14 Sep

LRP Historics 35 Sunday in the Park Concours: The Show Went On Despite Heavy Rains

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Lakeville, Conn. – The first Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance at Lime Rock Park that required inters and even full wets on the golf carts came to a successful end in damp-but-drying conditions as a full squadron of them snaked down Sam Posey Straight piloted by Festival Chairman Murray Smith, concours organizers Bill Scheffler, Kent Bain and Ryan McIntosh, plus photographers, reporters and various other hangers-on. The flotilla stopped at each class plaza to interview the winning owners and present the trophies, cars in situ.

With all 28 winners duly recognized, dry weather concours protocol was ordered by the stewards; the People’s Choice and Best of Show winners were driven to the presentation area.

Two very special silver Ferraris were winners in the wet:

People’s Choice was a fabulous 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB long-nose/six carb owned by Robert Wilder of New York, N.Y.

Best of Show was sponsored by Analog/Shift, the premier retailer of vintage timepieces. The winning car was the 1961 Ferrari GT Berlinetta Competizione Speciale, the one-off, alloy-bodied Pininfarina aerodynamico coupe, owned by Peter Sachs, of Stamford, Conn. Analog/Shift’s James Lamdin presented a beautiful Universal Geneve Gents dress watch along with the Best of Show trophy.

A complete list of Sunday in the Park winners Presented by the Prestige Family of Fine Cars is available at Historic Festival 35

In the meantime, please enjoy these Sunday photos from Greg Clark, Brian Ciancio and Taylor Kemp posted on Lime Rock Park’s Facebook page.

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14 Aug

Summer Attractions: LeMay-America’s Largest Car Museum in Tacoma – It’s HUUUGE!!!

LeMay, America’s Car Museum against dramatic sunset over Tacoma WA Photo - The LeMay Car Museum

LeMay, America’s Car Museum against dramatic sunset over Tacoma WA
Photo – The LeMay Car Museum

Tacoma, Wash. – Celebrating its fifth anniversary in June, The LeMay- America’s Car Museum continues to be a major draw for car enthusiasts visiting the greater Seattle-Tacoma area.

Officially opened in June 2012, the museum was planned and built around the core collection of Tacoma resident Harold LeMay who had amassed a collection of over 3,500 vehicles. Fund raising for the museum commenced in 1997, kicked off by Harold and his wife Nancy and it was spurred on by the gift of nine acres of land by the City of Tacoma in 2002. After the fund raising efforts were completed for the museum with donations across a wide swath of government, corporate and individual givers, ground breaking took place in 2010.

The museum is a spectacular, ultramodern multi-use facility in downtown Tacoma that appeals to automobile lovers from all over America and across the world. The $60,000,000 nine acre campus features a 165,000 square foot main building with extensive exhibit galleries, a meeting hall, banquet facilities, an educational center, a library, ample free parking, and a 3.5 acre show field to host car events. The campus is adjacent to the Tacoma Dome and it has a panoramic view of downtown Tacoma.

Museum CEO David Madeira said that from the beginning of planning for the museum, the goal was for it to become a national museum designed to “preserve history and to celebrate the world’s automotive culture”. He said that if the museum had been built only to display the LeMay car collection, it would have had no real national appeal.

The museum was designed to be a place that engages with the national car community and where people come to see the exhibits, car shows, drive in movies, and other events. This philosophy is clearly in evidence as you walk around and see cars that have been lent to the museum from various collections.

Museum front entrance Photo - The LeMay Car Museum

Museum front entrance
Photo – The LeMay Car Museum

A first impression of the building was that it looked like a gigantic chrome hood scoop from a vintage muscle car. It has a distinctive architectural style that adds to Tacoma’s nice mixture of new and historic structures downtown.

When the visitor walks inside, one is greeted by the entrance lobby with a massive, majestic black and white graphic. As one enters the top exhibit hall of the museum, the long shape of the hall is very impressive with its tall, lightly colored wood walls and the dramatic glass panorama at the end of the floor.

The museum has four main floors for car exhibits and it can display up to 350 vehicles. Each football field length floor features two gallery space ramps leading to the next lower floor. The gallery ramps are ideal places to present the cars as the visitor walks from floor to floor.

The museum is really huge. It had eight exhibits on display in addition to select cars from the permanent LeMay collection. You can really spend a lot of time in this museum to see everything on display. A suggestion for a first time visitor is to make sure you see all of the exhibits and then peruse some of the LeMay collection. It would be impossible to see every car on a first visit.

Classic Car Coachworks Exhibit Photo - The LeMay Car Museum

Classic Car Coachworks Exhibit
Photo – The LeMay Car Museum

Walking around the massive building is eased by the exhibits to be viewed on the ramps between floors. There are a number of changing exhibits which rotate in and out of the museum, currently Exotics @ ACM: Seductive Super Cars, Classics & Custom Coachworks and Legends of Motorsports: The NASCAR Story. More or less permanent is Lucky’s Garage which is a tribute to Founder LeMay’s collection. And changing annually is the Master Collectors Exhibit which honors one major Seattle area collector each year. This year it honors Seattle businessman Peter Gleeson, with a dozen cars from his collection on display.

The display of cars from the permanent LeMay collection is a lot of fun to see. CEO David Madeira emphasized that the museum wants to display cars that visitors can relate to such as muscle cars and the great cars from the fifties. On the other hand, the Museum presents many spectacular automotive classics that are masterpieces of automotive design such as a 1930 Duesenberg convertible with coachwork by Murphy & Co. of Pasadena CA.

The museum’s 1930 Model J Duesenberg – Photo The LeMay Car Museum

The museum’s 1930 Model J Duesenberg
– Photo The LeMay Car Museum

When you see who is lending cars to the museum, you realize that the Museum will continue to exhibit cars from important collections from around the world. CEO Madeira emphasized the importance of their exhibits representing cars from individuals and museum collections in order to become a museum that will attract car enthusiasts from all over the country.

This is a must see destination for anyone that loves cars. One comment by a press commentator was that this museum is to cars what the Metropolitan Museum in New York is to the world of fine art in that both museums are filled with both old and new masterpieces.

Although this museum is a long way from the East coast, it would make sense to try to visit the facility more than once. On the first visit, the spectator can simply enjoy the building and saunter among the featured exhibits to see the magnificent vehicles on display. If you stop to admire all of the vehicles on display from the LeMay collection, your eyes may gloss over. It is best to take this museum in several smaller bites rather than try to absorb it all in one viewing.

Please go to The LeMay Car Museum official web site for details about planning your visit at www.americascarmuseum.org

Article adapted from DazzlingPlaces.com Visitors’ Guide to Seattle

Museum features super-size slot car track layout for those who want to try their hand at racing

Museum features super-size slot car track layout for those who want to try their hand at racing

Photos from recent visit to LeMay contributed by Nick Ord

Seductive Supercars: 1969 De Tomaso Mangusta designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro

Seductive Supercars: 1969 De Tomaso Mangusta designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro

Seductive Supercars: 1973 Ferrari 385GTS/4 “Daytona” spider owned by Jon Shirley

Seductive Supercars: 1973 Ferrari 385GTS/4 “Daytona” spider owned by Jon Shirley

Seductive Supercars: 1988 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole

Seductive Supercars: 1988 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole

NASCAR Legends: Hometown hero Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet

NASCAR Legends: Hometown hero Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet

One of a Kind: “Ferrambo” custom Rambler with Ferrari drive train

One of a Kind: “Ferrambo” custom Rambler with Ferrari drive train

Race Cars: Replica 1954 Dodge Meadowbrook built for Carrera Panamericana

Race Cars: Replica 1954 Dodge Meadowbrook built for Carrera Panamericana

Race Cars: 1972 Dodge Challenger Chi Town Hustler “Funny Car”

Race Cars: 1972 Dodge Challenger Chi Town Hustler “Funny Car”

Lucky’s Garage: 1927 Auburn and 1937 Cord part of tribute to Harold LeMay’s collection

Lucky’s Garage: 1927 Auburn and 1937 Cord part of tribute to Harold LeMay’s collection

Lucky’s Garage: 1927 LaSalle 503 Roadster designed by Harley Earle

Lucky’s Garage: 1927 LaSalle 503 Roadster designed by Harley Earle

Collector Hall of Fame: Honoring Seattle’s Peter Gleeson

Collector Hall of Fame: Honoring Seattle’s Peter Gleeson

Hall of Fame: 1979 BMW M1 Frank Stella Art Car

Hall of Fame: 1979 BMW M1 Frank Stella Art Car

Hall of Fame: 1975 Dexter Brown BMW 3.3Li Art Car

Hall of Fame: 1975 Dexter Brown BMW 3.3Li Art Car

Hall of Fame: 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Hot Rod

Hall of Fame: 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Hot Rod

Hall of Fame: 2006 Z4M Petronas Championship Race Car

Hall of Fame: 2006 Z4M Petronas Championship Race Car

Hall of Fame: 1974 BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” followed by 2003 Aston Martin DB AR1 Zagoto

Hall of Fame: 1974 BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” followed by 2003 Aston Martin DB AR1 Zagoto

01 Aug

Summer Attractions: Newport Auto Museums Highlight Design on Wheels

Restored art deco building on Newport’s historic Bellevue Avenue houses the Audrain Auto Museum Photo – Audrain Auto Museum

Restored art deco building on Newport’s historic Bellevue Avenue houses the Audrain Auto Museum
Photo – Audrain Auto Museum

Newport, R.I. — Car enthusiasts now have their pick of destinations to get their fix while visiting Newport, with two car museums featuring classic and rare cars, the newest having opened just last month. The Audrain Automobile Museum and the Newport Car Museum both place a strong emphasis on design and display the cars as works of art.

“What we’re really talking about is good design, and how car design really reflects art and social history,” said David de Muzio, executive director of the Audrain Automobile Museum. “It’s another way to understand what the cars are, why they look like they do.”
The museums fit right in to the spirit of Newport, a resort destination known for its mansions, folk and jazz festivals and beaches. Wealthy families have summered here for generations — bringing with them their cars.

“There is a car culture here, and it goes right back to the late 19th century when Willie K. Vanderbilt was acquiring and racing cars. Some of the very first car races in the United States happened right here in Newport,” de Muzio said.

Cars became part of high society, as vacationers spending time at summer homes would parade their cars around town. Some of those car races were held on the beach here, or on Bellevue Avenue, the leafy boulevard lined by Gilded Age mansions, de Muzio said.

Both museums are drawn from private collections, and they are different and complementary. The Audrain, which opened in 2014, is located in a historic building on Bellevue, next to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. It rotates through four exhibits per year of around 20 cars, drawn from a collection of 225.

About 15 to 20 examples are displayed at a time out of the Audrain Auto Museum’s collection of over 200 cars Photo – Audrain Auto Museum

About 15 to 20 examples are displayed at a time out of the Audrain Auto Museum’s collection of over 200 cars Photo – Audrain Auto Museum

It has what de Muzio calls an “encyclopedic” focus, with a wide range of different makers and years, from prewar cars to the present day. An exhibit that was on view through June 25, “Drop Dead Drop Tops,” focused on convertibles and featured a range of cars, from a 1930 Pierce-Arrow Model A to a one-of-a-kind white and blue 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4L Grand Sport Vitesse “Le Ciel Californien.” The exhibit even included curiosities such as a 1957 Ferrari Bimbo racer, a 12-volt electric children’s car that was based on the open Ferrari Spider of the time. The Audrain’s new exhibit, “Fast, Fun & Fabulous: Best of Show,” featuring award-winning automobiles that are a superlative example of design or that have won races, opened last week.

Ford Shelby Gallery features the iconic 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350R Photo – Newport Car Museum

Ford Shelby Gallery features the iconic 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350R
Photo – Newport Car Museum

There’s still a new car smell at the Newport Car Museum, which opened June 1 and is actually in neighboring Portsmouth, a short drive from the attractions of Newport. The museum is housed in a 55,000-square-foot space in a building once used by defense contractor Raytheon to manufacture missiles. The displays here are drawn entirely from the private collection of Gunther and Maggie Buerman.

Around 50 cars are displayed in five galleries, with classics including Ford Shelby racing cars, Corvettes, Mopars and a large collection of fin cars, as well as some European, British and Japanese cars. Every model of Corvette, from a C1 to C7, is here. There’s a 1965 Ford Shelby 427 SC Cobra, designed by American automotive designer and racecar driver Carroll Shelby, one of just 31 made, and valued by Gunther Buerman at $3 million.

Gallery dedicated to finned cars from the 50’s and 60’s at the Newport Car Museum Photo – Newport Car Museum

Gallery dedicated to finned cars from the 50’s and 60’s at the Newport Car Museum
Photo – Newport Car Museum

From a 1954 Buick to a 2017 Dodge Viper ACR, Gunther Buerman said he wanted the museum to appeal to all ages. “The idea is to span that whole generation, so that the grandfather can come, the father and son have something to enjoy, the mother, the grandmother. The whole family can come and see something of interest,” he said.

Anna and Doug Lash, of Monroe, Connecticut, said they have been to numerous car museums and shows, but never one quite like the Newport Car Museum. “The artistic layout is really unique. It makes the cars look like a piece of art. These cars were virtual pieces of art. The production cars today don’t even come close to some of this,” said Doug Lash, a self-described car enthusiast. “The classics that he’s picked are incredible. The design is the thing that makes them stand out from anything that goes fast.”

If You Go –

AUDRAIN AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM: 222 Bellevue Ave., Newport, Rhode Island, next to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, http://audrainautomuseum.org. $14; seniors, military, students, $10; children 6 to 17, $8. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

NEWPORT CAR MUSEUM: 1847 West Main Road, Portsmouth, Rhode Island (near Newport on the campus of defense contractor Raytheon), https://newportcarmuseum.org. $18; seniors, military, students, AAA members, $15; children 5 to 15, $5. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
Contributed by Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press

20 Jul

Summer Attractions: Simeone Automotive Museum a Must See when Visiting Philadelphia

Endurance Trial - 1909 American Underslung sports roadster

Endurance Trial – 1909 American Underslung sports roadster

 

Philadelphia, Penn. -Start your engines! Some of the world’s rarest sports and racing cars can be found not only in collections spread throughout the whole of Europe, but also stateside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Within the walls of the Simeone Foundation Museum — the only museum of its kind in North America — you’ll find 60 of the world’s rarest and most famous race cars. The Museum’s theme is “Celebrating the Spirit of Competition”.

And if luxury is your style, names like Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Maserati are pretty tough to beat. The collection begins with a race car from 1909 and continues to the mid-1970s. As you walk through the museum, you’ll see how technology has evolved in just seven decades of racing.

Like the collection of paintings at Philadelphia’s famed Barnes Foundation, the Simeone Foundation exhibition is a personal collection, driven by neurosurgeon and automotive fanatic Dr. Fredrick Simeone’s singular vision of how the collection should be arranged.

The cars are displayed in dioramas representing the famous race courses where the cars actually competed — such as Watkins Glen, Bonneville, Sebring, the Mille Miglia and Le Mans — so you can relive history while you peruse the collection.

Dr. Simeone began collecting his exclusive cars over 50 years ago and has culminated into one of the finest vintage racecar collections in the world. Significant cars in the collection include the “Hippie” Porsche 917 (named for its psychedelic paint scheme), a 1958 Aston Martin DBR1 that Stirling Moss drove to victory at the Nürburgring, a priceless Cobra Daytona Coupe that had been lost for 30 years until Simeone helped in its recovery, the Le Mans-winning 1937 Bugatti Type 57S “Tank” and the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Mille Miglia champion.

Unique to the Simeone museum is the way in which the cars are portrayed in dioramas of the actual racing events run by the cars. Classic scenes from famous race tracks in America and around the world adorn the expansive museum hallways of the 75,000 square-foot exhibition hall. According to Simeone, his museum collection relates to the visitor how competition and racing improves a marque in quality, technology and prestige.

Demonstration Days

For an automotive experience you’ll never forget, visit the museum on one of its world-famous Demonstration Days.

Each Demo Day features cars from the collection, as well as guest cars from other collections, in a themed presentation and demonstration run. Using the expansive three-acre parking lot behind the museum, visitors can see, hear and smell history come to life through these magnificent machines.
Each Demonstration Day begins with a brief lecture on each car’s importance and its place in history. Immediately after the lecture, each car is demonstrated outdoors in the parking lot in a controlled manner, weather permitting. After the demonstration runs are complete, guests can see each car up close and take pictures. Demo Days are run once a month for virtually the whole year and a schedule can be obtained on the Museum website

Visitor Information

The Museum is open six days a week Tuesdays through Sundays. The facility is located just five minutes from Philadelphia International Airport — perfect for international visitors hoping to see the Simeone’s vast collection of European and American race cars.

For more information, be sure to click on to their website and book your tour.

Source: Simeone Foundation

Photos contributed by Nick Ord with permission from the Simeone Foundation

Pre-World War I - 1907 Renault Racing Roadster and 1912 National Speed

Pre-World War I – 1907 Renault Racing Roadster and 1912 National Speed

Nürburgring -1937 BMW 328 and 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Nürburgring -1937 BMW 328 and 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Watkins Glen – 1950 Cadillac Allard J2

Watkins Glen – 1950 Cadillac Allard J2

America at Le Mans – 1967 Ford GT-40 Mk IV, 1966 Ford GT-40 Mk II and 1929 DuPont Le Mans Speedster

America at Le Mans – 1967 Ford GT-40 Mk IV, 1966 Ford GT-40 Mk II and
1929 DuPont Le Mans Speedster

Mille Miglia- 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A

Mille Miglia- 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A

Bonneville Salt Flats – 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe

Bonneville Salt Flats – 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe

Winner’s Circle – 1937 Bugatti 57G “Tank” and 1927 Mercedes Benz Sportwagen

Winner’s Circle – 1937 Bugatti 57G “Tank” and 1927 Mercedes Benz Sportwagen

Targa Florio – 1975 Alfa Romeo 33TT-12 and 1926 Bugatti Type 35

Targa Florio – 1975 Alfa Romeo 33TT-12 and 1926 Bugatti Type 35

21 Jun

NEAM Father’s Day Car Show 2017 Award Winners

Photos – Jenny Ord Bonadio

Photos – Jenny Ord Bonadio

People’s Choice Award
First Place – Marc Wonderman, ’34 Morgan Super Sports “Trike”
Runner Up – Bob Sabre, ’54 Nash Airflyte

New England Auto Museum Award – Favorite in Show
’49 International Pickup, Emily Gagnon

Mayor’s Trophy – selected by Harry Rilling
’54 Nash Airflyte, Bob Sabre

Malcom S. Pray Jr. Award – Favorite Classic Car
’53 Morgan +4 “Flat Rad”, Rod Griffith

Bob Sharp Award – Most Fun to Drive
’95 Ferrari F355, Mickey Koleszar

James Melton Award – selected by George Dragone
’37 Ford Fordor, Vinnie Pousada

Lime Rock Award – Favorite Race Car
’57 Morgan Plus 4, Chip Brown

“Car Bob” Award – Favorite Morgan
’34 Morgan Super Sports “Trike”, Marc Wonderman

CT Seaport Club Award – Favorite Preservation Car
’73 Buick Gran Sport, Phil Roitman

Karl Chevrolet Award – Favorite Camaro
’69 Chevrolet Camaro, Vern & Kim Cyr

Hagerty Award – Car That Matters
’84 BMW 520i, Nick Ord

NE Racing Fuels Award – Favorite Track Car
’67 Volvo 122S, Automotive Restorations Inc.

Automotive Restorations Award – Favorite Restored Car
’70 Pontiac Trans-Am, Jim Napoletano

Spacefitters Award – Favorite Modern Car
’11 Callaway Corvette, Maria & Bill Myers

Ord Family Award – Favorite British Car
’58 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, Pray Auto Body

Coachmen Car Club Trophy – Favorite Rod or Custom Car
’68 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet, Vinny Lyons

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05 Jun

WKPN-89.5FM’s “Car Bob” Show to Broadcast Live from the NEAM Father’s Day Car Show on June 18th

WKPNFM Radio Personality and Show Grand Marshal “Car Bob” Costanzo

WKPNFM Radio Personality and Show Grand Marshal “Car Bob” Costanzo

Norwalk, Conn. – WKPN-FM Radio Personality and automotive expert “Car Bob” Costanzo has been named Grand Marshal for the 3rd Annual NEAM Father’s Day Car Show presented by Karl Chevrolet. The “Car Bob” Show runs on alternate week’s Saturday mornings from 9am to 11am on Bridgeport’s WKPN Radio at 89.5 on the FM dial. The show features a panel of car experts in including “Car Bob”, Mark “The Mechanic” Mushin, Diesel Doug Echols, and Motorcar Historian George Dragone. The provides discussion of all things automotive and listeners are encouraged to call in with questions or comments about the topics of the day as well as tips for keeping your car in top mechanical condition.

“Car Bob” Costanzo has been working on automobiles since his early teens and graduated from Central Connecticut State College in 1974 with a BS in Education, Industrial Arts. For many in the area, “Car Bob” will be remembered as a Judge at auto shows in the Corvette Class and early American automobile up to the 50’s. “Car Bob” is currently a Professor of Automotive Technology at Gateway Community College in North Haven where he is the lead GM ASEP instructor. He is an ASE World Class Technician and also certified in alternative fuels vehicles including hybrid and electric cars.

“Car Bob” is often seen around the Bridgeport/New Haven corridor in his daily driver, a green Morgan Plus 4 roadster. Morgan Cars from England are the featured European marque at the year’s NEAM Father’s Day Car Show which is an official event on the Morgan Club of New England’s 2017 Event Calendar.

The “Car Bob” Show will be broadcast live from the show at Mathews Park in Norwalk and show spectators and participants are encouraged to meet “Car Bob” and his panel of car experts at the WKPN-89.5FM tent beside the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion.

17 May

110 Year-Old Fiat Targa Florio Race Car Coming to the NEAM Father’s Day Car Show June 18th

1907 Fiat 60HP Targa Florio Corsa owned by Manny and George Dragone of Bridgeport, Connecticut

1907 Fiat 60HP Targa Florio Corsa owned by Manny and George Dragone of Bridgeport, Connecticut

Norwalk, Conn. – The first of the classic European road races was the Targa Florio, which began in 1906 and continued until 1976. The first course was three laps of 92-around the Madonie Mountains. Fiat’s entry in 1907 was led by Vincenzo Lancia and Felice Nazzaro. At the end of the first lap Lancia was in the lead, but ultimately it was Nazzaro in the 60HP who won the second Targa Florio. That same year he also won the French Grand Prix and the German Kaiserpreis also in Fiat race cars. This is one of the five original 60 HP Fiat team cars from the Targa Florio. It was discovered with a touring body and has been restored to the specification raced by the great drivers of 1907 by Manny and George Dragone of Bridgeport.

In 1907, there were 51 entrants in the 2nd Targa Florio race in Sicily, including pioneer automakers Darracq, Itala, De Dietrich, Benz, Berliet, Gobron-Brille, Daimler, Clement, Junior, Star-Rapid, Zust, Diatto-Clement, Radia, Ajax, Isotta-Frashini, Rolland-Plain, Opel and the five 7.4 liter/60HP Fiats. Felice Nazarro won the race with a Fiat, followed by Fiat teammate, Vincenzo Lancia, just 12 minutes later and after nearly 8 ½ hours of racing. Lancia also posted the fastest lap of the race, with a time of 2 hours, 43 minutes, 8 seconds. A third Fiat finished in 8th place driven by Aldo Weilschott. The other two Fiat team cars do not appear in the race results, but Fiat established itself as one of the leading automakers in the world.

Vincenzo Lancia and mechanic and future superstar driver of the 20's Pietro Bordino, pushing their Fiat F1 in the pits

Vincenzo Lancia and mechanic and future superstar driver of the 20’s Pietro Bordino, pushing their Fiat F1 in the pits

In 1907, at the age of 26, Felice Nazzaro was the greatest driver in the world. With his effortless and immaculate technique, he stayed at the top, retiring from premier level racing in 1924 after almost 25 years in the most dangerous game in the world. A cagey driver, Nazzaro would often hang back at the beginning of a race, waiting for the leaders to fail and then would pounce into the lead, sometimes making the fastest lap in the process.

Nazzaro was very young when he started work in the workshop of the Ceriano brothers (Fiat founders) and he was soon competing for the new Fiat racing team. He won the Padua 200 km race in 1900 at the wheel of a red Fiat and the 1901 Giro d’Italia in a 6HP Fiat. The popular star of numerous Italian races early in the century; he even became an idol abroad, with a brilliant second place for Fiat in the Gordon Bennett Cup of 1905. Slight of build, gentlemanly of nature and immaculate in dress, his skill as a driver, mechanic and diplomat earned him the position of ‘works’ Fiat driver alongside Vincenzo Lancia in 1905.

The car resides in the Dragone Classics showroom in Westport, CT

The car resides in the Dragone Classics showroom in Westport, CT

While the Fiat Company has records of the serial numbers of the cars that were sent to the Targa Florio, it is not known which cars finished and which didn’t. Records show that the Dragone’s car was shipped to Argentina after the 1908 racing season, where it was fitted with a touring body. It was parked on a ranch in the 1920s and remained there until discovered by Californian Ben Moser in 1976. Moser was successful in obtaining its Targa Florio documentation directly from Fiat, but it wasn’t until 1990 that he was finally able to make its purchase. Unfortunately, Moser passed away before the car arrived in the U.S. The Dragone’s purchased the Fiat from the Moser estate in 1991.

The Fiat’s 4-cylinder 7.4 liter engine rated at 60 hp

The Fiat’s 4-cylinder 7.4 liter engine rated at 60 hp

The Dragone’s 1907 Fiat Targa Florio race car will be featured at the Father’s Day Car Show on Sunday, June 18th at Mathews Park in Norwalk. Anyone interested in showing a car at the show may pre-register online at the New England Auto Museum website at only $15/per car or at the gate on the day of the show for $20/per car. All show cars will be welcome with no cut-off year. Spectator admission is free. Prizes will include awards for the Peoples’ Choice, the Mayor’s Choice, Favorite in Show and many more. Dash plaques will be available for the first 100 cars to register.

New England Auto Museum
The New England Auto Museum will be an exciting new attraction for the state of Connecticut and throughout the Northeast. This non-profit organization will build a first class facility dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historic automobiles and automobile artifacts. It will serve as both an educational learning center as well as a display center to highlight an ever changing evolution of car history and its impact on society. Find more information at www.neautomuseum.org

11 May

Cannonball Outlaw Reunion set for June 2 in Greenwich, Conn.

Director Hal Needham and Pamela Yates with the infamous TransCon Medi-Vac Ambulance in 1979 - Archive photo

Director Hal Needham and Pamela Yates with the infamous
TransCon Medi-Vac Ambulance in 1979 – Gero Hoschek Photo

GREENWICH, Conn. – On June 2, in Greenwich, Conn., a group of original outlaws depicted in the 1981 film “Cannonball Run” will come together in one place to recount those outrageous stories of beating the law as they raced cross-country from New York City to Los Angeles in some of the craziest vehicles built for the endeavor.

This will mark the third reunion since the first car took off from the Red Ball Garage in New York City in 1971, and it will be held at the Cole Auditorium at the Greenwich Library. A number of the original outlaws will relive those desperado days relating their wild stories as they sped coast-to-coast, evading the law either with excessive speed or outlandish explanations for their escapades. Remarkably, they all avoided jail-time.

Pamela Yates, wife of Brock Yates, the originator of the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, who was a patient in 1979 in the bogus TransCon Medi-Vac Ambulance speeding cross-country to a special hospital because her “condition prevented her from flying,” will tell her story.

Judy Stropus, who was part of the Right Bra team in 1972 of three women dressed in pink bell-bottoms and bodysuits, and portrayed loosely (and we mean loosely) by Adrienne Barbeau in the movie, will finally reveal her side of the story of their demise.

The Right Bra Racing Team Left to right: Judy Stropus, Peggy Nemecek, and Donna Mae Mims, “the Pink Lady” - Archive photo

The Right Bra Racing Team Left to right: Judy Stropus, Peggy Nemecek, and Donna Mae Mims, “the Pink Lady” – Archive photo

Riding in a Travco motor home replete with gourmet chef creating fine dining for the crew in 1971, ’72 and ’75, Bill Brodrick (known as the “hat man” at the NASCAR races in the ’70s and ’80s), and Car and Driver writer William Jeanes will describe their adventures.

Other outlaws with zany recollections from the 1970s will include Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance wizard Bill Warner, who still owns and drives the Porsche 911 he piloted in 1975, and Jack Cowell, who, with Pete Brock and Dick Gilmartin, were the “Flying Fathers” in 1972 in a Mercedes-Benz 280SEL, loaned to them by M-B p.r. rep at the time, Leo Levine. Levine will be on hand to explain how he got away with that one. We’ll hear from Bob Brown, who drove with Brock Yates in 1972 in the Cotton Owens-built Dodge Challenger, and Rich Taylor, the official starter at the Red Ball Garage in New York City. We’ll also view videos from other outlaws, such as racing icon Dan Gurney, Pete Brock, Brock Yates Jr., and Anatoly Arutunoff.

Dan Gurney and Brock Yates with the winning Ferrari Daytona relax at the Portofino Inn November 17, 1971 – Archive photo

Dan Gurney and Brock Yates with the winning Ferrari Daytona relax
at the Portofino Inn November 17, 1971 – Archive photo

Long after the dust settled from the original races, long-distance driver Alex Roy and David Maher, with filmmaker Cory Welles on board, set a new transcontinental record in a technology-laden BMW M5. Roy will share the wild highlights and show some never-before-seen footage from the record run!

Car collector, Cannonball fan, and well-known DJ Travis Bell will recount his meticulous recreation of the TransCon Medi-Vac Ambulance, with the support and blessing of Hal Needham and Brock Yates. They liked it so much, they signed the dash!

Cannonball cars on display will include:

  • Dan Gurney/Brock Yates Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona that won the race overall in 1971
  • Brock Yates’ iconic 1972 Dodge Challenger built by NASCAR’s Cotton Owens
  • Bill Warner’s 1975 Porsche 911T
  • Travis Bell’s TransCon MediVac Ambulance recreation
  • Alex Roy’s Polizei 144 BMW M5
Brock Yates’ Cotton Owens built 1972 Dodge Challenger now owned by Wayne Carini – Amelia Is. Concours photo

Brock Yates’ Cotton Owens built 1972 Dodge Challenger
now owned by Wayne Carini – Amelia Is. Concours photo

The panel discussion will be hosted by Mike Spinelli, Executive Producer, TheDrive.com at Time Inc., co-host of The Drive on NBC Sports and co-founder of Jalopnik.

“This event is not to be missed,” said Roger Garbow, co-organizer of the event with Judy Stropus. “The chances of all these outlaws being reunited again in one place to relate their madcap stories are pretty slim. I guarantee that it will stand as an historic event of its own.”

The panel discussion, which will include excerpts from the original 1981 film, onboard video footage from Alex Roy’s 2006 run, a slide show depicting the early days, an auction of Cannonball memorabilia, an autograph session, and other surprises will complete the evening. The event is being held in cooperation with the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance (June 3-4) www.greenwichconcours.com and the Greenwich International Film Festival http://www.greenwichfilm.org/.

Tickets are $125 per person, which includes dinner (gourmet grilled cheese and lobster sliders) and drinks, and may be purchased at www.greenwichfilm.org. The evening begins at 6:30 in the courtyard of the Greenwich Library, alongside the Cannonball cars, with the program beginning at 8 p.m.

The proceeds of this dinner will benefit the New England Auto Museum, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization www.neautomuseum.org.

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03 May

Greenwich Concours d’Elegance celebrates its 22nd year in 2017

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Bugattis, Historic Race Cars, Hot Rods and Children’s Cars featured to benefit Americares

GREENWICH, Conn. – Recognized as one of the premier classic car shows in the country, the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance will celebrate its 22nd year of showcasing significant cars, motorcycles and one-off automotive creations on June 3-4, 2017.

The brainchild of the late Bruce Wennerstrom, the Concours continues its tradition of holding two unique Concours back-to-back at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park overlooking the Greenwich, Conn., harbor on Long Island Sound.

For 21 years, the proceeds from the Greenwich Concours have gone to support Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization that responds to people affected by poverty or disaster with life-changing medicine, medical supplies and health programs.

Organizer of the world-renowned Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Bill Warner, has been named the Grand Marshal.

Saturday, June 3, will be the Concours Americana for American cars and motorcycles, while Sunday, June 4, will feature the Concours International for imported marques.

The inaugural hot rod display being organized by Velocity Channel’s Chasing Classic Cars host Wayne Carini will highlight Saturday’s show. A special exhibit of children’s cars and supercars will round out the day’s displays. Saturday’s ticket also allows attendees to preview all of the cars in the Bonhams auction tent.

Tickets are also available on Saturday night to a gala party and elegant buffet at the Greenwich Delamar Hotel, with luxurious yachts as a backdrop on the quay.

Sunday’s featured marque will be Bugatti and will include a collection of rare Bugattis from the American Bugatti Club. Sunday will also feature race cars from the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival. The Bonham’s auction begins at noon on Sunday and requires a separate admission.

Also showcased during the weekend will be the iconic outlaw cars from the original cross-country Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, held in the ’70s, along with some of the later non-outlaw entries. These cars will also be displayed at the Cannonball Reunion, a joint evening event with the Greenwich International Film Festival, at Cole Auditorium on Friday, June 2. Proceeds from this event will support the development of the New England Auto Museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world class automotive display and educational facility in Connecticut.

Both days will include displays of the latest in new cars including BMW, Cadillac, Tesla, Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Miller Motorcars of Greenwich will highlight its Ferrari, Bugatti, Pagani, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, McLaren, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Maserati marques. Opportunities to test drive some of these new vehicles will be offered. There will also be a number of luxury yachts displayed at the adjacent Delamar Hotel docks.

“The Greenwich Concours is proud to partner with Americares to help families in need all over the world,” said Mary Wennerstrom, Concours Chairman. “Not only will attendees who appreciate these rare cars be treated to two days to delight their senses, they will also be contributing to one of the world’s most respected charities.”

“Americares is honored to be the Greenwich Concours’ charity of choice for more than two decades,” said Americares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis. “Together we are helping families affected by poverty or disaster to get the health care they need — the health care they deserve.”

VIP tickets are available on a limited basis. A VIP ticket includes early entry to the Concours, breakfast and lunch with the car owners and judges, access to the VIP lounge and patio at the Delamar Hotel, entrance to the Bonhams Cocktail Reception on Friday night, lapel pin, poster and a VIP lanyard.

  • Gates open at 10 a.m. for general admission, 8 a.m. for VIP ticket holders
  • Advance tickets for both days are available at $30 per day or $50 for both days
  • Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult
  • VIP Admission is $250 per day or $450 for both days
  • Saturday Night Gala tickets are available for $175
  • Tickets can be purchased at http://www.greenwichconcours.com/visitors/tickets/
  • Admission to Bonhams auction is available on site at $40 for two people
  • To request media credentials, please go to http://www.greenwichconcours.com/press-links/

The weekend activities will include other events, open to the public, some in cooperation with the Greenwich International Film Festival:

About Americares
Americares is a health-focused relief and development organization that responds to people affected by poverty or disaster with life-changing health programs, medicine and medical supplies. Each year, Americares reaches more than 90 countries and all 50 U.S. states with over $600 million in innovative health programs and quality medical aid. Americares is the world’s leading nonprofit provider of donated medicine and medical supplies. For more information, visit americares.org

Baby Bugatti with a 1925 Bugatti Type 35A/51 Grand Prix at the Greenwich Concours site Photo by Bearded Mug Media

Baby Bugatti with a 1925 Bugatti Type 35A/51 Grand Prix at the Greenwich Concours site
Photo by Bearded Mug Media

18 Apr

Cannonball Reunion – June 2, 2017

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DON’T MISS OUT! Tickets are now on sale for the Cannonball Reunion – in cooperation with the Greenwich (Conn.) Concours and the Greenwich Film Festival.

 

Featuring original Cannonballers and their cars, too! Seating is very limited so don’t delay.

 

Proceeds from the Reunion will benefit the New England Auto Museum, www.neautomuseum.org

 

To buy tickets, go to www.greenwichfilm.org

 

June 2, 2017 – 6:30 p.m. – program at 8 p.m.
Cole Auditorium at the Greenwich Library
101 West Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, Connecticut 06830