31 Mar

The “New” Petersen Part II: Vault’s Hidden Treasures include 24K Gold DeLorean, Sinatra’s Mustang & More

In the Petersen Vault, 24k gold DeLorean one of only three built for an American Express promotion  (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

In the Petersen Vault, 24k gold DeLorean one of only three built for an American Express promotion (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

Los Angeles, Cal. – As part of its premiere in December, the newly redesigned Petersen Auto Museum reopened its legendary subterranean Vault, giving visitors a chance to tour a huge trove of rare and historic cars. Tours are limited to 20 people or less and are conducted by knowledgeable guides well versed in the museum’s history and the treasures in its collection. Access to the Vault is via a staircase to the museum’s basement, where visitors are warned in no uncertain terms that photographs are not permitted. (Photos for this article from LAist.com)

Ultra-rare Porsches: 1955 Type 356 Continental Cabriolet and 1964 “901” prototype, one of only 5 believed to have survived (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

Ultra-rare Porsches: 1955 Type 356 Continental Cabriolet and 1964 “901” prototype, one of only 5 believed to have survived (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

Hidden beneath the museum, the Peterson Vault offers an entire city block’s worth of automotive history, featuring more than 120 famous and infamous vehicles on display as well as the workshops where the cars are restored and maintained. On the private tour, the Petersen guide gives you an up-close look and the opportunity to learn about everything from Big Daddy Roth’s ground-breaking 1959 custom “The Outlaw” to the first-ever bulletproof presidential limo (a 1942/46 Lincoln used by FDR and Harry Truman).

First armored limo built for FDR after Pearl Harbor and restyled for Harry Truman in 1946 (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

First armored limo built for FDR after Pearl Harbor and restyled for Harry Truman in 1946 (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

From custom hot rods to elegant Art Deco-inspired rides, cars driven by movie stars on and off-screen, and even a Popemobile, there’s plenty for everyone to explore. And the Vault’s capable tour guides provide the fascinating histories and fun facts behind the collection.

Fred Astaire’s 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Town Car by Hooper with silver plated interior trim (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

Fred Astaire’s 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Town Car by Hooper with silver plated interior trim (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

The Vault affords the museum space to store, protect and restore their massive collection and to keep vehicles in prime condition for future exhibits. Taking the tours through the space allows visitors to peer behind the curtain and see tons of stunning and historic vehicles in what feels like somebody’s secret bunker.

Ground-breaking 1959 custom “The Outlaw” created by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

Ground-breaking 1959 custom “The Outlaw” created by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth
(Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

“Even after the renovation when we opened up the third floor as a display space, we only have room for 135 cars on display in the museum,” explains the Petersen’s Executive Director Terry L. Karges in a release about the Vault. “That leaves over 300 vehicles we cannot display in the museum—all with incredible stories that need telling.”

Race cars include Teverburgh & Kirkland Bonneville special and Max Balchowsky’s giant-killer “Old Yaller” Mark III (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

Race cars include Teverburgh & Kirkland Bonneville special and Max Balchowsky’s giant-killer “Old Yaller” Mark III (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

Among the highlights of the tour was, of course, the gold-plated DeLorean, with just 10 miles on the odometer and one of only three built by the company for a special American Express promotion as well as Frank Sinatra’s personal 1965 Barris-customized Zebra Mustang, which has faux-zebra fur on both the interior and exterior, as well as a small TV in the console.

Frank Sinatra’s Zebra themed 1965 Mustang customized by Barris Kustoms (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

Frank Sinatra’s Zebra themed 1965 Mustang customized by Barris Kustoms (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

The Vault tour is organized sequentially, beginning with the museum’s oldest vehicles including a 1913 De Dion, a 1907 Cadillac Tourer, and a 1911 American Underslung roadster; followed by the industry evolving after WWI with such cars as the air-cooled 1924 Franklin, a front-wheel drive 1929 Ruxton Model C Roadster and practical 1932 Model A Woody station wagon. Man’s early quest for speed is embodied in the powerful 1923 7.2 liter Mercedes Targa Florio, the sleek 1929 DuPont Model G Speedster and one-of- a-kind 1927 Pedroso roadster with wicker patio-chair seats. The tour moves on to the museum’s Parade Cars built for heads of state including Saddam Hussein, Juan Peron, Leonid Brezhnev and the Pope’s specially built Cadillac as well as FDR’s first armored limousine ordered after Pearl Harbor.

Holy Cadillac! Popemobile built for John Paul II for Mexican tour in 1968 (Photo autoblog.com)

Holy Cadillac! Popemobile built for John Paul II for Mexican tour in 1968 (Photo autoblog.com)

Although a number of the museum’s “crown jewels” such as the “Round-Door” Rolls Phantom I and Steve McQueen’s XKSS are currently displayed in the public areas of the museum, a surprising number are stored in the Vault. These include the black 1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta, ordered by the Ford Motor Company for Henry Ford II, it is the last Barchetta ever built and the last non-racing Ferrari bodied by Touring. Absolutely original down its white wall tires by Firestone, many of the car’s styling cues were transferred to the early T-Birds including the egg crate grill.

1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta back-to-back with its cousin 1955 T-Bird (Photo driving.ca)

1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta back-to-back with its cousin 1955 T-Bird (Photo driving.ca)

Another rare gem, the museum’s 1948 Tucker Torpedo, was Preston Tucker’s personal car donated by his family, one of only 50 cars produced. The short-lived Tucker was the most advanced car of its time incorporating safety features such as seat belts, a central headlight that turned with the front wheels and rear-mounted flat six helicopter engine.

1948 Tucker, personal car of company founder Preston Tucker (Photo Petersen Automotive Museum)

1948 Tucker, personal car of company founder Preston Tucker (Photo Petersen Automotive Museum)

The vault is also home to tons of famous movie and TV cars which are rotated into the exhibit in the main building. These include the “Thelma & Louise” 1966 T-Bird convertible, “Magnum PI’s” 1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi specially custom-fit for star Tom Selleck, the bright yellow 1971 De Tomaso Pantera which Elvis shot bullet holes in when it would not start, and the star-car 1946 Ford “Grease Lightning” from the movie version of “Grease”.

1946 Ford “Grease Lightning” from the movie “Grease” created by Barris Kustoms (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

1946 Ford “Grease Lightning” from the movie “Grease” created by Barris Kustoms (Photo by Perhansa Skallerup/LAist)

There are also an amazing number of famous hot rods and customs including multiple America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winners notably the innovative 1927 Ford “XR6”commissioned by Hot Rod Magazine in 1963, the 1933 Ford “Impact” designed by Chip Foose which won in 2001 and the futuristic custom “Alien” by the Himsl Brothers winner in 1969. These share the garage with Italian-American hybrids such as Rita Hayworth’s 1953 Series 62 Cadillac by Ghia, a 1959 Corvette Italia prototype designed and built by Scaglietti and a 1953 Nash-Healey by Pinin Farina. In between are random rare collectibles including Steve McQueen’s 1952 Hudson Wasp coupe, the unique 1953 Bosley GT Mark I which sports a 55-gallon fuel tank for long distance racing and an original prototype Porsche “901” which was a test vehicle for the 911 model and is believed to be only one of five surviving cars.

1959 Corvette Italia prototype by Scaglietti which Chevrolet decided not to put into production (Photo Petersen Automotive Museum)

1959 Corvette Italia prototype by Scaglietti which Chevrolet decided not to put into production (Photo Petersen Automotive Museum)

From hot rods and concept cars to the automobiles of Hollywood, the Petersen Vault is truly fitting for a city that is one of the world capitals of car culture. It is highly recommended to stop in for a peek when you visit Petersen Automotive Museum the next time you’re in Los Angeles.
The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile, (323) 930-2277. Vault tour tickets are $20 and must be purchased with a general admission ticket. Children under 13 are not permitted on vault tours, sorry kids. More information and tickets can be found here.
Article compiled by Nick Ord, New England Auto Museum
Contact: nord@neautomuseum.org
Content and photos from the Petersen Automotive Museum, LAist.com & LA Times

1953 Bosley GT, one-off fiberglass sports car built in Ohio with front-mounted Chrysler 331 cu.in. HEMI (Photo Kahn Media)

1953 Bosley GT, one-off fiberglass sports car built in Ohio with front-mounted Chrysler 331 cu.in. HEMI (Photo Kahn Media)

21 Mar

Spring Break! In L.A., the sparkling “new” Petersen Automobile Museum is a must-see for car guys…and there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy!

Flowing steel ribbons around the Petersen Automotive Museum represent motion, elegance, aerodynamics and speed (Photo Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Flowing steel ribbons around the Petersen Automotive Museum represent motion, elegance, aerodynamics and speed (Photo Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles, Cal. – The façade of the former department store on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue housing the Petersen Automotive Museum has been wrapped in sporty “hot-rod red” aluminum and caged by hundreds of shiny stainless-steel ribbons. Like a flashy sports car, it’s impossible to miss.

Proponents of the Petersen’s eye-catching new shell, designed by New York’s Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, say the flowing steel ribbons represent motion, elegance, aerodynamics and speed, traits on full display inside the museum. “L.A. is the car capital of the world, and Wilshire Boulevard is the main street,” says Peter Mullin, the Petersen’s chairman of the board. “We may be a little biased, but we feel it will be one of the most iconic buildings in Los Angeles. You’re not going to drive by it and forget that you saw it.”

The original main floor exhibit entitled “Streetscape”, dioramas that were a mainstay of the museum for its first 20 years, has been replaced with soaring new galleries devoted to automotive artistry. Visitors can discover the most artfully-designed vehicles ever built, often regarded as “rolling sculptures” and explore how the automobile has been used as a canvas for artistic expression. The exhibits will be rotated and exchanged periodically much like in traditional fine art museums.

Poised at the entrance, the Petersen’s concours-winning 1927/34 Rolls-Royce Phantom I with aerodynamic coachwork by Jonckheere (Photo Bob Seidler/ justbritish.com)

Poised at the entrance, the Petersen’s concours-winning 1927/34 Rolls-Royce Phantom I with aerodynamic coachwork by Jonckheere (Photo Bob Seidler/ justbritish.com)

Welcoming visitors at the entrance level Grand Concourse is the museum’s massive 1927/34 Rolls-Royce “Round Door” Phantom I, a multiple major concours winner, beautifully re-restored by museum founders and benefactors Robert and Margie Petersen. Mr. Petersen, founder of a publishing empire which included Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines had one lasting vision to build an educational museum to honor the automobile. The Petersen’s initial $16 million gift made that possible, and the 300,000 square foot Petersen Automotive Museum opened on June 11, 1994 in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. In March 2000, they formed the Petersen Automotive Foundation with an additional $25 million gift to make the museum an independent entity.

Museum chairman Peter Mullin’s Bugatti Type 37C Atlantic displayed in the Grand Salon as part of the “Artistry of the Automobile” exhibition (Photo drivingline.com)

Museum chairman Peter Mullin’s Bugatti Type 37C Atlantic displayed in the Grand Salon as part of the “Artistry of the Automobile” exhibition (Photo drivingline.com)

Proceeding into the museum itself, the cavernous Grand Salon features “French Curves”, European coachbuilders’ artistic renditions, many on loan from Mr. Mullen including his nearly priceless Bugatti Type 57C Atlantic coupe and works by French coach building masters including Figoni & Falaschi, Chapron and Vanvooren. An adjacent gallery, also devoted to art and the automobile as a canvas for artistic expression, features BMW’s famous art cars adorned with work by talents such as David Hockney, Alexander Calder and Matazo Kayama.

BMW’s first art car, a 3.0 CSL by Alexander Calder, which was actually raced at LeMans in 1975

BMW’s first art car, a 3.0 CSL by Alexander Calder, which was actually raced at LeMans in 1975

Also on the ground floor, the old Petersen had a ‘50’s drive-in style Johnny Rockets hamburger restaurant, to be replaced in the spring by a stylish new bistro run by the Drago brothers, owners of celebrity hangout Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills; the upgrade represents some of the broader changes made at the museum to portray a more contemporary look and feel.

Twenty-five new galleries on three floors are packed with interactive technology telling three overarching stories about the automobile: its history, its industry and its artistry. On the second floor, visitors can explore the diversity of automotive design and technology and see cars that have been modified for speed and efficiency.

Lightning McQueen, star of the film “Cars”, welcomes kids to the Industry floor

Lightning McQueen, star of the film “Cars”, welcomes kids to the Industry floor

The Industry floor is all about Pixar. This is where visitors can park the kids for the majority of the day. At the center of the gallery is the Cars Mechanical Institute, where after snapping a photo-op with a life-size Lightning McQueen, the crew can be unleashed into the Discovery Center. Little ones love racing toy cars around the racetrack play table, while the older kids can use light tables and tablets to draw and decorate cars from the Pixar films.

Kids at play in the Discovery Center themed with Pixar “Cars” characters (Photo Shahrzad Warkentin/Red Tricycle)

Kids at play in the Discovery Center themed with Pixar “Cars” characters (Photo Shahrzad Warkentin/Red Tricycle)

From there, visitors can head to the center kiosk and check out the CARSpad Experience. Junior car enthusiasts receive bright orange covered iPads that they can use to navigate their way around the gallery, featuring exhibits on Vehicle Manufacturing & Design and Custom Cars, as Mater guides them in designing their own virtual race car. It’s where little tech fans and young gear heads alike will thrill with the “how things work” learning adventure.

Learning how cars are built at the CARSpad Experience (Photo Shahrzad Warkentin/Red Tricycle)

Learning how cars are built at the CARSpad Experience (Photo Shahrzad Warkentin/Red Tricycle)

For kids in the tween and teen set (or just a video-game loving Dad), there’s the Forza Motorsport Racing Experience, an Xbox gallery equipped with 13 gaming simulators inviting guests to virtually race on tracks in Daytona, Le Mans and many more. Participants can race against the clock on the popular arcade-style game for a chance to get their names on the Lap Time scoreboard. Wait times can be up to 30 minutes and drivers must be approximately 5 feet tall in order to reach the pedals. First thing in the morning or late afternoon are the best times to go to beat the line.

“Rio de Janeiro” scene from the Forza Motorsports Racing Experience (Image Microsoft Corp.)

“Rio de Janeiro” scene from the Forza Motorsports Racing Experience (Image Microsoft Corp.)

On the History floor, visitors can explore the multi-faceted history of the automobile and the love for it through the generations. There’s the collection of Tinseltown cars that has been a main draw of the museum since it opened 20 years ago. “Mr. Petersen had a passion for Hollywood and automobiles,” museum collection manager Dana Williamson has said of museum founder Robert E. Petersen, who died in 2007 and whose love of cars can be traced to his founding of Hot Rod magazine in 1948. “He particularly liked the connection between Hollywood cars and the stars that owned them.

Tribute wall honoring museum founder and major benefactor Robert E. Petersen

Tribute wall honoring museum founder and major benefactor Robert E. Petersen

Visitors to Cars of Film and Television will see a 1951 Chrysler-built Camera Car, one of two given to the RKO movie studio owned at the time by Howard Hughes, Walter White’s dilapidated 2004 Pontiac Aztec from the TV show “Breaking Bad” and the 20-foot-long sinister black Batmobile piloted by Michael Keaton in the1989 and 1992 “Batman” movies. Other highlights include the 1961 “Herbie” VW Beetle, the 2016 Aston Martin DB10 featured in the latest James Bond film, “Spectre,” and Steve McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS.

1951 Chrysler Camera Car, one of two built for RKO Studios

1951 Chrysler Camera Car, one of two built for RKO Studios

This last car is among the museum’s most prized acquisitions. Only 16 of the cars were built before the Jaguar factory had a catastrophic fire, and in 1959 McQueen implored his wife (the main breadwinner at the time) to buy it for $5,000. McQueen vehicles are commanding sky-high prices at auction, so the car is worth at least eight figures, the museum says.

Also in the museum’s possession from Steve McQueen’s collection are a 1952 Hudson Wasp coupe, one of the sleekest American cars of its day, and two historic motorcycles, a 1927 Indian Big Chief and a 1912 Indian Single. These vehicles reside in the museum’s hidden basement “Vault”, which will be the subject of the second part of this article.

Steve McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS, one of the museum’s most prized acquisitions

Steve McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS, one of the museum’s most prized acquisitions

When the old Petersen closed in late 2014, it had seven flat-screen TVs. It now has more than 160 types of screens, including 35 interactive touchscreens and an 8-by-20-foot LED billboard. Some of the 47 projectors play clips from films behind the cars that were featured in them.

Museum managers and its interior design team traveled to 32 museums around the world to study automotive-related exhibits and find out which features best resonated with patrons. Education and outreach became a big part of the museum’s mandate which is to be the center of automotive thought in California and beyond.

Next week: Part II “The Vault” reopens at the new Petersen

Article compiled by Nick Ord, New England Auto Museum
Photos by Nick Ord unless otherwise indicated; Contact nord@neautomuseum.org
With content and images from the Petersen Automotive Museum, L.A. Times & Red Tricycle

 

More Cars of the Petersen:

1958 Corvette XP87 Stingray concept car, part of the “Precious Metals” exhibit in the Bruce Myers Family Gallery

1958 Corvette XP87 Stingray concept car, part of the “Precious Metals” exhibit in the
Bruce Myers Family Gallery

1955 Mercury D-528 Beldone concept car, part of the Concept Cars and Art exhibit in the Gruss Foundation Gallery

1955 Mercury D-528 Beldone concept car, part of the Concept Cars and Art exhibit in the Gruss Foundation Gallery

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Tubulare Zagato race car, part of the Motorsports exhibit in the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery

1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Tubulare Zagato race car, part of the Motorsports exhibit in the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery

1951 Mercury “Hirohata” coupe by Barris Kustoms, part of the Customization exhibit in the Enthusiast Network Gallery

1951 Mercury “Hirohata” coupe by Barris Kustoms, part of the Customization exhibit in the Enthusiast Network Gallery

1967 street legal Ford GT-40 Mark III, part of the High Performance Road Cars exhibit in the Chuck Wegner Gallery

1967 street legal Ford GT-40 Mark III, part of the High Performance Road Cars exhibit in the Chuck Wegner Gallery

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)

22 Jan

Change of Speaker for New England Auto Museum Winter Speakers Series Event in Westport January 30th

Dragone Classics Gallery & Showroom, 176 Post Road West, Westport, Connecticut

Dragone Classics Gallery & Showroom, 176 Post Road West, Westport, Connecticut

Westport, Conn. – The New England Auto Museum announced that because of an unforeseen scheduling conflict, writer and car expert Eric Evarts will be replacing Jim Motavalli as the scheduled speaker on Saturday, January 30th at Dragone Classic Gallery & Showroom in Westport; first of a series featuring well-known automotive writers and experts. Each event will be held on Saturday morning commencing at 11AM and a light luncheon will be provided. Specifically the events have been scheduled as follows:

Writer & Car Expert Eric Evarts

Writer & Car Expert Eric Evarts

January 30 – “CARS OF THE FUTURE: SMART, SAFE & SUSTAINABLE”
Freelance writer Eric Evarts has been writing about energy, the environment, technology, transportation, business, and consumer affairs for 25 years. He spent 15 years covering business, advanced technology, and the auto industry for The Christian Science Monitor spending the past 10 years at Consumer Reports writing about cars, fuel economy, pollution, and alternative fuels, and the latest developments in transportation and technology. He can tell readers how to get the best deal and avoid buying a lemon, whether it’s a used car or a bad mortgage. He currently works as a freelance writer for AAA, Nature, and a new consumer website, thewirecutter.com

Other scheduled Winter Speakers Series events are as follows:

February 27 – “CARS OF THE PAST: STORIED INDEPENDENT AUTOMAKERS”
Author Patrick Foster has written numerous books on almost all the independent U.S. automakers that have disappeared from the scene including Packard, Studebaker, and AMC.

April 2 – “THE EARLY DAYS OF THE AUTOMOBILE IN CONNECTICUT”
Klingberg Vintage Motor Festival Director Mark Johnson will talk about plans for this year’s event including participation again this year by Wayne Carini, as Grand Marshal.

Each Speakers Series event will include a technical session hosted by restoration expert and historian George Dragone focusing on one aspect of classic car preservation and maintenance. The January 30th seminar will feature representatives from New England Dry Stripping of Trumbull, Conn. providing tips and insight on their area of expertise. Tickets for each event will be $15 per person and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the museum’s web site www.neautomuseum.org. The Dragone Showroom is at 176 Post Road West in Westport, Conn.

05 Jan

New England Auto Museum Announces Winter Speakers Series in Westport Beginning January 30

Dragone Classics Gallery & Showroom, 176 Post Road West, Westport, Connecticut

Dragone Classics Gallery & Showroom, 176 Post Road West, Westport, Connecticut

Westport, Conn. – The New England Auto Museum announced the formation of a Winter Speakers Series to take place at Dragone Classic Gallery & Showroom in Westport featuring well-known automotive writers and experts. Each event will be held on Saturday morning commencing at 11AM and a light luncheon will be provided. Specifically the events have been scheduled as follows:

January 30 – “CARS OF THE FUTURE: SMART, SAFE & SUSTAINABLE”
Freelance writer Eric Evarts has been writing about energy, the environment, technology, transportation, business, and consumer affairs for 25 years. He spent 15 years covering business, advanced technology, and the auto industry for The Christian Science Monitor spending the past 10 years at Consumer Reports writing about cars, fuel economy, pollution, and alternative fuels, and the latest developments in transportation and technology. He can tell readers how to get the best deal and avoid buying a lemon, whether it’s a used car or a bad mortgage. He currently works as a freelance writer for AAA, Nature, and a new consumer website, thewirecutter.com

Writer & Car Expert Eric Evarts

Writer & Car Expert Eric Evarts

February 27 – “CARS OF THE PAST – STORIED INDEPENDENT AUTOMAKERS”
One of America’s best-known automotive writers is historian/author Patrick Foster – a dedicated researcher who has spent more than 30 years studying various aspects of the automotive industry, has also been writing for automotive magazines for well over a decade. He has appeared on several radio and television talk shows and also the documentary “Women and the Automobile”, produced for television, in which Foster explained the significance of the Nash Metropolitan, a car designed primarily for women.

Pat has written numerous books on almost all the independent U.S. automakers that have disappeared from the scene including Packard, Studebaker, American Motors and many others. Pat is a feature writer and columnist for Hemmings Classic Car magazine, writes for Automobile Quarterly and Collectible Automobile, and has a column in Old Cars Weekly.

Author Patrick Foster with his restored 1967 Rambler Rogue

Author Patrick Foster with his restored 1967 Rambler Rogue

April 2 – “THE EARLY DAYS OF THE AUTOMOBILE IN CONNECTICUT”
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 24th Annual Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival in New Britain, CT on June 18th, 2016, 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. Klingberg Festival Director Mark Johnson will talk about plans for this year’s event including participation again this year by Wayne Carini, host of “Chasing Classic Cars” on VelocityTV, as Grand Marshal with his dad Bob and daughter Lindsay.

Mark Johnson at the opening of the Klingberg History Museum in New Britain, 2014

Mark Johnson at the opening of the Klingberg History Museum in New Britain, 2014

Each Speakers Series event will include a technical session hosted by restoration expert and historian George Dragone focusing a one aspect of classic car preservation and maintenance. The January 30th seminar will feature representatives from New England Dry Stripping of Trumbull, CT providing tips and insight on their area of expertise. Tickets for each event will be $15 per person and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the museum’s web site www.neautomuseum.org. The Dragone Showroom is at 176 Post Road West in Westport, CT.

Source: New England Auto Museum

Pope Hartford back in the day

Pope Hartford back in the day

15 Dec

Holiday Gift for Truck Lovers: New Book on the Complete History of International Harvester Trucks

Just released book on the history of International Harvester Trucks

Just released book on the history of International Harvester Trucks

Milford, CT – Get the entire history of the best trucks on the road just in time for holiday giving. The International Truck and Engine Corporation have built the trucks that have been a staple of both agricultural and industrial trucking for over 100 years. International Harvester Trucks: The Complete History tells the complete story of the light-, medium-, and heavy-duty trucks, vans, and station wagons built by International Harvester during over a century of history, starting from the company’s early days, through its first truck model in 1907, and right up to the present. The focus is firmly on the trucks themselves including collectible machines such as the Travelall and Scout. Author Patrick Foster, of Milford is one of the world’s premier transportation historians. His accessible writing style, illustrated with hundreds of never-before-seen archival photographs, makes this book the best examination of one of the world’s most prolific truck manufacturers. The book is widely available at book shopping sites including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and copies signed and numbered by the author can be purchased at www.oldemilfordpress.com

Patrick Foster is one of America’s best-known automotive journalists. He has been writing for more than 25 years and is a dedicated historian and author with a broad experience in the automotive industry. His work has appeared in numerous automotive magazines and he has regular columns in Hemmings Classic Car and Old Cars Weekly. Patrick has written 17 books about the American automobile and has two new books coming out this year including The History of International Harvester Trucks and George Romney-An American Life. He’s won numerous awards and was honored with the Lee Iacocca Award for excellence in automotive writing.

Author Patrick Foster with his restored 1967 Rambler Rogue

Author Patrick Foster with his restored 1967 Rambler Rogue

Patrick Foster is a popular banquet speaker and also conducts seminars on automotive history. Recently Pat appeared at the Studebaker International Meet in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and at “Meet the Authors” at the National Automotive History Collection in Detroit. Pat is scheduled to speak as part of the New England Auto Museum Speakers Series in late-February 2016. Actual date and location of this event will be announced early in the New Year.

Courtesy Olde Milford Press

Patrick Foster with his book on American Motors in Milford, CT

Patrick Foster with his book on American Motors in Milford, CT

01 Dec

Lime Rock Park Announces 2016 Schedule, Discounted Holiday Ticket Pricing

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LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Lime Rock Park has announced their 2016 Event Schedule, providing links to the Christmas and holiday discounted general admission ticket pages, and this link to the online Lime Rock Merchandise Store.

2016 Schedule: Four major spectator events (up from three in 2014 and 2015)

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May 27-29, Pirelli World Challenge on traditional Memorial Day Weekend
Pirelli World Challenge (GT, GTA, GTS, GT Cup), world debut of SCCA Pro Racing United States F4 Championship series, and the Seventh Annual Royals Garage Sunday Car Show.

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July 22-23, Northeast Grand Prix IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar & Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
WeatherTech championship: Prototype Challenge, GTLM & GTD; Continental championship: Grand Sport & Street Tuner. New for 2016 is the return of the GTLM class (good news for the Corvette fans in the Northeast, and they are legion). New factory efforts by Ford (the new GT), Lamborghini, Lexus and Dodge have joined the fray. NEW for IMSA 2016: Teens 16 and under admitted FREE with accompanying adult.

lrp4September 2-5, Historic Festival 34 & Sunday in the Park Concours
250 vintage and historic race cars, 1,200 concours and collector cars, iconic Honored Guests and special collections. Each year’s Festival is always highly anticipated. The theme, honored guests and special collections will be announced closer to the event.

lrp5September 24, Ferrari Challenge North America Trofeo Pirelli presented by Singha Beer.
The Ferrari 458C Evo is a terrific racing machine. A squadron of them at full chat at Lime Rock is not to be missed.

General Admission Tickets: One example of how big the Christmas and holiday discounts are: Would one rather pay $54 for a Pirelli World Challenge Weekend ticket now or $75 in May? Yep, that’s what we thought…

With much of Lime Rock’s major renovation project (“Road to 60”) complete, Lime Rock Park is expecting an exceptional season in 2016.

More information at www.limerock.com

Article & Photos courtesy Lime Rock Park

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16 Nov

The Petersen Museum Counts Down to its Grand Re-opening

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The Petersen Museum’s new exterior.

Los Angeles CA – On October 19, 2014, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles shut its doors for a radical restyle, the first significant change to the building’s exterior since it opened in 1962 as Seibu, a Japanese department store. At the time of its temporary closure, the museum announced a “hard opening date” of December 1, 2015; now, just over a year since work on the building’s exterior and interior began, the Petersen has published its schedule for the reopening of the facility.

The first chance for the public to see the new facility comes on December 5, with the fund-raising Grand Re-Opening Gala to benefit the non-profit Petersen Museum Foundation. Tickets will start at $1,500, but include a sit-down meal from the Drago brothers, whose string of Los Angeles-area restaurants include Il Pastaio, Il Fornaio, Drago Centro, Osteria Drago and Panzanella Ristorante. An auction will offer VIP experiences at “some of the world’s greatest car events and auto races,” and the ticket price also includes a tax-deductible contribution to the Petersen Museum Foundation.

On December 6, the museum will host Preview Day, a limited-admission event that also includes catering from the Drago brothers, an open bar on the rooftop Connor Pavilion and live music. Visitors will have the ability to tour the museum’s 25 new galleries, and each attendee will be given a gift bag and entered into hourly prize drawings. Tickets for Preview Day are priced at $200.

The museum’s daring new design, courtesy of architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, features a flowing, skeletal façade that is inspired by the smooth, alluring curves of automobiles.

The museum’s daring new design, courtesy of architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, features a flowing, skeletal façade that is inspired by the smooth, alluring curves of automobiles.

On December 7, the museum reopens to the general public, with adult tickets priced at $15. Discounts are offered to seniors, students, and children, while active duty military, police, fire, teachers and other museum employees receive free admission.

Exactly what visitors will experience inside the museum remains something of a mystery, though executive director Terry Kargas does promise the facility will offer “innovative architecture and design, cars as art, a satellite campus for the Art Center College of Design, Forza Motorsports racing simulators, the Pixar Cars experience for fans of all ages and a restaurant run by all four of L.A.’s famous Drago brothers.”

Planned exhibits at the new Petersen include Rolling Sculpture, a look at the role style and design played in the creation of limited production automobiles; Precious Metal, highlighting significant silver cars; BMW & The Art of the Automobile, which will include vehicles from the BMW Art Car collection; and Howlin’: Vehicles from the Nearburg Collection of racing cars.

For more information on the soon-to-be reopened museum, visit Petersen.org.

Article by Kurt Ernst, Hemmings Daily
Photos: Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen’s collection is home to Steve McQueen’s rare 1956 Jaguar XKSS, which Jay Leno calls “one of the great cars of all time, one of those cars that are works of art.”

The Petersen’s collection is home to Steve McQueen’s rare 1956 Jaguar XKSS, which Jay Leno calls “one of the great cars of all time, one of those cars that are works of art.”

01 Nov

Entry List Announced for Classic 24 at Daytona presented by IMSA November 12 – 15 Features 174 Race Cars

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The entry list for the 2015 Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 24 Hour at Daytona presented by IMSA, November 12 – 15, has been officially announced and features 174 race cars and a current tally of 300 drivers from around the world.

“We have gone on record recently in saying that the entry list for the second edition of the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona presented by IMSA exceeded even our expectations and hopefully the motorsports world will agree,” said HSR President David Hinton. “The caliber of the historic race cars and the massive mix of legendary stars and historic sports car racing drivers is second to none. This is truly an amazing representation of historic sports car racing machines and the men and women who compete in them and we can’t wait to get back to Daytona in just a few short weeks.”

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In total, the 2015 Classic 24 Hour at Daytona presented by IMSA features entered teams from 15 different countries on four continents.

The diverse background of the international drivers turning out for the Classic 24 Hour should be equally impressive. While minimal additional entries will be accepted – HSR currently has dozens of hopefuls on a wait list – all teams will be able to add drivers to their officially entered race cars in the weeks leading up to the race. A lineup of drivers that is already packed with past and current sports car racing stars will no doubt grow over the next month.

The list of current and legendary drivers confirmed for the Classic 24 includes Jochen Mass, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Gijs Van Lennep, Jürgen Barth, Andy Wallace, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Eric Curran, Leh Keen, Scott Sharp, Jim Pace, Gunnar Jeanette, Dieter Quester, Didier André, Jean Marc Gounon, Jules Gounon, Zak Brown, Richard Dean, Jeff Zwart, Cooper MacNeil, Shane Lewis, Jack Baldwin, Mike Skeen and many more.

The equally impressive racing machines these drivers and other Classic 24 competitors will race in the Daytona event is a rolling collection of top sports cars and prototypes from the past 50 years.

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The Classic 24 features six period-correct run groups rotating through a full 24 hours of racing on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course. The run groups, which include various classes of similar-era race cars, each take to the track four times throughout the 24 hours. The competitors in each group covering the most total distance in the shortest amount of time in their group’s four sessions will be “crowned” Classic 24 at Daytona champions.

Group A – 1960 – 1972: The oldest and perhaps most memory-stirring division, Group A features such legendary race cars as the Ford GT40, Lola T70, Chevron B8, Ferrari 365 GTB, Lotus Elan, Alfa Romeo GT Jr., several 1960s-era Corvettes and Mustangs, including a Shelby GT350, and a strong field of early Porsche 911s. A debuting entry not frequently seen in the United States is the French-built Matra MS630.

Group B – 1973 – 1982: Evoking the same emotion and memories of Group A with a little more turbocharged power and wide-body aerodynamics, Group B has attracted four Porsche 935s, six BMW CSLs, two Greenwood Corvettes, a Dekon Monza, several Porsche 911 RSRs and Carreras and big-bore Mustangs, Camaros and Corvettes. This group also features several of the ultra-quick and classic Chevron Lola and March open-cockpit sports prototype race cars.

Group C – 1983 – 1993: The prime of the GTP and Group C era is at the heart of this run group. A strong lineup of six Porsche 962s will share the class spotlight with two Jaguar XJR-5s, a Jaguar XJR-7 and a Porsche Fabcar. Several production-based race cars are also in Group C as is the debuting Aston Martin AMR-1 prototype that raced at Le Mans.

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Group D – 1994 – 2002: Historic but familiar, the highlight machines in Group D include several Riley & Scott Mk IIIs and Daytona Prototypes, a Lola B2K, Crawford DP03 and GT Porsches, Corvettes, Vipers and even a TVR T400R. A debuting entry of note in this class is the Saleen S7R GT1.

Group E – 2003 – 2012: This group lets ALMS and Le Mans prototypes that couldn’t race at Daytona in their day a chance to take to the high banks. Two Audi R8s, a pair of Pescarolo 01 LMPs and a Porsche RS Spyder highlight the group that also includes three Oreca FLM09s and several different Daytona Prototypes. GT cars are plentiful too and include several Porsche 996, 997 and 991 models, two LMS Audi R8s and a Camaro, Ferrari F430 and Nissan GTR. Another entry not frequently seen in the U.S. is the debuting BMW Alpina B6 GT3.

Group F – HSR Cars: This group produced some of the closest and most competitive racing in last year’s inaugural Classic 24 at Daytona. Home to HSR classes that are not represented in the other five other groups, Group F also lets competitors with race cars that were never eligible to compete at Daytona a chance to build a little history of their own on the legendary track in the Classic 24. Offering a mix of machinery from six different decades, this group is also home to the oldest car in the Classic 24, a 1962 Lotus Super 7.

The entry list for the 2015 Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 24 Hour at Daytona presented by IMSA is available by clicking here.

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Of interest to Connecticut race fans will be the eye-catching 2007 Pescarolo Judd LMP of David Porter, of Darien. Porter challenged the Rogers Motorsports Audi team for the 2014 Classic 24 Hour win and has no intention of coming up short this year.

“To win the race is the hopeful accomplishment, that’s it,” Porter said. “We had the fastest car in every session last year and, unfortunately, I didn’t put on my best driving performance and screwed up. We ended up four laps down and, even with a car that fast, you can’t make back four laps. I want to redeem myself in my own mind as much as anything else. I’m looking forward to this so much. Sitting on that grid at 4:30 in the morning under the lights is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.”

Story & Photos Courtesy HSR & IMSA

About HSR: Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) was formed in the mid-1970s with an event at Road Atlanta. There was one goal then and it remains true today: to celebrate the race cars from our past. As a “time machine” of sights and sounds, HSR provides a venue for competitors and spectators alike to share in the wonderful history and excitement created by the cars that competed at race tracks around the world. HSR currently sanctions seven vintage and historic racing events at some of the world’s most renowned race tracks, including Road Atlanta, Sebring International Raceway, Daytona International Speedway and the Grand Prix of the Americas. The complete schedule and full event information can be found on HSR’s website at www.HSRRace.com. The Classic 24 Hour at Daytona, presented by IMSA, has a dedicated website at www.Classic24hour.com. HSR and the Classic 24 are also on Facebook and Twitter – in addition to the HSR YouTube channel.

About IMSA: The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) was originally founded in 1969 with a long and rich history in sports car racing. As presenting sponsor of the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona, IMSA embraces that history by supporting all involved in returning iconic race cars and drivers that have been responsible for many great moments throughout decades of IMSA-sanctioned competition to the race track. Today, IMSA is the sanctioning body of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the premier sports car racing series in North America. IMSA also sanctions the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, as well as four single-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA – a company within the NASCAR Holdings group – is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected WeatherTech Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. For more information, visit www.IMSA.com.

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