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

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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.

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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

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.