15 Jan

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance celebrates Ferrari ‘Daytona’ March 11, 2018

“The last road car that might legitimately be considered a true Ferrari is the 365GTB/4 Daytona.” – Brock Yates, Enzo Ferrari (Doubleday, 1991)

It’s been a half-century since Pininfarina created the timeless shape of the Ferrari 365 GTB/4. On March 11, 2018 that happy anniversary will be celebrated at the 23rd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance with a special class of the rare and significant Ferrari 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” automobiles.

am_day2It was revenge, not Ferrari that gave the 365 GTB/4 its popular nickname. The name of America’s first superspeedway clung to the big Italian GT after Ferrari prototypes avenged themselves on American soil following their stinging defeat at Le Mans in 1966. Three victorious Ferrari P4 and P3 prototypes executed a perfectly choreographed photo finish winning the 1967 Rolex 24 at Daytona. It mocked Ford’s botched photo finish at Le Mans the previous June. There was little subtlety in it and everyone got the point. And the name Daytona stuck to the 365 GTB/4 almost at once.

am_day3So the mighty 365 GTB/4 became known as “Daytona” even though Ferrari never made it official. Some historians claim that the project was labeled “Daytona” internally during its gestation following the 1967 Daytona 24 Hour sweep. Then the internal nickname “Daytona” leaked. Ferrari himself was said to have squelched the use of the name when it became public.
Today the Daytona has a special place in Ferrari’s lustrous history. Automotive tastes and the traditional designs that had served Ferrari so well for two decades were under assault in the late sixties. So Ferrari made one last thunderous declaration regarding the creation of the thoroughbred grand touring car. They labeling it in traditional Ferrari fashion: 365 ccs per cylinder, Grand Tourismo Berlinetta, four overhead camshafts; 365 GTB/4.

am_day4Nearly 1,400 Daytona’s were built in coupe and convertible configurations. It outgunned its pricier and rarer 3-liter predecessors with a muscular 4-cam 4.4 liter V-12 fed by six enormous 40 mm Weber carburetors. This exotic recipe makes 380 hp and propels the big two-seater to nearly 180 mph; a sobering number for a 3,600 pound GT.
Despite its weight the Daytona made a fine race car. Ferrari created 15 special Competition 365 GTB/4s from 1971 through 1973. They scored class victories at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Le Mans and won the 1972 Tour de France outright. Second overall (with class victories) at the 1973 and 1979 Rolex 24 at Daytona, appropriately, are the Daytona’s North American racing high water marks.

am_day5“The Daytona has traditional Ferrari provenance, presence and poise.” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “The Daytona is the last of the true ‘Enzo’ Ferraris created before the Fiat influence arrived in Maranello in 1969. The howl of that big V-12 should be part of Il Canto degli Italiani, the Italian national anthem. The big Daytona is a car, a name and a legacy worth celebrating in grand style.”
Courtesy: Mike Eppinger, OldCarsWeekly.com
Photos courtesy of Bill Warner, Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
About the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

am_day1Now in its third decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “Amelia” draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island, The Ritz-Carlton at Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. The 23rd Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 9-11, 2018. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027

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

16 Jul

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find more information at www.limerockhistorics.com



Courtesy Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 34

10 Jul

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Volvo Amazon 122S at Lime Rock Park Historic Festival

Volvo Amazon 122S at Lime Rock Park Historic Festival


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

14 Aug

Make It Six: Historic Festival 33 adds Lauren’s ‘Count Trossi’ SSK to Special Mercedes Collection at Lime Rock Sept. 6

Photo by Michael Furman

Photo by Michael Furman

LAKEVILLE, CT – Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 33 Chairman Murray Smith scored another coup by securing yet another historic Mercedes competition car to join the five already confirmed; he’s arranged for one of the very few remaining 1928-1932 Mercedes-Benz SSKs to join the already outstanding display.

In particular, it’s the streamlined SSK built for Count Carlo Felice Trossi. The spectacular “Trossi SSK,” owned by Ralph Lauren, won best of show at the 1993 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the 2007 Concorso D’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

The SSK’s extreme performance and numerous competitive successes made it one of the most highly regarded sports cars of its era. Fewer than six entirely original SSK models remain. The SSK was the last Mercedes-Benz designed by Ferdinand Porsche before he left to found his own car company.

As of today, here’s the outstanding collection of Mercedes competition cars that will be at Historic Festival 33, September 4-7…

  • The “722” 300 SLR driven to victory by Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson in the 1955 Mille Miglia
  • 1954/55 W196 Grand Prix Silver Arrow
  • 1939 W154 Grand Prix Silver Arrow
  • 1930 Mercedes Trossi SSK
  • 1914 Mercedes Grand Prix car (French G.P.)
  • The 1908 Mercedes “Brooklands”
Photo  by IMS

Photo by IMS

The 1908 Mercedes Brooklands, is the sole survivor of only three produced. A Mercedes Brooklands finished fourth in the inaugural 1911 Indy 500 driven by Spencer Wishart, just 10 seconds behind Ray Harroun’s winning Marmon Wasp.

In the 1912 Indy 500, two Brooklands started – one by Wishart and one by Ralph De Palma – and De Palma very nearly won. In the car he nicknamed the Gray Ghost, he led 195 laps, but then a connecting rod broke. De Palma was able to coast one more lap but in the end he was classified 11th, behind winner Joe Dawson. (Wishart completed 82 laps and finished 15th.) These Brooklands were fitted with 583 cubic inch 4 cylinder engines.

The records of the individual Brooklands cars are difficult to distinguish from each other; the racers were leased and loaned to many owners and drivers. De Palma’s Brooklands was later lost in a fire. The Mercedes Brooklands has been kindly lent to Lime Rock by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

“It was the Brooklands models that built the very foundation of Mercedes racing success from the early 1900s onward,” Smith says. “A spectacular grouping, all of these very rare, very special Mercedes in one place at one time? Well, that pretty much speaks for itself, doesn’t it? I can’t tell you how pleased Lime Rock is to bring these cars to its fans and the media in such an intimate, beautiful and historic setting. Having Sir Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass as the weekend’s Honored Guests will add immensely to the Mercedes celebration, of course.”

About the Historic Festival: Since 1983, the East Coast’s premier vintage racing and concours event has been the Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park, held annually over Labor Day weekend. No other venue in the U.S. has three days of on-track racing sandwiching a prestigious concours event all on the same property, all at the same time. Historic Festival 33 is Thursday, September 3 (17-mile Vintage Race & Sports Car Parade) through Monday, September 7, while the Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance & Gathering of the Marques is September 6. Historic Festival 33 features Honored Guests Sir Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass, and one of the most distinctive gatherings of Mercedes-Benz competition cars in recent memory. Schedule: Thursday, Vintage Race Car Parade; Friday, Practice & Qualifying; Saturday, 18 races and demonstration laps; Sunday in the Park Concours; Monday, 18 races and demonstration laps. Ticket and other information at limerockhistorics.com & limerock.com


11 Aug

Goodwood Revival preview 2015: Freddie March Memorial Trophy Sept. 11-13


West Sussex, UK – Jaguar C-type vs Aston Martin DB3S – is there a more evocative Goodwood confrontation than that? Particularly when the cars are roaring through the Sussex night, lights ablaze?

It was the sights, sounds and sheer rivalry of racing like that that kept Goodwood spectators spellbound in the 1950’s. Now everything is set for a re-run, Revival style, with the first race to kick off the 2015 meeting on Friday September 11. And, yes, this year a superb field of cars – and assorted C-types and DB3Ss are just the start – will be running into dusk. (Head) lights, camera, action indeed!


Today the race is the Freddie March Memorial Trophy; then it was the Goodwood Nine Hour.

The Nine Hour was Britain’s attempt at a mini Le Mans, complete with drivers sprinting to their cars for the 3pm start. Not all spectators may have lasted until the midnight finish, but there could be no doubting the spectacle of such beautiful machinery – driven by the likes of Stirling Moss, Reg Parnell, Roy Salvadori, Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt – roaring through the night. It was the first night race in the UK and always full of drama, including the odd pit lane fire…


A great deal has changed since the last Nine Hour, run in 1955. For one thing, the nine-hour endurance marathon is now a 90-minute, two-driver sprint race. It’s less demanding of cars and drivers (and spectators!) but as regulars to the Freddie March will know, there’s more close racing than ever and plenty of thrills and spills.

The crucial thing is that the cars taking part today are truly in the spirit of the machines that battled for victory in the 1950s. Despite there being just three Nine Hour meetings – in 1952, ’53 and ’55, and all won incidentally by Aston Martin – all have gone into Goodwood legend.

Today the racing is about far more than the factory Jaguar and Aston teams battling it out. In 2014 the Lagonda V12 of Darren McWhirter stormed to victory, followed home by a Cunningham C4R and Austin-Healey 100S.

For 2015, there’s no Lagonda but there is a Cunningham C4R and several Healey 100Ss, plus HWMs, Maseratis, Frazer Nash Le Mans Replicas, an Alfa Disco Volante, Mercedes Gullwing, Tojeiro and Coopers with both Jaguar and Bristol power. Not forgetting of course five Astons and six Jag C-types!


With plenty of tail-out action on the track (and often on the grass, too) the Freddie March Memorial Trophy should be an exceedingly close race as well as a spectacular start to this year’s racing at the Goodwood Revival. The Freddie March wasn’t run as a dusk race last year but our highlights video still gives a great taste of the action.

What will happen this year? The only thing GRR can say with certainty is that whatever does happen, it will be spectacular.

Source: Bob Murray, Goodwood Revival

27 Jul

Four significant M-B competition cars confirmed for Historic Festival 33 at Lime Rock Sept. 3-7


Lakeville, CT – Competition cars from Mercedes-Benz will be the stars of Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 33, September 3-7, 2015. Event Chairman Murray Smith has confirmed the presence of four outstanding race cars:

From the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Stuttgart, Germany

  • The “722” 300 SLR driven to victory by Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson in the 1955 Mille Miglia
  • A 1954/55 W196 Silver Arrow grand prix car

From The Revs Institute, Naples, Fla.

  • 1939 W154 Silver Arrow grand prix car
  • 1914 Mercedes grand prix car (French G.P.)

Smith is currently in conversation with additional entities regarding other rare and significant Mercedes-Benz competition cars; announcements to follow.

• Historic Festival 33’s Honored Guests are Sir Stirling Moss and racing legend Jochen Mass, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center driver

• The Honored Collector for Sunday in the Park 2015 is Jim Taylor, of Gloversville, N.Y. Jim’s unique perspective focuses heavily on collecting “survivors” – cars that show their history and wear it proudly, and aren’t always washed much less restored – as well as eclectic, special cars with significant character. Among the cars Mr. Taylor is bringing to Historic Festival 33 are:

  • “The Evangel,” a 1935 Ford V8 “gospel truck”
  • 1937 Horch 853A Cabriolet
  • 1953 Allard J2X Le Mans
  • 1964 AC Cobra (289 – CSX 2171)
  • 1958 AC Ace Bristol
  • 1962 Chevrolet Corvair wagon (with special factory 4-speed manual transmission)
  • 1932 Ford hot rod

• The Honored Motorcycle Collector for Sunday in the Park 2015 is Rob Iannucci – Team Obsolete – of Brooklyn, N.Y. Rob Iannucci is one of the great stewards of the vintage motorcycle racing community in North America and internationally. Through his racing organization, Team Obsolete, he has participated in and won most of the important vintage motorcycle racing events in the world. Mr. Iannucci’s collection primarily focuses on bikes from Matchless and AJS, with a sprinkling of racing Harleys and other two-wheeled masterpieces. Not just any bikes, these are some of the most famous racing bikes in the world coming to Lime Rock Park.

  • 1954 AJS 7R3 “Triple Knocker,” ex-Rod Coleman, 1954 Isle of Man TT winner
  • 1959 Matchless G-50 #1709, ex-Al Gunter
  • 1969 Arter G-50 “Wagon Wheels”
  • 1967 MV Agusta 500/3; this is one of the legendary “triples” used by Giacomo Agostini to win 13 of his 15 F.I.M. World Championships… The Ultimate!
  • 1972 Harley Davidson 750 XRTT – Cal Rayborn’s last and best XR750TT… The Holy Grail of all the XR 750TT Harleys

New... Sunday in the Park is now accepting post-1985 cars in select classes to spotlight modern marvels (click here) to see the complete class list, some of which have post-1985 divisions)

• Lime Rock Park has made a multi-million dollar investment in its infrastructure as part of the Road to 60 Project. The facility is now substantially improved as compared to 2014 and prior. Rebuilt and/or all-new include: Paddocks, restrooms, viewing areas, walkways, landscaping, Wi-Fi system, PA system and more.


Find more information at www.limerockhistorics.com


05 May

Flashback: The Melton Auto Museum opened in Norwalk, Connecticut on July 24, 1948


By Margo Melton Nutt
Reprinted from February 11, 2011

Norwich, VT – Although I have talked some in previous posts about the James Melton Autorama in Florida, I haven’t said much about its precursor, the Melton Museum in Norwalk Connecticut (1948-53). So here goes:

Back in the summer of 1941, the State of Connecticut had appropriated funds to build a museum for my father’s cars. But the onset of World War II put the project on hold. After the war the agreement still did not come to fruition. As he put it in a letter to fellow Veteran Motor Car Club members in 1947:

“As you may have seen by the papers, I have withdrawn my offer of a museum collection to the State of Connecticut. The first appropriation was made in 1941, the enlarged appropriation in 1945, and the thing is still only on paper…The combination of dilly-dallying techniques, small brother groups crying over locations, appointment of an antique auto curator—repeat curator!—and the shifting sands of politics—of which I want no part—finally made me decide that it would be in the best interests of my collection and the antique automobile movement as a whole, to cut out of all that complicated and unpleasant situation…I shall create a museum of which we can all be proud—and where we won’t wake up some morning to find some Politico’s Aunt Tillie’s 1928 Model A Ford where a Mercer Raceabout ought to be.”

Rather than donating his collection to the State in return for the building, he continued to own the cars—and to add to their number until he had close to a hundred. He formed a corporation, The Melton Museum, Inc., and acquired a 10,000 square foot building on an eight-acre site on Route 7 in Norwalk, Connecticut, half a mile from the Merritt Parkway (where Wal-Mart is today). To that he added another 10,000 square foot building, incorporating an existing well-known restaurant, called the Stirrup Cup. On top of the building with the sign saying The Melton Museum, he put brightly painted cutouts of some of the cars represented in the collection; out front he placed a 1902 trolley car. He sincerely believed that everyone was as interested in the history of the automobile as he was. He felt that preserving the cars was only half the story, they should be shown to the public as examples of man’s ingenuity and as the beautiful antiques they were.

On July 24, 1948, the 20,000 square foot Melton Museum of Antique Automobiles opened in Norwalk, with fifty-five cars, antique bicycles, auto accessories, toy trains and music boxes. Opening day began with a parade of antique autos, driven by his confreres from the Veteran Motor Car Club, and was attended by celebrities such as Clare Booth Luce, Lawrence Tibbett and Connecticut Governor Grover Whelan. Twelve hundred paying customers came the first day, sixteen hundred the second. Little did many of the visitors know what a huge, last-minute effort had gone into readying the exhibition for opening day? Firestone, for instance, had agreed to equip all the cars with their new “non-skid” tires—the words formed the tread design. The tires had been flown in by air freight from Akron, Ohio the day before the museum opened, and Firestone men had worked until 2 A.M. to mount them all. For months my mother had been a willing helper in preparing the museum, haunting local antiques stores in search of the right accouterments to accompany the displays, and raiding friends’ and relatives’ attics for old-fashioned costumes for the mannequins to wear. She also oversaw many museum-related details on the home front while her husband was on tour with the Metropolitan Opera that spring.

Their old friend, former Ziegfeld designer, John Harkrider, designed the exhibits. The entrance hall was decorated with large photos of my father’s various old car exploits with other celebrities: the 1937 Easter Parade of antique autos down Fifth Avenue with fellow singers Lanny Ross and Jessica Dragonette as passengers; Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy riding in one of the cars my father took to Hollywood in 1944; and a meeting with Henry Ford Sr. in Dearborn, Michigan. The cashier’s office was in a 1912 Renault Hansom Cab, the car’s radiator having been converted to a counter for selling tickets. (Admission to the museum was 60 cents.) One exhibit room had a parade of vehicles filled with cap-and-duster clad mannequins intended to look as if they were driving down a country road. Another room had eight racing cars displayed in an octagonal pattern; one of the cars was a 1911 Mercedes which was accompanied by a huge photographic blowup of Ralph DePalma driving that very car in the 1911 Vanderbilt Cup Race. In yet another room, the sign in front of the 1910 White Touring Car explained the origins of the collection, “The ambition of a small boy to own a car like this is what started the whole thing.”

He hired a retired Norwalk policeman—Officer Phillip O’Grady—as the security guard. Dressed like a turn of the century Keystone Kop, O’Grady was straight out of central casting, and played his part to the hilt. Among the summer help my father hired was Joe Ryan, still only in high school, to polish brass and run errands. Over fifty years later, among the highlights Ryan recalled was a trip to Canada to pick up a 1924 Rolls Royce that Lady Eaton had donated to the museum. “Between being held up at the border for two days because Customs didn’t accept the paperwork I carried, (they had to verify it with both Lady Eaton and your father), and the fact the headlights were so dim I could only drive in daylight, it took me five days to get the car back to Norwalk.” His job at the Melton Museum started Ryan’s lifelong love of automobiles that evolved into his career as sales manager of a Mercedes Benz agency.

The oldest car in the Melton Museum was 1893 custom steam stage coach, which looked rather like a horse-drawn carriage with engines added front and rear. The most modern car in the museum was a 1934 custom-built Detroit Electric. Other unusual pieces in the collection were aforementioned 1911 Mercedes of Vanderbilt Cup Race fame, a 1900 Rockwell Hansom Cab—the first New York City taxi— and a 12-passenger Stanley Steamer Mountain Wagon circa 1915, formerly used in Yellowstone National Park for sightseeing tours.

Margo Melton Nutt’s memoirs of her father “James Melton: The Tenor of His Times” is available at Amazon.com

James Melton (left) at the Hershey Meet in 1958 beside a 1910 Thomas Flyer

James Melton (left) at the Hershey Meet in 1958 beside a 1910 Thomas Flyer

James Melton driving his 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (Chassis No. 60565)

James Melton driving his 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (Chassis No. 60565)


15 Apr

Lime Rock spending millions as it builds a better fan experience


LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Late last year, Lime Rock Park Track President Skip Barber committed more than $3 million to a wide variety of projects to rebuild, refine and renew Lime Rock’s infrastructure. The goal of the so-called Road to 60 Project is to dramatically enhance the spectator experience from 2015 onward.

“From the paddocks and the bathrooms to the hillside viewing areas, we’re changing Lime Rock’s infrastructure from pre-historic to be perhaps the most fan friendly road course in North America,” Barber said.

Not since Lime Rock Park’s race track surface itself was re-built in 2008 has a construction project of this magnitude been greenlighted at the famous 1.5-mile automotive and motorsports venue in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner. Some of those projects will be complete in time for Lime Rock’s season-opener – the Memorial Day Weekend Trans Am Series, and Royals Sunday Car Show, May 22-24 – and many more in time for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar weekend July 24-25.

“In 2008, the track itself had to get done – it was exceedingly bumpy, it needed more guardrail, better run-off areas – and that’s what we did for the competitors. Road to 60 is for the fans,” Barber said. The target for completion of all Road to 60 projects is 2017, when Lime Rock Park celebrates its 60th anniversary.

“We’re doing what we need to do – what we want to do – to ensure the track’s professional racing future,” Barber says. “Major sports car races have defined Lime Rock since the day it opened, and I’m making sure that continues well into the future.

“It’s important to note that everything we’re doing, all the changes, all the improvements… all will make Lime Rock more useful, easier to navigate, more sensible – but all with an eye to making Lime Rock even more beautiful than it already is. I have no doubt that, just in the case of our paddocks, Lime Rock’s will be the most attractive in the U.S.”

Of the multitude of Road to 60 projects underway, the highlights are…

To be completely re-done and much larger, plus: laser-graded-and-paved to eliminate standing water; it will be landscaped; there’ll be defined spectator walkways and cobblestone curbing; and the roadways through the paddock will be much wider. The new A-Paddock is specifically designed to allow two complete race rigs, tractors included, to park in-line – with a walkway in between – from inside Big Bend up to Victory Circle. Additionally, it will provide large and extremely efficient driving exercise and hospitality acreage for automakers as well as other ride-and-drive, press day and driver-training clients.

A-Paddock one week after construction began

A-Paddock one week after construction began

April 2015: A-Paddock will have an attractive retention pond behind the newly placed Big Bend inside guardrail

April 2015: A-Paddock will have an attractive retention pond behind the newly placed Big Bend inside guardrail

Being completely re-done: Paved in its entirety (and also laser-graded to eliminate standing water), there’ll be much more usable space. Like A-Paddock, it will provide large and extremely efficient driving exercise and hospitality acreage.

April 2015, B-Paddock: You can see all the white base gravel, in preparation for paving

April 2015, B-Paddock: You can see all the white base gravel, in preparation for paving

Infield Spectator Hillside
Completely re-done: Close to 100,000 square yards of earth was moved, re-contoured, re-sloped and/or removed to dramatically improve and expand the sightlines as well as make Lime Rock’s famous “picnic-blanket-and-lawn-chair” experience even more enjoyable. With this re-working of the hill, close to 45 percent of the track can now be seen from this Hillside; with just a turn of the head.

Additionally, the Infield Spectator Hillside has been extended all the way through the inside curve of the Right-hander, creating an entirely new and exciting viewing area of No Name Straight and the Uphill. The Hillside reconfiguration has also allowed the spectator fencing to be moved even closer to the circuit in many locations.

April 2015: The re-contoured and lengthened Infield Hillside

April 2015: The re-contoured and lengthened Infield Hillside

Hospitality Acreage
There will now be a total of three large areas of Lime Rock property dedicated to corporate, race team and VIP hospitality. The popular Outfield hospitality acreage remains essentially the same but the existing hospitality area in the Infield (between the Chalets) has been significantly increased in size and laser-graded. The third is an exciting new hospitality area that overlooks the Right-hander and No Name Straight.


April 2015: The beginnings of the all-new Hospitality area overlooking the Right-hander. This is looking southwest, toward No Name Straight.

April 2015: The beginnings of the all-new Hospitality area overlooking the Right-hander. This is looking southwest, toward No Name Straight.

A-Paddock Rest Rooms
The Men’s Room will be completely rebuilt, and the Ladies Room totally refreshed.

Handicap Access
It will be improved and/or added throughout much of the facility.

Also: There’ll be a new PA system; expanded and robust Wi-Fi; improved cellular service; and improvements and expansions to the other spectator areas

Skip Barber added, “Road to 60 accomplishes many things for Lime Rock’s future, both short term and long. For each project, I asked myself, ‘What’s the best way to do this to make the Lime Rock experience better for the fan?’ While not forgetting the competitors, sanctioning bodies, the car makers, hospitality clients, the Lime Rock Drivers Club and all the driving and racing organizations, I’m pretty sure we’ve made good decisions.”

About Lime Rock Park
Lime Rock Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been “New England’s Road Racing Home” since its opening in 1957. It is a 7-turn, 1.5-mile road racing circuit in Connecticut’s celebrated Northwest Corner – approximately halfway between New York City and Boston – and holds FIA-listed national and international road racing events, driving schools, track days, corporate events, and non-automotive public and private functions. The president and owner of Lime Rock Park is Skip Barber. Learn more at www.limerock.com