Category archives: Concours & Events

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.

Feasting at the Pebble Beach Concours

Ferrari race cars on the grass at Pebble Beach | Bob Golfen photos

The day started gray and cloudy, as usual, a chilly coastal mist drifting in from the bay. Although I missed Dawn Patrol – the famous gathering of early birds who arrive before daybreak to watch the first of the cars roll onto the field – I did get to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance early enough to witness a bunch of the cars drive in and take their places on the grass.

Chugging antiques trailing smoke, gliding classics and snarling sports cars and race cars, each was greeted with applause from the crowd of people already assembled hours before the start of the public show at 10 a.m.

A veteran race car rolls in

The air was charged with anticipation – as well as a haze of exhaust smoke – with each participant hopeful that his or her vintage automobile could win a prize, maybe even a best of class, a special honor, or even the much-coveted Best of Show award.

I walked the 18th Fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links as the concours spaces filled in, taking as many pictures as I could before the swirling masses of spectators make getting a clear shot nearly impossible. Soon, the sun came out and gleaming show cars popped with color.

My anticipation was experiencing the lineup of significant Ferraris here to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the revered Italian marque, the magnificent Isotta Fraschini luxury cars, open-wheel racers from past decades, and the quirky group of custom 1960s show cars. These were among the special classes, with 27 classes in all occupied by 204 very special cars brought to Monterey from around the globe by private owners, museums and major collections.

The 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer basks in its Best of Show honors

The Ferraris were stunning, dozens of rare models lined up in several classes of incredible Italian magic. I love seeing the early cars, such as the 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Touring Barchetta, along with the sighting of an iconic 1963 250 GTO, this one a class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as other successful race finishes.

The antiques and classics are always impressive at Pebble, a gathering of great old cars unlike anywhere else. Especially interesting, at least to my eye, were the 1935 Duesenberg SJ, an extravagantly styled limo by Bowman and Schwartz coachbuilders; a striking Darrin-bodied 1939 Packard 1703 Super 8 convertible; and any of the fine Isotta Fraschini (pronounced eye-sota fras-keeny) classics with their Art Deco grille designs.

The American Dream Cars of the 1960s class was pretty wild, especially the sprawling 1960 DiDia 150 Bobby Darin Coupe, the famous 1963 Mantaray by Dean Jeffries, and the innovative 1967 Gyro-X prototype that balances on two wheels via an internal gyroscope. It was great to meet customizer Gene Winfield, who was showing his 1964 Reactor coupe, which was not only a show car but a TV star.

1960 DiDia 150 and Dean Jeffries’ 1963 Mantaray

The best of show winner was something unusual, a 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer, sparkling in blue with bright silver hood and trim, owned by Bruce McCaw of Belleview, Washington, who seemed kind of stunned by all the hoopla.

My only disappointment during the day was the lack of a motorcycle class this year, always a favorite. The triangular grassy space where the vintage bikes are usually parked was depressingly empty.

But as a Porsche 356 guy, I was psyched to see an early Porsche make good. The 1952 Porsche 356 Reutter Cabriolet was the only Porsche in the show, unlike the gang of them at most other events and driving on the streets during Monterey Car Week.

A beautiful car, the 356 won best of class of Postwar Open, beating out some excellent ragtops from Lancia, Cisitalia, Kurtis, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, as well as a pair of Shelby Cobras. Very nice.

This was yet another terrific Pebble Beach Concours, now in its 67th year, the granddaddy of them all that sets the standard for the rest.

 

Goodguys expand eligibility to include 1987 models

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association will expand eligibility for its car shows to 1987 or earlier vehicles starting in 2018.

Those events previously were limited to vehicles produced in or before 1972.

1986 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z
1986 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

“The move is inevitable as the years peel off the clock and will open endless new debates countrywide as to exactly what a classic or collector car is,” John Drummond of the Goodguys wrote on the association’s Fuel Curve website.

“The reality is – the early ‘80s stuff was fugly with hideous and liberal amounts of plastic, god-awful bumpers and some suspect designs. It was a weird time in American automobile manufacturing as the gas crunch and K-Car syndromes began to ease. But with a drop, big wheels, upgraded suspension and some more ponies, any hot rodder worth his lug nuts can take a late ’70s or early ’80s ugly duckling and make it fly.”

1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

He added that companies such as RideTech, Detroit Speed and others already produce Pro-Touring style suspension upgrades for the later-model vehicles.

“We could talk for hours about all of the Malaise-era models suitable for modding,” Drummond continued. “The possibilities are endless really, especially when you throw the trucks, vans and grocery getters in the mix.

“For Goodguys, the move is a calculated risk, one they’re willing to take,” Drummond wrote.

“We carefully considered all aspects of a year bump,” said Harry Daviess, Goodguys vice president of events. “Over a period of two years, we discussed it with prominent car builders, manufacturers, Goodguys members and event participants. We asked our 152,000 Facebook followers for their input.

“The resulting flood of feedback and collective input suggested nearly 70 percent of Goodguys social media followers, association members and attendees were in favor of the bump.”

1984 Ford Bronco
1984 Ford Bronco

The last time the association changed its eligibility age was 23 years ago.

“Seeing 20- and 30-year-olds, longing for a chance to show off their hot cars welcomed with a nod and a smile might sound like utopia but it isn’t so farfetched,” Drummond added. “Their passion for cool cars, like everyone else, will shine through.”

New Concorso Arizona, largest Corvette festival featured

Unique 1961 Ferrari 250 GT 'aerodynamique' highlight's Lime Rock's annual festival | Lime Rock Historic
Unique 1961 Ferrari 250 GT ‘aerodynamico’ highlights Lime Rock’s annual festival | Lime Rock Historic

A new collector car celebration, Concorso Arizona, has been announced to take place at the start of the Scottsdale/Phoenix area’s annual week of collection car auctions, shows and events in January. The inaugural event was announced last week at the Russo and Steele collector car auction in Monterey, California; the auction house is based in Scottsdale.

The Concorso, organized by Scuderia Southwest, will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Casino and Resort on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community just east of Scottsdale.

Concorso Arizona will deviate from the style of Concorso Italiano, which took place Saturday in Seaside, California, by including a full palate of car brands and nationalities besides Italian, including several American car classes, and those for Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, British marques, Japanese, something they’re calling “Ultra Fringe” for various oddball models, and several others.

Italian vehicles expected to show include those from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and DeTomaso.

Corvettes cruise through downtown Carlisle
Corvettes cruise through downtown Carlisle

For the past four years, the Scottsdale/Phoenix collector car events have opened with the Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort. But the Arizona Concours for January 2018 has been canceled, although it possibly could resume the following year.

For information about Concorso Arizona, visit the event website.

Calling itself the largest and most fun-filled Corvette event in the world, the annual Corvettes at Carlisle will feature more than 5,000 Chevrolet Corvettes representing all generations of America’s favorite sports car when it starts from Friday and runs through Sunday at the Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Besides the massive show of Corvettes, events include such things as autocross and burnout competitions, a swap meet and all-Corvette Corral, and a huge parade through downtown Carlisle.

Sponsored by Corvette America, the show is open to all Corvette enthusiasts and their cars. For information, visit the event website.

1905 Rolls-Royce SIlver Ghost
1905 Rolls-Royce SIlver Ghost

Great Britain’s longest-running professionally judged concours, Salon Privé, has announced the full list of entries for its Thursday, August 31 show on the lawns of Blenheim Palace near Woodstock in the U.K.

Historic Aston Martins to mark the illustrious brand’s 100th anniversary will be featured, along with one of the oldest surviving Roll-Royces in existence, a 1905 Silver Ghost; the unique 1960 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Pininfarina Superflow IV; and many others in the magnificent setting.

For information and the list of entries, visit the event website.

Ferrari’s 70th anniversary will be celebrated September 3 at the Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut. Held during the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival, the concours will feature a special Tifosi Fantasy class of rare road and racing Ferrari models.

Leading the pack from Modena will be a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione Speciale, a one-off alloy “aerodynamico” coupe by Pininfarina, built on 250 short-wheelbase chassis in the rare Comp61 specification.

For information, visit the event website.

Europe’s largest gathering of the Porsche tribe, Classics at the Castle, will take place September 3 at Hedingham Castle in Halstead, Essex, in the U.K. The show features the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911S, with a castle-driveway display of 50 examples in chronological order.

For information, visit the event website.

Cruising in to Carmel, Indiana
Caddy rolls into Carmel, Indiana

More concours and events

Carmel Artomobilia, an automotive street festival in the Arts and Design District of Carmel, Indiana, takes place Saturday. For information, visit the event website.

The Morgan Adams Concours d’Elegance, an exclusive display of cars, airplanes and motorcycles, will happen Saturday in Englewood, Colorado. For information, visit the event website.

The two-day Autofest Nationals will be held Saturday and Sunday at Lakewood Park in Oshawa, Ontario. For information, visit the event website.

The Concours of Elegance, a moveable feast of vintage vehicles that circulates around Great Britain’s revered castles, returns to Hampton Court Palace on September 3 for a show of 60 rare cars from around the world. For information, visit the event website.

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

At Pebble Beach, Mercedes showcases Laguna Seca slot-car track

Slot Mod's version of Laguna layout filled 25 x 25-foot space | Larry Edsall photos
Slot Mod’s version of Laguna layout filled 25 x 25-foot space | Larry Edsall photos

You didn’t have to go all the way out to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to take in some vintage-racing action during Monterey Car Week. A slot-car duplicate of the famed track was assembled in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge and was available for hot laps.

Created by Slot Mods Raceways as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mercedes’ AMG racing and hot-rod division, the scale-model Laguna clone was 105 feet long and filled a 25-by-25-foot area, but still left room in its infield for a real Formula One car raced by Lewis Hamilton. Continue reading

Chrysler club lights ‘em up at Mopar Under the Lights

Crowds filter in at dusk for Mopar Under the Lights | William Hall photos
Crowds filter in at dusk for Mopar Under the Lights | William Hall photos

Not so long ago, most classic car gatherings took place in the evening. Drive-ins and parking lots served as afterschool cruise spots, and no one wanted to go home to bed. Nowadays, it seems that classic car owners would rather meet for a morning coffee or stroll a manicured golf course concours than brave the dark.

Which is why the 10th annual Mopar Under the Lights show seemed both unique and edgy while being wholly familiar. More than two-hundred Dodge-Chrysler-Plymouth products crammed into the Dodge City dealership parking lot in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for a warm summer night of cars and camaraderie. Organized by the Wisconsin Mopar Muscle Club, the participants fully embraced the dusk setting which has become a novelty in the club’s event calendar.

Judges scrambled to determine class awards before the sun went down
Judges scrambled to determine class awards before the sun went down

For the viewer, the event was illuminating in many ways. Light and shadow brought out hidden details of sculpted bodylines, and interiors glowed from their warm incandescent lighting. It’s easy to forget that engineers spent countless hours designing unique headlights and taillights that few of us really get to see anymore. There is a satisfaction in seeing glove box, dome and license-plate lights functioning on a well-restored car. The sensation is vividly evocative of youthful nights spent around such vehicles.

Dave and Laura Cornelius braved more than darkness on their 75-mile shakedown cruise to the event. Dave had just rebuilt the dual-quad carbs the night before on their newly-acquired 1966 Hemi-powered Plymouth Satellite survivor car, and made the trip from Green Lake, Wisconsin, without a hiccup. The car was the sensation of the show, showing only 57,000 miles and wearing the rusty scars from many Wisconsin winters.

Remarkably, the Satellite’s corrosion occurred when the car was plowed-in one winter under salted snow, leaving the underbody and structure of the car clean and solid. Dave and Laura are the fourth owners, grateful the car had avoided restoration all these years– which affords a unique look at the aging process of these old B-bodies.

“I never thought I would own a Hemi car,” Dave said. “I always thought they were out of reach of the ‘normal’ car enthusiast.”

Mason Scarpace shows his scale-model Plymouth Superbird collection
Mason Scarpace shows his scale-model Plymouth Superbird collection

Fifth-grader Mason Scarpace brought out his 1:64 scale Plymouth Superbird collection to talk Mopar with his fellow Superbird owners. Mason’s mom, Teresa, is a club member who displayed her two Chrysler Shelby CSX’s, and enjoys sharing the old-car hobby with her son.

Leave it to a young man to show classic car owners how to enjoy every last hour of the summer car show season –and to not be afraid of the dark.

Dave Frydach attends the event regularly with his black 1970 Barracuda Gran Coupe. The fading light provides a great setting for Dave’s beautiful triple black E-body, and he and his wife thoroughly enjoy picnicking with friends and soaking up the warm summer night.

“If we are not the last car to leave, she’s not happy,” Frydach said.

Chris Bailey has owned his 1970 Hemi Charger R/T for more than 17 years, also resisting the urge to restore the car. It’s one of only a handful of factory sunroof-equipped Hemi Chargers and it remains a benchmark-original example. He owes that awareness for preservation to his father, a long-time member of the Antique Automotive Club of America.

Bailey, who is a manufacturing process engineer by trade, is fascinated by the production differences found on Mopars. Processes varied between assembly plants, and suppliers changed to meet production demands. Inconsistency was a byproduct of necessity.

“These were consumer products –they only got paid for what got out the door,” Bailey said.

Photos by William Hall

 

In a risky business, passion for collectors is crucial

Of the last 15 Pebble Beach best of show winners, 11 are AIG clients | Larry Edsall photos
Of the last 15 Pebble Beach best of show winners, 11 are AIG clients | Larry Edsall photos

The numbers are impressive indeed, but as impressive as they may be, they don’t tell the real story. Nonetheless, it is impressive to learn that of the last 15 winners of Best of Show honors at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 11 of them have something in common. And they share it with the owners of 18 of the 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs.

What all of those car owners share is that they are insured by the Private Client Group division of AIG, which has grown from its founding in 1919 as American Asiatic Underwriters to become the American International Group, a major and multi-faceted global insurance company. The company’s business for fine art and vintage vehicles is overseen by Ronald Fiamma, senior vice president and global head of private collections. Continue reading

Concours d’Lemons drifting off in opposite directions

Lemons? Hardly. But sparkling and shiny Aston Martins were on the show field | Andy Reid photos
Lemons? Hardly. But sparkling and shiny Aston Martins were on the show field | Andy Reid photos

Concours d’Lemons is an event that has always been fun, celebrating strange, unloved and often unknown cars.

However, in the past few years it has drifted away from this concept and moved in two separate directions at once. Continue reading

Innovative antique: Lancia Lambda glows at Concorso Italiano

Part of the sea of Ferraris at Concorso Italiano | Bob Golfen photos
Part of the sea of Ferraris at Concorso Italiano | Bob Golfen photos

Amid all the streamlined fantasy cars at Concorso Italiano, Steve Peterson’s 1924 Lancia Lambda seemed an ancient relic, apparently the oldest vehicle by far at the celebration of everything on wheels from Italy held Saturday on the Monterey Peninsula.

The Lancia seems boxy and old-fashioned at first, but move in a little closer and the trim, handsome and low-profile styling sharpens into focus, and the technological brilliance becomes apparent. Continue reading