.

A large number of cars were entered in the road race, sometimes several hundred, and it could take up to half a day for all to depart equally spaced from Brescia. The cars departed from Brescia on the “partenza,” and raced down the east coast of Italy to Rome, making a circle back to where they started, a distance of about a thousand miles.

The prestige of the event and large number of entrants spurred companies such as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and others to make special models specifically to compete in the Mille Miglia. The race was a test of driver’s skills as well as the endurance and power of the cars.


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Eye Candy: Simeone celebrates Best of Italy, Maserati cent’ anni Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:25:59 +0000 Read More

1966 Alfa Romeo GTV 1955 Ferrari 857 Monza and 1964 Ferrari 275 LM License plate: 1955 Ferrari 857 Monza Vintage Ferraris lined up and ready to rev 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO 1959 Alfa Romeo 2000 Touring Spider Steering wheel: 1954 Ferrari 375MM Simeone Foundation Museum building 1959 Fiat Bianchina 500 1932 Maserati 8C 3000 Grand Prix racer Dr. Fred Simeone provides context 1987 Fiat X1/9 Bertone
Photos by Larry Nutson

It’s the 100th anniversary of the founding of Maserati and cars of this marque have come to symbolize the very best in Italian engineering and craftsmanship. In celebration, a very special Best of Italy collection is on display through April 27  at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia.

With Italian classical and popular music in the background, the occasional aroma of fresh cooked lasagna and a glass of Italian red wine, an opening-evening reception treated car owners and guests to unrestricted access to more than 20 Italian beauties.

Along with the Simeone’s 1956 Maserati 300S — once owned by actor William Holden — its 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa and 1954 Ferrari 375MM, the show includes Alfas, Fiats, Lancias and Lamborghinis.

Car owners opened hoods and doors and freely shared their ownership stories. Tim O’Riordan bought his 1950 Alfa Romeo 2000 Touring Spider in 1995 for $2,500. Kelly Knight drives his original and unrestored 1987 Fiat X1/9 by Bertone year-round as long as the roads are dry and clean of ice-melt.

A favorite was the 1966 Alfa Romeo GTV of David Raab, although the 1959 Fiat Bianchina 500 owned by Willem van Huystee might be more appropriate in today’s crowded cities.

Two special Ferraris are on display: A 1955 Ferrari 857 Monza that is an original factory team car. It was the first 857 Monza built and was driven by Phil Hill, among others. Also, there’s a beautiful 1964 Ferrari 275 LM. It was driven by Walt Hansgen and Mark Donohue at Sebring in 1965 — Donohue’s very first professional drive.

Italian badged marques on display ranged in vintage from the 1930s right up to the 2000s.

We have here today a representation of the greatest era in sports car racing,”

— Dr. Fred Simeone


April’s monthly Demonstration Day very appropriately paid tribute to another Italian and the most recognized automotive marque in the world: Ferrari. The red cars from Maranello achieved this recognition largely from their success on the racetrack. Before a gathering of 400 enthusiasts, Dr. Fred Simeone discussed the story of Enzo Ferrari, the history of his cars and their success in racing.

“We have here today a representation of the greatest era in sports car racing,” he said.

Six outstanding examples of the greatest Ferrari racing sports cars of all time included the Simeone’s 250 Testa Rosa and 375MM along with a 250 GTO that is on loan. By special arrangement, and just for this Demo Day, the owners of some very distinguished Ferraris shared cars: a 1955 Ferrari 857 Monza, a 1964 Ferrari 275 LM, and a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competition.

Adding to the vintage Ferraris on display, about 16 newer Ferraris were driven to the event by members of the online community


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Elliott Museum brings its antique car collection to you Wed, 19 Mar 2014 10:30:43 +0000 Read More

Thoughts of Florida bring to mind sandy beaches, water sports, fishing, sun and loads of fun. Visitors from many parts of the United States, Canada and places around the world flock here to get away from cold winter climates. Not often do the thoughts of art, history and technology come up as a reason to head to the Sunshine State.

The Elliott Museum sits on Hutchinson Island in the town of Stuart. just off A1A not far from US Highway 1. It’s in an area of south Florida known as the Treasure Coast.

The Elliott Museum is a treasure itself. The museum focuses on art, history and technology. There are inventions by Sterling Elliott, an expansive antique car and truck collection, innovative exhibits detailing the history of the area, and a café that replicates the actress Frances Langford’s Outrigger Resort.

“The Elliott’s mission is to not only inspire creativity and preserve our history but also inspire a vision for the cultural life of our entire region,” said museum president Jennifer Esler.

The Elliott Museum reinvented itself with the construction of a new and expansive 48,000 square foot LEED-certified building that opened in March 2013. Within its expansive glass front and exterior finish that replicates the Anastasia rocks that dot the coastline are housed seven permanent exhibits including more than 65 antique and classic cars and trucks.

The auto exhibit is unique in the use of an automated method of moving a vehicle from a storage rack to a turntable that rotates it for viewing. The Elliott is the first museum in the U.S. to use this automated vehicle racking system.

John Giltinan, associate car curator at the Elliott, was kind enough to give us a behind the scenes look at the vehicle collection.

Sterling Elliott’s son, Harmon, started the museum to honor his father and bought many vehicles from the Salem Auto Museum in Massachusetts. Sterling Elliott’s company, which manufacturers some of his inventions, was based in Massachusetts.

The Elliott Museum collection grew considerably when Elliott Donnelly — Chicagoan, great-grandson of the founder of the R. R. Donnelly Company and passionate collector of the Ford Model A, the car on which he learned to drive — donated $8 million and his collection of 55 cars to the museum.

Others also have donated vehicles. Some that may be duplicates or not part of future exhibition plans have been sold to generate additional funding, some of it to buy cars the museum wants to add to the collection. For example, Giltinan seeks a Cord, which was noted for its innovative technology and streamlined designs and would be an important asset in the story the museum wants to share.

Today, the museum owns about 90 vehicles, with those not on display housed in two remote storage facilities.

Rack keeps car intriple-decker array Cars await being summonsed by museum visitors Racks maneuvers car into position Docents use this touch screen to call a car from storage rack so visitors get up-close view.

The three-story automated racking storage system that can hold 55 vehicles. Sterling Elliott invented an early automobile turntable. The racking system was developed by Boomering Systems of Provo, Utah.

When we visited, there are 51 vehicles in the racks, including the large collection of Model As. Among the Model As wa s a 1931 aluminum-bodied funeral coach, a very rare police Paddy Wagon and a woody station wagon. We also saw a 1920 Hudson Super 6 owned by Enrico Caruso, a 1930 Lincoln Model L Brunn-bodied Brougham, a ’55 Ford Thunderbird, and a ’54 Chevrolet Corvette.

Two touch-screen displays flank the center turntable for vehicle display and viewing. Museum visitors can scroll through the entire collection to learn about those stored in the robotic rack system. A docent operates the second touch-screen to call a specific vehicle to be brought out of its rack space. During the vehicle’s trip to the turntable, a video explains the news headlines, music, movies, fashions, sports, and other aspects of life during the decade of its use.


One floor display includes a 1902 Stanley Steamer Runabout, a 1914 Detroit Electric and a 1903 Cadillac Roadster one-cylinder gas car depicting the “Struggle for Power.”

Hanging high above another grouping — a ‘64 Chevrolet Corvair Monza, a 1905 Olds Curved Dash, a ’56 Porsche 356-C coupe, and a several classic boats, including a 16-foot, 9-inch 1929 Dodge Water Car — is a full-size replica of Hugh Willoughby’s Pelican bi-plane.

Elliott Museum Pelican bi-plane Evinrude boat engines Wooden boats

Photos by Larry Nutson

A 1-of-5 1953 Cunningham C-3 Continental cabriolet and a 1925 Rolls-Royce Springfield formerly owned by Prestley Blake, the founder of Friendly’s Ice Cream, also can be seen. Noteworthy is that the Rolls was built in Springfield, Mass., where Elliott also manufactured and invented.

The Elliott merged with the Classic Boat and Maritime Museum and now displays classic wooden runabouts as well as vintage Evinrude outboard engines. Ralph Evinrude was the husband of Frances Langford. His 1914 Packard 2-38 Seven-Passenger Touring Car is on display. Another display showcases the Whiticar Boats Works and includes G. Curtis Whiticar’s  own boat-making hand tools.

Not to be overlooked, a few motorcycles are in the mix. Included is a 1951 Indian Warrior with 426 original miles that was given to Vaughan Monroe, who was a spokesman for Indian.

Each year the Elliott Museum invites those who live in and visit the Treasure Coast to celebrate the art, history and technology on display at its annual juried car show, Classics at the Beach. Proceeds from the show support year-round programs and exhibits at the Elliott. This year, the show is Sunday, April 6.

The Elliott is open 360 days a year and is staffed by a team of professionals as well as about 200 volunteers who use their expertise to guide and inform individuals, adult groups, auto and social clubs and students who visit. More information on the Elliott can be found at

Something for everyone can be found at the Elliott including a Baseball Gallery and a local history gallery. Curator John Giltinan recently hosted a Cocktails and Curator evening sharing is expertise and knowledge with vintage auto enthusiasts.

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Is Philly unique in including classics at its annual new-car auto show? Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:40:51 +0000 Read More

The Philadelphia Auto Show had its start back to 1902. Each February the show not only treats visitors to all the newest and hottest vehicles on the market today, but gives them a look back at some of the classics of the years past.

The Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia (ADAGP) has produced the Philly auto show since 1997. The dealers felt there was a need to show every aspect of the automotive world, whether that’s pre-production models, a trip down memory lane with a display of classics, or the opportunity for people to dream in the exotics display. Thus those attending the show get to experience both favorite vehicles of yesteryear as well as those of the future.

We always find it equally important to pay homage to our favorite vehicles from yesteryear.”

— Mike Gempp


“The Philadelphia Auto Show has always been known to have something for everyone,” explained Mike Gempp, Philadelphia Auto Show director. “We take great pride in promoting all of the current vehicle options consumers have today.

“However, we always find it equally important to pay homage to our favorite vehicles from yesteryear as well as some of the most exotic vehicles ever designed. We find that by showcasing all facets of the automotive industry, including past, present and future, it gives our attendees the ultimate entertainment experience.”

The Philadelphia area is fortunate to have a number of classic car organizations and museums nearby. They are invited to be a part of the event. Each organization is responsible for selecting the vehicles it brings to display.

At the just completed 2014 Philadelphia Auto Show, classics from the Simeone Automotive Museum, the Buckingham Concours d’Elegance and the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) where displayed.

Simeone's 1938 Peugeot Dar'lmat Simeone's 1952 Allard J2 AACA 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6B Buckingham's 1910 Cadillac Model 30 racer AACA's 1959 Buick LeSabre Simeone's 1938 SS110 Jaguar

Photos by Larry Nutson

“Being part of the Philadelphia Auto Show gives us a unique opportunity to reach a large segment of people who are obviously interested in cars,” said Harry Hurst, communications director for the Simeone Automotive Museum. “We have found this show attracts an audience that is different from our traditional automotive and racing enthusiast. The auto show brings a wide spectrum of attendees, both old and young, and families and singles. It’s a great way to spread the word about the museum to people who would not otherwise hear about us.”

Another popular feature at the Philly Auto Show is the “Face-Off,” which this year matched up Ford Muscle vs. Mopar Muscle. This event is produced by Carlisle Events. Show visitors get to vote on their favorite muscle cars.

Annually, from early fall, through the winter and into spring, auto manufacturers and their dealers host a multitude of auto shows around the country, all intended to both inform and entertain the American car buying public. But the Philadelphia International Auto Show may be unique with its inclusion of a broad display of antique and classic automobiles that also serves to educate.

In addition to those already mentioned, also in the Philadelphia area are the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, America on Wheels Museum in Allentown, and the AACA Museum in Hershey. Also noteworthy is the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance that takes place in September.

Editor’s note: Does your local new-car auto show include any classics? If so, please use the Feedback form to let us know so we can let everyone know about it.


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Vroooom! Historic racers don’t have to keep quiet at the Simeone museum Fri, 31 Jan 2014 11:30:00 +0000 Read More

The inscription above the entrance to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia reads: “The first race was conceived when the second car was built.”

Inside, the museum showcases one of the greatest collections of racing sports cars in the world. Assembled over a span of 50 years by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Frederick Simeone, the museum contains more than 60 of the rarest racing cars ever built.

The quality of the collection is so outstanding that the Simeone recently was honored as museum of the year by the International Historic Motoring Awards.

The collection comprises sports cars with fenders and lights and bodywork that fully encloses the chassis. For the most part, the cars are two-seaters.DSC_2652

The cars are displayed in dioramas that represent the famous venues where these cars actually competed. The displays also illustrate the development of sports car road racing, here in the U.S. and internationally.

Displays include racing in the early 1900s, the pre-World War I era, Sebring, Watkins Glen, the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Mille Miglia, Targo Florio, Brooklands, Nurburgring, NASCAR, and more.

A unique feature of the Simeone is that the cars get driven. Once each month, visitors are treated to a specific lecture program that includes cars being driven by Simeone and museum curator Kevin Kelly around a paved, three-acre parcel in the rear of the museum.

Demonstration Days take place on the fourth Saturday of each month and are specifically themed to present a selection of three or four different cars that perhaps competed against each other.

Because the Simeone has had enormous success with its monthly Demonstration Days, it has expanded its schedule for 2014, adding a “Racing Legends” series at noon on the second Saturday of each month.DSC_2762

These events will be more technical in nature and will feature a lecture on the designated topic for that day. Cars from the collection, and from other collections, will be used to illustrate the presentation. Afterward, one or more of the cars will be demonstrated, weather permitting.

It is noteworthy that these vintage racers don’t run on today’s low-octane unleaded fuel. Sunoco is the fuel sponsor for the museum and provides high-octane aviation fuel to allow proper operation of the racers.

The Simeone also has a mobile phone app featuring more than four hours of audio about the cars and exhibits in the collection. Fred Simeone narrates the tour, which includes fascinating details about the history and the significance of each car.

The mobile app includes 86 stops on the tour, each accompanied by a photo of the car or venue, and a brief text description. The audio length varies for each stop, but averages several minutes.

The mobile app is free and is available for either Andriod phones or iPhones). To find the app, search the appropriate store for “Simeone Museum.”

Among other recent events, three-time Le Mans winner Hurley Haywood received the 2013 Spirit of Competition Award last November at a gala fundraising dinner at the Simeone Museum. The award is given annually to a person who exemplifies the “spirit of competition.”DSC_3720

Most recently, the Library of Congress has launched a national registry of historically significant vehicles, each of them certified by The Department of the Interior through collaboration with the Historical Vehicle Association. The first vehicle to be entered onto the registry is a 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe — CSX2287 — one of six such race cars produced by Carol Shelby to take on Ferrari in the global GT racing series. The honored  Shelby Daytona Coupe (see photo)  is owned by the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum.

To start planning your road trip to Philadelphia, visit The museum is located not far from I-95.


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