04 Mar

Karl Chevrolet Signs on as Presenting Sponsor of the New England Auto Museum Father’s Day Car Show June 18th in Norwalk

Karl Chevrolet was founded in 1927 by Leo and Emil Karl, two of seven brothers (Photo courtesy of the Karl family)

Karl Chevrolet was founded in 1927 by Leo and Emil Karl, two of seven brothers
(Photo courtesy of the Karl family)

Norwalk, Conn. – New England Auto Museum has announced that Karl Chevrolet of New Canaan has signed on as the Presenting Sponsor of the 3rd Annual Father’s Day Car Show to be held Sunday June 18th from 10AM to 3PM at Mathews Park in Norwalk.

Karl Chevrolet is a third generation, award winning, auto dealership bringing the family’s long time automotive experience to customers from Wilton CT to Mt. Kisco NY and all throughout Fairfield and Westchester counties. For almost 90 years, thousands of customers have come to Karl Chevrolet and experienced their motto: “Honesty, Integrity, Service and Trust! We work hard to earn your business!”

In 1927, Leo Karl, one of the seven brothers, got an opportunity to purchase a Chevrolet dealership that had been struggling. He opened it in New Canaan with a younger brother, Emil, on September 15, of that year. For some months they were located on Railroad Avenue (today Elm Street) opposite the train station, and they moved to their current location nearby the following year. In its first year, Karl Chevrolet sold 34 new and 38 used cars.

Recently Karl Chevrolet received a 2017 DealerRater Dealer of the Year Award which recognizes auto dealerships across the United States and Canada who deliver outstanding customer service, based on consumer reviews written on DealerRater.com. “Car buyers have spoken and have identified Karl Chevrolet as the best Chevrolet dealer to do business with in Connecticut,” DealerRater CEO Gary Tucker said in a press release. “The quality and number of reviews for Karl Chevrolet speak volumes of the top-notch experiences they provide to customers.” In expressing appreciation for the award, Karl Chevrolet President Leo Karl III added “It’s not rocket science; we try to take care of each customer on an individual basis”

In its 3rd year, the NEAM Father’s Day Show takes advantage of its surroundings on the spacious lawns of the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum which provide a scenic backdrop for a spectacular collection of classic cars. The show provides a wide variety of attractions for car owners and spectators alike including tours of the Mansion and the neighboring Stepping Stones Children’s Museum as well as great BBQ food, ice cream and games.

The addition of Karl Chevrolet as Presenting Sponsor highlights the selection of the Chevrolet Camaro, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, as featured American marque.

Camaro # 001, the first of 49 hand built prototypes assembled in Norwood, Ohio in 1966 (Photo Chevrolet Division)

Camaro # 001, the first of 49 hand built prototypes assembled in Norwood, Ohio in 1966 (Photo Chevrolet Division)

The Camaro was officially announced as a 1967 model on June 28, 1966 by Chevrolet Division’s General Manager Pete Estes. GM marketers claimed to have found the name Camaro in an old French-English Dictionary, translating to “friend, pal, or comrade.” It was also joked that a Camaro was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.” The Camaro was undoubtedly a direct response to the success of Ford’s pony car, and its design reflected that.

Camaro will also be honored as a featured marque at the upcoming Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. In announcing the honor, Concours Chairman Bill Warner summarized the car’s secrets to success and longevity, “The Camaro brought affordable world-class design to American car showrooms.” Warner added, “With a big list of models and options one could build a very personalized Camaro. Camaros were road-racing and drag-racing champions, luxury GT cars, Saturday night cruisers, top-down beach cruisers, you name it. Now they’ve taken their rightful place as true modern classics.”

To celebrate the 50 year milestone of the Camaro’s debut, Chevrolet has introduced a specially equipped 50th Anniversary Edition available with unique Nightfall Gray exterior color and orange stripe package plus special interior and exterior trim elements. The special edition is available in both coupe and convertible models and power train options include the 6.2 liter L1-V8 and 6-speed transmission which will deliver a 0-60 time of 4 seconds flat. Karl Chevrolet will be displaying a 50th Anniversary Edition Camaro at the Father’s Day Car Show.

2017 Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition (Photo Chevrolet Division)

2017 Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition (Photo Chevrolet Division)

Anyone interested in showing a car at the Father’s Day Car Show may pre-register online at the New England Auto Museum website at only $15/per car or at the gate on the day of the show for $20/per car. All show cars will be welcome with no cut-off year. Spectator admission is free. Prizes will include awards for the Peoples’ Choice, the Mayor’s Choice, Favorite in Show and many more. Dash plaques will be available for the first 100 cars to register.

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

29 Sep

60th Anniversary of N.A.R.T Celebrated by New England Auto Museum September 28th

Emcee Jerry Cotrone introduces N.A.R.T veterans Luigi Chinetti Jr., Francois Sicard, Roger Colson, Jean-Louis Lebreton and Bob Craige at 60thAnniversary Celebration  Photo: Judy Stropus

Emcee Jerry Cotrone introduces N.A.R.T veterans Luigi Chinetti Jr., Francois Sicard, Roger Colson, Jean-Louis Lebreton and Bob Craige at 60thAnniversary Celebration – Photo: Judy Stropus

Norwalk, Conn. – On September 28th, over 100 guests joined the New England Auto Museum to pay tribute to the Connecticut-based North American Racing Team on the eve of the team’s 60th anniversary at Stepping Stones Museum in Norwalk, Conn. The goal was 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 to be built in Connecticut. Thanks to participation by many former team members including team owner Luigi Chinetti’s son Luigi Chinetti Jr. who travelled to the event from his home in Ottawa, Canada, the evening created many happy memories of the team’s performances over two decades from 1957 to 1983..

A highlight of the evening was a telephone link conversation with well-known former N.A.R.T. driver Sam Posey from his home in Northeastern Connecticut with Luigi Chinetti Jr. and former Paul Newman racing partner Bob Sharp. Sam shared reminiscences of his racing career on the N.A.R.T. team including his best 3rd place overall finish at LeMans in 1971 with co-driver Tony Adamowicz, who also sent along his congratulations on the team’s milestone. The Ferrari 512M that Posey and Adamowicz drove in the 1971 race went on to break multiple speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1974 with drivers Paul Newman, then an amateur driver, 2-time Formula 1 champion Graham Hill, team driver Milt Mitner, and Luigi Chinetti Jr. The actual 512M chassis no. 1020 that Posey drove at LeMans and set records at Bonneville was on display at the event courtesy of the Lawrence Auriana Collection. A CBS-TV film was shown documenting the Bonneville runs which included two Ferraris, the 512M which ultimately self-destructed with Graham Hill at the wheel, and a well-used 365GTB4 Daytona Competition coupe which went on to break five international speed records for 3 to 5 liter cars on the salt flats.

Ferrari 512M driven to 3rd place at LeMans in 1971 and multiple speed records at Bonneville in 1974 courtesy the Lawrence Auriana Collection Photo Alex Von Kleydorff

Ferrari 512M driven to 3rd place at LeMans in 1971 and multiple speed records at Bonneville in 1974 courtesy the Lawrence Auriana Collection – Photo Alex Von Kleydorff

In addition to the Bonneville film, the program included 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 included a panel of former N.A.R.T. team members who shared reminiscences on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the team’s formation in 1957. In addition to Luigi Chinetti Jr., the group included former mechanics for N.A.R.T. Roger Colson, Francois Sicard, Jean-Louis Lebreton and Bob Craige. The event was emceed by Jerry Cotrone, ex-Chinetti Motors employee and curator of the Malcolm Pray Achievement Center in Bedford, N.Y. Sponsors of the event included Hagerty Insurance, Dragone Auctions, Pray Auto Body, Pray Achievement Center, Spacefitters Logistics & Technology Group, Rive Bistro Restaurant and Ferrari North America. It was a memorable evening for all the racing fans who attended.

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

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

nart5

23 Jun

NEAM Father’s Day Car Show – 2016 Award Winners

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Photo: Alex von Kleydorff/ Hearst Connecticut Media

 

People’s Choice Award
 First Place – Pray Family Foundation, ’34 Packard Sport Phaeton
 Runner Up – Susan Bechlechner, ’57 Ford T-Bird

Mayor’s Trophy – selected by Harry Rilling
’67 Mercury Comet GT, Carl Bock

New England Auto Museum Award – Favorite in Show
’50 Mercury Custom, Fred Bondi

Malcolm S. Pray Award – Favorite Classic Car
’58 Pontiac Bonneville, Bob DiNardo

Bob Sharp Award – Most Fun to Drive
’58 Porsche 356A, Jim Petty

James Melton Award – selected by George Dragone
’56 Austin-Healey LM, Rudi Merkl

Lime Rock Award – Favorite Race Car
’52 Chrysler Saratoga, Chuck Schoendorf

McMahon Ford Award – Favorite Model A Ford
’30 Model A, Russ Bailas

Coachmen Car Club Trophy – Favorite Rod or Custom Car
’48 Cadillac Series 62, Brooke Buccieri

CT Seaport Club Award – Favorite Preservation Car
’66 Chrysler New Yorker, Evan Kingsley

Alfredo Gulla Award – Favorite Alfa Romeo
’66 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600, Marc & Dee Palmieri

Hagerty Award – Car that Matters
½ Scale Bugeye A-H Sprite, Luca Caniato

NE Racing Fuels Award – Favorite Track Car
’65 Shelby Daytona, Mark Schlegal

Automotive Restorations Award – Favorite Restored Car
’28 Chrysler Roadster, Tom & Rose Boyian

Spacefitters Award – Favorite Modern Car
’64 Buick Riviera, Pat Torraco

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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

25 Apr

Grand Marshal Announced for NEAM Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk

Alfredo Gulla kept the faith, welcomes Alfa Romeo brand back to the U.S.

Alfredo Gulla at his Alfa Romeo Fiat dealership in Larchmont, NY (Photo Fiat500USA.com)

Alfredo Gulla at his Alfa Romeo Fiat dealership in Larchmont, NY (Photo Fiat500USA.com)

Norwalk, Conn. – Alfredo Gulla, founder and owner of Alfredo’s Foreign Cars, dba Alfa Romeo Fiat of Larchmont and Larchmont Chrysler Jeep Dodge, has been named Grand Marshal for the second annual New England Auto Museum Father’s Day Car Show at Mathews Park in Norwalk. The event is scheduled for Sunday, June 19th from 10AM to 3PM and proceeds will support the nonprofit New England Auto Museum building and education funds.

This year the Father’s Day Show will celebrate Alfa Romeo as one of its featured marques, and Alfredo Gulla will be honored as one of the original U.S. dealers for the brand in the early 1960’s as well as for his success in regaining the franchise for its North American relaunch by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

From his dealership near the Connecticut/New York state border, Alfredo Gulla waited nearly 20 years for his beloved Alfa Romeo to return to the U.S. market. Gulla began selling the Alfa Romeo 4C two seat sports cars last year, and in 2016 will begin receiving the new Alfa Guilia sedans, recently displayed at the New York International Auto Show.

“I was always in touch with Italy and Milan, and the rumors were that Alfa and Fiat would return, so it was always ‘Wait and hope, wait and hope,'” Gulla says “It is a real pleasure to see these two brands come back to America.”

Gulla at his Larchmont, N.Y., store in 1963; for Fiat or Alfa Romeo, he says, he sold the brand, the history, the Italian heritage (Photo Automotive News)

Gulla at his Larchmont, N.Y., store in 1963; for Fiat or Alfa Romeo, he says, he sold the brand, the history, the Italian heritage (Photo Automotive News)

As a young man, Gulla immigrated to New York in late 1956 from Catanzaro, Italy — a city of about 100,000 people on the instep of the Italian boot. He found work in a small import car dealership in Larchmont, and five years later, when that dealership was for sale, he bought it.

At first, sales at what would become Alfredo’s Foreign Cars were confined to parts and service. But within months, Gulla had secured an agreement with Fiat to sell new cars. Gulla bought his first two — a Fiat 500 and an Alfa Romeo Giulietta — and began decades of selling Italian cars to people in the metropolitan New York area.

His customers included fellow Italian immigrants and their progeny, who sought a small piece of their native land. It included the famous — he sold convertibles to Groucho Marx and Henry Kissinger, for example — and the not-so-famous.

Alfa Romeo and Fiat models in Alfredo’s showroom in the early ‘60’s (Photo Automotive News)

Alfa Romeo and Fiat models in Alfredo’s showroom in the early ‘60’s (Photo Automotive News)

They were good years, for the most part. Always, Gulla says, whether it was a Fiat or an Alfa Romeo, he sold the brand, the history, the Italian heritage. “I hope, the fact that I’m Italian blends a little bit with the cars we are selling,” Gulla explains.

But Fiat and Alfa Romeo’s troubles grew in the United States as their sales fell in the late 1980s and early 1990s. By 1995, Alfa would pull out of the United States and retreat to Europe, despite the pleas of Gulla and other dealers.

Only when Fiat S.p.A. assumed control of a bankrupt Chrysler in 2009 was Gulla truly optimistic. His was among the first Fiat franchises to be awarded in 2010 when Chrysler began to sell the Fiat 500 in North America. Finally last year, Gulla’s Fiat of Larchmont was on the initial list to receive an Alfa Romeo franchise.

Even now, he is at the dealership and his nearby Chrysler store almost every day. Gulla says he believes Alfa’s return to North America will seem at first slow and regional. “But in the near future, with all the new models coming over, we will see a bigger impact for the brand.”

As Grand Marshal of the NEAM Father’s Day Car Show, Gulla is looking forward to greeting customers from years gone by as well as introducing the technological marvels of the new cars to another generation of “Alfisti.”

Adapted from article by Larry Vellequette, Automotive News

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)

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)