17 Aug

N.A.R.T.’s 60th Anniversary Celebration; Special Movie Screening in Norwalk September 28th

Paul Newman with Luigi Chinetti Jr. at Bonneville Salt Flats in 1974 Archived Photo

Paul Newman with N.A.R.T Team Manager Dick Fritz at Bonneville Salt Flats in 1974 Archived Photo

Norwalk, Conn. – On Wednesday, September 28th at 6:30 PM, the New England Auto Museum will host a special one-night celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T.) featuring film presentations on the Ferrari team’s Bonneville speed record attempts in 1974 and the development of the Ferrari N.A.R.T. Spyder at the Stepping Stones Multimedia Gallery in Norwalk. The goal is to raise funds for the nonprofit New England Auto Museum, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a permanent facility for display and education in automotive arts and technology.

In September 1974, with N.A.R.T.’s short racing season over, Luigi Chinetti Jr., son of Ferrari legend Luigi Chinetti, decided it would be fun to go to Bonneville in an attempt to break some old speed records; some by Ab Jenkins had stood for over 35 years. To do this would entail taking three cars, and a pit crew. Having raised about $40,000 in sponsorship deals, it was a viable proposition. Two Ferrari 365 GTB4 Daytona’s, one as a spare car, and a Le Mans prototype 512M, were dispatched together with an eclectic mix of drivers, 2-time Formula One world champion Graham Hill, actor Paul Newman and then current N.A.R.T. driver Milt Minter joined Chinetti Jr., to discover what could be achieved under the direction of team manager Dick Fritz.

Speed record breaking Ferrari 512M Le Mans Prototype on the Salt Flats Archived Photo

Speed record breaking Ferrari 512M Le Mans Prototype on the Salt Flats
Archived Photo

There were two courses at Bonneville: the straight-line course and also a 10-mile oval. It was the latter that was being used, with its straights of just over two miles in length, and the curves at each end that, through necessity were very long and gradual. The shorter distance records were attempted first in the 512M, and then progressively longer ones in the 365 GTB4, each record falling as the string of drivers took his turn at the wheel. It all seemed surreal, having two cars circulating in the middle of nowhere, coming in for rapid refueling, and driver change-over, and at the same time being filmed by CBS-TV. The only unfortunate thing was that the 24-hour record remained unbroken, as the 365 GTB4’s front right tire burst, affecting the suspension. A half-hour’s work to rectify the problem took the car out of the equation for breaking the record, so the team gave up the unequal struggle. After the event, Chinetti Jr. said, “It was easy to see how the old record had stood for so long.”

Denise McCluggage driving the N.A.R.T. Spyder at Sebring 12-Hour in 1967 Archived Photo

Denise McCluggage driving the N.A.R.T. Spyder at Sebring 12-Hour in 1967
Archived Photo

In addition to the Bonneville film, the program will include documentary footage by Peter Leahey about the development of the legendary N.A.R.T. Spyder. Luigi Chinetti’s influence with Enzo Ferrari was such that he convinced the factory to build a series of 10 275 GTB4/Spyders with bodies by Scaglietti which became known as the N.A.R.T. Spyders. The first N.A.R.T. Spyder was shipped to America in February 1967, just in time for the Sebring 12-hour race where it was driven by Denise McCluggage and Pinkie Rollo. They finished in a respectable 17th place and second in class behind a Shelby GT350, a good result considering that, mechanically, it was a standard production specification car. Of the ten N.A.R.T. Spyders built, the McCluggage car was the only one raced before being sold to a customer. Initially painted in pale yellow, it became even more well-known later on as the car Faye Dunaway drove in the “Thomas Crowne Affair” with Steve McQueen in the lead role. The car was resprayed maroon for the movie, with McQueen famously calling it “one of those red Italian things”.

Steve McQueen with the N.A.R.T .Spyder in “The Thomas Crowne Affair” Archived Photo

Steve McQueen with the N.A.R.T .Spyder in “The Thomas Crowne Affair”
Archived Photo

Complementing the Bonneville and N.A.R.T. Spyder film presentations, the event will include a panel of former N.A.R.T. team members who will share reminiscences on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the team’s formation in 1957. At this writing, this group includes former mechanics for N.A.R.T. Roger Colson and Francois Sicard, and it will be emceed by Jerry Cotrone, ex-Chinetti Motors employee and curator of the Malcolm Pray Achievement Center in Bedford, N.Y.

This special one-night commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the N.A.R.T. Racing Team will take place Wednesday, September 28th from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres, provided by Rive Bistro Restaurant of Westport, will be served in the hour before the show. Weather permitting, the actual Ferrari 512M that went to Bonneville will be on display in the museum’s courtyard. Location will be the Stepping Stones Museum Multi-Media Gallery at 303 West Avenue in Norwalk (Mathews Park). Sponsors of the event include Dragone Auctions, Hagerty Insurance, Pray Auto Body, Pray Achievement Center, Spacefitters Logistics & Technology Group and Rive Bistro Restaurant. Tickets will be $20 per person and space is limited to 150 attendees. Tickets can be purchased at www.neautomuseum.org

Article includes excerpts from “N.A.R.T. A Concise History of the North American Racing Team 1957 to 1983” by Terry O’Neil

N.A.R.T. Bonneville Record Runs
September 23 – 24, 1974

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05 Aug

Party Hats on: Events for Chevrolet Camaro 50th Anniversary Ready to Roll

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Camaro cruising, plant tours, historic cars part of celebration

Lansing, Mich. – It may be urban lore, but when asked for the meaning behind the name Camaro, some Chevrolet managers said it was a small, vicious animal that ate Mustangs.

General Motors unleashed the Camaro name on the world 50 years ago this summer. That means the tiny beast has a big party in the making, and Chevy will stage anniversary celebrations in August during Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual rolling salute to those who love cars.

The original Camaro, codenamed Panther, was designed to battle the Ford Mustang which was shown as a concept in 1962 and then introduced April 17, 1964. Mustang was the first American “pony car” and the inspiration for a small field of affordable sporty coupes with long hoods and a wide stance that grew to include the Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, Plymouth Barracuda, and Dodge Challenger. Imports such as the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri further expanded the pool.

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When it was time to name Chevrolet’s Mustang fighter, a project that had been codenamed Panther, GM held a playful press conference on June 28, 1966. Chevrolet General Manager Pete Estes dubbed those in attendance as charter members of the “Society for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World” in their first and last meeting. Then he told the world the new car would be called the Camaro.

The public got its first look at the all-new Camaro in September 1966, and the original 1967 Camaro went on sale on September 29, 1966. GM sold 220,906 in the first year. Today, it is largely a two-car battle between Mustang and Camaro, both in their sixth generation, both smaller and lighter but retaining their mission to offer affordable performance. In 2015, Mustang won the sales race handily; selling 122,349 in the U.S. compared with 77,502 Camaros, and Ford maintains its lead through May of this year with almost 53,200 sales compared with 31,865 Camaros.

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With anniversary celebrations in full swing, GM has provided a look at some of the activities coming up.

GM will offer tours starting at 7 a.m. on August 18 of the Lansing Grand River plant, where the current Camaro is built. The 45-minute tours end at 3:30 p.m. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at building the Camaro from the ground up,” said Todd Christensen, Camaro marketing manager. There will also be a car show, displays of past Camaros and a chance to talk to Camaro team members including Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser. Owners can vie for spots in a parking area for up to 500 Camaros and there will be on-site food and Camaro merchandise for sale.

When GM resumed production of the Camaro in 2009 after a seven-year hiatus, it was built in Oshawa, Ontario. Moving it to Lansing in the fall of 2015 marked the first time the car has been built in Michigan. The all-new 2016 Camaro is smaller, lighter, and more agile and rides on a new platform. It was named Motor Trend Car of the Year in 2016.

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If robots are not your thing, Chevrolet will host “Camaros and Coffee” in Detroit starting at 7:30 a.m. on August 19. Everyone with a Camaro is invited to the Joe Louis Arena Riverfront parking lot where the first 500 cars will be staged and at 9:45 a.m. some 50th Anniversary edition Camaros will lead participants to Woodward Avenue to drive the Dream Cruise route.

And on August 20, the official day of the Dream Cruise, there will be a Camaro heritage display at the Chevrolet site along Woodward Avenue with some rare and iconic models as well as the new 2017 Camaro ZL1 and 1LE. For more Camaro history with pictures and design illustrations GM has created a special media site where enthusiasts can stay on top of event plans.

“Over the past half-century, the Camaro has fostered enthusiasm, camaraderie and memories like few other vehicles,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director of Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. “It’s a passion Chevrolet takes seriously and the activities this summer are a way of giving back to those who have made the Camaro an icon.”

Source: Alisa Priddle, MotorTrend.com Photos: Chevrolet

16 Jul

Exciting Changes for Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 34 September 1 – 5

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LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Since 1983, Lime Rock Park has held its annual celebration of historic motoring significance by combining authentic-car vintage racing with a prestigious Concours d’Elegance. It’s an event unique to North America in that the racing and the concours are all on one property during one major vintage and historic event.

The historic racing on Lime Rock’s classic 1.5-mile, 7-turn circuit on Friday, Saturday and Labor Day Monday sandwiches the Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance, held on the track’s 2,200-foot Sam Posey Straight.

In the past decade the Historic Festival has added a 17-mile race car parade-and-rally over local roads and through three town centers, ending in a community street fair in nearby Falls Village, as well as creating a 1,000-car Gathering of the Marques car show that’s held concomitant with the concours.

New for 2016’s Historic Festival is an automobile auction, “Cars for Enthusiasts.” Conducted by famed New York City house Guernsey’s, the auction will begin immediately following the September 4 Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance awards ceremony.

“As a vintage automobile racer, concours participant, concours judge and enthusiastic sports car fan, I have watched the growth of Lime Rock’s wonderful Historic Festival,” said Arlan Ettinger, Guernsey’s president. “It is our hope that the auction helps to make this terrific event even better.”

Festival Chairman Murray Smith has also confirmed a number of other elements for this year’s Historic Festival 34:

► The Festival welcomes a presenting sponsor, the Prestige Family of Fine Cars, the leading vehicle dealer network in the Tri-State Region with more than 50 years of service to the car-buying public in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The dealer group retails a number of marques including BMW, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Scion, Toyota and Volkswagen, out of Wappinger’s Falls and Middletown, N.Y.; Paramus, Mahwah and Ramsey, N.J.; and Stamford, Conn.

Historic Festival 34’s Honored Guests are the dynamic duo of John Morton and Pete Brock. Among Brock’s numerous accomplishments is, of course, his designing the Daytona Cobra Coupe and founding his wildly successful Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE)… for which Morton was asked to drive and together, they won prodigiously between 1969 and 1972 in BRE Datsun’s in C-Production and 2.5-liter Trans-Am. Morton will race a BRE Datsun 240Z over the weekend, too

New-for-2016 Tin Top race group has already burgeoned to 20+ entries, with more expected

► Another of this year’s nine race groups are the wildly popular cars from the Historic Trans-Am organization; authentic pony cars that raced in Trans-Am in the iconic 1966 – 1972 period

► Along with the expected 250+ entrants in the Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance will be one of the six Duesenbergs (to be announced soon) that have won Pebble Beach’s Best of Show since 1969.

Find more information at www.limerockhistorics.com

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Courtesy Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 34

10 Jul

Lime Rock Calling for Saloons & ‘Tin Tops’ to join Historic Festival 34 September 1 – 5

LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Historic Festival 34 Chairman Murray Smith announced an all-new – and likely a first for an authentic and significant U.S. historic racing weekend – race group for Lime Rock Park’s 34th Historic Festival, September 1-5, 2016. “I’m sounding the clarion call for owners and drivers of saloons and ‘tin tops’ to join us in early September to create a fabulous grid of pre-1970 racing sedans,” Smith says. “This rare race group will be in the manner of the cars in Goodwood’s ‘St. Mary’s Trophy’; Ford Galaxies, BMWs, Mini Coopers, Lotus Cortinas, Anglias, Alfa Romeo 1600s, Jaguar Mk2s, Hillman Imps and the like.”

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A “St. Mary’s Trophy” race from Goodwood. Image courtesy Goodwood R&R

“I imagine this race group will be extremely popular with the spectators, not to mention the other 250-odd racing entrants.”

Smith, who has chaired Lime Rock’s long-standing vintage extravaganza since HF27 (2009), says the Festival already attracts a handful of saloons that are sprinkled throughout existing race groups but now wants tin-top drivers to have a group of their own.

“We might be a bit relaxed this first year with regard to makes and models, but we hope to attract a wonderfully wide range of suitable cars,” Smith said. (See list below.)

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Click image for Goodwood’s St. Mary’s Trophy race footagee

Entrants are encouraged to contact Murray Smith at murray.smith@ctspeed.com with queries and/or for more information, as well as Historic Festival 34 Executive Administrator Jeanette Veitenheimer, historics@limerock.com. The Entry Form can be found at limerockhistorics.com/entrants/participationform/

Historic Festival 34 “Tin-Top” Race Group, Eligible Cars
Including, but not necessarily limited to:

Alfa Romeo GT, GTA, 1600, 1900, Giulia
Austin A40/A35
BMW 502, 700, Ti, 1800 TiSA
Borgward Isabella
Chevy Corvair/Yenko Corvair
Datsun 510
DKW F2
Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant
Fiat Abarth, 124, 1500S
Ford Cortina, Lotus Cortina, Escort, Zephyr, Zodiac, Galaxy, Thunderbolt, Falcon, Anglia, Prefect
Hillman Imp, Minx
Isuzu Bellett
Jaguar MkI/MkII/MkVII
Lancia Fulvia, Aurelia
Mercedes 220, 300
MG Magnette (ZA/ZB/MkIII/MkIV)
Mini (all)
Morris Minor 1000
Peugeot 203
Renault R8, Gordini, 4CV
Riley 1.5
Rover P4
Saab 96
Standard Ten, Vanguard
Sunbeam Rapier
Volvo 1800, P544, Amazon 122 S
Westminster A105
Wolseley 1500

About the Historic Festival: Since 1983, the East Coast’s premier vintage racing and concours event has been the Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park, held annually over Labor Day weekend. No other venue in the U.S. has three days of on-track racing sandwiching a prestigious concours event, all on the same property, all at the same time. Historic Festival 34 is Thursday, September 1 (17-mile Vintage Race & Sports Car Parade) through Monday, September 5, while the Sunday in the Park Concours d’ Elegance & Gathering of the Marques is September 4. Schedule: Thursday, Vintage Race Car Parade; Friday, Practice & Qualifying; Saturday, 18 races and demonstration laps; Sunday in the Park Concours; Monday, 18 races and demonstration laps. Visit limerockhistorics.com

Volvo Amazon 122S at Lime Rock Park Historic Festival

Volvo Amazon 122S at Lime Rock Park Historic Festival

 

15 Jun

Sneak Peak! New Fiat 124 Spider on its way to Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk on Sunday June 19

2017 Fiat 124 Spider (Photo Fiat)

2017 Fiat 124 Spider (Photo Fiat)

Norwalk, Conn. – The Fiat 124 Spider first hit the road in 1966 as a 2+2 roadster based on the 124 Coupe’s platform. The model lived a long life, as it ran all the way through 1982. When Mazda announced that it was creating an all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata, it also revealed that it co-developed the roadster’s chassis with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, owners of the Fiat brand. Initially, FCA was going to use the chassis to underpin an Alfa Romeo roadster, but it later chose to use it under a Fiat model. Then, in March 2015 at the Geneva Auto Show, FCA announced that the new Fiat convertible would resurrect the 124 Spider nameplate starting in 2016. The roadster was finally unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Although it shares underpinnings with the new MX-5 Miata, the 124 Spider received an exterior styling of its own, sharing not even a single body panel with its Japanese sibling. The engine is also different, with Fiat opting to use one of its very own turbocharged four-cylinder units developed by Alfa Romeo.

If you’re among those who were complaining about Mazda not offering a turbo Miata, then the 124 Spider might be what you’re looking for. While they feature different exteriors and engines, the roadsters share an almost identical interior. That’s not to say Fiat was lazy and didn’t want to give the 124’s cabin an identity of its own. It actually has to do with reducing costs and the fact that the MX-5’s interior is very spacious and comfortable for a small car.

Styling of the Fiat 124 Spider has been termed “arguably the most beautiful, elegant, and well-proportioned neo-retro design seen in a very long time” by TopSpeed.com. What makes the 124 Spider such a beautiful car is that it borrowed several styling cues from the original model. Designed by Tom Tjaarda at Pininfarina, the first-generation 124 Sport Spider, which was launched in 1966, is widely considered one of the most beautiful roadsters ever built.

The very first 2017 Fiat 124 Spiders imported to North America are just now arriving in the Greater New York area and one will hopefully arrive in time for the Father’s Day Car Show in Mathews Park, Norwalk this Sunday, June 19 courtesy of one of the show’s Premium Sponsors, Alfa Romeo Fiat of Larchmont. The dealership is owned by Alfredo Gulla, an authorized Alfa Romeo Fiat dealer since 1961, who will serve as Grand Marshal of the 2nd Annual Father’s Day event supporting the nonprofit New England Auto Museum.

The show will run from 10 AM to 3 PM and is open to all years, makes and models of show cars. Owners can pre-register their cars at www.neautomuseum.org for $10 per car. Spectators’ admission to the show is free with a voluntary donation suggested to the New England Auto Museum, a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization. Nearby attractions the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum and Stepping Stones Children’s Museum will be open during the show with special promotions for Father’s Day.

New Fiat 124 Spider with its vintage namesake (Photo Fiat)

New Fiat 124 Spider with its vintage namesake (Photo Fiat)

18 May

Sleek Alfa Romeo Guilia SS coming to Mathews Park in Norwalk for Father’s Day Car Show

Aerodynamic styling: 1963 Alfa Romeo Guilia SS (Photo ARI)

Aerodynamic styling: 1963 Alfa Romeo Guilia SS (Photo ARI)

Norwalk, Conn. – The Bertone-designed Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale was introduced in 1957 at the Turin Motor Show. This rocket-like interpretation of the Giulietta Sprint Coupe, inspired by Alfa Romeo’s famous BAT concept cars, was penned by designer Franco Scaglione and achieved a record (for a production car) .28 coefficient of drag, not bested for over twenty years after the car’s introduction. With its aerodynamic body, the car was capable of over 100 mph with a tiny1290 cc twin-cam engine. In 1963, disc brakes were fitted and the engine grew from a 1300cc to a 1600cc, which accompanied a name change from Giulietta to Giulia (the ‘grown-up’ Giulietta). Some small interior changes were made also but the exterior remained unchanged, save for the name badges. With twin Weber carburetors, the new 1600 cc engine, made 112 bhp and with a 5-speed transmission allowed a top speed of 113 mph and a 0-to-60 time of 10.9 seconds, comparable to the Lotus Elite and Porsche 356B of the same vintage.

A beautifully restored example of this model will be displayed at the Father’s Day Car Show at Mathews Park in Norwalk on Sunday, June 19th from 10AM to 3PM. It will be shown by Automotive Restorations Inc. of Stratford, Conn. as part of a celebration of the Alfa Romeo marque which is making a return to the U.S. market after a 20 year hiatus. ARI completed an extensive restoration on the car in 2015 including a new interior and body refinishing. Somehow, the Giulietta and Giulia Sprint Speciales were long overlooked by collectors. Brian Rabold, Hagerty’s Valuation Services Senior Manager, explains that the Speciales were, “long ignored by Alfisti because of their wild styling and heavier weight.” But that “Sprint Speciales came on strong in the market four years ago and values are now more than 140% higher than in 2010. Today, cars in excellent condition can cost in excess of $150,000, which could have landed 5 or 6 similar examples 10 years ago.”

Vintage race eligible: 1968 Ginetta G16/001 on track at Sebring (Photo ARI)

Vintage race eligible: 1968 Ginetta G16/001 on track at Sebring (Photo ARI)

Alongside of the Guilia SS, ARI will display a 1968 Ginetta G16 race car. The first of seven cars built by Ginetta Cars, Ltd. to compete in the European FIA 2 liter GT Championship, this car was campaigned in SCCA races on the West Coast for two seasons and then parked for the next 18 years.

In 1987, G16/001 was purchased by Trevor Needham, a well-known Ginetta racer and restorer, and returned to England where it underwent a complete rebuild. The original Coventry Climax 2 liter engine having been sold previously, the car was fitted with a period correct Lester Owen BMW M10 2 liter engine. Trevor raced G16/001 in the International Supersports Cup series in Europe from 1992-1997, taking numerous class wins.

The car was sold to its third and current owner in November, 1999 and shipped to the US where it was mechanically restored and brought up to US vintage racing standards by Vintage Racing Services of Stratford, Conn. It has been successfully raced in many events on the vintage circuit including the Monterey Historic Races, as well as winning the SVRA Group 5 and overall Endurance Championship.

Anyone interested in showing a car at this year’s Father’s Day Car Show may pre-register HERE – it’s only $10/per car to pre-register ($15 at the show entrance). Spectator admission is free. Dash plaques will be available for the first 100 cars to register.

New England Auto Museum
The New England Auto Museum will be an exciting new attraction for the state of Connecticut and throughout the Northeast. This non-profit organization will build a first class facility dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historic automobiles and automobile artifacts. It will serve as both an educational learning center as well as a display center to highlight an ever changing evolution of car history and its impact on society. Find more information at www.neautomuseum.org

09 May

Famous Ford Model AR “Car-Toon” Truck to be featured at the Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk

Robert Luczum’s 1928 Ford Model AR “Car-toon” Truck   (Photo Robert Luczun)

Robert Luczum’s 1928 Ford Model AR “Car-toon” Truck (Photo Robert Luczun)

Norwalk, Conn. – There’s a special 1928 Ford Model AR Roadster Pickup that’s a big hit with both kids and adults that will be on display at the Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk on Sunday June 19th from 10AM to 3PM.

Owner and artist Robert Luczun has spent more than three thousand hours airbrushing cartoon characters on the car, dating back from 1896 up until his newest addition of characters from the hit movie “Frozen”. The car has been a crowd-pleasing hit at many events including the New York Auto Show, Comic-Com NY, the Hilton Head Concours, the Newark Art Museum and the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA.

It has been termed a true work of art by automotive and art experts alike including Gary Bennett, Vice President of Barrett-Jackson Auctions who said “This is one of the most unique vehicles I have ever seen, it is amazing! It’s absolutely a fabulous car!”

Kids and adults love recognizing the characters on the “Car-toon” Truck (Photo Robert Luczun)

Kids and adults love recognizing the characters on the “Car-toon” Truck (Photo Robert Luczun)

The truck will be part of the collection of over 100 show cars on display at the show and the Model A Ford will be one of the show’s featured marques. Model A’s followed Ford’s legendary Model T and almost 5 million were built during its production run from 1928 to 1931. Today, the Model A is one of the most collected and beloved antique cars in the United States and around the world.

The other featured marque at this year’s show will be Alfa Romeo headlined by the Grand Marshal of the show Alfredo Gulla of Larchmont, NY, an Alfa Romeo dealer for 55 years, who is welcoming the brand’s return to the U.S. market.

In addition to Model A Fords and Alfa Romeo cars, anyone interested in showing a car at this year’s Father’s Day Car Show may pre-register HERE – it’s only $10/per car to pre-register ($15 at the show entrance). Spectator admission is free. Dash plaques will be available for the first 100 cars to register.

New England Auto Museum
The New England Auto Museum will be an exciting new attraction for the state of Connecticut and throughout the Northeast. This non-profit organization will build a first class facility dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historic automobiles and automobile artifacts. It will serve as both an educational learning center as well as a display center to highlight an ever changing evolution of car history and its impact on society. Find more information at www.neautomuseum.org

04 May

Award Winning Lotus Elan S4 Sprint will be displayed at the Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk on June 19

David Porter’s 1971 Lotus Elan S4 Sprint (Photo David Porter)

David Porter’s 1971 Lotus Elan S4 Sprint (Photo David Porter)

Norwalk, Conn. – Renowned local car collector and vintage race car driver David Porter will be displaying his 1971 Lotus Elan S4 Sprint roadster in the Father’s Day Car Show at Mathews Park in Norwalk on June 19, 2016 from 10AM to 3PM. Porter, who resides in Darien, restored the car from virtually barn-find condition over a period of three years doing all the mechanical work himself. The car represents the last iteration of Colin Chapman’s Elan S4 series of cars originally introduced in 1968. The unique paint treatment on the Series 4 Sprint models was meant to evoke the Gold Leaf cigarettes livery of the company’s Grand Prix cars which had won multiple world championships. David Porter is well known at local car shows both for the Lotus and also his immaculate Jaguar XK-150S which won both the People’s Choice Award and the Coachmen Car Club trophy at last year’s NEAM Father’s Day show in Norwalk.

The S4 Elan was introduced in 1968 and can be distinguished from its predecessors by its slightly flared wheel arches, wider tires, and Jaguar tail lights. The S4 also had an aggressive-looking bulge in the bonnet to house the Stromberg carburetors. The much anticipated Sprint version was announced in 1970 at the Earls Court Motor Show, and promised more power for the 1971 cars. Ex-BRM engineer Tony Rudd was able to squeeze an incredible for the time 126 horsepower out of the little 1600 Twin Cam, labeled the ‘Big Valve’ engine. This gave the 1,500 pound Elan lively performance and demonstrated yet again the advantage of adding lightness. It bears repeating that the Elan is an extremely important car. The classic Ron Hickman design was actually the first Lotus to utilize the famous backbone chassis, and the way the car perfectly captured the essence of ’60s British motoring was recognized decades later by Mazda in their development of the original Miata. It also helped establish Lotus as a legitimate manufacturer.
David Porter’s car has been stunningly well restored and is considered an almost perfect example of the S4 Sprint model. It won its class in 2015 at the Lime Rock Historics concours and has won recognition at several other shows including the Alden Sherman Classic in Weston, CT.

The perfect car for a brisk run in the countryside (Photo David Porter)

The perfect car for a brisk run in the countryside (Photo David Porter)

Anyone interested in showing a car at this year’s Father’s Day Car Show may pre-register HERE – it’s only $10/per car to pre-register ($15 at the show entrance). Spectator admission is free. Dash plaques will be available for the first 100 cars to register.

New England Auto Museum
The New England Auto Museum will be an exciting new attraction for the state of Connecticut and throughout the Northeast. This non-profit organization will build a first class facility dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historic automobiles and automobile artifacts. It will serve as both an educational learning center as well as a display center to highlight an ever changing evolution of car history and its impact on society. Find more information at www.neautomuseum.org

11 Mar

Klingberg Festival Director Mark Johnson to speak at next NEAM Speakers Event in Westport April 2nd

Mark Johnson opening the Klingberg History Museum in New Britain, 2014 (Photo Hartford Courant)

Mark Johnson opening the Klingberg History Museum in New Britain, 2014 (Photo Hartford Courant)

Westport, Conn. – On the heels of another well-attended Speakers event in February, the New England Auto Museum will follow up with a presentation by Klingberg Festival Director Mark Johnson on Saturday, April 2 at Dragone Classic Gallery & Showroom in Westport.

The third and last of the winter series scheduled to begin at 11 AM will highlight Connecticut’s storied past as the cradle of the U.S. automotive industry. Companies like Corbin from New Britain; Pope-Hartford, Columbia and Kelsey-Motorette from Hartford; Frisbee and Compound from Middletown; Cameron from New London, Stamford and Trumbull — and, of course, Locomobile from Bridgeport — all helped to establish American dominance in the early days of the automobile. At the turn of the 20th Century, Connecticut and the surrounding region was home to the innovators and pioneers such as the Duryea brothers, Andrew Riker, Col. Albert Pope and Hiram Maxim who collectively invented virtually every element of what is today’s modern car.

(Archived Photo)

(Archived Photo)

In New Britain, Connecticut on the Saturday of Father’s Day weekend June 18th, 2016, more than 350 of the finest automobiles made between 1900 and the present will descend upon the city for the 24rd Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival at Klingberg Family Centers on Linwood Street. Thousands of people are expected to attend, and cars will come from eight states.

Last year’s show featured more than 50 vehicles manufactured between 1900 and 1915 featured in the pre-war section, including steam and electric cars. Nine were manufactured in Connecticut, including a 1914 Trumbull Coupe, made by the Trumbull Motor Car Co. of Bridgeport; a 1905 Columbia Brougham, an electric car made by Pope Manufacturing in Hartford; a 1900 Locomobile Steamer as well as the oldest-known surviving model of the “Hartford” also made by Pope until 1915.

Wayne Carini and his late father Bob Carini at the 2014 Klingberg Festival (Photo Klingberg Festival)

Wayne Carini and his late father Bob Carini at the 2014 Klingberg Festival (Photo Klingberg Festival)

At his presentation on April 2nd, Mark Johnson, Klingberg Festival’s Director will discuss plans for this year’s show scheduled for June 18th which will feature TV personality Wayne Carini of Velocity’s “Chasing Classic Cars” as Grand Marshall along with Wayne’s daughter Lindsay Cushing. Wayne and his family share this honor in recognition of Father’s Day and the importance of families and this year will pay tribute to Bob Carini, Wayne’s father, who also served as Grand Marshal for several years and sadly passed away in January 2016 and will be greatly missed. Wayne’s passion for cars started when he was a child working alongside his dad on such classics as Duesenbergs, Lincolns, Packards and Ford Model A’s. Then, at just 9 years of age, he experienced a life altering event: he went for a ride in his first Ferrari. This set him on a career journey dealing with all types of vintage automobile collectors throughout the world. In addition to his popular TV show, Wayne Carini is involved in and regularly attends many different car clubs and events to get young people involved in the car collector hobby. He believes that without young people’s involvement, the car collector tradition will disappear. Wayne supports the Automobile Restoration Program at Klingberg’s Raymond Hill School.

George Dragone introducing author Pat Foster at Feb. 27 Speakers event (Photo New England Auto Museum)

George Dragone introducing author Pat Foster at Feb. 27 Speakers event
(Photo New England Auto Museum)

Tickets for the Speakers event featuring Mark Johnson will be $15 per person and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the museum’s web site www.neautomuseum.org. Refreshments and a light luncheon will be provided as part of the program. The Dragone Showroom is located at 176 Post Road West in Westport, Conn. Weather permitting, owners of classic and special interest automobiles are welcome to display their cars in Dragone’s spacious parking area.

Source: New England Auto Museum

Hagerty Regional Manager Will Corr set up at Dragone’s Westport showroom (Photo New England Auto Museum)

Hagerty Regional Manager Will Corr set up at Dragone’s Westport showroom
(Photo New England Auto Museum)

02 Mar

Alfa Romeo & Model A Ford to headline the 2nd Annual Father’s Day Car Show on Sunday, June 19th at Mathews Park in Norwalk

Spectators and classic cars at the 2015 Father’s Day Car Show at Mathews Park in Norwalk (Photo New England Auto Museum)

Spectators and classic cars at the 2015 Father’s Day Car Show at Mathews Park in Norwalk (Photo New England Auto Museum)

Norwalk, Conn. – On Sunday, June 19, 2016 New England Auto Museum will again present a Father’s Day Car Show on the lawn of Mathews Park in Norwalk, site of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. The event will be held from 10AM to 3PM and will offer hundreds of unique cars to view. Admission to the event is free to spectators; a donation will be voluntary and any proceeds will go towards the New England Auto Museum’s building and education funds. The New England Auto Museum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Great food and refreshments will be provided all day by the Port 5 Naval Veterans along with music and prizes from Car Tunes Classics, trophies for People’s Choice, Best in Show and more.

Spectators can come out and enjoy an afternoon of classic cars in all shapes and sizes, talk with the owners, be a judge and select their favorite car, grab a bite to eat and even visit the Stepping Stones Children’s Museum and tour the historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, right next door. It’s a great afternoon for Dad and the whole family!

New this year, the Father’s Day Car Show will feature two celebrated automotive marques: from Europe will be Alfa Romeo automobiles including pre-war and post war models and from America the Model A Ford of which almost 5 million examples were produced from 1927 to 1931.

The iconic Alfa Romeo Spider celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016 (Photo: Hemmings)

The iconic Alfa Romeo Spider celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016 (Photo: Hemmings)

Founded in Milan as A.L.F.A. in 1910, Alfa Romeo has been involved in auto racing since its early beginnings and boasts the world’s title for most racing wins of any automotive marque in history. This year is the 50th Anniversary of the iconic Alfa Spider which gained fame in the blockbuster 1967 movie “The Graduate.” Now owned by the Fiat Chrysler organization, the brand has returned to the U.S. market, last year with the exotic 4C sports car and coming this year a new sports sedan, the Guilia Quadrifoglio equipped with a 500 hp Ferrari-derived V-6 engine.

2017 Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio (Photo: Car and Driver)

2017 Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio (Photo: Car and Driver)

The Model A Ford is beloved by collectors for its simplicity and ease of maintenance as well as being fun to drive. It is one of the most collected marques in the country and boasts of five owners clubs in the state of Connecticut alone. The Model A was the second huge sales success for Ford Motor Company after its predecessor the Model T, and was the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls with conventional clutch and brake pedals, throttle, and gearshift.

1928 Model A Ford, almost 5 million built up to 1931(Photo: Wikipedia)

1928 Model A Ford, almost 5 million built up to 1931(Photo: Wikipedia)

Anyone interested in showing a car may pre-register online at the New England Auto Museum website (after April 3rd); it’s only $10/per car. Spectator admission is free. Prizes will include awards for the Peoples’ Choice; the Mayor’s Choice, Best in Show and many more. Dash plaques will be available for the first 100 cars to register.

New England Auto Museum
The New England Auto Museum will be an exciting new attraction for the state of Connecticut and throughout the Northeast. This non-profit organization will build a first class facility dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historic automobiles and automobile artifacts. It will serve as both an educational learning center as well as a display center to highlight an ever changing evolution of car history and its impact on society. Find more information at www.neautomuseum.org

2015 Best in Show winner ’64 Austin-Healey 3000 MkII owned by Ryan Ledwith (Photo New England Auto Museum)

2015 Best in Show winner ’64 Austin-Healey 3000 MkII owned by Ryan Ledwith
(Photo New England Auto Museum)