09 Oct

Porsche 962 to be honored at Amelia Island Concours in March, 2019

The Amelia Island Concours will celebrate the car’s 35th anniversary in 2019

962-1Amelia Island, Fla. – Racing is in Porsche’s blood and over the past 70 years the German sports car manufacturer has created some incredible racers; the 904, 917 and GT1 to name but a few. However, one of its creations stands as one of the most successful in all of motorsport and will be celebrated at the 2019 Amelia Island Concours. That car is, of course, the Porsche 962.

Next year the Porsche 962 will be 35 years-old, hard to believe when it still looks the part today. The 24th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is to honor the prototype racing car that dominated America’s IMSA series. In that formula, the 962 won no less than 54 races with 1985 being its golden year, taking the top step at every event bar one. The 962 also won the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hour race three times.

The 962 was born out of necessity as the Group C Porsche 956, that had won Le Mans in 1982, did not comply with IMSA safety regulations. This issue led Porsche to evolve the design of its first monocoque racer and create the compliant 962. When international rules changed in 1985, the 962C ended up replacing the 956 globally.

962-2

Porsche’s 962 was ahead of its time with its extensive use of ground effects, something that kept it competitive for an unusually long period. Star drivers such as Mario Andretti and his son Michael, Indy 500 winner Al Unser and his son Al Jr., Derek Bell, and AJ Foyt have all claimed victory behind the wheel of a 962.

An amazing fact is that with victory at Le Mans as well as Daytona in 1986 and ’87, the 962 had technically been undefeated in 96 hours of endurance racing. Between its first IMSA win in 1984 and the final competitive victory in 1999, Porsche’s 962 tallied 142 victories and won 35 international championships.

About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now 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, “The Amelia” draws more than 300 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. The 24th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 8-10, 2019. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027.

Courtesy Tyler Heatley, autoclassics.com

14 Aug

Lime Rock Park Historic Festival’s Honored Guest Brings $40M Bugatti

Peter Mullin to be the Honored Guest & Collector at Historic Festival 36, Bringing With Him the Fabled “World’s Most Expensive Car”

1936 Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic famous as “World’s Most Expensive Car”

1936 Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic famous as “World’s Most Expensive Car”

LAKEVILLE, Conn. — Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance and the Gathering of the Marques, to be held on Sept. 2, 2018, as part of Lime Rock Park’s 36th annual Historic Festival, will be one of the largest showing of motorcars in the Northeast. According to organizers, more than 1,000 motorcars and motorcycles are expected to be showcased along the 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park track, including more than 50 Bugattis—a record setting amount.

Held over Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2018, the festival is the only North American classic car race and concours held in the same location. Historic Festival Chairman Murray Smith explained, “No other event in the U.S. combines a first-class Concours d’Elegance with quality vintage competition on the same property, all on the same weekend. This year, the registrations have been impressive and we fully expect to have over 1,000 vehicles on display.”

Sunday in the Park is segmented into two parts: the Concours d’ Elegance, a showcase of nearly 300 outstanding and rare entries that will be judged with class winners honored during an award ceremony, and the Gathering of the Marques with 800-plus vintage and historic cars of all types.

Peter W. Mullin, the American businessman and philanthropist, will be the honored guest and collector for the Historic Festival 36. Mullin is the founder of the M Financial Group and chairman of its subsidiary, M Financial Holdings. Additionally, he serves as the chairman of Mullin Barens Sanford Financial. He is the founder and patron of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California.

Peter was born in South Pasadena, California near Los Angeles, California, and after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he founded Mullin Consulting in Downtown Los Angeles in 1969. He served as its chief executive officer until 2003 and as its chairman until 2006.

Mullin co-founded the M Financial Group with Mark Solomon, Carl Mammel, and Eli Morgan in 1978. He serves as the chairman of its subsidiary, M Financial Holdings. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, it offers life insurance and other financial services to “the ultra-affluent and corporate markets.”

An avid car collector, Mullin established the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, in 2010. Additionally, he serves as the president of the American Bugatti Club. He is also a member of the Bugatti Trust.

1936 Bugatti Type 43 Roadster

1936 Bugatti Type 43 Roadster

As well as being Honored Guest and Collector, Mullin will be racing one of his Bugatti’s during the Bugatti Grand Prix portion of the Festival and will be bringing with him four show cars, including Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic – which was described as “the world’s most expensive car” in 2010 when it was purchased by Mullin. The $30 to $40 million dollar car was purchased by Mullin in 2010 and is on display at the Petersen Museum in California.

Additional multimillion-dollar Bugattis featured at Sunday in the Park will include the 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Gangloff Drop Head Coupe from the Ralph Lauren collection as well as the Type 59 Grand Prix Bugatti of Greg Manocherian. “These Bugatti’s will be making rare and much-anticipated appearances,” Smith said.

More information about Peter Mullin will be found in The Daily Rev, the program guide available during the Historic Fest. Learn more about Lime Rock Park’s at Historic Festival 36.

1931 Bugatti Type 49

1931 Bugatti Type 49

To read more about Peter Mullins’ Bugatti’s to be featured at Historic Festival 36, upload this document overview of each vehicle.

Courtesy Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 36

27 Jul

Teens Turning Wrenches – Summer Auto Technology Program at Brian McMahon H.S.

By Robert Koch, Norwalk Hour

 

Norwalk, Conn.  — Learning has been a hands-on experience for a dozen incoming freshmen enrolled in a summer automotive technology course at Brien McMahon High School.

“I’ve always liked cars,” said student Dalia Fouquart. “I’ve learned about the engine of a car and the parts in the engine. It’s nice I get some hands-on activity. I’m actually building an engine here.”

New England Auto Museum partnered with BMHS to offer the summer enrichment course, which began July 3 and wrapped up on July 25.

“One of our main focuses is education,” said Michael Scheidel, NEAM founder. “And with the dire need for mechanics and hands-on people of all disciplines in the automotive industry, it makes sense.”

The course is part of an overall high school transition program for arriving freshmen, provided by the Carver Foundation and Norwalk Public Schools. The classes are co-sponsored by Norwalk-based Black Bridge Motors, and conducted by Black Bridge owner Scott Gilbert and chief mechanic Stan Diguiseppi Jr. in the former auto shop classroom at BMHS.

Scott Gilbert and Stan Diguiseppi Jr. talking to BMHS students about the importance of the mechanic’s toolbox at Black Bridge Motors’ shop in South Norwalk

Scott Gilbert and Stan Diguiseppi Jr. talking to BMHS students about the importance of the mechanic’s toolbox at Black Bridge Motors’ shop in South Norwalk

Students enrolled in the four-week course have met three times a week. Each student has assembled a plastic, scale model V-8 engine — provided by NEAM — and learned about the engine block, crankshaft, heads, pistons and other components.

“They’re going to get plenty of any academic focus through the traditional high school system,” said Gilbert, also interim CEO/president of NEAM. “What we wanted to do is provide a hands-on experience where they’re actually tangibly building something from start to finish and also layering on an academic blanket on top of that.”

Coursework is supplemented by guest speakers from the automobile business talking to the students about career paths and job opportunities.

The students recently visited Black Bridge Motors’ shop in South Norwalk to see actual cars under restoration. Before completing the course, each student will have given a presentation showing what he or she has learned.

BMHS Auto Technology class student admiring Black Bridge Motor’s shop truck equipped with a 550 hp Corvette LT-1 power plant

BMHS Auto Technology class student admiring Black Bridge Motor’s shop truck equipped with a 550 hp Corvette LT-1 power plant

On a recent afternoon, they stepped outside of the classroom of BMHS to view a sleek dark blue 1965 Shelby Daytona replica owned by Mark Schlegel of Norwalk. Schlegel, president of Rallye For Pancreatic Cancer, Inc., walked them through the origin of the classic race car designed to compete with European Ferraris.

“The whole concept of the car was to beat Ferrari at their own game (on) the longer tracks of Europe where they were much faster instead of the short courses that were here in America,” Schlegel said.

And that the Shelby Daytona did, winning the International Automobile Federation’s World SportsCar Championship in 1965.

Mikhail Moss, a student in the summer enrichment course, admired the car’s colors, lines and rear spoiler after stepping out of the driver’s seat. The summer course has given him and the other students a formal understanding of how automobiles work.

“Basically, I like cars and I just wanted to see how these engines work,” Moss said. Beforehand “I really knew nothing.”

BMHS Auto Technology class students get to sit in a vintage Nash Metropolitan recently upgraded with a modern Mazda Miata engine

BMHS Auto Technology class students get to sit in a vintage Nash Metropolitan recently upgraded with a modern Mazda Miata engine

BMHS Principal Scott Hurwitz said the school hadn’t used its auto shop for automotive learning for at least 15 years. That now has changed. He plans to bring the course back as part of next year’s summer enrichment program while looking for opportunities to expand automotive learning into the regular school year.

“What I’d really love to do is to look how we can keep the relationship during the school year,” Hurwitz said. “I don’t know how that would look, but definitely getting students down to Black Bridge Motors to see what they do. It’s a vision of a potential future career path that they maybe don’t even know exits.”

Black Bridge Motors and New England Auto Museum will be available to provide help. The museum is eyeing several Norwalk locations, including part of the large office building at 25 Van Zant St., as its future home.

Article reproduced by permission

23 Jun

NEAM Father’s Day Car Show Award Winners 2018

Here is a list of the big winners from our 4th Annual Father’s Day Car Show. Many thanks to our wonderful Sponsors, Show Entrants, Spectators, Vendors and Volunteers for another successful show! Mark your calendars for our 5th Annual Event next year: Father’s Day, June 16, 2019.

People’s Choice Award
– First Place ’54 Kaiser-Darrin, Courtney Fischer, Pray Auto Body
– Runner Up ’57 Chevrolet Corvette, Harvey Wagner

New England Auto Museum Award – Favorite in Show
’36 Ford Sedan Delivery, Bill Limber

Mayor’s Trophy – selected by Harry Rilling
’54 Kaiser-Darrin, Courtney Fischer, Pray Auto Body

Malcom S. Pray Jr. Award – Favorite Classic Car
’20 Stutz Bearcat, George Dragone

Bob Sharp Award – Most Fun to Drive
’23 Ford Model T, Alan Kaczegowicz

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

Lime Rock Award – Favorite Race Car
’65 Shelby Daytona, Mark Schlegel

BMW of Darien Award – Favorite BMW
’02 BMW Dinan 540i, Nick Ord

CT Seaport Club Award – Favorite Preservation Car
’59 Cadillac Series 62, Anthony Gaglio

Garavel CJDR – Favorite Viper
’08 Viper SRT 10, Travis Kelly

Hagerty Award – Car That Matters
’65 Pontiac GTO, George Klitsch

NE Racing Fuels Award – Favorite Track Car
“Alley Oop” Dragster, Bobby Schlegel

Automotive Restorations Award – Favorite Restored Car
’68 Mercury Cougar XR7, Mike & Beth Peters

Black Bridge Motors – Favorite Re-Imagined Car
’36 Ford Fordor, Ray Semintini

Ord Family Award – Favorite British Car
’72 Lotus Europa TC, Simon Wilson-Taylor

Coachmen Car Club Trophy – Favorite Rod or Custom Car
’66 Chevrolet Chevelle, Joe Kish

Mayor's Trophy, Jerry Cotrone accepting for Courtney Fischer

Mayor’s Trophy, Jerry Cotrone accepting for Courtney Fischer

Fav BMW, Nick Ord accepting from Angel Fuentes & son from BMW of Darien

Fav BMW, Nick Ord accepting from Angel Fuentes & son from BMW of
Darien

Fav Track Car, Bobby Schlegel

Fav Track Car, Bobby Schlegel

Fav British, Simon Wilson-Taylor & daughter

Favorite British Car, Simon Wilson-Taylor & daughter

CT Seaport, Anthony Giglio

CT Seaport Club Award, Anthony Giglio

Fun to Drive, Alan Kaczegowicz & Jean Kremer representing SHU Interns

Fun to Drive, Alan Kaczegowicz & Jean Kremer representing SHU
Interns

Coachmen, Joe Kish

Coachmen Car Club Trophy, Joe Kish

Favorite Classic Car, George Dragone,

Favorite Classic Car , George Dragone

Hagerty Award, George Klitsch

Hagerty Award, George Klitsch

James Melton Award, Joe Pousada

James Melton Award, Joe Pousada

Favorite Race Car, Mark Schlegel

Favorite Race Car, Mark Schlegel

Favorite in Show, Bill Limber

Favorite in Show, Bill Limber

Favorite Restored Car, Beth Peters

Favorite Restored Car, Beth Peters

Peoples Choice Runner Up, Harvey Wagner

Peoples Choice Runner Up, Harvey Wagner

Peoples Choice 1st Place, Jerry Cotrone for Courtney Fischer

Peoples Choice 1st Place, Jerry Cotrone for Courtney Fischer

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