14 Jun

New England Auto Museum eyeing Riverview Plaza as home

Hour File Photo/Alex von Kleydorff. Press conference in March of 2014 at Dragone Classic Automibiles in Wesport to announce Norwalk's New England Auto Museum

Hour File Photo/Alex von Kleydorff. Press conference in March of 2014 at Dragone Classic Automobiles in Wesport to announce Norwalk’s New England Auto Museum

Hour Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, June 13, 2015 3:30 pm

NORWALK –Riverview Plaza on Belden Avenue could become the home of the New England Auto Museum.

New England Auto Museum (NEAM), a nonprofit organization founded to preserve, interpret and exhibit automobiles and automotive artifacts, has selected Norwalk as the future home of a museum and educational facility, according to its website. And at this point, the organization has its sights set on Riverview Plaza at 24 Belden Ave.

“We’re hoping we could renovate it,” NEAM marketing director Nick Ord told The Hour. “We want the display space to be where the mall was, which is ground floor, and then the upstairs five floors would be educational.”

The New England Auto Museum would feature 100 automobiles, an education center and automotive academy co-sponsored by Norwalk Community College and the Norwalk Public Schools P-Tech Program, and draw 100,000 to 150,000 visitors annually, according to NEAM.

Ord’s comments came at City Hall on Tuesday evening after the Norwalk Redevelopment Commission approved a $13,000 grant toward an assessment to determine whether such a museum would be viable in the Norwalk area.

“It’s not so much location but to verify that we have economic rationale to proceed,” Ord told commissioners. Commissioners approved thegrant after requesting that Norwalk be the focus of the assessment.

Ord said NEAM has explored East Hartford, Bristol, Southington as possible locations for the auto museum but all fell through. In Norwalk, the organization earlier eyed Loehmann’s Plaza on West Avenue. White Oak Associates Museum Planners and Producers will perform the assessment at a cost of $65,000.

Ord said NEAM has applied for $32,500 in funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and will attempt to raise $19,500 in private donations to cover the balance of the assessment cost. NEAM has until Feb. 2, 2016, to secure all funding.

Riverview Plaza was once home to a Pathmark Supermarket and the Norwalk Social Security office. The building is now vacant, Ord said. According to NEAM, Riverview Plaza offers an “easy access to major arteries as well as convenient bus transportation for visitors to all areas of Norwalk.”

NEAM was founded in 2007 by Michael and Christine Scheidel to “celebrate the automobile and its significant impact on our culture through the preservation and exhibition of automobiles and historical artifacts,” according to its website.

According to NEAM, Norwalk is the ideal location for an auto museum: the city is at the crossroads of Interstate 95, Route 7 and Metro-North Railroad, lies an hour from Manhattan at the gateway to New England, and has other museums (The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk and Stepping Stones Museum for Children) that attract more than 1.3 million visitors annually.

In addition, Norwalk is surrounded by the nation’s wealthiest zip codes.
“Norwalk’s New England location will draw current and future automobile enthusiasts from a wide area and provide a gathering spot for the region’s extensive and active automotive community,” according to NEAM.

The conceptual plan has received endorsements from, among others, Mayor Harry W. Rilling and Norwalk Community College President David L. Levinson.

“The museum’s presence in Norwalk will not only be a major tourist attraction in its own right, but will provide a venue for an automotive technology program that we will offer in tandem with the Norwalk Public Schools,” Levinson wrote.

Rilling, in a letter this month, congratulated NEAM in advance for its 10th annual Darien Collectors Car Show, which is scheduled for Sunday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Mathews Park in Norwalk. The event is expected to bring more than 100 collector cars.

The mayor welcomed the prospect of Norwalk becoming the home of NEAM’s automotive museum. “It will serve both as an educational center as well as display center to highlight an ever changing evolution of car history and technological development,” he wrote.

Hour Photo/Alex von Kleydorff. New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame member and national champion driver, Connecticut's Bob Sharp speaks as New England Auto Museum Founder and CEO Mike Scheidel holds a press conference at Dragone Classic Automobiles in Westport in March 2014.

Hour Photo/Alex von Kleydorff. New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame member and national champion driver, Connecticut’s Bob Sharp speaks as New England Auto Museum Founder and CEO Mike Scheidel holds a press conference at Dragone Classic Automobiles in Westport in March 2014.

Link to actual article


14 May

Ultra-Rare 1964 Pontiac Banshee Concept Headed to Dragone Spring Auction May 30


Westport, CT – Intended as a shot across Ford’s bow, Pontiac’s Banshee XP-833 coupe was an answer to Ford’s Cougar II show car, and Pontiac brass felt confident they could bring the Banshee to market before Ford launched its own two-seater. History tells us that neither car saw production, but a glimpse at the Banshee gives us a look at design cues that would later appear on the third-generation Corvette and the first-generation Firebird. One of two first-generation Banshees built (the other a white convertible that’s long been a part of Joe Bortz’s collection), the silver coupe will head to auction later this month as part of the Dragone Spring Auction in Westport, Connecticut.

The initial success of Ford’s Mustang left GM scrambling to offer a counterpoint, and it would take until 1967 before the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird hit dealerships. Determined not to make the same mistake twice, Pontiac head John DeLorean asked his designers to come up with a lightweight two-seat sports car, one that could be brought to market for the 1967 model year, potentially ahead of the Ford Cougar II that was rumored to be bound for production. Two first-generation Banshees were put together, using an A-body chassis and fiberglass-reinforced plastic body panels. The convertible was built with a V-8, but GM management reportedly felt that such a car would be too close in positioning to the Corvette.


The coupe was powered by an overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder, fitted with a crossflow head and reportedly good for 155 horsepower. Given the Banshee’s curb weight below 2,300 pounds, even such a modest engine would have produced spirited performance, while delivering exceptional handling. The Banshee, at least in the eyes of Pontiac executives, would complement the Corvette, offering buyers of more modest means another GM two-seat sports car to choose from.


As Bob Hovorka wrote in the February 1989 issue of Special Interest Autos, production of the Banshee was never seriously considered by GM management. Perhaps any challenge to the Corvette as GM’s sole two-seat sports car was seen as too much, or perhaps the Ford Cougar II was never seen as a serious candidate for production, but in 1966 the first Banshee project was scrapped. The cars should have been as well, but rumor has it they escaped the crusher by being secreted away and later sold to employees close to the project. Both coupe and convertible are semi-functional drivers, minus key details like functional headlamps.

The coupe remained with its original owner until 2006, when it sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $214,500. Since then, it’s been offered for sale numerous times, including a trip across the stage at RM’s 2010 Amelia Island sale, where it bid to $325,000 but failed to meet reserve, and at Mecum’s 2010 Monterey sale, where it bid to $400,000 without changing hands. It’s twice been featured as a Find of the Day in the Hemmings Daily, but neither running included a price in the listing.


Officially, the third-generation Corvette was inspired by the 1965 Mako Shark II concept, but one has to wonder how much the concept was itself inspired by the Banshee. Even if the answer is “not at all,” it’s impossible not to see the Banshee’s influence on the first generation Firebird’s rear and on the production Opel GT, which seems to duplicate the Banshee’s pop-up headlamps, sloping nose, fastback roof and Kamm tail in slightly smaller scale. Perhaps John DeLorean and his designers were onto something after all.

Dragone Auctions is predicting a selling price between $600,000 and $650,000 when the 1964 Pontiac Banshee XP-833 crosses the stage on Saturday, May 30 as part of its 2015 Greenwich Concours Car Event Weekend auction. For complete details, visit DragoneClassic.com.

Courtesy Kurt Ernst, Hemmings Daily
Photos Dragone Auctions

21 Apr

Fiberglass for First Plastic Sports Car Developed in Connecticut 65 Years Ago

Images courtesy Geoff Hacker

Images courtesy Geoff Hacker

Naugatuck, CT – Bill Tritt and his company Glasspar were growing in the fiberglass boat business by leaps and bounds, and while the bulk of their business was always boats and ships, in late 1949 he had started working with Ken Brooks to produce a fiberglass sports car body. By early 1950, Bill was looking to expand and take on new business, and in that year Tritt brought on investors that would allow his company to grow.

Things were looking good for Glasspar, and Tritt wanted to add sports car bodies to Glasspar’s product list, but there was a problem. Lots of companies needed supplies, but none more so than the U.S. government. The summer of 1950, when Glasspar began its expansion plans, was also the same time that the Korean War started (Korean forces invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950), and this war continued through the summer of 1953.

Resources were in scant supply, and everyone wanted what was available. It was in that setting that Tritt pressed forward to find more supplies – polyester resin and fiberglass mat – in Southern California. At every corner he turned, supplies were being dedicated to the war effort. Glasspar’s dreams of expanding were suddenly in a precarious position.

In 2000, Daniel Spurr interviewed Bill Tritt about this very moment in time for his book Heart of Glass, a terrific story on the birth of the fiberglass industry in postwar America and how it revolutionized the boat industry. Here’s what Tritt had to say:

“At this critical point in Glasspar’s growth, the story becomes one of great serendipity and plain luck. The Korean War dealt us a near mortal blow. We suddenly were unable to obtain polyester resin because it was all going to aircraft and other military products. Our purchasing history was laughable, as was I in my fruitless search for suppliers.”

“Then, strictly by chance, I saw a notice of the opening of a new chemical company in a warehouse in South Los Angeles. I had never heard of the company, Naugatuck Chemical, although it turned out to be a division of U.S. Rubber. I didn’t know what the warehouse was to house, but with nothing building in the shop, on a nice day, I borrowed the Boxer from Ken Brooks and drove to the warehouse.”

“It was large and appeared empty, but I went inside and found a little office. In the office was a personable young man named Bud Crawford, who informed me that the warehouse primarily handled shipments of polyester resin from Connecticut, headed then to the big boys.”

“He was most sympathetic to our problems, but he had no way to divert any of the resin without an order from the War Department. We concluded there was no way I could get even a drum of our lifeblood’s chemical equivalent from Naugatuck. We walked out to the loading dock to bid farewell and, when Crawford saw the Boxer, he asked, “Hey, what’s that?”

“Less than twenty-four hours later, Earl Ebers, head of Naugatuck, a chemist and devoted proponent of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic, arrived in California, came to the (Glasspar) plant, and committed Naugatuck Chemical to sending us an immediate (air freight) supply of resin (trade name Vibrin).”

This historic moment was captured by more than one person. Back in 1951, Bert McNomee was in the operations area of the public relations department for Naugatuck Chemical. From 1968 to 1976, Bert was the director of public relations for U.S. Rubber, but during 1951, he was at ground zero of what was about to happen with Glasspar and fiberglass sports cars.

Bert reviewed his memory of these early years back in Shark Quarterly, a magazine about Corvette history, in the summer of 1997. Here’s what Bert had to share:

“In 1950, Bill Tritt had designed and Glasspar built a custom body to update a friend’s wife’s jeep chassis (note: see previous story on Glasspar for correct reference to a 1940s Willys). This work caught the attention of our West Coast man, Bud Crawford, and he told Mr. Ebers about it. When he heard about Tritt’s work he decided we would go out there.”

“We arrived on a Saturday and, I remember, checked into a little known place called the Mayfair Hotel. Then on Monday, Bill Tritt took us out to Costa Mesa to see this car. I thought, “Holy Mackerel look at this car!” It looked like an early Jaguar. They asked me if I wanted to take a ride in it. I surely did. So off we went. It was amazing; it cornered well, and with the light body it was peppy.”

“Mr. Ebers asked me, “So Bert, what do you think?” I said that I thought we had a chance to get it into LIFE Magazine, like he wanted. But first we need some good pictures of the car. Now a lot of things happened pretty much at the same time. My job was to get busy on the press coverage.”

“For my part, I hired Tom King of the Blackstar Association, locally, to take some pictures. These were just the preliminary photos so I could get some interest going at LIFE Magazine. When we got back to New York, I called Bill Payne of the “new products” section at LIFE and showed him these preliminary photos.”

“Bill was also a car buff so he was quite interested in the idea of a fiberglass car for his section. We met for lunch with Earl Ebers and talked about how the car body could be presented to make a really interesting story.”


“We had to make it clear, pictorially; that this was a car body that was different from any other car body you had ever seen. I told him that before the car was painted, the body was actually translucent. That did it. It lit up all kinds of ideas in Bill’s mind. He started talking about how we could lower the body over the car and light it from underneath. The ideas came together and he sold the story to his editors.”


At this time, Earl Ebers went up to Naugatuck to meet with George Vila, who was the General Sales Manager, and John Coe, who was the Vice President. They both agreed that Naugatuck Chemical would subsidize the construction of four prototype cars, which was the amount Tritt wanted to justify setting up the bucks and molds.

They also agreed to send Earle out to Costa Mesa to work on the first four models and to oversee the operation. And so Glasspar and Naugatuck were joined at the hip in terms or making fiberglass sports cars a reality, and no small job was laid out in front of them to make this dream a reality. In fact, in just a few short months Bill Tritt would have to:

  • update the plaster buck so a new mold could be produced (changes in the grill design occurred at this step)
  • create a new mold that could stand the rigors of production
  • debut the Brooks Boxer at the Petersen Motorama in November 1951
  • and finish at least one full sports car that Naugatuck had paid for, preferably by the end of 1951

Bill Tritt commented in Heart of Glass about the meeting in late summer as follows:

“We had unbelievable credit and an order for a car to show at Philadelphia Plastics Exhibit in (March) 1952. Life magazine was set to do a feature story; one hundred eighty degrees from a few days before.”

In the fall of 1951, the team from Naugatuck Chemical returned with Life Magazine photographer J. R. Eyerman. During this time, they photographed the Brooks Boxer in action shots for the magazine, captured Bill Tritt working on the plaster buck for the G2 sports car, showed the steps in making a fiberglass body, and more.


In fact, in photographing the sports car body being built, they would be capturing the very first body being built from the production molds. This would become the second Glasspar sports car built – the Alembic I.

In preparation for today’s story, I called Bert McNomee (he’s doing great and has been a constant source of support and information for the history of these times), and asked him about how the name Alembic I came to be for the second sports car built by Glasspar.

Bert reminded me that Naugatuck Chemical was a chemical company first, and in chemistry, Alembic has its origin in equipment involved in the distillation process. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of Alembic is either an apparatus used in distillation or something that refines or transmutes as if by distillation.


And so, with great excitement, enthusiasm, and the backing of a large company, the second Glasspar sports car was born, the Alembic I. Bill Tritt, Glasspar, and Naugatuck Chemical pressed forth, and to the delight of all, Life Magazine published the article in February 1952 and the world of fiberglass sports cars was never the same.

Article Courtesy Hemming’s Daily
Geoff Hacker is a Tampa, Florida-based automotive historian who specializes in tracking down bizarre, off-beat, and undocumented automobiles. His favorites are Fifties American fiberglass-bodied cars, and he shares his research into those cars at ForgottenFiberglass.com.

Glasspar Cars are featured on Ray Evernham’s Americarna episode “Forgotten Fiberglass” on VelocityTV; Check your local listings for date and time.



17 Feb

Automobile Industry Started in Hartford in 1891


New Britain, CT – “Hartford does not claim to have made the first automobile but does claim to have started the automotive industry,” This statement was made by pioneer auto designer and engineer, Henry Cave, who worked with Daimler Motor Company, Locomobile and with George B. Seldon to design, develop and demonstrate the first Seldon patent car.

The very first Hartford-based company to work in the automobile industry was the National Machine Company in 1891. Located at Capital Ave and Woodbine Street, they made motors for Steinway-Daimler, the engine that established the auto industry in Europe. But five years later in 1895, the Pope Manufacturing Company established the Motor Carriage Department and experimented with gas powered automobiles. Their conclusion was that these cars were very noisy, vibrating, greasy and complicated to operate. They also believed that the wealthiest citizens, the only ones who could afford such a vehicle, would not be interested in such a car.

The Pope Manufacturing Company concentrated their efforts into designing and developing electric engines and in 1897 formally offered to the public the Columbia Electric Phaeton for a price of $3,000. Henry Cave reports, “Under the direction of the production experts, these handsome vehicles were the first to be made in this country on anything like a substantial basis.’ The Hartford Times wrote,” Its cost of maintenance and operation should be much less than that of a pair of horses…never found anyone so stupid that they could not run the carriage but there are many who can’t handle a horse…6 or 8 inches of snow “no obvious obstacle”.

The Hartford Courant wrote under the title, ” HORSELESS ERA COMES”, the electric vehicle was managed and turned about with as much comfort and success as you would have in driving the gentlest horse…The idea of sitting in a rolling carriage, nothing in front of the dashboard but space…is something exhilarating and fascinating.”

The first vehicles made were made under the Columbia name. Pictured here is a Columbia Mark III Stanhope, an advertising post card produced by the Pope Manufacturing Company. The vehicle was quite simple with four bicycle wheels and seating for two. It had a gong (forerunner to the horn) and four electric lights to illuminate the way at night. One of the first well known owners was Andrew Carnegie.

The Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival in New Britain, CT on June 20th, 2015, will feature many automobiles manufactured in Connecticut including examples from Pope Hartford, Columbia, Corbin and Locomobile and is in fact the largest gathering of these early “brass era” cars in the country.

Source: Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival

Pope-Hartford back in the day

Pope-Hartford back in the day

1908 Air-Cooled Corbin

1908 Air-Cooled Corbin

28 Jan

Historic Racing Returns to Thompson Speedway’s Oval Track May 13-16

Scene from Opening Day at the Thompson Speedway, May 26, 1940

Scene from Opening Day at the Thompson Speedway, May 26, 1940

Thompson, CT – The 2015 season will mark the 75th anniversary of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, so it is fitting that it would also see the return of historic racing on the 5/8 mile oval, for the first time since 2012. The Historic Oval Invitational will be a two-day event held on Friday and Saturday, May 15-16, 2015.

The races are open to any race cars built before 2000, and will include Midgets, Sprints, 3/4 Midgets, Super Modifieds, Champ Cars, Vintage Outlaws, Stock Cars and more.

The event will also feature a Hot Rod & Classic Car Show on Saturday morning from 10AM until 2PM. The cost to display a car is $10, which includes grandstand admission for the event.

Spectator prices, entry fees and more information can be found on TSMP’s website at www.thompsonspeedway.com, or by phone at 860-923-2280. Updates will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Racing, yes, and so much more.

Tucked away in the beautiful countryside of Northeastern Connecticut, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) is the home of a historic raceway and a classic 18-hole golf course. Now, as the facility is continuously improved, Thompson Speedway offers more than ever before.

Owned and operated by the Hoenig family for four generations since before it became a racetrack in 1939, TSMP today offers more options than any other track in New England.

As always, the historic 5/8 mile high banked oval hosts a number of annual NASCAR stock car and open wheel racing events, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen All American Series.

The 1.7 mile road course is the rebirth of the first purpose-built closed-circuit road racing track in the United States. It offers elements to challenge amateur and professional drivers alike – and includes the nostalgia inherent in its history.

The Raceway Golf Club offers 18 holes of classic New England golf course design. The Clubhouse, Restaurant and Banquet Facility overlook both the golf course and motorsports facility. Bogey’s Ice Cream Stand continues to serve up the region’s best ice cream.

And today, TSMP also includes a unique Drivers Club, the High Performance Driving Experience, and Corporate/Private events of all types.

Just 50 minutes from downtown Boston, 2.5 hours from New York City and 40 minutes from Hartford and Providence, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park continues to strive to bring more excitement and entertainment to fans of all ages. In 2015, race goers will find something at TSMP for the whole family to enjoy.



Courtesy: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

06 Jan

Lime Rock Offers Winter Autocross Days Beginning January 9th

Anyone can get ‘Slideways’ on the Winter Autocross Course at Lime Rock Park

Anyone can get ‘Slideways’ on the Winter Autocross Course at Lime Rock Park

Lakeville, CT – In what is a first for a Northeast U.S. motorsports venue, starting this month Lime Rock Park is offering Winter Autocross Days. Lime Rock now has large-capacity snowmaking and grooming equipment and has scheduled Friday and Saturday winter autocross events open to any licensed driver. No winter driving experience is necessary.

“First and foremost, driving hard and getting ‘slideways’ in the snow is simply a whole bunch of fun,” said Lime Rock lead winter driving coach Stephan Bastrzycki. “Who hasn’t booted the tail out or hand-braked their car in a snowy parking lot somewhere?

“You don’t have to have any previous experience. Doing this under the watch of our instructors on Lime Rock’s autocross course, not only is it fun, thrilling and very safe, but you cannot believe what you learn with regard to what we call ‘car control skills’ which will make you a much better, safer driver, whether on snow, ice, in the rain or in the dry,” Bastrzycki continued.

“Any vehicle – all-wheel-, rear-wheel- or front-wheel drive – can be driven quickly in the snow. We’ll teach those uninitiated in the fun of snow driving some specialized techniques appropriate to each vehicle type.”

The Winter Driving events – some people call them “snowcross” or “WAX” (winter autocross) – are held on Lime Rock’s 1,200-foot autocross course in the upper infield area. Three or four cars are sent out at a time, with appropriate spacing between each vehicle; there is no racing involved.

A luxury chalet provides a warm respite for restroom breaks as well as snacks, coffee, hot chocolate and beverages. A bonfire will be going at the autocross staging area, too.

Lime Rock’s Winter Autocross facility is the direct result of requests by the members of the private Lime Rock Drivers Club (LRDC). One of its newest members, realizing he could help bring this to fruition, connected us with the right experts and equipment to make it happen. The Winter Autocross facility was created primarily for the Lime Rock Drivers Club, which has graciously opened it up for non-members between the private LRDC days.

The winter autocross developed out of the success of Lime Rock’s Open Autocross Days (including a season-long series championship) held April through November. The 2013 and 2014 Open Autocross seasons saw more than 500 drivers – from teens and seniors to track-day enthusiasts and race car drivers – experience the fun and excitement of driving as fast as they can in a fun, safe environment. Now anyone can do it all winter long thanks to schedulable, weather-independent snowmaking at Lime Rock Park.

The cost is $300 per driver and includes coaching from professional winter driving instructors.

Lime Rock Winter Open Enrollment Autocross Days:
Friday, January 9
Saturday, January 10
Friday, January 23
Saturday, January 24
Friday, January 30
Saturday, January 31
Friday, February 6
Saturday, February 7
Friday, February 20
Saturday, February 21
Friday, February 27
Saturday, February 28
Friday, March 6
Saturday, March 7

Reservations and purchases of Open Enrollment Winter Autocross can be done online. Questions can be directed to the Winter Autocross specialists at 860.435.5000.

Courtesy: Lime Rock Park



All photography by Casey Keil and Rick Roso at Lime Rock Park.

All photography by Casey Keil and Rick Roso at Lime Rock Park.


17 Dec

Frank Duryea Drove the First Automobile in Connecticut over 120 Years Ago

The 1893-94 Duryea is one of the earliest American-made automobiles  - National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

The 1893-94 Duryea is one of the earliest American-made automobiles
– National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Madison, CT – Frank Duryea was a long-time Madison resident who helped develop one of the first American automobiles. In 1893, Frank, along with his brother, built one of the first cars in the country to have an internal combustion engine. The following year he drove the first car ever to make its way into Connecticut and then went on to race his design in the first recorded automobile race in America.

Frank Duryea was born October 8, 1869, in Washburn, Illinois. He attended high school in Wyoming, Illinois, and worked on his family’s farm before an interest in mechanics led him to a job as a toolmaker in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

J. Frank Duryea, ca. 1945 – National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

J. Frank Duryea, ca. 1945 – National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

In 1886, Frank’s brother, Charles, witnessed the operation of a gasoline engine at the Ohio State Fair and began designing an engine of his own. Over the next 7 years Frank and Charles Duryea designed a prototype of an automobile which utilized that engine. While a disagreement over whose design ultimately prevailed tore the brothers apart, the “Buggyaut” (as the brothers named it) made its debut on the streets of Springfield, Massachusetts, on September 22, 1893. The vehicle traveled between 200 and 300 feet but came to a screeching halt with the failure of the belt transmission. After Frank made a slight adjustment to the design, he drove the vehicle nearly half a mile later that day.
With Charles back in Illinois selling bicycles, Frank took to making improvements to their automobile design. He replaced the belt transmission with gears and friction clutches and utilized Charles’s single-cylinder engine design to power it. In 1894, Frank drove his design into Hartford, Connecticut, making it the first car to appear both in the city as well as in the state.

The following year, Duryea appeared in and won several automobile races, including one from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois, recognized as the first automobile race in the US. In 1896, Frank constructed 13 identical cars from his design, making his Duryea Motor Wagon Company the first to make multiple copies of an automobile for sale.

In 1904 the Duryea brothers opened the Stevens-Duryea Company, a car manufacturing enterprise in Springfield, and Frank served as the company’s vice president and chief engineer until he retired in 1915. After a move to Greenwich, Frank settled into life in Madison in 1938. He spent the better part of his retirement there gardening in the yard and occasionally traveling for pleasure or to events like the 50th anniversary celebration held in Chicago commemorating his remarkable win in America’s first automobile race.

Frank Duryea died in Saybrook in 1967, at the age of 97. Among the lasting testaments to his achievements is the inclusion of the first Duryea automobile in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
Credit: www.connecticuthistory.com

18 Nov

The Connecticut Auto Show Returns to Hartford November 21-23


Hartford, CT – Mark your calendar for the return of the Connecticut International Auto Show at the Connecticut Convention Center, Friday November 21 to Sunday November 23, 2014.

The Auto Show has something for everyone, from gear-heads to carpoolers alike. With hundreds of vehicles to browse and explore, fans can hop in the driver’s seat of the latest models and satisfy their automotive dreams.

The newest 2015 models will be on display, including the latest in fuel-efficient options and new technologies. It’s a convenient way to compare prices and features, saving both time and money. There are cars to suit every budget and lifestyle, as well as entertainment and specialty vehicles.

There’s even a chance to get behind the wheel at the show, thanks to the show’s Ride&Drive programs.

The entire family will enjoy special features like the Fan Zone, gas for life contest, Classic Car and Muscle Madness Showcases and a Kids Stop Pit Stop. Cadillac is sponsoring Friday’s “Heels & Wheels” Night, when, from 5 – 8PM, ladies receive a $2 discount on admission, and a special Cadillac drink and souvenir if they bring an infant item donation for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

The Auto Show is great entertainment for serious shoppers, car buffs and the entire family!

Date: Friday, November 21- Sunday, November 23, 2014
Place: Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT
Hours: Friday, November 21 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, November 22 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday, November 23 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Box office closes 1 hour before show closing.
Admission: $10.00 Adults, $5.00 Children ages 6-12
Children under 6 admitted free
Friday, November 21: $2.00 off senior discount, age 65+ with ID.
Friday is Military Day – with proper military ID, military members receive free admission to the show. Friday is also Heels & Wheels Night, when from 5 – 8 PM all women receive a $2 discount on admission.
Information: 800-251-1563
Web Site: www.ConnAutoShow.com
Sponsored By: Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association