25 Oct

Lime Rock’s Historic Festival Nominated among “World’s Best”

lr_best1LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 34 (September 2-5, 2016) has been nominated in the category of “Motorsport Event of the Year” by the U.K.-based International Historic Motoring Awards (IHMA), presented in association with Octane magazine and EFG Private Bank.

The search to find the “best of the best” in the international historic motoring world reached its final stages last week, as the panel of expert judges assesses the nominees that have been shortlisted in each 2016 category. The IHMA categories celebrate the diversity and depth of the historic motoring industry and the individuals that work within it.

Judges such as Derek Bell, car designer Peter Stevens and Pink Floyd drummer and historic car collector and racer Nick Mason did not have an easy task, with a splendid range of international candidates to choose from across the various categories, including Denmark’s Rømø Motor Festival, Italy’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Germany’s Eifel Rallye Festival and no less than three American automotive museums. The winners of each category will be announced November 17 when the “great and the good of the historic motoring world” gather at London’s Guildhall.

Lime Rock Historic Festival Chairman Murray Smith said, “I have to say, I see this Motorsport Event nomination as reward for all the hard work and creativity everyone at Lime Rock brings to bear for each year’s Festival. I like to think the IMHA recognizes the uniqueness of our having historic racing and a premier concours at the same venue at the same time. We are absolutely humbled and honored to be considered among other such prestigious events.”

For 34 years, America uniquely has one vintage automotive event that combines a prestigious concours d’elegance with authentic vintage and historic racing competition, all on the same property, all on one extended weekend. In 2016, Historic Festival 34 (and its concomitant Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance) saw 264 authentic race cars competing over three days in a total of 36 races (including 28 authentic, 1966-1972 SCCA Trans-Am cars, all with documented, in-period race histories), while the Concours had 281 invited entrants plus another 588 collector cars of all stripes in the “Gathering of the Marques” exhibit.

American racing legends John Morton and Peter Brock were the Honored guests (following 2015’s Sir Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass), with Morton racing in six of the weekend’s races.

Lime Rock’s Historic Festival is by far the venue’s biggest, most popular, highest-attended event. It’s a massive affair, with dozens of automotive elements including “swap meets,” a vibrant Fan Midway and special displays to once-in-a-lifetime car collections (e.g., Ralph Lauren’s), demonstration laps (e.g., the 1939 Mercedes-Benz W154 Silver Arrow Grand Prix car) and iconic Honored Guests and Collectors.

Historic Festival 35 is already scheduled for Labor Day weekend next year, September 1 – 4, 2017 and it promises to be another spectacular event that should be on every car enthusiast’s calendar.

For the complete list of categories and nominees, click here

Extremely popular race group at Historic Festival 34 was that of the authentic Trans-Am cars.  Photo Casey Keil

Extremely popular race group at Historic Festival 34 was that of the authentic Trans-Am cars.
Photo Casey Keil

A terrific collection of Formula Fords provided excellent open-wheel action. Photo Casey Keil

A terrific collection of Formula Fords provided excellent open-wheel action.
Photo Casey Keil

Photo Casey Keil

Photo Casey Keil

Courtesy Lime Rock Park

11 Sep

Lime Rock Sunday in the Park Concours Winners

Best of Show, 1959 Maserati Tipo 61 "Birdcage"; more winner's photos below. All photos by Greg Clark and Casey Keil except Russ Truelove, by Michael DiPleco

Best of Show, 1959 Maserati Tipo 61 “Birdcage”; more winner’s photos below. All photos by Greg Clark and Casey Keil except Russ Truelove, by Michael DiPleco

Best of Show
1959 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage #2452, Tony Wang, Lloyd Harbor, N.Y.
Though Wang has raced this Birdcage at the Lime Rock Historics previously – 2010 and 2012 – he’s not racing it this weekend, but did enter it into the Sunday in the Park Concours “Pick of the Paddock” class

People’s Choice
1912 Thomas Flyer 6-40, John F. & Carol A. Jones, Prospect, Conn.
This imposing machine wowed the spectators: It’s a 6-cylinder, 7-passenger Thomas that had previously won Most Outstanding Vintage Car 1912-1920 at Greenwich in 2008

Peter Brock Award
1968 Fiat 850 Spider, Jane & Jerome Roth, West Cornwall, Conn.
This was the car Honored Guest Peter Brock chose as the car he’d most like to own, telling the crowd he was so impressed with its lithe lines when he first saw one in Europe years ago

John Morton Award
1938 Marchese Special Indy Roadster, Jerry Lettieri, Rocky Hill, Conn.
Honored Guest John Morton chose the Marchese as the car he would love to take home. Morton told the crowd he was stunned when he came across this Indy car on the concours line: it was the very car he saw win a race at Milwaukee when he was a boy

Wayne Carini Award
1935 Ford Deluxe 3-Window Coupe Hot Rod
Always a fan of the everyman’s car, Honored Collector Wayne Carini loved this extremely well-executed rod with its worked flathead V8

Skip’s Sunday Best
Like a kid in a candy store, Historic Festival 34 Patron and Lime Rock President Skip Barber awards “Skip’s Sunday Best” trophies to machines he would like in his garage…

1951 Jaguar Mark V Cabriolet, Chris Owen, Stockbridge, Mass.
1964 Porsche 356C, Andrew Benenson, Darien, Conn.
1967 Gurney Eagle 67 (AAR #42) Indy car, Rob Dyson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
1968 Chevrolet Corvette Sunray DX L88 race car, J.R. Amantea, Meriden, Conn.
1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 25000 Sport Touring Superleggera Berlinetta & 1931 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Dual-Cowl Phaeton, Dragone Classic Motorcars, Bridgeport, Conn.

Inaugural Russ Truelove Award
Waterbury’s Russ Truelove, one of the first NASCAR drivers, has for years been bringing his crowd-pulling, crowd-pleasing authentic 1949 NASCAR Mercury Monterey stock car to Lime Rock Park. Going forward, the Russ Truelove Award will be presented at Sunday in the Park to those demonstrating exceptional dedication to the car-showing hobby. Russ is delivering the Monterey to Daytona this fall, and he’ll fly down rather than drive down when the Frances ring him up…

CLASS WINNERS

The Word’s First Wheels
1931 Buick 56C, Allan & Pat Kehrley, New York, N.Y.

Gatsby’s Delight
1930 Aston Martin International (Open Tourer), William King, Redding, Conn.

Off to Work
1967 Ford Fairlane 500XL Ranchero, Kevin Biebel, New Milford, Conn.

Risky ‘n’ Racy
1965 Shelby G.T. 350 “Snoopy” drag car, Robert Walls, Rochdale, Mass.

Rallyist’s Revenge
1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, Hans Abrahams, Riverside, Conn.

Speed & Agility
1947 Cisitalia 202SC Vignale Spyder, Henry Miller, Greenwich, Conn.

Dashing Between the Drops
1957 BMW 507 Hardtop Convertible, Jeffrey McAllister, Ridgefield, Conn.

This Weekend’s Racers are Rewarded
1954 Lancia D50, Peter Giddings, Danville, Calif.

Shiny Side Up
1965 Alfa Romeo Gran Sport Quattroruote Zagato, Joe Nastasi, Long Island City, N.Y.

For the Fun of the Drive
1969 Porsche 912 Targa, Jim & Wendy Petty, Weston, Conn.

Carry Your Weight
1967 Ford Ranchero (390 V8 w/4-speed), William Kokko, Milford, Conn.

Speed, Sport & Spirit
1984 Chevrolet Corvette targa, David Dennis, Thomaston, Conn.

Just a Little Faster
1966 Triumph TR4-A, Steve Francis, New Milford, Conn.

The Historic Trans-Am Race Group
1968 Mark Donohue Sunoco Camaro, Tom McIntyre, Burbank, Calif.

The Tin-Top Race Group
1973 Ford Escort, Ross Bremer, Jacksonville, Fla.

Style, Comfort, Pace
1954 Lancia Aurelia B20S, Chris Robins, Rye Brook, N.Y.

A Businessman’s Express
1967 Porsche 912, Pam & Peter Antosiewicz, New Milford, Conn.

Speed Breeds Success
1974 “Lincoln-Mercury” DeTomas Pantera, Robert DuQuette, East Hampton, Conn.

Outrunning the Wind
1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible, Tom Fuller, Lakewood, Ohio

The Weird and/or Exceptional
1996 Porsche 996 GT3, Steven Harris, New York, N.Y.

Weather-Permitting Performance
1941 Packard Model 110 Robert Neubert, Amston, Conn.

Comfort, Class and Wind in the Hair
1961 Oldsmobile Starfire Convertible, Jack Haverty, Pleasant Valley, N.Y.

Life at the Top in Comfort & Style
1949 Cadillac Sedanette, Andrew Benenson, Darien, Conn.

Just as We Found It
1910 Rover 8 h.p., Dirk Burrowes, Ashburnham, Mass.

A Fresh Approach
1961 Jaguar Mark II (resto-mod), Scott Lyman, New Canaan, Conn.

Hot Rod
1957 Chevrolet Corvette Hardtop Convertible, Howard Block, Plymouth, Conn.

Up on Two Wheels
1967 BMW R27, Rick Bell, Salisbury, Conn.

Domestic Dynamite
1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28/RS, Tom Petrasek, Huntington, N.Y.

Pick of the Paddock
1954 Lancia D50 Recreation, Miles Collier, The Revs Institute, Naples, Fla.

Rick Bell's brilliant Beemer

Rick Bell’s brilliant Beemer

Dyson Racing owns this terrific example of Dan Gurney's genius

Dyson Racing owns this terrific example of Dan Gurney’s genius

Not restored, it just keeps on running: The 1910 Rover

Not restored, it just keeps on running: The 1910 Rover

John Morton's dad took him to his first-ever race, where they saw this car win

John Morton’s dad took him to his first-ever race, where they saw this car win

Big an' tall is the Thomas Flyer

Big an’ tall is the Thomas Flyer

The Revs Institute is the caretaker of this Lancia D50 Recreation

The Revs Institute is the caretaker of this Lancia D50 Recreation

Carroll Shelby wanted to see his cars win drag races, too. Snoopy did that

Carroll Shelby wanted to see his cars win drag races, too. Snoopy did that

Trans-Am fans need no more information than this photo

Trans-Am fans need no more information than this photo

Russ, we love you. Keep on truckin'...

Russ, we love you. Keep on truckin’…

Press Release from Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance
Contact: Rick Roso, 860.435.5000 / rick@limerock.com

 

23 Jun

NEAM Father’s Day Car Show – 2016 Award Winners

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Photo: Alex von Kleydorff/ Hearst Connecticut Media

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15 Jun

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

2017 Fiat 124 Spider (Photo Fiat)

2017 Fiat 124 Spider (Photo Fiat)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

09 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

04 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adapted from article by Larry Vellequette, Automotive News

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

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

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)