Amateur auto racing is an activity whose lifeblood is discretionary income, and as such it’s often a barometer of a healthy economy. If the huge field in attendance at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America Vintage Festival last weekend was any indicator, enthusiasm for classic cars is at an all-time high, and things are looking pretty good.
Now in its 31st year, the Vintage Sports Car Driver’s Association Vintage Festival takes advantage of mild late-season weather over the backdrop of this quaint resort town to present a true connoisseur’s event.
This year’s attendance was bolstered by the Volvo Club of America’s National Meet, held concurrent with races where Volvo was a featured marque. Residents also cite the return of the Indy Car Series, which has given elevated exposure to the historic track and village to racers who have put the legendary four-mile road course on their bucket list.
In addition to the full spectrum of race groups at the track, from Pre-War cars to Modern Production to GTU, the weekend-long event included a number of activities around the village. On Saturday afternoonn a police-escorted parade of race cars toured the road-race circuit to a car show on Lake Street in downtown Elkhart Lake. Later in the evening, invited cars were displayed on the lawn at a cocktail party called “The Gather on the Green” at the elegant Osthoff Resort.
What makes Elkhart Lake such a special venue is the incredible variety of unusual and interesting cars seen on the track, in the paddock, and throughout the village. When was the last time you saw a Citroen 2CV race car next to a 1927 Stutz Boattail Speedster?
The weekend was capped off with “Bill’s Thing,” a casual gathering of vintage street cars, hot rods and motorcycles at a Civil War-era roadhouse tavern a few miles from the track. Cold beer and bench racing capped off this warm Sunday in September, which cheated Autumn out of one more beautiful motoring weekend.
Photos by William Hall