10 May

Rare ’54 Kaiser Darrin Sports Car to be featured at Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk June 17th

Photos Dan Jedlicka

Photos Dan Jedlicka

Norwalk, Conn. From the collection of the late Malcolm Pray, a rare 1954 Kaiser Darrin sports car will be featured at the 4th Annual Father’s Day Car Show at Matthews Park in Norwalk on Sunday June 17th from 10am to 3pm.

The Kaiser Darrin, also known as the DKF 161 or in short as the Darrin, was an American sports car designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin and built by Kaiser Motors in 1954. Essentially a revamp of Kaiser’s Henry J compact, the Kaiser Darrin was one of its designer’s final achievements and was noted for being the first American car equipped with a fiberglass body and doors that slid on tracks into the front fender wells. The car was named both for Henry J. Kaiser, head of Kaiser Motors, and Darrin.

The Darrin was conceived as part of a movement in Detroit to compete head-to-head with European roadsters being imported to and sold in the United States in the post–World War II period. Among other products developed were the Ford Thunderbird in its initial two-seat form and Chevrolet Corvette. While the Darrin was designed attractively, it was also underpowered and, while a good performer overall, did not measure up to foreign vehicles such as the Nash-Healey or Triumph TR2. The Darrin’s high price tag, lack of consumer confidence in Kaiser’s viability and practical challenges with the car’s design resulted in low sales, though sports cars at the time were generally not fast sellers.

Only 435 production Darrin’s and six prototypes were built. Crumbling corporate finances, pending loss of assembly facilities and a freak snowstorm that reportedly ruined 50 of the cars all conspired to terminate the program. Darrin bought those 50 vehicles and whatever others Kaiser had left in storage and sold those from his Hollywood, California showroom. Many of the cars’ engines were retrofitted with superchargers and multiple carburation to improve performance. Six were re-engined with Cadillac Eldorado V-8 units; one of these was reportedly raced.

Innovations included sliding entry doors and padded dashboard

Innovations included sliding entry doors and padded dashboard

Innovations included sliding entry doors and padded dashboard

 

Along with Darrin’s trademark fender line, the Kaiser Darrin had entry doors that, instead of being hinged to open outward, slid on tracks into the front fender wells behind the front wheels. Fueled by Darrin’s dislike for conventional doors, the designer had taken out a patent on the sliding auto door concept in 1946. To keep the door assembly as simple as possible, no side windows were built into them. The car was equipped with a three-position Landau top, which was also considered novel, and the design on the whole considered by industry critics and writers as beautifully proportioned. The only flaw was considered the car’s front grille. High and shell-shaped, it looked as though the automobile “wanted to give you a kiss,” as one writer commented.

The Father’s Day event will be held from 10AM-3PM and will offer lots of unique cars to view. Admission to the event is free to spectators; a donation will be encouraged and proceeds will go towards the New England Auto Museum’s building and education funds. The New England Auto Museum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

Come out and enjoy an afternoon of classic cars in all shapes and sizes, talk with the owners, be a judge and select your favorite car, grab a bite to eat and even visit the Stepping Stones Children’s Museum and the historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, right next door. It’s a great afternoon for Dad and the whole family!

darrin4

28 Apr

Four Hands on the Wheel: An Exclusive Screening presented by NEAM

Proceeds to benefit New England Auto Museumscreening

The story of the legendary winning partnership
between Mark Donohue & Roger Penske

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 7:30pm
Doors open at 6:45pm

Buy Tickets

VIP Ticket Bundle

On the 50th Anniversary of Mark Donohue’s unprecedented 1968 eight-win Trans-Am Championship season, New England Auto Museum is hosting an evening motorsports enthusiasts won’t want to miss!

This captivating 47-minute 1969 film chronicles the very special relationship between Roger Penske and Mark Donohue, arguably one of the most successful pairings in motorsports history. The film features rare footage of both Penske and Donohue behind the wheel in a wide variety of legendary machines including the Zerex Special, Corvette Grand Sport and Chaparral as well as Penske Racing entries in Can-Am, Trans-Am, USRRC and more. Plus, intimate interviews with both men give insights into this remarkable team.

The evening will also include:

Historic Penske racecars on display:
•  1966 Daytona and Sebring-winning L88 Sunoco Corvette
•  1968 Sunoco Camaro driven by Mark Donohue and Sam Posey

A panel discussion with the people who were there:
•  John “Woody” Woodard: Penske Racing Chief Mechanic
•  Chuck Cantwell: Team Manager of Penske Trans-Am Racing
•  Judy Stropus: Legendary team timer/scorer (before computers)
•  Kevin Mackay: Restorer and owner of the #9 1966 Penske L88 Corvette
•  Irwin Kroiz: Owner of #16 1968 Sunoco Camaro
•  Sam Posey – Famed race-car driver & TV personality; driver of the No. 16 1968 Penske Camaro

Silent & live auction of racing memorabilia and never-before-seen photos

Tickets: $47
VIP Meet & Greet Ticket Bundle: $97
Includes:
6pm pre-show reception
Meet & Greet with the panel
Merch item

Sponsored by:
 

Proceeds will benefit:

22 Apr

BMW of Darien Signs on as Presenting Sponsor of the New England Auto Museum Father’s Day Car Show June 17th in Norwalk

 

BMW of Darien, part of the Callari Auto Group was founded in 1967 by Felix Callari

BMW of Darien, part of the Callari Auto Group was founded in 1967 by Felix Callari

Norwalk, Conn. – New England Auto Museum has announced that BMW of Darien has signed on as the Presenting Sponsor of the 4th Annual Father’s Day Car Show to be held Sunday June 17th from 10AM to 3PM at Mathews Park in Norwalk.

Felix Callari had a passion for cars, beautiful, powerful automobiles He opened his BMW dealership in 1967 with the dream to blend that love of cars with the solid relationships he developed with fellow car enthusiasts in the hopes of creating a car business based on trust and knowledge. He did just that when he opened his first dealership with Saab, Triumph and Sunbeam in 1966, later adding BMW in 1967.

Felix Callari passed away in 2008, but his legacy lives on through his two daughters, Paula Callari (President) and Flavia Callari (Vice President). Currently, Callari Auto Group is comprised of BMW of Darien, MINI of Fairfield County and Volvo Cars Westport. Each dealership maintains the standards that Mr. Callari instilled in his employees through the many decades prior. Customer satisfaction, product knowledge, honesty and transparency are the hallmarks of Callari Auto Group.

Mr. Callari was a true pioneer in the automotive industry making the customer the number one priority. Because of his efforts, the three dealerships that make up Callari Cars are now poised to celebrate a combined 100 years of excellence. Last year, BMW of Darien celebrated its 50th year in the car business and while it continues to grow and evolve, its roots are still the constant mantra of 1967, honesty, integrity; product knowledge and service are the cornerstones of its success.

In its 4rd year, the NEAM Father’s Day Car Show takes advantage of its surroundings on the spacious lawns of the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum which provide a scenic backdrop for a spectacular collection of classic cars. The show provides a wide variety of attractions for car owners and spectators alike including tours of the Mansion and the neighboring Stepping Stones Children’s Museum as well as great BBQ food, ice cream and games.

The addition of BMW of Darien as Presenting Sponsor highlights the selection of the BMW 2002, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, as featured European marque.

The 2002 series was probably the most important model in BMW’s history. In the early 60’s,

BMW 2002 introduced in 1968 (Photo BMW Blog)

BMW 2002 introduced in 1968 (Photo BMW Blog)

although small cars like Isetta, 600 and 700 kept the Munich company alive, its image was mushy and the financial outlook was still poor. It was the 2002 series that changed its fate. This little 2-door sedan redefined the image of BMW. It combined a powerful engine and agile handling with solid German build quality and practical 4-people accommodation into a reasonably priced package. No one else had ever done that before. From 1966 to 1977, BMW produced 850,000 units of the 2002 series. That’s more than 4 times the number of the Isetta series and each car enjoyed a much higher profit margin. The car not only brought BMW a big fortune but also established the winning formula for the subsequent 3-Series to follow and sales success that continues to this day.

Anyone interested in showing a car at the Father’s Day Car 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

13 Feb

BMW 2002 & Dodge Viper to headline the 4nd Annual NEAM Father’s Day Car Show on Sunday, June 17th at Mathews Park in Norwalk – Presented by BMW of Darien

People’s Choice at the 2017 NEAM Father’s Day Car Show Marc Wonderman’s 1934 Morgan SS “Trike” (Photo Jenny Ord Bonadio)

People’s Choice at the 2017 NEAM Father’s Day Car Show Marc Wonderman’s 1934 Morgan SS “Trike”
(Photo Jenny Ord Bonadio)

Norwalk, Conn. – On Sunday, June 17, 2018 New England Auto Museum will again host the Father’s Day Car Show presented this year by BMW of Darien on the lawn of Mathews Park in Norwalk, site of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. The event will be held from 10AM to 3PM and will offer a wide variety of classic cars to view. Admission to the event is free to spectators; a donation will be voluntary and any proceeds will go towards the New England Auto Museum’s building and education funds. The New England Auto Museum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Great food and refreshments will be provided all day by J & D Grilling along with ice cream treats from Good Humor and gourmet popsicles from PopCentric. There will be trophies for People’s Choice, Favorite in Show and more.

Spectators can come out and enjoy an afternoon of classic cars in all shapes and sizes, talk with the owners, be a judge and select their favorite car, grab a bite to eat and even visit the Stepping Stones Children’s Museum and tour the historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, right next door. It’s a great afternoon for Dad and the whole family!

This year, the Father’s Day Car Show will feature two celebrated automotive marques: from Germany, the BMW 2002 celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2018 and from America will be the iconic Dodge Viper, 30 years on from the original concept car in 1989.

The 2002 series was probably the most important model in BMW’s history. In the early 60’s, although small cars like Isetta, 600 and 700 kept the Munich company alive, its image was mushy and the financial outlook was still poor. It was the 2002 series that changed its fate. This little 2-door sedan redefined the image of BMW. It combined a powerful engine and agile handling with solid German build quality and practical 4-people accommodation into a reasonably priced package. No one else had ever done that before. From 1966 to 1977, BMW produced 850,000 units of the 2002 series. That’s more than 4 times the number of the Isetta series and each car enjoyed a much higher profit margin. The car not only brought BMW a big fortune but also established the winning formula for the subsequent 3-Series to follow and sales success that continues to this day.

Contemporary BMW 2002 ad heralding its sports car-like performance (Photo Archives)

Contemporary BMW 2002 ad heralding its sports car-like performance (Photo Archives)

The Dodge Viper’s road to reality is one of the most intriguing stories to come out of Detroit since the creation of the Corvette. Born of the desire by Chrysler’s then-President Bob Lutz and Chief of Design Tom Gale, the Viper concept was cobbled together in secret by a dedicated cadre of car guys. Their vision was to recreate a modern-day, Cobra-inspired sports coupe devoid of high-tech gadgetry, turbocharged engines and the dreaded automatic transmission.
Under Gale, Chrysler’s Highland Park advanced design studio was tasked with designing the Viper’s exterior, while famed racing legend and Chrysler Performance Consultant Carroll Shelby was brought in to help with inspiration.
The Viper concept car made its first public appearance at the 1989 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the public went wild. CEO/Chairman Lee Iacocca knew what he had on his hands, and in 1990 he gave the green light to produce a limited number of Vipers, the first examples rolling off the line in January 1992.

After 25 years, production of the Dodge Viper stopped on August 31st, 2017.This was a momentous occasion. Referred to by car journalists as “the last great American car”, the Viper has inspired feelings of adrenaline, envy, admiration, and pure driving enjoyment for its dedicated fan base since the prototype was first shown to the public 30 years ago.

Dodge Viper prototype introduced at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show(Photo FCA)

Dodge Viper prototype introduced at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show(Photo FCA)

Anyone interested in showing a car at the Father’s Day Car 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

2017 Coachman Club Award winner ’68 Mustang Cobra Jet owned by Vinny Lyons (Photo Jenny Ord Bonadio)

2017 Coachman Club Award winner ’68 Mustang Cobra Jet owned by Vinny Lyons
(Photo Jenny Ord Bonadio)

15 Jan

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance celebrates Ferrari ‘Daytona’ March 11, 2018

“The last road car that might legitimately be considered a true Ferrari is the 365GTB/4 Daytona.” – Brock Yates, Enzo Ferrari (Doubleday, 1991)

It’s been a half-century since Pininfarina created the timeless shape of the Ferrari 365 GTB/4. On March 11, 2018 that happy anniversary will be celebrated at the 23rd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance with a special class of the rare and significant Ferrari 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” automobiles.

am_day2It was revenge, not Ferrari that gave the 365 GTB/4 its popular nickname. The name of America’s first superspeedway clung to the big Italian GT after Ferrari prototypes avenged themselves on American soil following their stinging defeat at Le Mans in 1966. Three victorious Ferrari P4 and P3 prototypes executed a perfectly choreographed photo finish winning the 1967 Rolex 24 at Daytona. It mocked Ford’s botched photo finish at Le Mans the previous June. There was little subtlety in it and everyone got the point. And the name Daytona stuck to the 365 GTB/4 almost at once.

am_day3So the mighty 365 GTB/4 became known as “Daytona” even though Ferrari never made it official. Some historians claim that the project was labeled “Daytona” internally during its gestation following the 1967 Daytona 24 Hour sweep. Then the internal nickname “Daytona” leaked. Ferrari himself was said to have squelched the use of the name when it became public.
Today the Daytona has a special place in Ferrari’s lustrous history. Automotive tastes and the traditional designs that had served Ferrari so well for two decades were under assault in the late sixties. So Ferrari made one last thunderous declaration regarding the creation of the thoroughbred grand touring car. They labeling it in traditional Ferrari fashion: 365 ccs per cylinder, Grand Tourismo Berlinetta, four overhead camshafts; 365 GTB/4.

am_day4Nearly 1,400 Daytona’s were built in coupe and convertible configurations. It outgunned its pricier and rarer 3-liter predecessors with a muscular 4-cam 4.4 liter V-12 fed by six enormous 40 mm Weber carburetors. This exotic recipe makes 380 hp and propels the big two-seater to nearly 180 mph; a sobering number for a 3,600 pound GT.
Despite its weight the Daytona made a fine race car. Ferrari created 15 special Competition 365 GTB/4s from 1971 through 1973. They scored class victories at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Le Mans and won the 1972 Tour de France outright. Second overall (with class victories) at the 1973 and 1979 Rolex 24 at Daytona, appropriately, are the Daytona’s North American racing high water marks.

am_day5“The Daytona has traditional Ferrari provenance, presence and poise.” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “The Daytona is the last of the true ‘Enzo’ Ferraris created before the Fiat influence arrived in Maranello in 1969. The howl of that big V-12 should be part of Il Canto degli Italiani, the Italian national anthem. The big Daytona is a car, a name and a legacy worth celebrating in grand style.”
Courtesy: Mike Eppinger, OldCarsWeekly.com
Photos courtesy of Bill Warner, Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
About the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

am_day1Now in its third decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “Amelia” draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island, The Ritz-Carlton at Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. The 23rd Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 9-11, 2018. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027

01 Jan

IMSA GTP cars to be celebrated at 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance March 11, 2018

The Miller High Life-sponsored Porsche 962 of Holbert Racing. Photos by Bill Warner, courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The Miller High Life-sponsored Porsche 962 of Holbert Racing. Photos by Bill Warner, courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

IMSA’s GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) class was founded in 1981, in response to the FIA’s Group C class for sports-car prototype racing cars. Like the Can-Am cars that preceded them, the IMSA GTPs were among the fastest and most-advanced cars of their day, and a quarter-century after the class was discontinued, fans still mourn its passing. At the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, IMSA GTP cars will be celebrated with a dedicated class and a seminar that recalls the glory days of prototype racing in North America.

Group C and GTP cars were similar, but not the same. IMSA focused less on fuel economy and a bit more on driver safety than the FIA, a distinction than can be seen in difference between the Group C Porsche 956 and its longer-wheelbase fraternal twin, the Porsche 962, which dominated IMSA GTP racing from 1985-’87. In addition to adding nearly five inches to the wheelbase to prevent impact injuries to the driver’s feet, the IMSA 962s carried a 120-liter fuel cell, as compared to the 100-liter limit mandated by the FIA’s Group C. In terms of performance, both the 956 and the 962 were capable of speeds above 350 km/h (218 mph), and the 962 proved even faster than the revered Porsche 917/30 Can-Am car up Watkins Glenn’s Wedgewood Straight.

Both GTP and Group C cars featured enclosed cockpits, with aluminum, carbon fiber, and Kevlar generally used to construct the monocoque and body. Though labeled as “prototypes,” the cars resembled absolutely nothing in a dealer’s showroom, but instead were built solely for the purpose of lapping a circuit as quickly as possible. Most IMSA tracks required more downforce for higher cornering speeds, while European circuits run in FIA Group C competition were often more about top speeds, requiring less downforce and lower drag.

The Kreepy Krauly Porsche-powered March 83G leads the Porsche 935 of Hen’s Swap Shop

The Kreepy Krauly Porsche-powered March 83G leads the Porsche 935 of Hen’s Swap Shop

As with Can-Am, engine displacement and configuration weren’t regulated by IMSA GTP rules. Forced induction was permitted, and favored by many teams for its lower fuel consumption, since even under IMSA rules the amount of fuel supplied for a race was limited. Privateer teams were an important component of IMSA racing, so every effort was made—in the beginning, anyway—to level the playing field in terms of cost, power, and driver safety.

The first full season of GTP racing was 1982, when the championship was won by John Paul Jr. in a Porsche 935. The March 83G was the chassis to beat for the next two years, with Al Holbert clinching the title in a Porsche-powered March in 1983, followed by Randy Lanier’s championship in a Chevy-powered March in 1984. Holbert repeated as champion, this time behind the wheel of a Porsche 962, in 1985 and 1986, while Chip Robinson took top honors with a 962 in 1987.

As quickly as it began, the reign of the Porsche 962 ended in 1988, when Nissan entered the series with its GTP ZX-Turbo. Geoff Brabham took this car to championships in 1988-’89, repeating with its successor, the Nissan NPT-90, during the 1990-’91 seasons. A new champion was waiting in the wings, however: Introduced during the 1991 season, the Toyota-powered AAR Eagle Mk III was about to rewrite the record book on winning.

The Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo

The Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo

During the 1992 IMSA GTP season, Juan Manual Fangio II racked up an impressive seven wins in 15 races behind the wheel of the #99 AAR Eagle Mk III, while his teammate, P.J. Jones, put up another two victories, easily handing the championship to AAR and Toyota. Impressive though the performance was, it paled in comparison to 1993, when the Toyota-powered team earned victories in every race contested, even taking the top two steps on the podium at Miami, Atlanta, Lime Rock, Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca, Portland, and Phoenix.

The dominance of the AAR Eagle Mk III was one of the factors that led to the demise of the GTP class. By the final season, privateer teams could no longer compete with factory efforts from Toyota and Nissan, reducing the overall number of GTP cars in the field and hence, spectator interest. Across the Pacific, the Japanese economy was in shambles, and by 1994 even manufacturers could no longer justify the expense of multiple racing programs. Like the Can-Am series before it, a combination of external forces and the overbearing success of a single team signaled the end of IMSA GTP racing.

Though the cars to be shown at Amelia Island have not yet been confirmed, it’s safe to bet that the Porsche 962 will be well-represented, along with the AAR Eagle Mk III and Nissan’s ZX-Turbo and NPT-90. Jaguar won its share of races in GTP, as did the March 83G chassis with several engine manufacturers, so it’s likely examples of these will be displayed, too. The panel discussion will be hosted by Bob Varsha, and expected participants include Hurley Haywood, David Hobbs, Davy Jones, Tommy Kendall, Brian Redman, Chip Robinson, and Mark Raffauf, IMSA’s executive VP during the Camel GTP years.

The 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance takes place from March 9-11 at The Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida. For additional details, visit AmeliaConcours.org.

Courtesy Kurt Ernst, Hemmings.com

14 Dec

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth cars to assemble at Amelia Island Concours on March 11, 2018

Beatnik Bandit -Photo courtesy National Automobile Museum

Beatnik Bandit -Photo courtesy National Automobile Museum

Amelia Island, Fla. – Futurist and visionary, or instigator and Weirdo? Ed Roth might have preferred the latter two terms as compliments, but as culture consumes counterculture, his legacy as an artist has grown over the last few decades, to the point that some have labeled him with the former two compliments and to the point that the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will showcase several Roth-built cars at its 2018 show.
As early as the 1980s, as David LaChance pointed out in his profile on Roth in the July 2017 issue of Hemmings Classic Car, art galleries and museums began to take notice of the work Roth had done 20 years earlier, likely due to the fact that some of the many, many children who bought Rat Fink stickers, wore Mother’s Worry T-shirts, and built AMT-produced Outlaw models had grown up to become influencers in the world of high art.
“He lived long enough to see his work rediscovered… and to be toasted by the mayor of San Francisco with a day in his honor,” LaChance wrote.

Outlaw - Photo by Alan Mayes, courtesy Spritz by Fritz

Outlaw – Photo by Alan Mayes, courtesy Spritz by Fritz

Roth began building hot rods, then painting and pinstriping them himself, long before his art propelled him to a national stage. However, with his fiberglass-bodied Outlaw, built in 1959, he discovered not only that crazy custom car creations could earn him a few bucks from car show promoters eager to use the cars to bring in crowds (who would then pass by Roth’s booth and buy a T-shirt or two), they could also earn him some free publicity via the car magazines of the day, equally eager to spotlight something wacky.
“He wanted to build cars but Roth didn’t want to build just any cars, or even any hot rods,” Ken Gross said in the write-up for the 2007 RM Icons of Speed and Style auction, which featured several Roth vehicles. “It took fantastic cars, conceived and built outside the mold of convention to satisfy Roth.”

Mysterion - Photo courtesy Beau Boeckmann.

Mysterion – Photo courtesy Beau Boeckmann.

Roth then followed the Outlaw with the Beatnik Bandit in 1961, the Rotar in 1962, the Mysterion in 1963, both the Road Agent and the Orbitron in 1964, the Surfite in 1965, the Druid Princess in 1966, and the Mega Cycle (a.k.a. Captain Pepi’s Motorcycle and Zeppelin Repair) in 1967 before turning his attention to choppers and trikes. Only in the late Eighties would he build more cars, among them L.A. Zoom, the 1995 Beatnik Bandit II, and the Stealth 2000. Each car Roth completed with his famed spitwad-and-plaster method progressively pushed the boundaries of automotive design and engineering; almost all of them were immensely impractical for street driving, but most of them could at least roll in and out of auditoriums and show halls under their own power.

Orbitron - Photo courtesy Beau Boeckmann

Orbitron – Photo courtesy Beau Boeckmann

As Rat Fink mania died down in the latter half of the Sixties and Roth shuttered his studio, however, the various cars he built scattered to the four winds. Some went on display at the Cars of the Stars museum and ended up in the Brucker brothers’ collection, the original Outlaw has ended up at the Petersen Museum, and Roth personally donated the Beatnik Bandit to the National Automobile Museum in Reno. Others, including the Road Agent, the Druid Princess, and the Tweedy Pie T-bucket, passed through the hands of collectors such as Mark Moriarty and Ralph Whitworth. The Mysterion has disappeared and thus inspired at least two replicas while the Orbitron, long thought vanished, turned up in 2007 serving as a trash bin outside an adult bookstore in Mexico.

Druid Princess - Photo courtesy RM Auctions

Druid Princess – Photo courtesy RM Auctions

While some of the cars have gathered at events in the past — notably the 2006 Detroit Autorama — the Amelia class represents the first such concours class honoring Roth, who died in 2001. Other featured classes at the Amelia Island Concours will focus on the Porsche Carrera, Auburns, the Jaguar XKE, the cars of Martini Racing, the 50th anniversary of the Ferrari Daytona, pre-war MGs, early electric cars, and cars built for hunting.
The 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will take place March 9-11. For more information, visit AmeliaConcours.org.
Courtesy Daniel Strohl, Hemmings.com

14 Nov

Fall Attractions: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport at South Carolina CCA Museum

bmw1

Greer, South Carolina – In June, the BMW Car Club of America Foundation opened its first big public exhibition at the Museum & Archive near the BMW factory in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The exhibition is entitled Heroes of Bavaria: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport and consists of 22 historic (and iconic) BMW race machines in the building – From the BMW 328 roadster than won at Zandvoort in 1939, to the Z4 GTLM car that raced in 2014.

And of course, most things in between, including the racing CSL’s, a TI/SA, the LeMans winning V12 LMR, M1 ProCar, David Hobbs’ ridiculous M1-C Prototype, Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula BMW, the first BMW to ever win a sanctioned race in North America (a Miller-Norburn 2002), and the list goes on. Opening day for the exhibition was sold out, with 400+ in attendance.

bmw2

This particular exhibition will be in place through at January 5, 2018. For 2018 – to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 2002’s launch in the United States- BMW CCA will have a blow-out exhibition on all things 2002.

The BMW Performance Center is directly next door and the plant for the X-vehicles is directly across the street, so visitors can spend some time at those locations as well. BMW enthusiasts and motor racing fans in general on their way south this fall will find a visit to this exhibition well worth the trip.

The BMW CCA Foundation is a nonprofit organization, and exists only through the generosity of its donors. Donations are welcome and will help to sustain the CCA Foundation Museum & Archive. CCAF donors also help fund Tire Rack Street Survival, a national car-control training program for teenage drivers.

The Museum & Archive currently preserves about 45,000 BMW-related items, from rare cars to engines to art. It’s the largest such collection in the Americas. And if you’re a member of the BMW Car Club of America, it’s being collected and maintained on your behalf. Come see it!

Public Hours
No registration required, just drop in!

Monday – Friday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Weekday Admission Prices
$10.00 – Adults
$5.00 – BMW CCA Members (with proof of membership)
$5.00 – BMW Employees (with id)
FREE – Children 12 and under

Courtesy BMW Blog
Article by Horatiu Boeriu
Article photos by Jon van Woerden Photography

More Photos from Heroes of Bavaria: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport

1973 E9 3.0 CSL, winner of the 1976 Daytona 24 Hour race with drivers Peter Gregg, Brian Redman & John Fitzpatrick

1973 E9 3.0 CSL, winner of the 1976 Daytona 24 Hour race with drivers
Peter Gregg, Brian Redman & John Fitzpatrick

1975 E9 3.5 CSL Grp 5 and 1977 E21 320i Turbo

1975 E9 3.5 CSL Grp 5 and 1977 E21 320i Turbo

1936 328 Roadster, overall winner of 1939 GP of Amsterdam later hidden in Holland during WW II

1936 328 Roadster, overall winner of 1939 GP of Amsterdam later hidden in
Holland during WW II

Radical 1981 M1/C driven by David Hobbs and Marc Surer

Radical 1981 M1/C driven by David Hobbs and Marc Surer

1994 E34 M5 IMSA Supercar Champion with driver David Donahue

1994 E34 M5 IMSA Supercar Champion with driver David Donahue

2000 Formula 1 BMW-Williams FW22-02 piloted by Ralf Schumacher to 5th place in the championship

2000 Formula 1 BMW-Williams FW22-02 piloted by
Ralf Schumacher to 5th place in the championship

1999 V-12 LMR overall victor at LeMans 24 Hour with drivers Yannick Dalmas. Pier Luigi Martini and Joachim Winklehock

1999 V-12 LMR overall victor at LeMans 24 Hour with drivers
Yannick Dalmas. Pier Luigi Martini and Joachim Winklehock

1996 McLaren F1 GTR finished in 8th place at LeMans 24 Hour driven by Nelson Piquet, Danny Sullivan and Johnny Cecotto

1996 McLaren F1 GTR finished in 8th place at LeMans 24 Hour driven by
Nelson Piquet, Danny Sullivan and Johnny Cecotto

Photos by Nick Ord

10 Oct

Connecticut Magazine takes us inside “Drool-worthy” Private Car Collections

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New Haven, Conn. – In its September issue, Connecticut Magazine visited six automobile collectors across Connecticut, a state where the nation’s most exquisite automobiles hide beneath its top-notch restaurants and museums. Cars are part of Connecticut culture, yet too many of these historical vehicles sit locked away. These six men opened their garages to provide an inside look at their “drool-worthy” collections:

The Driver

Herb Williamson, Marlborough

Herb Williamson driving his 1967 Maserati Mexico

Herb Williamson driving his 1967 Maserati Mexico

When a close friend died, Herb Williamson did what we all do when we lose a special person: he found a way to keep his memory alive. More precisely, he’s kept it running for 23 years. Tucked in a brick garage is Williamson’s big slice of automotive heaven, a 1967 Maserati Mexico he inherited from John Tipton, whose parting gift included eight cars in varying stages of repair. Though Williamson, 66, always loved driving and working on cars, he’d never had a full collection. Daunted by restoring (and storing) each one in between running his roofing business in East Hartford, he eventually whittled down to a select trio of Italian and British sports cars. We’re in the Maserati, the only remaining car from Tipton’s collection, bombing down Route 2 with the windows down.

“I’ve been playing a lot more golf lately than I have fooling around with cars,” he says over the throaty exhaust. Tipton would be proud of Williamson’s fine touches — the white leather roof with its woven hand straps, chrome toggle switches poking out from the polished mahogany dash, and his enthusiastic right foot that blasts us past everyone.

That Tuscan-style garage is every married man’s paradise. There’s a coated floor, heat, bathroom, TV and two more heart-stoppers, a 1963 Iso Rivolta and a 1954 Austin Healey 100M LeMans. “I like sports cars more than anything else,” he says. Williamson is also restoring a 1969 Dodge Daytona that sat in a Colchester barn for 30 years. He’ll sell that one. The others, those masterpieces that look too delicate to drive, will be closing on you in your rearview.

PRIZED POSSESSION: 1967 Maserati Mexico 4.7

  • One of 480 cars built between 1966-72, and just one of 175 with the 4.7-liter V-8
  • Named to celebrate Maserati’s 1966 victory in the Mexican Grand Prix

The Expert

Wayne Carini, Portland

Wayne Carini with his Schoof Special, which raced at Indianapolis in the 1930s and '40s

Wayne Carini with his Schoof Special, which raced at Indianapolis in the 1930s and ’40s

Sight unseen, would you drop a few hundred grand on an old car because one guy told you to? If the guy has a bushy white mustache and goes by the name Wayne Carini, have no doubts. Carini, 65, knows everything and everyone in the classic car world. He even hosts a TV show called Chasing Classic Cars.

He will spout encyclopedic descriptions of a three-wheel 1948 Davis, cite the exact issue of Hot Rod which featured his 1927 Isky, and knows enough to have removed the rear seats on the 1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster before he bought it to make sure it’s a genuine convertible. Jay Leno’s coming to his birthday party.

“People work hard for a lot of things,” he says. “I always wanted a barn full of cars.”

From left, 1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster, 1936 Ford pickup and 1948 Davis Divan, from Wayne Carini's collection

From left, 1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster, 1936 Ford pickup and 1948 Davis Divan, from Wayne Carini’s collection

On the site of a former equine clinic, Carini’s sprawling property houses a few dozen museum quality cars, racers and trucks. There’s not a trace of dust or oil. He wrenches on each one himself, a pleasure rivaled only by mowing the lawn (a stress relief that takes almost a whole day). Vintage motorcycles line his home office. Carini won’t sit here long, or any place for that matter. His pulse races for the next project, whether it’s selling a Lamborghini Countach at his F40 Motorsports shop on Route 66 or finding an unrestored Harley-Davidson sidecar across the country.

A camera crew follows him everywhere for his TV show, which has lasted eight seasons on Velocity network without any fake fights or scripted drama. Carini’s reality — dealer, restorer, curator and father who attends as many autism fundraisers as auto shows — is genuine like his cars.

What draws him to these old autos? “It’s the history,” he says. “Every car’s got a story.”

PRIZED POSSESSION: 1948 Davis Divan

  • No. 9 of 13 built
  • Seats four across
  • Aluminum body and three-wheel layout by race car designer Frank Kurtis
  • Founder Gary Davis served two years in prison for fraud and went on to design bumper cars

The Unlikeliest

Chuck Schoendorf, Norwalk

Chuck Schoendorf, with his 1955 Chrysler 300, dresses his Chryslers with dark steel wheels on black tires

Chuck Schoendorf, with his 1955 Chrysler 300, dresses his Chryslers with dark steel wheels on black tires

Over email, Chuck Schoendorf said he owned a couple of hybrids, a statement that made us hesitant to even meet him. But there he sat in the Milford commuter lot, next to rows of forgettable family cars, in a 1952 Chrysler Saratoga Club Coupe. Schoendorf grins and we trail his burbling Hemi V-8 to visit half of his roughly 10-car collection. He’s a car guy, alright. His “hybrids” are made by Cunningham, a sports car manufacturer from the 1950s that blended Italian style with American muscle.

“I bought them because I love them,” says the retired insurance broker, 68, brushing by a 1952 Saratoga sedan he drove for 1,100 miles in a California rally. A towering 1955 Chrysler 300 sits with its front end lifted on a jack, as if the chrome-mouthed sedan was launching out his garage at full throttle. Schoendorf works on all of them. Detroit’s post-war heyday defined his youth, when automakers outdid each other with bigger, flashier and faster vehicles.

“A new model year was a big deal, where today it’s a yawn,” he says, remembering his father’s 1953 Chrysler that had the “epitome of a great engine.”

Schoendorf runs those original Chrysler V-8s in the unlikeliest of places, including three electric generators from the period. The others power a trio of 1952 Cunningham C-3s, which had their curvaceous bodies and lavish interiors fashioned in Italy before final assembly in Florida. Suave and light, his Cunningham’s look nothing like the bulkier Chryslers from the same era. Just 25 were ever made.

When he’s not waving the Chrysler flag, Schoendorf plays with a 1970 Fiat 500 and a one-off 1946 Lancia Aprilia race car. We’re too happy we met.

PRIZED POSSESSION: 1952 Cunningham C-3

  • Built by Briggs Cunningham, a Westport resident and wealthy entrepreneur who ran a racing shop near Lime Rock Park in Lakeville. He was the first American to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an American car
  • Valued upward of $1 million

The Contemporary

Matthew Ivanhoe, Greenwich

Matthew Ivanhoe will just as eagerly put miles on his BMW M6 (pictured) as he does his 1960 Aston Martin DB4

Matthew Ivanhoe will just as eagerly put miles on his BMW M6 (pictured) as he does his 1960 Aston Martin DB4

The U.S. government did everything possible to stop Matthew Ivanhoe from driving his Aston Martin. He waited months for an importer to release it, an expensive, paperwork-ridden process that legalizes foreign-market cars. But Ivanhoe knows paperwork. He sold his first car at 14, cashed out from an Internet startup at 25, and last May opened an exotic car dealership in New Canaan. Was it all worth it? He’s 30 and cruises in a V12 Zagato, one of the rarest British supercars of this century.

“If it’s a car I have, it has to run and drive as well as that car should,” he says inside his New Canaan showroom, The Cultivated Collector. “A lot of people with cars, they keep them on a pedestal.”

We visit his Norwalk storage facility just to hear the Aston start, and return to New Canaan in a customer’s 1959 Ferrari. Inside, we funnel past a 1989 Ferrari F40 worth $1 million, a couple more Ferraris and a Mazda Cosmo. Ivanhoe strokes a fiery red 1988 BMW M6, the first car he ever kept. “There is literally no amount of money I would sell this for,” he says.

Cars from Matthew Ivanhoe's collection

Cars from Matthew Ivanhoe’s collection

Ivanhoe and two employees take care of business, which relies exclusively on restoring and selling “high-end, investment-grade” cars. There’s more to it than metal. When clients travel to shows such as Pebble Beach, Ivanhoe plans their entire trips, even going so far as to entertain spouses who don’t like cars. Soon, he’ll invite local enthusiasts to his upstairs clubhouse for drinks, lectures, televised races and chit-chat. “I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with these people,” he says. “I’m just a custodian, preserving history.” Ivanhoe is ordering another 12-cylinder Aston, the last of its kind with a manual transmission. The feds should go easy on him this time.

Prized possession: 1988 BMW M6

  • One of 1,787 cars imported to the U.S. at nearly $130,000 in today’s dollars
  • Straight-six engine produces 256 horsepower, 26 less than the German version due to U.S. emissions laws (Ivanhoe tuned his car to more than 400)

The Connoisseur

Herb Chambers, Old Lyme

Herb Chambers with his 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spider and his dog Sid

Herb Chambers with his 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spider and his dog Sid

Herb Chambers wants a new sports car. At the age when our spines beg for nightly hot pads, 75-year-old Chambers is trim, tanned and thrilled to stoop into a racing seat just inches off the ground. Buying a Ford GT (the new supercar requires factory approval) and a 2020 Mercedes-AMG (so exclusive it isn’t yet named) is nigh impossible, even for the man who parks a helicopter on his lawn and owns the neighborhood marina. Even so, someone at his 57 car dealerships will likely cut him a deal.

The problem with older cars, Chambers says, is they don’t drive as perfectly as they look. And sometimes, like the 1995 McLaren F1 he’s stored for years at one of his Boston dealerships, they’re too valuable to move. “It’s such a massive investment because some knucklehead pulls out and causes millions of dollars in damage,” says Chambers, whose McLaren F1 sold for a record $15,620,000 — the most valuable post-1970 automobile to ever sell at auction — at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction in California Aug. 18. “I drove my Rolls-Royce to get the newspaper and the damn engine is skipping and popping, every time you can find fault with them.”

But never the Ferrari Daytona Spider. After starting a photocopier business inside an old Hartford barbershop in 1965 — which became the nation’s largest distributor of photocopy equipment — a young Chambers treated himself to the 1972 golden brown convertible. A year later in 1973, he wrecked it and broke his jaw. The car vanished. In 1985, two years after selling his company, Chambers thought he’d buy a Cadillac in New London. He ended up with the dealership. The rest — 2,500 employees and $2.7 billion in annual sales across Massachusetts and Rhode Island — is history.

“I’ve been very fortunate that I always seem to be in the right place at the right time,” he says, recalling his boyhood in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood and how, after leaving the Navy, he tended his mother’s bar and she fired him. “There are a lot of people who are at the right place, but they don’t know it.”

Five years ago, Wayne Carini called. He’d found the exact Ferrari in Denver. Chambers paid nearly $1 million for the car, knowing Carini would restore the rare Italian to perfection. His Daytona is impeccable, in every feature incomparable to the more luxurious and comfortable 2017 Ferrari 488 Spider he’s ordering. “Cars are less important to me,” he says. “What’s important is that Ferrari.”

Prized possession: 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider

  • One of 122 factory convertibles (many 365 GTB/4 Daytona coupes were converted later)
  • V-12 produces over 350 horsepower and exceeds 170 mph
  • Nicknamed “Daytona” for Ferrari’s victory with this model in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona

The Beginner
Maximilian Van Munching, Darien

Maximilian Van Munching with his 1991 Ferrari Testarossa

Maximilian Van Munching with his 1991 Ferrari Testarossa

Every great collector starts with something small. For Maximilian Van Munching, something is a 1991 Ferrari Testarossa he bought at age 20 after watching The Wolf of Wall Street. He’s now 21. “It’s an investment,” says Van Munching, compressing his tall, lanky frame into the Miami Vice supercar. “I told my dad, if I buy this car, I will make money.”

His cheeks flush as he revs the Ferrari’s flat-12 engine and clicks the metal-gated shifter into first. We’re in a musty brick warehouse in Bridgeport, behind a barbed-wire fence, where the Black Horse Garage stores and services an impeccable cast of European cars. Van Munching is here detailing them before finishing his advertising degree at Loyola University. He admits Mad Men’s Don Draper as his fictional likeness. But for someone who just hit legal drinking age, Van Munching’s pop culture nostalgia cuts deeper than his peers. “Unlike most kids my age, I like old cars,” he says. “My idol is Steve McQueen.” He considered a Ferrari 308 like Tom Selleck drove in Magnum P.I. But buying a Testarossa in its final model year was the smarter choice.

Have you heard of Heineken? After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the Van Munching’s imported America’s first case and ran the beer distributorship until 1993. His grandfather created Amstel Light. He only mentions it to explain how a kid can afford his $100,000 dream car, and how in a few years, he’ll park many more next to the Testarossa. There’s no arrogance — and no power steering — in his future.

Prized possession: 1991 Ferrari Testarossa

  • Introduced in 1984 and ushered in a radical era of supercar design and performance
  • 380-horsepower flat-12 engine is most unusual, as the cylinders are horizontally opposed instead of placed in the classic “V” layout
  • Cost $150,000 brand new in 1990 (nearly $290,000 today)

Article Reprinted from Connecticut Magazine, September 2017 Issue
Story and photos by Clifford Atiyeh

25 Sep

British museum relaunches apprentice program, and the first one is female

Emily Leese lands apprentice training at Britain's National Motor Museum  Beaulieu Motor Museum photos

Emily Leese lands apprentice training at Britain’s National Motor Museum
Beaulieu Motor Museum photos

Beaulieu, UK – Forty years ago, Doug Hill, now manager and chief engineer of the National Motor Museum in England, was the last graduate of the museum’s apprentice program. To keep alive the skills needed to preserve the museum’s 250-vehicle car collection, he’s relaunched the program — and its first apprentice is 18-year-old Emily Leese.

She had been a museum volunteer since she was 14. She has spent the last two years studying engineering at Sparsholt College. In addition to training with the five-person staff in the museum’s workshop, she will spend time with Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist P&A Wood, working on Level 2 and 3 diplomas in classic vehicle restoration.

“I think I fit in quite well so far and all the guys have been really good,” Emily said in the museum’s news release. “I definitely feel like part of the team.

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“I get involved in whatever projects are being worked on, from cleaning and polishing to putting things back together. Recently, I helped to re-fit the engine to our 1930 ‘Blower’ Bentley.

“I don’t know why I love cars so much, but I have ever since I was about 3 years old. Fixing things is my passion. I was always playing with toy cars when I was a child and wanted to be an AA (British equivalent of Triple A) lady! Even then, I decided that I wanted to have the knowledge to fix a broken-down car.”

The Beaulieu apprentice program is overseen by the Heritage Skills Academy and its engineering apprenticeships program, with funding from Beaulieu One Hundred group members, the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs and others, including the Worshipful Company of Coachbuilders and Coach Harness Makers of London, and with equipment donated by Draper Tools.

You can follow Emily’s work on her blog on the museum’s website.

Article courtesy Larry Edsall of ClassicCar.com