08 Sep

The 38th Annual Historic Festival Crosses The Finish Line

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PICTURED: No. 25 Tony Carpanzano , Danbury, CT 1993 Reynard 93H Formula Atlantic receives checkered flag for Group 1 Race 3

PICTURED: No. 25 Tony Carpanzano , Danbury, CT 1993 Reynard 93H Formula Atlantic receives checkered flag for Group 1 Race 3

Lakeville, Conn. – After five days of activities, the 38th annual Historic Festival came to an end after another spectacular September day. The event featured 184 drivers, almost exclusively from the Northeast, racing vintage cars that ranged from a 1928 Bugatti 37A to a 1993 Ralt-RT-41A. Nineteen different drivers topped the podium in 32 races.

More than 500 cars were on display during the Sunday in the Park Concours and Gathering of the Marques. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Datsun Z-Car with multiple years represented.

“Faced with COVID-19 our goal was to have a quality event that was safe. We allowed no spectators on the racing days because of concerns of a crowded paddock. On Sunday we felt it was safe to have limited spectators as the cars were displayed all around the track. We had half of the normal number of cars and restricted the crowd to about one-eighth of our capacity. Good racing, quality cars, happy and I believe safe participants,” said Skip Barber, Lime Rock Park President.

For Full Race Results Click Here

The 38th annual Historic Festival By The Numbers:

  •  5 days of activities including 3 days of on track action
  •  32 races throughout the weekend
  •  184 drivers
  •  Cars that races ranged from a 1928 Bugatti 37A to a 1993 Ralt-RT-41A
  •  More than 500 cars on display at the a Sunday Concours and Gathering of the Marques
  •  a 17-mile parade that kicked off the event on Thursday featuring more than 75 cars that traveled through 3 local towns

CLICK HERE FOR FACEBOOK PICTURES

PICTURED ABOVE: Left: Best American, 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, Robert Boutot, Wolcott, CT Center: Best in Show 1930 Packard 745 Phaeton, Dr. Denis Bouboulis, Greenwich, CT Right: Best International 1967 Lancia Flaminia Convertible, Donald Schwarzkopf, Carefree, AZ

PICTURED ABOVE: Left: Best American, 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, Robert Boutot, Wolcott, CT Center: Best in Show 1930 Packard 745 Phaeton, Dr. Denis Bouboulis, Greenwich, CT Right: Best International 1967 Lancia Flaminia Convertible, Donald Schwarzkopf, Carefree, AZ

Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 38
historics@limerock.com
www.limerockhistorics.com
497 Lime Rock Road | Lakeville, CT 06039 | Phone: 860.435.5000

Courtesy Lime Rock Park

19 Jun

Lime Rock Park Entries Are Now Open For Historic Festival 38 September 3rd to 7th, 2020

ENTRY FORMS
HISTORIC FESTIVAL INFORMATION

Lakeville, Conn. – Get ready to be a part of Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 38, this coming Labor Day Weekend – Thursday, September 3 through Monday, September 7, 2020.

Better than ever before, this year’s Festival will be sanctioned not only by the Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA) but also by the Vintage Racing Group (VRG). The combination of the two groups will reflect the most significant and positive aspects of vintage racing.

The team running the weekend is filled with decades of experience. Murray Smith remains as the Historic Festival Chairman while Paul King of VRG and Bill Gelles of VSCCA will join him to help ensure that the interests of all will be recognized. Dave Handy of SascoSports will join the management group as Murray’s special assistant with reference to racing. Lowell Paddock will assume responsibility for Sunday in the Park and Gathering of the Marques. Paddock is a globally experienced automotive industry executive and has already rolled up his sleeves to start planning one of the best Concours in the Northeast. In addition, the presence of JR Mitchell aided by Tivvy Shenton should reassure potential entrants that the standards of technical preparation established at this event will be strictly maintained.

TUESDAY TEST & TUNE:
For competitors, the opening segment of the event will take place on Tuesday, September 1 with Test and Tune. As in the past, those participating in Test & Tune will be allowed to park their trailer or rig for the duration of the event at that time.

THURSDAY LOAD-IN & PARADE:
PARADE ENTRY FORMS
Be a part of the 17-mile parade and street fair that kicks off the Festival on Thursday afternoon. Entry acceptance is determined at the discretion of the Parade Committee. Please send in your entry and we will get back to you promptly. Load-in and the well-established Race Car Parade to Falls Village will take place on Thursday, September 3.

FRIDAY, SATURDAY & MONDAY ON TRACK:

RACING ENTRY FORMS
Applications are now being accepted for racing at Historic Festival 38. Entry acceptance is determined at the discretion of the Chairman. Please send in your entry and we will get back to you promptly. On-track activities begin Friday, September 4 with Practice and Qualifying. It’s important to note that your practice times will determine your starting position for race 1 on Saturday, September 5. Your starting positions in races 2, 3, and 4 will depend on your fastest lap in the previous heat. Monday, September 7, will include races 3 and 4 for all groups. Race groups for 2020 will at least include places for the following:
• Pre-war
• Medium Bore Sporting Cars
• Large Bore Sporting Cars
• Formula Fords
• Sports Racing Cars of the 50s and 60s
• Formula Junior
• Tin Tops
• GT Cars (Pre-2000)
• Wings and Slicks
• Sports 2000s
• Lime Rock Drivers Club Miata’s

FRIDAY & SATURDAY DINNERS:

Evening activities this year will include the always entertaining Participant Party in Hospitality Village, which is included in your entry, and on Saturday night we expect to have a serious panel discussion with guests well versed in racing and the particular idiosyncrasies of German and French cars. Details about both events, and their relevant guest speakers will be released shortly.

SUNDAY IN THE PARK:
CONCOURS APPLICATION
Sunday in the Park, on September 6, will see the whole of Lime Rock Park devoted, as it has been in the past, to some of the most important, beautiful, and significant cars in the world.

QUESTIONS or CONCERNS:

Email historics@limerock.com

08 Sep

Race and Concours Winners from Lime Rock Historic Festival 37

Lakeville, Conn. Following five days of activities, the 37th annual Historic Festival crossed the finish line Monday to close out another successful race season at Lime Rock Park.

Andy Williams of Stamford, Conn., in a 1958 Lotus 11 (left) and Greg Amy of Middletown, Conn., in a 1974 Porsche 914-4 (right). The two raced in Group One: A Sporting Mixture — Small bore sports and sports/racers. Photo: Lime Rock Park.

Andy Williams of Stamford, Conn., in a 1958 Lotus 11 (left) and Greg Amy of Middletown, Conn., in a 1974 Porsche 914-4 (right). The two raced in Group One: A Sporting Mixture — Small bore sports and sports/racers. Photo: Lime Rock Park.

RACER Founder & Incoming Vintage Motorsport Publisher Paul Pfanner attended, calling it a “wonderful” event from flag to flag. It featured 212 drivers from 21 states and two countries racing historic and vintage cars that ranged from a 1925 Bentley to a 1986 Porsche. Take a look back, thanks to images from VM photographer Bill Stoler.

Although the final races on Monday afternoon were canceled after heavy mid-day rains left a portion of the circuit unsuitable for competition, 29 other races went into the record books. Get all results from Race-Monitor.com.

More than 800 cars were on display during the Sunday in the Park Concours and Gathering of the Marques. Ninety of them received an award from the judging panel. See awards for concours classes and the Gathering of the Marques

The Best in Show – Sport honor went to the 1961 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa of Ralph Lauren that had won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1961 with driver Phil Hill and defended its title the following year with drivers Joakim Bonnier and Lucien Bianchi. Best in Show – Touring was awarded to Peter Kalikow’s 1958 Ferrari 250 GT PF Cabriolet.

The two Best in Show winners from Lime Rock Park’s Sunday in the Park Concours. Left: Ralph Lauren’s 1961 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (Best in Show - Sport). Right: Peter Kalikow’s 1958 Ferrari 250 GT PF Cabriolet (Best in Show -Touring). Photo: Lime Rock Park.

The two Best in Show winners from Lime Rock Park’s Sunday in the Park Concours. Left: Ralph Lauren’s 1961 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (Best in Show – Sport). Right: Peter Kalikow’s 1958 Ferrari 250 GT PF Cabriolet (Best in Show -Touring). Photo: Lime Rock Park.

More Photos: Lime Rock Historic Festival 37
Article by Cyndi Paceley
Courtesy Vintage Motorsport Magazine

02 Jul

Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction Makes History with $2.7-Million Sale of Last-Built C7 Corvette, Continues to Fuel Market with Diverse Docket

Resto-Mods continue to rock the block! This beautiful 1954 Buick Special Custom Coupe known as “G54″ was among the top sellers of Saturday’s event at $220,000 – a record sale at auction.

UNCASVILLE, CONN. – July 1, 2019 – Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions, made history with the sale of the last-built C7 Chevrolet Corvette (Lot #3001) and continued to fuel the hobby with a diverse docket of collector vehicles during the 4th Annual Northeast Auction, June 26-29, 2019, at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Sales over the four-day event also continued to point to the growing popularity of Resto-Mods and late model performance vehicles. The rise in popularity of Japanese collector cars was also highlighted when a 1997 Toyota Supra Anniversary Edition (Lot #711) sold for a record $176,000, making it one of the top ten vehicles sold. Among the top ten vehicles sold during this year’s Northeast Auction, six set new auction records.

In total, 545 vehicles sold for over $21.8 million with a 100 percent sell-through rate, while 470 pieces of automobilia brought in $766,000, and more than $2.8 million was raised through the sale of three charity vehicles, bringing the total auction sales to more than $24 million.

NE19_Lot 711 - 1997 Toyota Supra Anniversary Edition

1997 Toyota Supra Anniversary Edition (Lot #711) sold for a record $176,000, making it one of the top ten vehicles sold.

“We’re so appreciative of all our guests, sponsors and exhibitors who contributed to this auction and made it such an extraordinary event,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “Thanks to everyone’s participation and efforts, we hit incredible milestones as we wrote new pages in automotive history. Chief among those was a new charity auction record set by the last-built C7 Corvette. This special moment closed an era for Corvette and also raised critical support for our nation’s heroes. We built so much momentum this year in Scottsdale, Palm Beach and the Northeast that we can’t wait to top it off in Las Vegas this October.”

The top vehicles sold during the 2019 Northeast Auction included:

  1. Last-Built 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (Lot #3001) – $2.7 million (charity vehicle)
  2. 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster (Lot #671) – $280,500
  3. 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Yenko/SC Stage II Convertible Serial #1 (Lot #663) – $258,500*
  4. 1954 Buick Special Custom Coupe “G54″ (Lot #694) – $220,000*
  5. 1969 Ford Bronco Custom SUV (Lot #669) – $203,500*
  6. 1967 Ford Mustang Eleanor Tribute Edition (Lot #665) – $187,000
  7. 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Custom 6X6 (Lot #654) – $181,500*
  8. 1997 Toyota Supra Anniversary Edition (Lot #711) – $176,000*
  9. 2017 Dodge Viper GTC ACR (Lot #664) – $172,700
  10. 2014 Ferrari California Convertible (Lot #673) – $170,500*
  11. 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda Resto-Mod (Lot #685) – $165,000
  12. 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 (Lot #667) – $165,000

*Auction Record

NE19_Lot 671 0 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster

2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster (Lot #671) – $280,500

Vehicles from the Vault Portfolio and David Maxwell Collection, crossed the block during this year’s Northeast Auction. A total of 47 collector cars from the Vault Portfolio are being sold at No Reserve during three Barrett-Jackson events, including the 2019 Northeast and Las Vegas Auctions, as well as the 2020 Scottsdale Auction. Eight vehicles from the Maxwell Collection also sold during this year’s Northeast Auction, including a 1971 Plymouth Cuda Resto-Mod (Lot #685), which hammered in at $165,000 and is among the top vehicles sold during the auction.

“Collector cars are the heart and soul of everything we do,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “But we’ve gone a step further to create an immersive lifestyle experience around the auction that’s unmatched in this great hobby. We offered terrific symposiums led by top automotive experts and hands-on exhibits. For the first time since its introduction, Ford offered select rides to the public in the adrenaline-pumping Ford GT supercar. Only at Barrett-Jackson can you drive home the car of your dreams, rub shoulders with industry legends and make memories that will last a lifetime.”

NE19_Lot 3001-Last built C7 Corvette block shot

Specialist Kevin Trimble (left) and Corporal Scott Nokes (right) cheer as the Last-Built 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (Lot #3001) sold for the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers foundation for $2.7m.

On Friday, the last-built seventh-generation (C7) Chevrolet Corvette made history when Dan Snyder of Dan Snyder Motorsports purchased it for $2.7 million – a new Barrett-Jackson charity sale record by an automaker-donated vehicle. The entire amount raised from the sale of the Corvette benefited the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Smart Home Program. Mr. Snyder also bought the last-production models of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon (Lot #3002.1) and 2017 Dodge Viper (Lot #3002) at the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction. To date, Barrett-Jackson has raised over $118 million for charity. Two other vehicles crossed the block to benefit charity during the Northeast Auction:

  • 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 (Lot #3000) – $30,000 benefiting the Automotive Technology Academy of the New York-based Rockland BOCES
  • 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Custom SUV (Lot #3002) – $85,000 benefiting NS2 Serves

Barrett-Jackson’s Automobilia Auction featured over 470 authentic pieces, including items from the Terry Brannigan and Cedarmore Collections. Rounding out the top five automobilia items sold during the Northeast Auction were:

  1. 1950s Chevrolet-Oldsmobile Porcelain with Neon Sign (Lot #8294) – $23,000
  2. 1928 Texaco Gasoline Visible Gas Pump (Lot #8282) – $18,400
  3. 1954 Mobil Oil Pegasus Animated Porcelain Neon Sign (Lot #7298) – $17,250
  4. 1956 Chevrolet Corvette Kiddie Car (Lot #8267) – $17,250
  5. Late 1950s Mobil Oil Porcelain with Neon Sign (Lot #7294) – $16,100

For more information on becoming a bidder or to consign a vehicle for the 2019 Las Vegas Auction, visit www.Barrett-Jackson.com.

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

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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11 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cannonball cars on display will include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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01 Dec

Meet the Restorers: Veteran specialist Kent Bain weighs in on the classic car market

Kent Bain with the Aston-Martin DB2/4 he raced in the 1992 Carrera Panamericana

Kent Bain with the Aston-Martin DB2/4 he raced in the 1992 Carrera Panamericana

Stratford, Conn. – There were times when art was the best investment, or antiques, or real estate, but these days it’s hard to beat the appreciating value of old cars. The price for once-common cars such as the Porsche 911 or the Jaguar E-Type have risen so astronomically that you may be able to retire on the profits from selling that old rust bucket in the garage.

To get a snapshot of where we are today, you can start with Automotive Restorations in Stratford, Connecticut, headed by a more than 30-year veteran of the business, Kent Bain.

Bain works with a 32-member staff (many of them from England, where old-world craftsmanship is still alive) in restoring everything from priceless Ferraris, Alfas and Cisitalias from Italy, to Ford Woody wagons and vintage Cadillacs, with the odd Toyota Landcruiser thrown in. He does it all; body fabricating, upholstery, painting, engine rebuilding. Recently a group of the company’s English craftsmen were hand-forming body panels for a 1950s-era Cunningham C4RK, building it up from a chassis that was left in a Connecticut garage for decades. At the same time, another British fellow was spending a day crafting a headliner for a Jaguar XK140 Drophead.

Bain was a designer who turned his car-fixing hobby into a business in 1978. “When I started, the old car hobby was a small group of relatively committed individuals,” he said. “Now there’s something wrong with any hedge fund manager who doesn’t have a collector car in the garage. It’s a phenomenon. And it amazes me that my avocation has expanded so dramatically.”

This 1965 Mustang convertible could maybe fetch $35,000 today, but dock it down to $20,000 with a six under the hood

This 1965 Mustang convertible could maybe fetch $35,000 today, but dock it down to $20,000 with a six under the hood

It’s a sad truism that the market is slowing down for pre-war cars, because their natural constituency is aging out of the hobby. So most of the hot marques today are 1940’s and newer. Baby boomers with money are making nearly any 1960’s car, even the four-door sedans, collectible. Some examples of soaring values:

“A Porsche 912 nobody wanted because it had a Volkswagen engine has gone from maybe $2,500 to $60,000. They’re being bought up by people who really want to get into the hobby but can’t afford a $100,000 1969 911S.” Even the bread-and-butter Porsche 914 (not even the sought-after 914/6) is bringing big money.

“Microcars like the BMW Isetta are really in the spotlight, too. It’s funny, because they may look cool but they’re terrible to drive.”

Porsches are blazingly hot as collectibles, especially convertibles like this 356

Porsches are blazingly hot as collectibles, especially convertibles like this 356

“Jaguar E-Type coupes are selling, not just the convertibles. Even the poor-relative 2+2 models are very collectible now. Also, Lotuses, and four-cylinder post-war Alfa-Romeos from coachbuilders like Pininfarina.”

Everybody wants Jaguar E-Types, and even 2+2 coupes are selling

Everybody wants Jaguar E-Types, and even 2+2 coupes are selling

“Older Ferraris are doing really well. Some collectors’ think they can do just as well buying a new Ferrari and having it appreciate, but that may not happen. Ten years ago, if you bought a Ferrari 330 for $75,000, big money then, it would have appreciated a lot. And you’d be doing much better than if you’d bought a modern Ferrari instead. Old is the way to go.”

This 1947 Cisitalia Vinale 202 SC came out of Argentina; no two are alike

This 1947 Cisitalia Vinale 202 SC came out of Argentina; no two are alike

Bain points out that the hobby is now full of purely financial buyers. They may not know a lot about cars, but they love the idea of a rapidly appreciating asset. They could be in for an unpleasant awakening when they find the car, unlike a painting, needs to be exercised regularly to keep its value. And it can drip oil on your pristine garage floor.

Because of the Carroll Shelby connection, Sunbeam Tigers are now $50,000 and up

Because of the Carroll Shelby connection, Sunbeam Tigers are now $50,000 and up

“The exercise thing is critical,” Bain points out. “Machines don’t sit well,” he said. “Their blood pressure needs to come up. Everything dries out,
including the brake seals and the valve cover gaskets. That means warming them up and driving them regularly.”

Before you get too excited about the big bucks, Bain says there has been some market softening over the past year. Woodies, for instance, have seen some price decline. And there are more people on the hunt. “The notion of ‘stealing’ cars doesn’t really exist anymore,” Bain said. “The sharks are everywhere.”

The Automotive Restorations shop floor is filled to overflowing with mouth-watering cars

The Automotive Restorations shop floor is filled to overflowing with mouth-watering cars

Around the ARI shop floor is an array of mouth-watering vehicles in various states of composition. A ’40 Ford Woody was fully restored, with a brand new hand-crafted wood body. Next to that was the Aston-Martin DB2/4 that Bain raced in the hell-for-leather 1992 Carrera Panamericana in Mexico (but no longer owns). That car is huge fun, but building one like it is an illustration of why vintage racing — becoming hugely popular — is not for sissies. The basic car might be $250,000, and then the same amount would go into it preparing for a demanding course like the Carrera Panamericana.

A tidy 1965 Ford Mustang convertible with a pony interior was worth maybe $35,000. Bain pointed out that a similar car with stock interior and a six-cylinder engine would be downgraded to $20,000.

This 1940 Ford Woody has all new wood, they all need it, and it doesn't diminish the value that it's not "original”

This 1940 Ford Woody has all new wood, they all need it, and it doesn’t diminish the value that it’s not “original”

A 1967 Volvo 1800 coupe was bought for a market-topping $32,000, but still needed a fair amount of work, including removing a silly hood scoop and fixing the horribly orange-peeled paint job. A nearby Triumph Stag, brought in for evaluation, was an example of a car that looked superficially restored but would become a money pit if all its issues were corrected.

Here’s a rundown. A ragged-but-drivable XK Jaguar in a corner needed 300 hours of bodywork, plus at least 50 hours (at $90 to $120 an hour) to install the interior kit. The bottom line would be 500 to 600 hours of labor to make it ready for the concours stage. The cost could be over $100,000 for the work, when the car is only worth $125,000 in that condition. It’s probably better, said Bain, just to get it running, fix the rust, and touch up the bare spots with a paint brush. And if you drove it that way you could actually have fun.

This Bugatti is brought in for further work when its owner-mechanic needs a rest

This Bugatti is brought in for further work when its owner-mechanic needs a rest

Also cautionary, a Mercedes 300SL roadster, bought as “restored” at the height of the market, that needed a full engine and transmission rebuild.

Here’s a good way to approach buying a collector car: Meet the owner, and get their measure. Have the car fully checked out before money changes hands, go through any available records, and buy with full transparency.

Watch Kent Bain on video, discussing the state of the market today:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqnflUzff7M

Article and photos courtesy of Jim Motavalli, adapted from Mother Nature Network

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Welcome to Automotive Restorations, Inc.

Founded in 1978, we are well established practitioners of the art and craft of vehicle restoration, preservation and care. We have grown to encompass a broad range of services with a staff of over 40 highly skilled, enthusiastic and motivated individuals.

Link to us online at www.automotiverestorations.com
Or call or visit us at:

100 Lupes Drive
Stratford, CT 06615
Phone: 203-377-6745 Fax: 203-386-0486

08 Dec

1st Experimental Safety Vehicle Built in Branford, Connecticut in 1957

Aurora prototype unveiled in Manhattan, November 11, 1957

Aurora prototype unveiled in Manhattan, November 11, 1957

Branford, Conn. – Dubbed by quite a few writers as one of the ugliest cars ever built, the 1957 Aurora prototype was designed by Father Alfred Juliano, a Catholic priest, in Branford. Not necessarily the product of divine intervention, Juliano’s purpose was to create the world’s safest automobile. With money contributed by his Connecticut congregation, Fr. Juliano wanted to build the car and make it available to American automakers to put into production. As it turns out, the gods were not with him and the project went bankrupt after creating just a single prototype.

Father Alfred Juliano with the Aurora Safety Car he designed and built

Father Alfred Juliano with the Aurora Safety Car he designed and built

The Aurora prototype was built on a 1953 Buick frame from a wrecked car using fiberglass over a plywood superstructure with plastic windows. The body would therefore be corrosion and dent proof. On the safety side, the car had a built-in roll cage, seat belts, a padded instrument panel, a collapsible steering wheel, and side-impact bars. Even the spare tire was housed under the front end of the vehicle to help absorb impacts. The front end had a “cow catcher” sort of design, filled with foam, to scoop up pedestrians instead of running them over. Perhaps most innovative was that the seats were designed to swivel 180 degrees and face backwards should a collision be imminent.

Styling buck used to form the Aurora’s fiberglass body

Styling buck used to form the Aurora’s fiberglass body

Apparently, when Fr. Juliano brought the car to New York City in 1957 for its reveal, he didn’t consider that the Buick engine hadn’t been started for more than four years and the car broke down multiple ties during the journey. The company’s finances were called into question but in fact Fr. Juliano had gone deeply into personal debt financing the company, and eventually declaring bankruptcy, forfeiting the prototype to a repair shop as collateral for unpaid repair bills. It passed through several hands before finally being abandoned behind a Cheshire auto body shop in 1967. Juliano died of a brain hemorrhage in 1989 in Philadelphia.

The Aurora today as restored by Andy Saunders in the UK

The Aurora today as restored by Andy Saunders in the UK

aurora5

In 1993, the car was discovered by British car enthusiast Andy Saunders of Poole, Dorset, in a sketch in a book about dream cars; “It was so ugly it was unreal. I said straightaway, ‘I’ve got to own that.'” After several years of searching, he eventually tracked the car down by the name of the garage in the background of a photograph of the car, purchased it sight unseen for $1,500, and had it shipped to Britain for another $2,000. The fiberglass and wood structure of the car proved to have deteriorated terribly from exposure, as well as the interior and plastic windshield. Restoration was further complicated by a lack of adequate documentation or even photographs of the car, the absence of the late Father Juliano to assist as a consultant, and the lack of replacement parts for a prototype vehicle. However, restoration was completed in early 2005, and the car was unveiled to a newly re-astounded public at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and is now on display in the Beaulieu Motor Museum, Hampshire, England. The Aurora is arguably the first Experimental Safety Vehicle ever made, even before the coinage of the ESV acronym.

Article and photos courtesy Kenny Hoeschen 95octane.com

Magazine featuring the Aurora in April 1958

Magazine featuring the Aurora in April 1958

23 Nov

First Connecticut Auto Race: 1899 or 1900? Historians Disagree

Hiram Percy Maxim driving a gasoline powered Columbia Mark VIII with designer Fred Law

Hiram Percy Maxim driving a gasoline powered Columbia Mark VIII with designer Fred Law

New Haven, Conn. – There seems to be general agreement among auto historians that the first closed course auto race in Connecticut was held at Branford Park in New Haven, a half-mile dirt track built for horse racing. The race meeting had two feature events, one for three-wheeled vehicles and one for four-wheeled vehicles, both being run in three heats. The date of the race meeting is generally cited as July 25, 1899. This date is reflected in several sources including Charles Betts’ Auto Racing Winners, 1895-1947: An Historical Reference Manual of American Automobile Racing (1948) and Allan Brown’s The History of America’s Speedways, Past and Present (2003).

In a 2008 article focusing on Connecticut race tracks, Brown clearly stated that, “Connecticut’s first recorded auto race was at Branford Park, a horse-racing track in New Haven, on July 25, 1899.” This would seem to indicate that Brown was very confident regarding the date.

However, more recent research has turned up evidence that this date may be off by a full year and in fact the Branford Park race more likely took place on July 25, 1900. This possibility was recently discovered by Donald Capps who is chairman of the Society of Automotive Historians Motor Sports History Section. Capps was digging into the very early automotive competitions in the United States for a possible paper on these events during the Late Victorian Era, 1895 to 1901, and sensed that there might be a problem with the date of the Branford Park race.

During his research, Capps discovered contemporary articles in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune on an event held at Branford Park in 1900. Initially, he thought this was a later event, but the winner listed by Betts was Hiram Percy Maxim in a Columbia — who was also listed as the winner of the first five-mile heat for four-wheeled vehicles in both the New York and Chicago papers.

In his article on the subject Capps states “This would strongly suggest that the Branford Park event took place on 25 July 1900 – and not in 1899 as the Betts and Brown dated the event. I am at a loss as how to explain that both Brown and the Betts getting the date wrong by an entire year, although Brown seemed to sense, at least at one point, either some doubt or at least ambivalence regarding the date.”

It is interesting to note that both the Times and the Tribune articles state that the Branford Park meeting was, “The first automobile race meet ever held on a race track in this country,” as the Times stated it. The Tribune article had the sub-heading, “Track Racing for Motor Vehicles Inaugurated in America,” making the same claim as the Times. Capps goes on to state “Of course, there is the awkward problem of the race meeting held at Narragansett Park in Cranston, Rhode Island – another horse-racing track – in September 1896, which would tend to cast doubt on this claim. The race featured 7 entrants and was won by a Riker Electric car. In addition, there was also the event run in October 1899 on a circular dirt horse track at Galesburg Illinois District Fair Grounds, which was essentially a match race scheduled for 50 miles. The race between F.B. Snow in a Duryea and E.V.D. Morris in a Winton was halted at 15 miles when Snow’s vehicle dropped out with ignition problems.”

First U.S. auto race on a track at Narragansett Park, Cranston, RI September 1896

First U.S. auto race on a track at Narragansett Park, Cranston, RI September 1896

In any case, there seems to be no doubt that the Branford Park race was the first closed course auto race in Connecticut but historians should note, thanks to Don Capps’ research, the actual date of the race was July 25, 1900.

According to historian Allen Brown, the second auto racing venue in Connecticut also began as an active horse track, Charter Oak Park in Hartford. It was larger than Branford Park, a one-mile dirt oval. Charter Oak Park featured auto and horse racing from 1904 to 1929.

Connecticut has had 31 oval tracks. Only 3 are still in operation. Stafford Motor Speedway, the oldest, is located at the Stafford Springs Fairgrounds. The half-mile dirt oval was built as a horse track in 1892, and the first auto race ran in October 1934. There is no record of any auto racing at Stafford again until weekly stock car racing started there in 1948. The original dirt track was paved with asphalt in 1967 and it has remained in operation ever since featuring NASCAR Modified racing.

The second-oldest active oval track is Thompson International Speedway in the state’s northeast corner. Built in 1940 as a 5/8-mile asphalt track, it was one of the first in the country to be built as a paved track. Most paved tracks built before 1945, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, started out as dirt tracks. Thompson Speedway also had different configurations of road courses—the first known in the state—in operation from 1952 to about 1978. Part of one of the old road courses is still visible as part of the pit area. A little-known fact about Thompson is that it is the only Connecticut track ever to host what is now known as NASCAR Sprint Cup races (originally called NASCAR Grand National). The third active oval track is Waterford Speedbowl, built as a dirt track in 1951 and converted to a paved track a month later.

Opening day at Thompson Speedway May 26, 1940

Opening day at Thompson Speedway May 26, 1940

Lime Rock Park in northwest Connecticut is the only active road course left in the state. Lime Rock is a 1.53-mile paved road course with eight turns. The track, which opened 58 years ago, on April 18, 1957, has been the site of numerous major road-racing events and was the favorite track of late actor and Westport resident Paul Newman.
Sources: Donald Capps, Society of Automotive Historians
Allen E. Brown, “A Short History of Connecticut Race Tracks” www.ctvisit.com
Archived Photos

Early American license plate featuring Hiram Maxim & the Columbia Mark VIII

Early American license plate featuring Hiram Maxim & the Columbia Mark VIII