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)

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)

25 Jan

Vintage race trophies to appear with cars that won them at Amelia Island March 13th

The Borg-Warner Trophy and Al Unser in the Johnny Lightning Special, twice winner Indy 500 Photos: Sarah Stierch and courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

The Borg-Warner Trophy and Al Unser in the Johnny Lightning Special, twice winner Indy 500. Photos: Sarah Stierch and courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Amelia Island, Fla. – Of course, race cars get all the attention: They’re fast, loud, oftentimes flashy, and driven by men of legend. But those men of legend don’t just race for the thrill of it. They race for the money, the recognition and, not least of all, the trophies. For the first time ever this year, some of the most prestigious and historic motorsports trophies will gather in one place as the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance pairs them with some of the most noteworthy cars that won them.

The idea for the pairings came, according to Amelia Island founder and chairman Bill Warner, over a couple of beers. “A bottle of Guinness with Donald Osborne at the Mille Miglia,” he said. “Seriously, Donald showed me a Mille Miglia trophy while I was over there, and I thought, why not get a collection of them and match them with the cars.”

So Warner went to work putting together a list of the most famous trophies in motorsports. Some seemed like no-brainers, like the Borg-Warner Trophy, which has gone to the winner of every Indianapolis 500 since 1936 and remains with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Warner decided to pair it with the Ford V-8-powered Johnny Lightning Special that Al Unser drove to victory in both 1970 and 1971 and that nowadays resides in the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi, Dario Franchitti with Harley J. Earl and Borg-Warner Trophies Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi, Dario Franchitti with Harley J. Earl and Borg-Warner Trophies. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Frank Wheeler and three other local men opened the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909. Prior to the inauguration of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, the Wheeler-Schebler company sponsored the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy Race at the track. The $10,000 trophy was sterling silver and designed by Tiffany. Descriptions of this masterpiece of silversmithing put its height at anywhere from seven to eight and a half feet. It was the traveling trophy for winning the premiere events of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s race meets in 1909 and 1910. The Trophy was retired briefly with the introduction of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, but reinstated in 1913 as the prize for the team leading at the 400-mile mark. As the deed stipulated that the trophy would be permanently awarded to the team winning it for three consecutive years, it was presented to driver turned entrant Harry Hartz when his Miller-Hartz cars won the award in 1930, 31 and 32. It was returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 1950’s and stands proudly today at the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum. At Amelia Island, the trophy will be paired with the Old Number 10 Buick, winner of the 1909 race.

Harry Hartz with the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in 1932

Harry Hartz with the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in 1932

Other trophies that will go on display include the Harley J. Earl Perpetual Trophy, awarded to winners of the Daytona 500, which will be paired with the Richard Petty No. 43 Plymouth Road Runner that won the 1971 Daytona 500; the Stevens Challenge Trophy, awarded from 1927 to 1954 to any manufacturer capable of sustaining 60 miles per hour over a 24-hour period at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will be paired with a Cord 812 speed record car; the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy, which will be paired with the Ferrari 250LM that Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt drove; the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy, which will be paired with the Ferrari 166MM that Luigi Chinetti and Peter Mitchell-Thomson drove; the 1914 French Grand Prix trophy, which will be paired with the Mercedes that Christian Lautenschlager drove; the Maurice G. Bauer Trophy, “awarded” to winners of the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, paired with the Ferrari Dino that Jack May and Rick Cline drove in 1975; and the trophy awarded to the winner of the Race of Two Worlds (500 Miglia di Monza), paired with the 1958 John Zink Leader Card Monza Special Watson-Offenhauser roadster that Jim Rathmann drove.

1909 Alco “Black Beast” two-time winner of the Vanderbilt Cup Photo: Hemmings

1909 Alco “Black Beast” two-time winner of the Vanderbilt Cup Photo: Hemmings

In addition, the display will pair a replica of the Challenge Cup presented by W.K. Vanderbilt Jr. (the original sits in storage at the Smithsonian) paired with the 1909 ALCO Black Beast; and the Alec Ulmann Trophy from the Sebring 12 Hour, which will be paired with an OSCA MT4, built by the Maserati brothers and overall winner of the 1954 race.

Warner said the trophies will go on display in the Ritz-Carlton hotel from Thursday through Saturday and then take their positions on the field with each car on Sunday, March 13th.

Article by Daniel Strohl, Hemmings Daily

About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now in its third decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always on the second full weekend in March, ‘The Amelia’ draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. It is a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated over $2.75 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc., Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, and other deserving charities. The 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 11-13, 2016. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org

Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt’s Ferrari 250 LM lead an all-Ferrari podium in the last win for Ferrari at Le Mans to date in 1965 Photo: Le Mans (Sarthe France)

Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt’s Ferrari 250 LM lead an all-Ferrari podium in the last win for Ferrari at Le Mans to date in 1965 Photo: Le Mans (Sarthe France)

18 Jan

“Rain Man” Buick coming to Amelia Island Concours on March 13th

Restored 1949 convertible is considered a "styling landmark"

Restored 1949 convertible is considered a “styling landmark”

Amelia Island, Fla. – A late entry is coming to the 21st Annual Amelia Island Concours’ Post War American Production class March 16, 2016: The 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible, one of two used to make the film “Rain Man,” makes its international concours debut. Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn., star of Velocity TV’s “Chasing Classic Cars,” restored the car for the film’s director Barry Levinson.

You’ll recall Levinson’s 1988 film — it tells the story of Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a car dealer in financial straits. When his estranged father dies, Babbitt learns the old man bequeathed his fortune to Charlie’s older autistic brother, Raymond (brilliantly played by Dustin Hoffman). All Cruise’s character gets is his father’s prized rosebushes and the Buick. Raymond and Charlie go on a cross-country road trip starring the Buick because Raymond refuses to fly.

Hoffman won an Oscar for his portrayal of Raymond, and Levinson for his direction of the Best Picture classic.

Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise in a scene from “Rain Man” with 1949 Buick Roadmaster

Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise in a scene from “Rain Man” with 1949 Buick Roadmaster

According to the movie’s production notes, Levinson chose the Roadmaster, with its “pipe organ” grille and art deco styling, because “there’s just something very classic about it,” he said.

With only 8,000 1949 Roadmasters produced, the filmmakers scoured the country before finding three that were in good enough condition to film. The car eventually restored by Levinson had its rear suspension modified to accommodate the extra weight of a camera rig and cameraman, who filmed Hoffman and Cruise from the trunk.

Amelia Island Concours founder and Chairman Bill Warner called the Buick a “styling landmark.” He points out the VentiPort — those holes in the fenders – debuted with the 1949s and is still part of Buick design. “We’re very pleased to have one of Wayne Carini’s restorations on the field once again,” Warner said.

This year’s Amelia Island Concours runs March 11-13, 2016 on the 10th and 18th fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The show’s Foundation has donated more than $2.75 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida Inc. and other Florida charities since 1996.

For more concours information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call (904) 636-0027.
Article by Wes Raynal, Autoweek/Photos: MGM Studios

1949 Buick Convertible seen in “Rain Man” recently restored by Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn.

1949 Buick Convertible seen in “Rain Man” recently restored by Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn.

03 Oct

Thomas Edison’s New Jersey Estate is site of new Concours October 16 – 18

Thomas Edison’s Glenmont home in New Jersey will be site of new concours October 16-18 Photos courtesy edisonconcours.org

Thomas Edison’s Glenmont home in New Jersey will be site of new concours October 16-18
Photos courtesy edisonconcours.org

Edison, N.J. – Joseph Cassini III not only ruled from the judge’s bench in the courtroom, but cars from his collection have been honored on concours d’elegance show fields from coast to coast, including best-of-show accolades in 2013 at Pebble Beach for his 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria.

Now that the judge has retired from the bench, and while he waited as his next star car underwent restoration (his LeBaron-bodied ’31 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria won the American Classic Closed Award at Pebble Beach in 2016), Cassini had time to apply himself to something new.

Pebble Beach-winning car collector Joseph Cassini is organizing a new concours at the historic home of Thomas Edison in Llewellyn Park, NJ

Pebble Beach-winning car collector Joseph Cassini is organizing a new concours at the historic home of Thomas Edison in Llewellyn Park, NJ

Cassini is the founder of a new concours. The inaugural Edison Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for October 16-18 at Glenmont, the historic home of Thomas A. Edison on 16 acres in Llewellyn Park, New Jersey.

The seed for the event was planted soon after Cassini’s Packard won at Pebble Beach. He was having lunch with a friend, a lawyer with whom he had worked in a law firm before becoming a New Jersey Superior Court judge. The friend was chairman of a foundation that supports the Edison Innovation Foundation and the Charles Edison Fund (Charles was Thomas’s son and was elected New Jersey’s governor in 1941).

Joseph Cassini in his 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria after winning Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, CA. in 2016.. (Photo Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Joseph Cassini in his 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria after winning Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, CA. in 2016.. (Photo Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Cassini’s friend’s renovations were being done on the garage at Glenmont and he thought a car show might help with that effort.

The garage isn’t some simply car shelter but a two-story building that housed the world’s first electric-car charging station, which is still there. Edison and his wife each had a Detroit Electric. He also converted a Locomobile from steam to electric power. The garage also holds the Ford Model T that Henry Ford gave Edison, and Cassini thinks that car is the oldest single-owner T in existence.

Cassini said the concours will be open to 90 cars, with 15 classes of six cars each. There will be a class for electric vehicles, he said, adding that 80 percent of the cars on display will be pre-war machines and that the newest car on the field will be 1960 models.

As for cars produced since 1960, he said, “You can go to your local car gathering (from cars and coffees to cruise-ins) on the weekend and see those cars.” Cassini said the show field will reflect his own current interests in the classics. But, he added, his tastes have changed.

Cassini’s father owned a trucking company that did contract demolition work, and Cassini spent a lot of time as a youngster in the shop, learning from the mechanics and using the equipment to build his own go-karts and mini-bikes.

After law school, Cassini took a road trip across the country to Los Angeles, where he saw a 1956 Ford Thunderbird for sale. He kept thinking about that car all the way home, and after returning to New Jersey, he did a deal to buy the car.

For some 15 years he collected 1950s and ’60s cars — Thunderbirds, E-type Jaguars, split-window Corvettes and Corvette roadsters. But then, in the early 1990s, he attended his first Classic Car Club of America event and marveled at the Packards, Stutz, Cords and Auburns. Before long, those were the cars he was collecting, restoring and showing at concours.

For more information about the event and the charities it will benefit, visit the concours website.

Source: ClassicCars.com

08 Sep

Lime Rock Sunday in the Park Concours Honors led by “Count Trossi” Mercedes-Benz SSK Winning Best of Show

With Honored Guests Sir Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass looking on (left), the Ralph Lauren-owned 1930 "Count Trossi" Mercedes SSK is awarded Best of Show honors (Photo by Casey Keil/Lime Rock Park)

With Honored Guests Sir Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass looking on (left), the Ralph Lauren-owned 1930 “Count Trossi” Mercedes SSK is awarded Best of Show honors (Photo by Casey Keil/Lime Rock Park)

Lakeville, Conn. – At Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 33, its Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance saw 264 entrants in 29 classes vying for Best of Show honors. The not-surprising but certainly deserving 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK “Count Trossi” was judged the winner. The custom-bodied SSK is owned by Ralph Lauren.

Photo by Greg Clark/Lime Rock Park

Photo by Greg Clark/Lime Rock Park

Originally built with a competition “spyder” body by Carrozzeria Touring, between 1931 and 1933, this SSK was campaigned in the Mille Miglia, various hill climbs and other local events by original owner Trossi and following owners. The Italian count re-purchased the car and commissioned new bodywork in 1934. Willy White, an unknown American coachbuilder, is presumed to be the designer of the spectacular coachwork but that’s never been confirmed.

“The Trossi SSK is truly a work of art,” said Festival organizer Murray Smith. “This car is so rarely in public, I can’t thank Ralph enough for entering it in our concours for everyone to enjoy.” The Lauren SSK previously won Best of Show at the 1993 Pebble Beach concours and Italy’s Villa d’Este concours in 2007.

Appropriately, the SSK was shown alongside five other spectacularly important Mercedes competition cars; two from the Mercedes Classic Center in Germany (the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR “722” and a 1955 Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix Silver Arrow), two from The Revs Institute of Naples, Fla. (1939 Mercedes-Benz W154 and 1914 Mercedes Grand Prix car), and one from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum (1908 Mercedes Brooklands).

Class Winners, 2015 Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance at Historic Festival 33

Group A, Our Distinguished Seniors

Class A1, “And So We Begin,” special class for the machines that started it all, pre-1915
1911 Packard 30 7-Passenger Touring, Michael DeAngelis, Stamford, Conn.

Class A2, “The World’s First Wheels,” basic transportation 1915 to 1939, open and closed cars
1932 Plymouth PB Sport Roadster, Kevin Biebel, Stamford, Conn.

Class A3, “Gatsby’s Delights pres. by Castle Cadillacs,” luxury and speed; coachbuilt and special cars from an elegant era, pre-WWII
1938 Lincoln Model K LeBaron Convertible, John Winslett & Sheri St. Germain, Bristol, R.I.

Group B, Practical Machines for Practical Purposes

Class B1, “Off to Work,” post-War transportation machinery; those workhorses we depended on daily
1941 Tatra T87 Diplomat, Barney Hallingby, Sharon, Conn.

Class B2, “Carry Your Weight,” trucks and commercial vehicles up to 1975; machines that earn their keep
1975 Land Rover Series III 3-door truck, Thomas & Kristin Zarrella, Gloucester, Mass.

Group C, Sports and Performance Machines on Display and on Track

Class C1, “Risky and Racy,” racing, competitive specials and speed-record machines
1965 Alfa Romeo GTA, Jon Goodman, Philadelphia, Pa.

Class C2, “The Rallyist’s Revenge,” rallying function in a variety of forms
1985 Audi Quattro, Ed Torres, Norwalk, Conn.

Class C3, “Speed and Agility,” early sports cars to 1954
1952 MG TD Roadster, Hal Kramer, Pittsfield, Mass.

Class C4, “Dashing Between the Drops,” mid-sports car era roadsters, 1955 to 1961
1960 MGA, Phil Brown, Bloomfield, Conn.

Class C5, “Racers are Rewarded,” race on Saturday, show on Sunday (Saturday’s winners on exhibit)
1959 Volvo PV-544, Ronald Polimeni, Capon Bridge, W.Va.

Class C6, “Shiny Side Up,” Sports cars, 1962 to 1967
1962 Austin-Healey 3000 MK II, Donald E. Schneider, Lititz, Pa.

Class C7, “For the Fun of the Drive,” sports cars, 1968 to 1975
1970 Lotus Elan S4 SE/Sprint, David Porter, Darien, Conn.

Class C8, “Speed, Sport and Spirit,” sports cars, 1976 to 1990
1983 Lancia Beta Zagato, Jane & Jerome Roth, W. Cornwall, Conn.

Group D, Grand Touring Greatness

Class D1, “Style, Comfort and Pace,” GT cars, 1955 to 1961
1961 Porsche 356B T5, Mark Reich, North Andover, Mass.

Class D2, “A Businessman’s Express,” GT cars, 1962 to 1967
1964 Chevrolet Corvette, Mike Lombardi, Watertown, Conn.

Class D3, “Speed Breeds Success,” GT cars, 1968 to 1975
1968 Lamborghini Miura, Michael Schwartz, Sharon, Conn.

Class D4, “Outrunning the Wind,” open-air GT-caliber cars, 1955 to 1980
1962 Austin-Healey 3000 BN7 MKII, Roger Hamblin, Sandwich, N.H.

Class D5, “Simply Exceptional,” super-cars and special road cars, 1975 to present
1979 Porsche 930, Bud Szurek, Hebron, Conn.

Group E, Comfort, Style and More – Luxury Transport in a Post-War World

Class E1, “Comfort and Class and Wind in the Hair,” open-air motoring elegance, 1945 to 1985
1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible, John E. Haverty, Pleasant Valley, N.Y.

Class E2, “In the Lap of Luxury,” exceptional luxury in coupe and sedan form, 1945 to 1959
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Seville, Frank Nicodemus, Jr., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Class E3, “Life at the Top in Style and Comfort,” luxurious transportation coupes and saloons, 1960 to 1985
1977 Jaguar XK6-C Coupe, Richard Sementilli, New York, N.Y.

Group S, Our Special Feature Classes

Class S1, “Mercedes-Benz: The Legacy of Excellence,” stars of the three-pointed star: track machines
1939 Mercedes-Benz W154 “Silver Arrow,” The Revs Institute, Naples, Fla.

Class S2, “Mercedes-Benz: Practical Excellence on the Road,” stars of the three-pointed star: road machines
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SC Roadster, Old Timer Restoration/Off Bros., Harvard, Mass.

Assorted Groups, Special Interest

Class F1, “Just as we Found it,” untouched originals to 1975
1962 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, Ann M. Fagan, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

Class F2, “A Fresh Approach,” creative machines and “Euro rods” that fall between classing cracks, all years
1976 BMW 3.5 CSL Tribute Car, Joseph Rodriguez, Mahwah, N.J.

Class F3, “Hot Rod,” our tribute to garage-built American
greatness, all years
1956 Chevrolet Suburban, Shaun Nettleton, Washington, Conn.

Class F4, “Mercedes in Motion,” Mercedes-enthusiast passion through the years, all years
1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 D, Jeri & Mary Ann Barrett, Easton, Conn.

Class F5, “Up on Two Wheels,” the lighter side of getting going; legendary motorcycles through 1995
1937 BMW R6, Philip Richter, Ridgefield, Conn.

Class F6, “Domestic Dynamite,” reflections of a golden age of American Muscle, 1955 to 1980
1967 Pontiac GTO, Thomas & Kristin Zarrella, Gloucester, Mass.

Class F7, “Arnolts Abound!” A reunion of Arnolt-Bristols
1957 Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe Roadster, Michael Arnolt, Indianapolis, Ind.

Jochen’s Selection
1966 Jaguar XKE OTS, Thomas V.G. Brown, Norwalk, Conn.

Stirling’s Selection
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR “722,” Mercedes Classic, Stuttgart, Ger.

Sir Stirling Moss' favorite car at Sunday in the Park! The 300 SLR he and Denis Jenkinson drove to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia (Photo by Greg Clark/Lime Rock Park)

Sir Stirling Moss’ favorite car at Sunday in the Park! The 300 SLR he and Denis Jenkinson drove to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia (Photo by Greg Clark/Lime Rock Park)

Posting Courtesy Lime Rock Park

19 Aug

Skip Barber joins Dream Ride Hall Of Fame During Event Aug 22-23

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New Britain, CTPapa’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM is not just central Connecticut’s largest Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM dealer in the state, it is also a strong supporter of the Dream Ride Experience and Special Olympics.

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The 68-year old family-run enterprise that uses its heritage to create a unique nostalgic setting for car shoppers, is also the host of the Twilight Dream Cruise and Wrangler Rally. This classic car and Jeep event whisks over 100 Special Olympics athletes from all over the world in classic and exotic cars on an evening ride through the streets of New Britain, Newington, Avon and Farmington, with hundreds of other classic cars following; the parade brings delight to the athletes and all the spectators they pass along the way.

The Dream Cruise caravan then proceeds to the Farmington Club for an exciting and inspiring celebration party featuring a barbeque dinner, live entertainment, special awards, and a Dream Concert featuring Big Machine Record artists and The Voice winner, Cassadee Pope, Danielle Bradbury (The Voice finalist), Seth Alley and Waterloo Revival. As a special part of the festivities, Skip Barber, president of Lime Rock Park and founder of Skip Barber Racing Schools will be inducted into the Dream Ride Hall of Fame.

Barber, a Harvard graduate, raced in the US and in Europe for years, earning three SCCA championships, an SCCA Hall of Fame award and a storied career in Ford GT racing. After his retirement from racing, he founded the Skip Barber Racing School and race series. The Dream Ride and Papa’s Dodge are proud to bring Barber into the Dream Ride Experience family.

“I am honored to induct Skip into our Dream Cruise Hall of Fame and have him visit us here at Papa’s Dodge,” says Dom Papa, second generation owner, “With Skip leading our cruise on Saturday night, we have added inspiration and excitement to our annual event, and we’ll look forward to presenting him the award when we all return to the Farmington Club later in the evening. This cruise means so much to our Special Olympics athletes, and now they, and we, have a true racing legend onboard with us!” he adds.

One of the many attractions at the racing and automotive-themed Lime Rock Park is the “Survive the Drive” educational program, teaching new and teen drivers how to be their “Best Behind the Wheel.” Bob Green will be sharing his non-profit’s important inspirational message, using Skip Barber Racing School techniques, with attendees at a booth at the Dream Ride on Sunday, August 23rd.

The Dream Show

Dean Cusano, Dream Show Judge

Dean Cusano, Dream Show Judge

On Sunday, August 23rd, the classic car lineup started at the Dream Cruise expands into the Dream Ride Car Show, sponsored by Dean Cusano and Motorcars Inc. Hundreds of the most coveted cars will gather at the Farmington Club from 7:00 am to 9:30 am, and be judged in 11 categories by a prestigious team of car experts. Led by company president Cusano, the team includes Wayne Carini of “Chasing Classic Cars;” Larry Boardman, the “Car Guy;” automotive historian, writer and founder of the Saratoga Fall Ferrari Festival, Leigh Dorrington; automotive aficionado, Matt Dunham; Sr. Editor of Classic Motorsports, Andy Reid, classic and exotic car restoration specialist Gary Mastronunzio; and Hemming’s and other automotive publications writer, David Traver Adolphus. These prestigious judges, together with Cusano, automotive display and Concour award-winning president of Motorcars, Inc ., and past president of the Jaguar Club of Southern New England, will face the task of evaluating the hundreds of cars being gathered for the Dream Show in the following categories: American Modern, Muscle, Classic, Vintage and Custom Street Rod, Radical Street Rod, Italian Exotic, British and German Sports Cars, Off-road and All-Terrain, and Competition Race Cars. For more information about the classes, registration and tickets, please visit the Dream Show link of the www.dreamride.org website.

“It is humbling to see how important both the Dream Show and Cruise have become to support these very Special Olympians! I am honored to have my team of eight prestigious judges who volunteered their time, skills and knowledge to work with the Hometown Foundation to create this event,” says Cusano, “The direct involvement with the athletes is so rewarding as we see the excitement over automobiles make an overwhelming difference in so many lives. The involvement of Lime Rock Park and honoring Skip Barber is a huge addition to the event as all people and organizations combine forces and work towards one common goal–to help Special Olympics athletes. The result is very powerful,” he adds.

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One-day Silver passes for the Sunday Dream Show Event are $30, Gold Passes for both the Saturday and Sunday Dream Ride weekend events are $50. www.dreamride.org .

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