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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03 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 Jan

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance to feature Movie Cars class on March 12

The ‘Rain Man’ 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible restored by Wayne Carini Photo by Neil Rashba, courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The ‘Rain Man’ 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible restored by Wayne Carini
Photo by Neil Rashba, courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Amelia Island, Fla. – One appeal of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (and trust us, there are many) is the diversity of cars selected to appear each March. From the “Cars You Never Knew Existed” class (featuring automotive eccentricities like a four-door Porsche 928, or the aircraft-inspired 1948 Tasco prototype) to famous racing cars and CCCA Full Classics, the show offers something for everyone to appreciate. For 2017, the show will expand its range to include cars seen on the silver screen, starring in a new Movie Cars class.
Loads of cars have appeared in Hollywood films, but only a select number of them are considered stars in their own right. These are the cars that play leading roles, the ones we remember long after we’ve left the movie theater or drive-in. The special category was inspired by the popularity of the 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible, featured in the Academy Award-winning 1988 feature film Rain Main. It was displayed by Connecticut-based restorer Wayne Carini in the Post War American Production Class at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Owned by Rain Main director Barry Levinson, the Buick will be making a repeat appearance at the 2017 show.
In the words of Concours Chairman Bill Warner “When Wayne Carini brought the 1949 Rain Man Buick Roadmaster to Amelia last year it triggered something important. Memories of special cars and movies often frame the central moments of our emotional lives. Usually they resurrect happy memories. Those feelings and memories are precisely what we’re shooting for with the Movie Cars class.”

Harry Yeaggy’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5, as seen in ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’ Photo courtesy RM Sotheby’s.

Harry Yeaggy’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5, as seen in ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’
Photo courtesy RM Sotheby’s.

Perhaps the best-known car to appear will be the 1964 Aston Martin DB5, driven by Sean Connery (as James Bond) in Goldfinger and Thunderball. As the most astute Bond fans know, two DB5s were originally built for the filming of 1964’s Goldfinger. One, the “Effects Car,” came with the full assemblage of gadgetry seen in the movie, making it too heavy and slow to drive. A second car, the “Road Car,” was built for the driving scenes, but gadgets were later added before the car was used in the filming of 1965’s Thunderball. Additionally, two other DB5s, known as the “Press Cars,” were constructed for promotional appearances.
The Effects Car was stolen from a Florida aircraft hangar in 1997, and has never been recovered. That leaves the Road Car as the sole surviving screen-featured James Bond DB5, and it’s this car, now owned by collector Harry Yeaggy, that will be appearing at Amelia Island.

Elvis Presley with the 1959 Corvette XP-87 Stingray Racer, which has been restored to as-raced condition with a silver livery Photo courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Elvis Presley with the 1959 Corvette XP-87 Stingray Racer, which has been restored to as-raced condition with a silver livery Photo courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Other cars to be shown include the 1967 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider from 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair; the 1969 Porsche 917K, in Gulf livery, from 1971’s Le Mans; the 1958 Chevrolet Impala from 1973’s American Graffiti, recently restored by owner Ray Evernham; the 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder from 1976’s Gumball Rally; the 1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Riviera Salamanca, from 1954’s Sabrina; the 1959 Corvette XP-87 Stingray Racer, campaigned in SCCA competition by Dr. Dick Thompson and later driven by Elvis Presley in 1967’s Clambake; and one of three Woodill Wildfires to appear in 1954’s Johnny Dark, now owned by Forgotten Fiberglass’s Geoff Hacker.

The Woodill Wildfire is pushed out of the garage in ‘Johnny Dark’ Photo courtesy Geoff Hacker

The Woodill Wildfire is pushed out of the garage in ‘Johnny Dark’
Photo courtesy Geoff Hacker

The 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will take place on March 10-12 at the Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carleton, Amelia Island. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, visit AmeliaConcours.org.

Poster for the 1954 film ‘Johnny Dark’ | Archive

Poster for the 1954 film ‘Johnny Dark’ | Archive

Article courtesy Kurt Ernst, Hemmings Motornews
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 over 250 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. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated over $3.0 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc., Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Shop with Cops, and other deserving charities. The 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 10-12, 2017. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org

19 Dec

‘Bugatti Queen’ featured in women-in-racing seminar at Arizona Concours January 14

Pre-war racing legend Hellé Nice poses on a Bugatti grand prix car | Miranda Seymour archive

Pre-war racing legend Hellé Nice poses on a Bugatti grand prix car | Miranda Seymour archive

Phoenix, Ariz. – It’s not every day you get to drive a million-dollar Bugatti. Author Miranda Seymour remembers well the day when Bugatti restoration expert and preservationist Tim Dutton let her have a chance behind the wheel of a sought-after 35S model.

“Tim took me out in one on the open road, told me it was being sold for a million the next day, and then he let me drive it,” she recalled excitedly. “The feeling of exhilaration is like no other, especially if you are out on the road, ducking between trucks and trying to get the hang of having a gear shift outside of the car.”

Author Miranda Seymour

Author Miranda Seymour

Bugattis feature heavily in Seymour’s motorsports biography of a French racing great. Some 20 years after the passing of Hellé Nice, one of the world’s most influential racing drivers of the 20th century, she finally got her due tribute in a beautifully written 2004 biography by Seymour called The Bugatti Queen.

Coming to center stage before this year’s fourth annual Arizona Concours d’ Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore Resort, Seymour will discuss her account of Nice, who broke records throughout the 1920s and 1930s and played an influential role in paving the way for women in motorsports.

The Concours will welcome Seymour as part of a panel discussion, “Legends: Pioneer Women in Racing,” on Saturday, January 14, at the Biltmore, led by moderator and racing star Lynn St. James, who will also speak. The third panelist is Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500.

Seymour’s 2004 biography of Nice, formally Helene Delangle, details Nice’s colorful life as a dancer, a model and a legendary race driver who rose to fame for her success in the Grand Prix racing events of her time. Bugatti Queen is one of many acclaimed published works by Seymour, who lives in London and Nottinghamshire, England.

Seymour is a visiting professor at Nottingham Trent University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her skills as a writer are readily seen in the reviews of her work, which critics have called engaging, riveting and elegant.

Hellé Nice at the wheel of a Bugatti racer | Miranda Seymour archive

Hellé Nice at the wheel of a Bugatti racer | Miranda Seymour archive

Bugatti Queen represents more than three years of research on a subject that was not generally well known. Hellé Nice, born in 1900 and raised in a village outside Paris, spent her early career as a model and dancer. Her fast-paced life took her to the ski slopes until she damaged her knee. Nice turned to professional automotive racing in the late 1920s and won her first title in 1929 at an all-female Grand Prix in an Omega-Six.

She set a world land speed record for women, breaking down barriers in what historically was a male-dominated sport. Nice developed a friendship with Jean Bugatti and for a large part of her racing career drove a Bugatti Type 35C. Her racing success continued into the 1940s, when she broke records in endurance trials that still stand today.

Seymour’s inspiration for the book came from her interest in recovering a fascinating life that had been largely forgotten. “Writing about women who’ve been given a raw deal is what always interests me,” she said, adding that she adores Nice’s absolute fearlessness. “She was the only woman who drove on those old fairground tracks in the U.S. where so many died but always laughing.”

Digging up information for the biography wasn’t easy, but Seymour took to the streets to travel the same areas where Nice had lived, to visit the home in which Nice lived, and to network with anyone who knew or was related to Nice. Eventually it paid off. A breakthrough happened when she got her hands on a chest packed to the brim with articles, film clips and photographs.

Seymour discovered a trove of Hellé Nice photos | Miranda Seymour archive

Seymour discovered a trove of Hellé Nice photos | Miranda Seymour archive

“It felt like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” she said. Miranda Seymour’s book is said to offer a “gripping account” of motor racing in Europe and America. Literary Review said Hellé Nice would be “proud to have her story so eloquently and sympathetically retold.”

Miranda’s dream was to be given a Bugatti, but the closest she’s gotten so far is a collection of scale models, and her drive in the 35S. Many of the world’s automotive enthusiasts can relate to such a predicament. Meanwhile, she enjoys motorsports and especially the people involved with it.
Miranda says her next published work will be a book about Lord Byron’s wife and his daughter, Ada Lovelace. “I really do have Lord Byron’s ring on my finger,” she said. “His family lived in my home for a hundred years and Ada used to visit it. I’ll be wearing it in Arizona – of course.”

The “Legends: Pioneer Women in Racing” discussion on Saturday, January 14, is one of three panel discussions taking place on the eve of the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Starting at 10 am will be the annual Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) preview of the collector car auctions happening that week, then the Legends panel at noon, followed at 2 pm by “Drive: The Passion Driving Race Team Owners,” also moderated by Lyn St. James with featured guest and Bobby Rahal.

The fourth annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance, January 15, 2017, hosts more than 90 exceptional vintage automobiles competing for awards in 17 classes as well as coveted Best-of-Show. Featured classes for 2017 honor Lincolns of the Classic Era, the Cars of Ettore and Jean Bugatti, and Coachwork by Vignale.

All net proceeds from the nationally recognized Arizona Concours, as well as generous donations from participants and spectators, will benefit Make-A-Wish® Arizona, the founding chapter of the international organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the 2017 Arizona Concours d’Elegance, visit the concours website.

Article courtesy Classiccars.com

11 Sep

Lime Rock Sunday in the Park Concours Winners

Best of Show, 1959 Maserati Tipo 61 "Birdcage"; more winner's photos below. All photos by Greg Clark and Casey Keil except Russ Truelove, by Michael DiPleco

Best of Show, 1959 Maserati Tipo 61 “Birdcage”; more winner’s photos below. All photos by Greg Clark and Casey Keil except Russ Truelove, by Michael DiPleco

Best of Show
1959 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage #2452, Tony Wang, Lloyd Harbor, N.Y.
Though Wang has raced this Birdcage at the Lime Rock Historics previously – 2010 and 2012 – he’s not racing it this weekend, but did enter it into the Sunday in the Park Concours “Pick of the Paddock” class

People’s Choice
1912 Thomas Flyer 6-40, John F. & Carol A. Jones, Prospect, Conn.
This imposing machine wowed the spectators: It’s a 6-cylinder, 7-passenger Thomas that had previously won Most Outstanding Vintage Car 1912-1920 at Greenwich in 2008

Peter Brock Award
1968 Fiat 850 Spider, Jane & Jerome Roth, West Cornwall, Conn.
This was the car Honored Guest Peter Brock chose as the car he’d most like to own, telling the crowd he was so impressed with its lithe lines when he first saw one in Europe years ago

John Morton Award
1938 Marchese Special Indy Roadster, Jerry Lettieri, Rocky Hill, Conn.
Honored Guest John Morton chose the Marchese as the car he would love to take home. Morton told the crowd he was stunned when he came across this Indy car on the concours line: it was the very car he saw win a race at Milwaukee when he was a boy

Wayne Carini Award
1935 Ford Deluxe 3-Window Coupe Hot Rod
Always a fan of the everyman’s car, Honored Collector Wayne Carini loved this extremely well-executed rod with its worked flathead V8

Skip’s Sunday Best
Like a kid in a candy store, Historic Festival 34 Patron and Lime Rock President Skip Barber awards “Skip’s Sunday Best” trophies to machines he would like in his garage…

1951 Jaguar Mark V Cabriolet, Chris Owen, Stockbridge, Mass.
1964 Porsche 356C, Andrew Benenson, Darien, Conn.
1967 Gurney Eagle 67 (AAR #42) Indy car, Rob Dyson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
1968 Chevrolet Corvette Sunray DX L88 race car, J.R. Amantea, Meriden, Conn.
1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 25000 Sport Touring Superleggera Berlinetta & 1931 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Dual-Cowl Phaeton, Dragone Classic Motorcars, Bridgeport, Conn.

Inaugural Russ Truelove Award
Waterbury’s Russ Truelove, one of the first NASCAR drivers, has for years been bringing his crowd-pulling, crowd-pleasing authentic 1949 NASCAR Mercury Monterey stock car to Lime Rock Park. Going forward, the Russ Truelove Award will be presented at Sunday in the Park to those demonstrating exceptional dedication to the car-showing hobby. Russ is delivering the Monterey to Daytona this fall, and he’ll fly down rather than drive down when the Frances ring him up…

CLASS WINNERS

The Word’s First Wheels
1931 Buick 56C, Allan & Pat Kehrley, New York, N.Y.

Gatsby’s Delight
1930 Aston Martin International (Open Tourer), William King, Redding, Conn.

Off to Work
1967 Ford Fairlane 500XL Ranchero, Kevin Biebel, New Milford, Conn.

Risky ‘n’ Racy
1965 Shelby G.T. 350 “Snoopy” drag car, Robert Walls, Rochdale, Mass.

Rallyist’s Revenge
1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, Hans Abrahams, Riverside, Conn.

Speed & Agility
1947 Cisitalia 202SC Vignale Spyder, Henry Miller, Greenwich, Conn.

Dashing Between the Drops
1957 BMW 507 Hardtop Convertible, Jeffrey McAllister, Ridgefield, Conn.

This Weekend’s Racers are Rewarded
1954 Lancia D50, Peter Giddings, Danville, Calif.

Shiny Side Up
1965 Alfa Romeo Gran Sport Quattroruote Zagato, Joe Nastasi, Long Island City, N.Y.

For the Fun of the Drive
1969 Porsche 912 Targa, Jim & Wendy Petty, Weston, Conn.

Carry Your Weight
1967 Ford Ranchero (390 V8 w/4-speed), William Kokko, Milford, Conn.

Speed, Sport & Spirit
1984 Chevrolet Corvette targa, David Dennis, Thomaston, Conn.

Just a Little Faster
1966 Triumph TR4-A, Steve Francis, New Milford, Conn.

The Historic Trans-Am Race Group
1968 Mark Donohue Sunoco Camaro, Tom McIntyre, Burbank, Calif.

The Tin-Top Race Group
1973 Ford Escort, Ross Bremer, Jacksonville, Fla.

Style, Comfort, Pace
1954 Lancia Aurelia B20S, Chris Robins, Rye Brook, N.Y.

A Businessman’s Express
1967 Porsche 912, Pam & Peter Antosiewicz, New Milford, Conn.

Speed Breeds Success
1974 “Lincoln-Mercury” DeTomas Pantera, Robert DuQuette, East Hampton, Conn.

Outrunning the Wind
1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible, Tom Fuller, Lakewood, Ohio

The Weird and/or Exceptional
1996 Porsche 996 GT3, Steven Harris, New York, N.Y.

Weather-Permitting Performance
1941 Packard Model 110 Robert Neubert, Amston, Conn.

Comfort, Class and Wind in the Hair
1961 Oldsmobile Starfire Convertible, Jack Haverty, Pleasant Valley, N.Y.

Life at the Top in Comfort & Style
1949 Cadillac Sedanette, Andrew Benenson, Darien, Conn.

Just as We Found It
1910 Rover 8 h.p., Dirk Burrowes, Ashburnham, Mass.

A Fresh Approach
1961 Jaguar Mark II (resto-mod), Scott Lyman, New Canaan, Conn.

Hot Rod
1957 Chevrolet Corvette Hardtop Convertible, Howard Block, Plymouth, Conn.

Up on Two Wheels
1967 BMW R27, Rick Bell, Salisbury, Conn.

Domestic Dynamite
1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28/RS, Tom Petrasek, Huntington, N.Y.

Pick of the Paddock
1954 Lancia D50 Recreation, Miles Collier, The Revs Institute, Naples, Fla.

Rick Bell's brilliant Beemer

Rick Bell’s brilliant Beemer

Dyson Racing owns this terrific example of Dan Gurney's genius

Dyson Racing owns this terrific example of Dan Gurney’s genius

Not restored, it just keeps on running: The 1910 Rover

Not restored, it just keeps on running: The 1910 Rover

John Morton's dad took him to his first-ever race, where they saw this car win

John Morton’s dad took him to his first-ever race, where they saw this car win

Big an' tall is the Thomas Flyer

Big an’ tall is the Thomas Flyer

The Revs Institute is the caretaker of this Lancia D50 Recreation

The Revs Institute is the caretaker of this Lancia D50 Recreation

Carroll Shelby wanted to see his cars win drag races, too. Snoopy did that

Carroll Shelby wanted to see his cars win drag races, too. Snoopy did that

Trans-Am fans need no more information than this photo

Trans-Am fans need no more information than this photo

Russ, we love you. Keep on truckin'...

Russ, we love you. Keep on truckin’…

Press Release from Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance
Contact: Rick Roso, 860.435.5000 / rick@limerock.com

 

23 Feb

Early 21st Century Ford Concept Cars from Bortz Collection at Amelia Concours coming up soon

Lincoln MK9 at the 2001 NY Auto Show (Photo: cardesignnews.com)

Lincoln MK9 at the 2001 NY Auto Show (Photo: cardesignnews.com)

Amelia Island, Fla. – Two heaping portions of hopeful Americana are coming to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance March 11 – 13. Part of the Bortz Auto Collection, the 2001 Lincoln MK9 and 2003 Mercury Messenger concepts will be on display at this year’s festivities.

After the boom of the 1990s, Ford was down on its luck at the turn of the 21st century. Profits were down as high fuel prices, among other things, ate into sales. The success of the 1990s had also made Ford bigger and more unwieldy, with baggage like Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Mazda, and Volvo on board in addition to Lincoln and Mercury.

But the early 2000s weren’t entirely without optimism, as Lincoln and Mercury each revealed major concepts in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Both penned by Gerry McGovern, who would go on to have wild success with Land Rover and designs like the Evoque SUV; the Lincoln MK9 and Mercury Messenger were enormous pieces of an offensive to rejuvenate the struggling luxury nameplates.

2001 Lincoln MK9 Concept

2001 Lincoln MK9 Concept

Heralded as the return of the personal luxury coupe at the 2001 New York auto show, the Lincoln MK9 was supposed to pick up where the Mark VIII left off in 1998. Three years of silence from Lincoln left people wondering where American luxury would go into the 21st century, and the MK9’s blend of stately exterior design and elegant, futuristic luxury cues was supposed to point the way forward.

The Italian composite body rode on a Lincoln chassis. While the proportions were somewhat similar to a Thunderbird, the MK9’s 121.9-inch wheelbase was almost a foot longer than the T-Bird’s, and it was just plain bigger in every dimension. Its low roof and flowing silhouette paired with chrome detailing, aluminum door hinges, and side air exhausts for a delicate yet confident attitude. The boattail trunk is a significant retro cue, while the angled rear calls out to the 1961-1967 four-door Continental models.

MK9 cabin features Eames chair-style lounge seating

MK9 cabin features Eames chair-style lounge seating

Lincoln made a much bigger statement, however, with the interior. Heavy accents of Dark Cherry Red and Marlboro Red leather, polished metal and body-colored gloss seat shells flooded the cabin. Etched glass instruments were illuminated. The cantilevered seats, positioned to improve foot room, were designed after Eames Lounge chairs. And crucially, there was ample room in the back seat, addressing a major pitfall of the Mark VIII. The rear-wheel-drive Lincoln MK9 concept was powered by a V-8 engine paired to an automatic gearbox and used four-wheel independent coil spring suspension, and anti-lock disc brakes. While the new naming convention would appear on cars like the Lincoln MKS and the grille showed up on models such as the Aviator SUV and Lincoln Town Car, Ford and Lincoln never delivered on the prospect of a rear-wheel-drive coupe. The Bortz Auto Collection bought the 2001 Lincoln MK9 from Ford at auction for $101,750. Although it runs and drives, it’s not registered for street use.

2003 Mercury Messenger Concept

2003 Mercury Messenger Concept

It’s not an overestimation to say that the Messenger was the car that was supposed to save Mercury. Debuting at the Detroit auto show in 2003, it made a dramatic entrance by being suspended and dropped from the ceiling on a lowered platform. Obviously the two-seat sports coupe never materialized, and Ford decided to close up shop at Mercury entirely instead.

The hope was that the Mercury Messenger would spark some excitement back into the struggling nameplate, and the design complete with a ‘flying M’ logo, turbine wheels, ducts to cool the brakes, and big air scoops all over seemed the way to do it. If it ever were to reach production it probably would have needed to ride on some version of the Mustang platform.

The projected powertrain was a 4.6-liter V-8 and a six-speed automatic sequential transmission. However the physical concept itself, which was made in Italy, was packed with electric motors to drive it and power all of the equipment. It had a computer-operated active independent suspension on all four wheels. Bortz, since buying the car for $27,500 at auction in 2014, had the electric drivetrain “enhanced” to travel at highway speed.

Styling evokes past Mercury Cougar and Cyclone models

Styling evokes past Mercury Cougar and Cyclone models

The cars were collected by Joe Bortz, a biochemist who made his fortune with Chicago-area chain restaurants and nightclubs, has since the 1980s made a habit of collecting concept cars that would otherwise have been crushed. Bortz has saved many of the GM cars were once displayed at 1950’s Motorama shows. He keeps them in an anonymous garage in the northern part of suburban Chicago, which hides treasures like the 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne, 1954 Pontiac Bonneville-Special, and the 1953 Buick Wildcat. Although concepts like these were never built to production-spec, they were real running cars that drove and turned. It helps for today’s collectors, of course, that fiberglass doesn’t rust.

Check out the both the Lincoln MK9 and Mercury Messenger concept cars at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance beginning on March 11.

Article from Motor Trend
Photos courtesy Bortz Auto Collections

Bortz Auto Collection Amelia Island Concours D'elegance

18 Feb

Copper-trimmed concept car Exemplar I on display at Amelia Island Concours next month

Exemplar I on display at Dragone Classics Showroom in Westport, Conn.

Exemplar I on display at Dragone Classics Showroom in Westport, Conn.

Amelia Island, Fla. – Like many concept cars, the Exemplar I nearly didn’t survive to the present day. After two full years on the show circuit, only a last-minute stay of execution kept it from getting crushed. Yet, instead of returning to the public eye, it has remained largely out of sight for the last 45 years, a condition that will change this spring when the newly restored Buick-based one-off appears at Amelia Island Concours on March 13th.
Unlike most concept cars, however, the Exemplar I didn’t emerge from a major automaker’s styling studio. Rather, its genesis lies with the Bridgeport Brass Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Copper Development Association, the industry group behind the 1964 Mercer-Cobra. That car built on a stretched Shelby Cobra chassis and bodied by Sibona-Basano after a design by Virgil Exner and his son, Virgil Exner Jr., came about as an attempt by the CDA to convince Detroit to expand its use of copper beyond simple wiring – the exact same reason for the Exemplar I.

Sleek styling by Mario Revelli, built by Carrozzeria Coggiola of Orbassano, Italy

Sleek styling by Mario Revelli, built by Carrozzeria Coggiola of Orbassano, Italy

“The purpose is to present engineering innovations for greater safety, comfort and performance, and to demonstrate new decorative applications of copper and bronze,” the CDA wrote in its brochure for the Exemplar I. As with the Mercer-Cobra, the Exemplar I used copper in its disc brakes, its radiators, and pretty much wherever other cars used chrome – as engine decoration, as exterior trim, and extensively throughout the interior.

Cutaway showing copper disc brakes, cooling and electrical systems

Cutaway showing copper disc brakes, cooling and electrical systems

Without any experience in automotive design and manufacturing, however, CDA officials had to outsource the car’s construction. They started by acquiring a 1967 Buick Riviera fitted with a 360-hp, 430-cu.in. V-8 then turned to Carrozzeria Coggiola of Orbassano, Italy. Sergio Coggiola had founded the carrozzeria just the year before after serving as the head of Ghia’s prototype shop since 1952, and quickly became known for turning out prototypes, though he’d also intended the carrozzeria to serve as a styling studio.
To pen the Exemplar, Coggiola turned to Mario Revelli de Beaumont, who began designing special-bodied cars in the 1920s for numerous coachbuilders and automakers. Revelli went for a modern combination of angles and curves with a back-half shape that somewhat resembles the later second-generation AMC Javelin, if the latter had flush glass between its flying buttress C-pillars. Along the way, he made sure to insert as many copper highlights as possible, particularly in the interior.

Copper trimmed instrument panel, steering wheel and console

Copper trimmed instrument panel, steering wheel and console

Finished late in 1967, the Exemplar I debuted privately for Bridgeport Brass and CDA execs and then publicly early in 1968 at the New York Auto Show. Whether it influenced any automaker to include more brass or copper in the construction of new cars, there appears to be no record, but it traveled to numerous auto shows over the next two years, until CDA officials decided to crush it either in late 1969 or early 1970. Thanks to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, one-off cars at that time had virtually no chance of becoming street legal, and the CDA thus couldn’t legitimately sell to the public a vehicle that couldn’t be registered for the road.

Only the intervention of Bridgeport Brass president Herman Steinkraus kept that from happening. Steinkraus, a prominent southern Connecticut businessman and supporter of the arts, reportedly decreed the Exemplar I too beautiful to be destroyed. So he bought it and, according to collector Manny Dragone, kept the car under cover and unseen on his 25-acre estate in Darien, Connecticut, until his death in the late 1980s.

In the meantime, the CDA built at least six more cars. A second Exemplar came along in 1972, another Revelli design but this time based on an Oldsmobile Toronado. Apparently unsuccessful in bending Detroit’s ear on copper trim, the CDA then switched tactics and began building conceptual electric cars which, of course, used lots and lots of copper wiring.

Rear window glass featured advanced electrical-defrosting system

Rear window glass featured advanced electrical-defrosting system

Dragone and his brother, George, based out of Bridgeport, came across the Exemplar I in about 1990 and bought it from the Steinkraus estate. Not until this year did they decide to give it a cosmetic restoration, in preparation for the Dragone Fall Auction. “With all the copper and brass, it’s just outrageous,” Manny Dragone said. Dragone later reported that the Exemplar bid up to $850,000 but didn’t meet its reserve price. As result, visitors to the Amelia Concours will be able to enjoy the car as part of the “Concept Cars Beyond Detroit” class.
Article by Daniel Stahl, Hemmings Daily
Photos & images courtesy Dragone Auctions

Exemplar I spare tire behind grille for crash protection

Exemplar I spare tire behind grille for crash protection

25 Jan

Vintage race trophies to appear with cars that won them at Amelia Island March 13th

The Borg-Warner Trophy and Al Unser in the Johnny Lightning Special, twice winner Indy 500 Photos: Sarah Stierch and courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

The Borg-Warner Trophy and Al Unser in the Johnny Lightning Special, twice winner Indy 500. Photos: Sarah Stierch and courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Amelia Island, Fla. – Of course, race cars get all the attention: They’re fast, loud, oftentimes flashy, and driven by men of legend. But those men of legend don’t just race for the thrill of it. They race for the money, the recognition and, not least of all, the trophies. For the first time ever this year, some of the most prestigious and historic motorsports trophies will gather in one place as the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance pairs them with some of the most noteworthy cars that won them.

The idea for the pairings came, according to Amelia Island founder and chairman Bill Warner, over a couple of beers. “A bottle of Guinness with Donald Osborne at the Mille Miglia,” he said. “Seriously, Donald showed me a Mille Miglia trophy while I was over there, and I thought, why not get a collection of them and match them with the cars.”

So Warner went to work putting together a list of the most famous trophies in motorsports. Some seemed like no-brainers, like the Borg-Warner Trophy, which has gone to the winner of every Indianapolis 500 since 1936 and remains with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Warner decided to pair it with the Ford V-8-powered Johnny Lightning Special that Al Unser drove to victory in both 1970 and 1971 and that nowadays resides in the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi, Dario Franchitti with Harley J. Earl and Borg-Warner Trophies Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi, Dario Franchitti with Harley J. Earl and Borg-Warner Trophies. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Frank Wheeler and three other local men opened the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909. Prior to the inauguration of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, the Wheeler-Schebler company sponsored the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy Race at the track. The $10,000 trophy was sterling silver and designed by Tiffany. Descriptions of this masterpiece of silversmithing put its height at anywhere from seven to eight and a half feet. It was the traveling trophy for winning the premiere events of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s race meets in 1909 and 1910. The Trophy was retired briefly with the introduction of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, but reinstated in 1913 as the prize for the team leading at the 400-mile mark. As the deed stipulated that the trophy would be permanently awarded to the team winning it for three consecutive years, it was presented to driver turned entrant Harry Hartz when his Miller-Hartz cars won the award in 1930, 31 and 32. It was returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 1950’s and stands proudly today at the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum. At Amelia Island, the trophy will be paired with the Old Number 10 Buick, winner of the 1909 race.

Harry Hartz with the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in 1932

Harry Hartz with the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in 1932

Other trophies that will go on display include the Harley J. Earl Perpetual Trophy, awarded to winners of the Daytona 500, which will be paired with the Richard Petty No. 43 Plymouth Road Runner that won the 1971 Daytona 500; the Stevens Challenge Trophy, awarded from 1927 to 1954 to any manufacturer capable of sustaining 60 miles per hour over a 24-hour period at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will be paired with a Cord 812 speed record car; the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy, which will be paired with the Ferrari 250LM that Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt drove; the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy, which will be paired with the Ferrari 166MM that Luigi Chinetti and Peter Mitchell-Thomson drove; the 1914 French Grand Prix trophy, which will be paired with the Mercedes that Christian Lautenschlager drove; the Maurice G. Bauer Trophy, “awarded” to winners of the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, paired with the Ferrari Dino that Jack May and Rick Cline drove in 1975; and the trophy awarded to the winner of the Race of Two Worlds (500 Miglia di Monza), paired with the 1958 John Zink Leader Card Monza Special Watson-Offenhauser roadster that Jim Rathmann drove.

1909 Alco “Black Beast” two-time winner of the Vanderbilt Cup Photo: Hemmings

1909 Alco “Black Beast” two-time winner of the Vanderbilt Cup Photo: Hemmings

In addition, the display will pair a replica of the Challenge Cup presented by W.K. Vanderbilt Jr. (the original sits in storage at the Smithsonian) paired with the 1909 ALCO Black Beast; and the Alec Ulmann Trophy from the Sebring 12 Hour, which will be paired with an OSCA MT4, built by the Maserati brothers and overall winner of the 1954 race.

Warner said the trophies will go on display in the Ritz-Carlton hotel from Thursday through Saturday and then take their positions on the field with each car on Sunday, March 13th.

Article by Daniel Strohl, Hemmings Daily

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 on the second full weekend in March, ‘The Amelia’ draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. It is a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated over $2.75 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc., Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, and other deserving charities. The 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 11-13, 2016. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org

Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt’s Ferrari 250 LM lead an all-Ferrari podium in the last win for Ferrari at Le Mans to date in 1965 Photo: Le Mans (Sarthe France)

Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt’s Ferrari 250 LM lead an all-Ferrari podium in the last win for Ferrari at Le Mans to date in 1965 Photo: Le Mans (Sarthe France)

18 Jan

“Rain Man” Buick coming to Amelia Island Concours on March 13th

Restored 1949 convertible is considered a "styling landmark"

Restored 1949 convertible is considered a “styling landmark”

Amelia Island, Fla. – A late entry is coming to the 21st Annual Amelia Island Concours’ Post War American Production class March 16, 2016: The 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible, one of two used to make the film “Rain Man,” makes its international concours debut. Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn., star of Velocity TV’s “Chasing Classic Cars,” restored the car for the film’s director Barry Levinson.

You’ll recall Levinson’s 1988 film — it tells the story of Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a car dealer in financial straits. When his estranged father dies, Babbitt learns the old man bequeathed his fortune to Charlie’s older autistic brother, Raymond (brilliantly played by Dustin Hoffman). All Cruise’s character gets is his father’s prized rosebushes and the Buick. Raymond and Charlie go on a cross-country road trip starring the Buick because Raymond refuses to fly.

Hoffman won an Oscar for his portrayal of Raymond, and Levinson for his direction of the Best Picture classic.

Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise in a scene from “Rain Man” with 1949 Buick Roadmaster

Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise in a scene from “Rain Man” with 1949 Buick Roadmaster

According to the movie’s production notes, Levinson chose the Roadmaster, with its “pipe organ” grille and art deco styling, because “there’s just something very classic about it,” he said.

With only 8,000 1949 Roadmasters produced, the filmmakers scoured the country before finding three that were in good enough condition to film. The car eventually restored by Levinson had its rear suspension modified to accommodate the extra weight of a camera rig and cameraman, who filmed Hoffman and Cruise from the trunk.

Amelia Island Concours founder and Chairman Bill Warner called the Buick a “styling landmark.” He points out the VentiPort — those holes in the fenders – debuted with the 1949s and is still part of Buick design. “We’re very pleased to have one of Wayne Carini’s restorations on the field once again,” Warner said.

This year’s Amelia Island Concours runs March 11-13, 2016 on the 10th and 18th fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The show’s Foundation has donated more than $2.75 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida Inc. and other Florida charities since 1996.

For more concours information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call (904) 636-0027.
Article by Wes Raynal, Autoweek/Photos: MGM Studios

1949 Buick Convertible seen in “Rain Man” recently restored by Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn.

1949 Buick Convertible seen in “Rain Man” recently restored by Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn.

03 Oct

Thomas Edison’s New Jersey Estate is site of new Concours October 16 – 18

Thomas Edison’s Glenmont home in New Jersey will be site of new concours October 16-18 Photos courtesy edisonconcours.org

Thomas Edison’s Glenmont home in New Jersey will be site of new concours October 16-18
Photos courtesy edisonconcours.org

Edison, N.J. – Joseph Cassini III not only ruled from the judge’s bench in the courtroom, but cars from his collection have been honored on concours d’elegance show fields from coast to coast, including best-of-show accolades in 2013 at Pebble Beach for his 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria.

Now that the judge has retired from the bench, and while he waited as his next star car underwent restoration (his LeBaron-bodied ’31 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria won the American Classic Closed Award at Pebble Beach in 2016), Cassini had time to apply himself to something new.

Pebble Beach-winning car collector Joseph Cassini is organizing a new concours at the historic home of Thomas Edison in Llewellyn Park, NJ

Pebble Beach-winning car collector Joseph Cassini is organizing a new concours at the historic home of Thomas Edison in Llewellyn Park, NJ

Cassini is the founder of a new concours. The inaugural Edison Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for October 16-18 at Glenmont, the historic home of Thomas A. Edison on 16 acres in Llewellyn Park, New Jersey.

The seed for the event was planted soon after Cassini’s Packard won at Pebble Beach. He was having lunch with a friend, a lawyer with whom he had worked in a law firm before becoming a New Jersey Superior Court judge. The friend was chairman of a foundation that supports the Edison Innovation Foundation and the Charles Edison Fund (Charles was Thomas’s son and was elected New Jersey’s governor in 1941).

Joseph Cassini in his 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria after winning Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, CA. in 2016.. (Photo Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Joseph Cassini in his 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria after winning Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, CA. in 2016.. (Photo Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Cassini’s friend’s renovations were being done on the garage at Glenmont and he thought a car show might help with that effort.

The garage isn’t some simply car shelter but a two-story building that housed the world’s first electric-car charging station, which is still there. Edison and his wife each had a Detroit Electric. He also converted a Locomobile from steam to electric power. The garage also holds the Ford Model T that Henry Ford gave Edison, and Cassini thinks that car is the oldest single-owner T in existence.

Cassini said the concours will be open to 90 cars, with 15 classes of six cars each. There will be a class for electric vehicles, he said, adding that 80 percent of the cars on display will be pre-war machines and that the newest car on the field will be 1960 models.

As for cars produced since 1960, he said, “You can go to your local car gathering (from cars and coffees to cruise-ins) on the weekend and see those cars.” Cassini said the show field will reflect his own current interests in the classics. But, he added, his tastes have changed.

Cassini’s father owned a trucking company that did contract demolition work, and Cassini spent a lot of time as a youngster in the shop, learning from the mechanics and using the equipment to build his own go-karts and mini-bikes.

After law school, Cassini took a road trip across the country to Los Angeles, where he saw a 1956 Ford Thunderbird for sale. He kept thinking about that car all the way home, and after returning to New Jersey, he did a deal to buy the car.

For some 15 years he collected 1950s and ’60s cars — Thunderbirds, E-type Jaguars, split-window Corvettes and Corvette roadsters. But then, in the early 1990s, he attended his first Classic Car Club of America event and marveled at the Packards, Stutz, Cords and Auburns. Before long, those were the cars he was collecting, restoring and showing at concours.

For more information about the event and the charities it will benefit, visit the concours website.

Source: ClassicCars.com