05 May

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

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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“As you may have seen by the papers, I have withdrawn my offer of a museum collection to the State of Connecticut.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

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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…

A-Paddock
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

B-Paddock
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

 

 

02 Mar

SIR STIRLING MOSS’ SILVER ARROWS COME TO AMELIA ISLAND MARCH 13

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Jacksonville, FL – Sir Stirling Moss has been named the Honoree of the20th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Sir Stirling was the honoree of the first Amelia Island Concours in 1996 and will again be the honoree in 2015 at the international concours season opener in northeast Florida. Moss is the only person to be honored twice by the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The cars that defined Sir Stirling’s career in 1955, the Mercedes-Benz racing cars that brought him his greatest fame, will serve as the centerpiece of the 20th anniversary Amelia display field
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On May 22, 1955 Moss and navigator Denis Jenkinson won the punishing Mille Miglia to score Mercedes-Benz’s first victory of the World Sports Car Championship season. The epic 1000mile open road race around the Italian peninsula took Moss nearly ten non-stop hours. The speed record he set 60 years ago still stands. Less than a month later Mercedes’ withdrew from the 24 Hours of Le Mans after an accident involving one of the team’s 300SLRs and an Austin-Healey. Moss and his co-driver, reigning World Champion Juan Fangio, were leading by nearly three laps when the decision to withdraw came from Germany. The retirement cost Moss another career first as the only man to win the Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same season.

In July 1955 Sir Stirling won his home Grand Prix at Aintree, England in the 300SLR’s stablemate, the Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz W196. It was the first of 16 World Championship F1 victories for Moss. In October, Moss clinched the World Sports Car Championship for Mercedes-Benz winning the Targa Florio racing the same 300SLR that had carried him to victory in the Mille Miglia and the Tourist Trophy in Dundrod, Ireland. Moss and his 300SLR were the common denominator in the 1955 World Sports Car Championship season winning half the races of the six-race World Championship for Mercedes-Benz.

“Sir Stirling set us on our path in 1996,” said Bill Warner, Founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “To have Sir Stirling and his Mercedes-Benz racers from the 1955 double world championship season on the field is a fantasy come true for us. This is absolutely unprecedented. Mercedes-Benz Classic, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and Sir Stirling have given us all a moment unequaled in motorsport history.” “Sir Stirling’s Mille Miglia, TT and Targa winning 300SSLR will join his W196 Monoposto and the Streamliner he raced and led with at Monza, his last Formula 1 race for Mercedes-Benz,” said Warner. “We’re honored to be able to present this extraordinary collection of Sir Stirling’s Mercedes-Benz World Champions.”

The 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be held March 13-15th 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 over $2.5 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other charities on Florida’s First Coast since its inception in 1996. In 2013 the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance won Octane Magazine’s EFG International Historic Motoring Event of the Year award.

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 held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws over 300 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. The 20thannual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 13-15, 2015. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027.

Photos courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Photos courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

09 Feb

Brian Redman’s Targa Sixty Six to Run February 20 – 22 at Palm Beach Raceway

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Jupiter, FL – Targa Sixty Six was started in 1991 by champion racecar driver Brian Redman for owners of vintage and modern high performance and collector cars that do not necessarily wish to race them, but who like to drive at speed under controlled conditions, in the company of others with like interests.

The event will be held at Palm Springs International Raceway on Friday, February 20th through Sunday, February 22nd; cars will be run on the 2.034 mile Road Course in three different classes.

Participants in the event will be provided three days of track use scheduled 9:30 am to 4:30 pm each day. (Each participant can expect to have at least 6-8 hours of track time over the course of the weekend ) Also provided will be track marshals, an EMS vehicle and staff. Meals will include lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the track plus Saturday’s semi-formal (jacket and tie) evening dinner. Driving instruction, if desired, is available from Brian or one of the other “pros” in attendance.

Previous events have featured celebrity guest speaker/instructors; past honorees have included: Bob Akin, David Hobbs, Augie Pabst, Hurley Haywood, Juan Manuel Fangio II, Derek Bell, Richard Attwood, David Piper, Bill Adam, David E. Davis, Leo Mehl, Stirling Moss, David Murry, and John Paul. Jr.

Examples of participant’s cars have included Ferrari: Daytona, 275 GTC, 512M, F40, F 50, 348, 355. Porsche: 962/956/917/910/550A/Speedster. Jaguar: “D” type, “E” type, XJR7. Chevron: B15/B20/B16/B19/ B21/B36. Lola: T70 Mk III/IIIB/T296/210. IndyCars: Penske, Lola, March. IMSA GTP: Spice/Chevrolet, Spice /Ferrari. Camel Lights; Spice/Buick, Tiga/Mazda, Tiga/Ferrari. Lotus: Elan, Super 7, Elite. Ford: GT40, Mk I, Mk IV, plus Mini Cooper “S”, Fiat Abarth, and many more.

Many people ask where the name came from…

It is quite simple really. The Targa part is from the Targa Florio, a 44 mile per lap and 900+ corners per lap race through the mountains of Sicily. Brian Redman won the 1970 iteration along with the historic recreation; both in the wonderful little Porsche 908/3.

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The Sixty Six may be a little bit harder to figure out. Brian drove for the brilliant engineer/driver/team owner, Jim Hall in the Formula 5000 series. Runner up (after missing 2 races while racing for Ferrari in Europe) in 1973, the number on the car was the iconic Chaparral Racing 66. Brian then went onto win the F5000 championship for the following 3 years in a row.

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For further information about the Targa Sixty Six event, contact:
James Redman
Phone: 772-713-7322
E-mail: James@gorace.com

Event Website: www.gorace.com
Host Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

28 Jan

Historic Racing Returns to Thompson Speedway’s Oval Track May 13-16

Scene from Opening Day at the Thompson Speedway, May 26, 1940

Scene from Opening Day at the Thompson Speedway, May 26, 1940

Thompson, CT – The 2015 season will mark the 75th anniversary of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, so it is fitting that it would also see the return of historic racing on the 5/8 mile oval, for the first time since 2012. The Historic Oval Invitational will be a two-day event held on Friday and Saturday, May 15-16, 2015.

The races are open to any race cars built before 2000, and will include Midgets, Sprints, 3/4 Midgets, Super Modifieds, Champ Cars, Vintage Outlaws, Stock Cars and more.

The event will also feature a Hot Rod & Classic Car Show on Saturday morning from 10AM until 2PM. The cost to display a car is $10, which includes grandstand admission for the event.

Spectator prices, entry fees and more information can be found on TSMP’s website at www.thompsonspeedway.com, or by phone at 860-923-2280. Updates will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Racing, yes, and so much more.

Tucked away in the beautiful countryside of Northeastern Connecticut, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) is the home of a historic raceway and a classic 18-hole golf course. Now, as the facility is continuously improved, Thompson Speedway offers more than ever before.

Owned and operated by the Hoenig family for four generations since before it became a racetrack in 1939, TSMP today offers more options than any other track in New England.

As always, the historic 5/8 mile high banked oval hosts a number of annual NASCAR stock car and open wheel racing events, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen All American Series.

The 1.7 mile road course is the rebirth of the first purpose-built closed-circuit road racing track in the United States. It offers elements to challenge amateur and professional drivers alike – and includes the nostalgia inherent in its history.

The Raceway Golf Club offers 18 holes of classic New England golf course design. The Clubhouse, Restaurant and Banquet Facility overlook both the golf course and motorsports facility. Bogey’s Ice Cream Stand continues to serve up the region’s best ice cream.

And today, TSMP also includes a unique Drivers Club, the High Performance Driving Experience, and Corporate/Private events of all types.

Just 50 minutes from downtown Boston, 2.5 hours from New York City and 40 minutes from Hartford and Providence, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park continues to strive to bring more excitement and entertainment to fans of all ages. In 2015, race goers will find something at TSMP for the whole family to enjoy.

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Courtesy: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

22 Jan

AACA Museum opens Lotus: The Art of Lightness January 24

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Hershey, PA- The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum presents Lotus: The Art of Lightness from January 24-April 26 2015. This compelling exhibit offers a selection of Lotus road cars and racing cars throughout their 66 year history covering over 15 models from a 1956 Mark VI to the 2014 Evora and also includes representative examples of Lotus engineered vehicles.

Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus, and the man behind Lotus’ racing successes and iconic road cars said “I believe in getting light weight through elegance of design” translated through folklore as the mantra ‘Simplify and add lightness’. In today’s automotive world, making vehicles lighter is the newest method to extract efficiency and performance. But for Colin Chapman and Lotus it has always been the essence of their design and engineering philosophy.

The first Lotus came from the humblest of sources. In 1948 Colin Chapman, a young engineering student, became enthused with automotive competition and sought to enter the unique world of British Trials competition. The basis for this was an Austin Seven “Chummy”, an antiquated pre-war people’s car that Chapman transformed into his first competition special, dubbed Lotus. His forays into competition were successful and led to the formation of Lotus Engineering by 1954. It didn’t take long for Lotus Engineering to be in full production of bespoke Chapman designed chassis and Lotus subsequently invaded and triumphed in the world of British Club racing and international motorsports competition.

Since those early days, Lotus and the genius of Colin Chapman have been at the forefront of racing technology and automotive design. Colin Chapman’s philosophy of light weight, efficiency of design and innovation resulted in seven Formula 1 World Championships as well as wins at Le Mans and Indianapolis and championships in Saloon car racing, the World Rally Championship, sports car racing and the lower open wheel formulas. Colin Chapman’s philosophy of simplification, light weight and the least amount of parts effectively deployed that went into his racing car design were directly translated into Lotus’ road cars and produced a pantheon of iconoclastic machines such as the Seven, Elite, Elan, Cortina, Europa, Esprit, Elise, Exige, and Evora, truly making them “racing cars for the road”.

In addition to producing class-leading sports cars, Lotus has become a globally respected automotive engineering consultancy, working with many of the world’s most prestigious car manufacturers. Their expertise in ride and handling has made Lotus the standard to which all others are compared.

About the AACA Museum:
The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, displays beautifully restored automobiles, buses and motorcycles in unique life-like scenes representing the 1890s – 1980s in a cross-country journey from New York to San Francisco. This Museum, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, is known to be one of the largest automotive museums. Special exhibits change several times a year and focus on a variety of eras and types of vehicles. The Museum is in South Hanover Township, located just off Route 39, one mile west of Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Regular admission $12, seniors age 61 and older $11, juniors age 4-12 $9, children age 3 and under are FREE. The Museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Special Note: There will be an opening reception for this exhibit on Friday, January 23rd from 6-9 PM. Tickets are available for $15 per person and can be purchased online or by calling the ticket counter at 717-566-7100 ext. 100.

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Images courtesy of Michael Furman

16 Jan

Palm Beach Cavallino Classic Celebrates 24th Anniversary January 21 – 25

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The 24th annual Palm Beach Cavallino Classic will be held January 21-25, 2015. This extraordinary gathering is a multi-day convention of automotive owners and collectors and participants attending with their 400 exotic and classic automobiles from the U.S and Europe.

The Palm Beach Cavallino Classic is regarded as one of the top automotive events in the world and the premier Ferrari event in the US. The winners of three different Cavallino Classic Best of Show Awards have gone on to win the prestigious international Louis Vuitton Classic Concours Award for the ultimate Best in the World automobile.

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There are two days of track at the Palm Beach International Raceway, including the fourth year of the Cavallino Classic Competition, a racing program for older Ferraris, Maseratis, and pre-war race cars.

There is a Tour of Palm Beach, which will take visitors through the most elegant and beautiful sites of the town and its surroundings. There are evening events also: a Jet Aviation party at Palm Beach International Airport and a Beach Club gala at a members-only Breakers Hotel venue.

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The premier event of the weekend is the Concorso d’Eleganza on the front lawn of the famous Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach on Saturday, January 24. A total of 150 Ferraris will be judged by leading international experts. Awards are distributed at a gala evening party after the Concorso.

This exceptional week is crowned with an unrivaled Sunday program – Classic Sports Sunday held at the exclusive and private Mar-a-lago estate on January 25. Here 120 vintage and classic sporting automobiles of various marques will be displayed and judged on the lawn. This year’s featured marque will be Bugatti. Awards are presented at a charity luncheon for the American Council of the Blind held in the opulent ballroom.

Host Hotel: The Breakers, Palm Beach FL
Reservations: www.thebreakers.com/cavallino24

 

03 Dec

Early Offerings at RM Auctions Paris February 3 – 4, 2015

Joseph Paul and Marcel Mongin drove the Delahaye 135 S to second overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 (photo: Collection Jean Paul Tissot)

Joseph Paul and Marcel Mongin drove the Delahaye 135 S to second overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 (photo: Collection Jean Paul Tissot)

London – RM Auctions will return to Place Vauban in Paris on 3-4 February, 2015 for its annual sale during the Retromobile show week. A permanent fixture on RM’s global calendar, the Paris auction will open the company’s 2015 European calendar with a roster of 60 automobiles.

“Paris 2014 was an important sale for RM, as it allowed the company to establish an auction in what is regarded as one of the most important weeks on the European collector car calendar. After such an incredible debut sale last year, we are excited to return with what is already shaping-up to be a wonderful roster of cars,” said Augustin Sabatié-Garat, Car Specialist RM Auctions.

Leading early entries is a 1935 Delahaye 135 S, chassis no. 46094. The Delahaye has resided in France all of its life, including many years in the ownership of Jean-Philippe Peugeot, of the Peugeot Motor Company. It raced competitively from 1936 through 1949, extensively in the hands of the well-known French driver, Joseph Paul. In addition, it was a competitor at many Grand Prix events throughout the 1940s, claiming victory at the Grand Prix des Frontières in the hands of Willy Mairesse. A veteran of no less than three 24 Heures du Mans, the car’s most notable performance came in 1937 when Joseph Paul and Marcel Mongin piloted it to second position overall in the famed endurance race.

For decades, chassis 46094 has been a familiar sight on the international classic car scene, competing in many of the world’s leading historic races driven by its former owner, Jean Sage. Suitable for road or track, it’s a versatile entry into almost every significant event around the world (Est. €1.200.000 – €1.600.000).

Another early highlight from the RM Auctions Paris 2015 sale with French history and one set to command strong local interest is the 1934 Lancia Belna Eclipse. The Lancia features coachwork by Pourtout and dramatic Art Deco design by Georges Paulin, a dentist who sketched many of the most beautiful French automobiles of the pre-war period and went on to be a hero of the French Resistance.

Paulin was a pioneer of aerodynamic design and new ideas in coach-building, most prominently, one of the world’s first retractable hardtops, which he dubbed “Eclipse.” A simple system, it featured a one-piece hardtop that unbuckled at the windshield frame, with a reverse-hinged rear deck that would be raised to store the hardtop underneath. The patented design was simple and effective and was mainly utilized by French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout up to the outbreak of World War II. Paulin then went on to join the war-time Resistance movement, passing secrets along to agents who would come to his dental office, until he was tragically captured and executed on March 21, 1942.

1934 Lancia Belna Eclipse by Pourtout (photo: Darin Schnabel)

1934 Lancia Belna Eclipse by Pourtout (photo: Darin Schnabel)

The Lancia on offer, chassis F341349, is one of only two known examples featuring the Pourtout-built Eclipse coachwork. Built on a French-manufactured Belna chassis, it was discovered by its present owner in Tennessee and was duly restored to feature its current black and bright yellow paintwork with a genuine ostrich skin interior. Widely shown at various American Concours d’Elegance events, including at Pebble Beach in 2004, it has been awarded a string of accolades over the years, including Best in Class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (2005), and the Concorso Italiano (2006), along with being judged 99.75 points by the Classic Car Club of America (Est. €300.000 – €375.000).

The February 2015 sale follows in the footsteps of the company’s debut in the French capital earlier this year, an event which grossed €17.7 million in sales and was headlined by a 1955 Jaguar D-Type at €3.696.000.

The RM Auctions Paris 2015 auction will be held at Place Vauban immediately after the Festival Automobile International, 4 December 2014 to 1 February 2015. This event will gather a display of concept cars and pay tribute to car designers from around the world.

For further sale information, or to view a frequently updated list of entries, visit www.rmauctions.com or call RM’s London office at +44 (0) 20 7851 7070.

[Source: Sports Car Graphic]

05 Nov

Lime Rock’s 2015 Event Schedule is Announced

Lime Rock, CT – Today, Lime Rock Park announced its 2015 Major Event Schedule:

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Lime Rock’s Traditional Memorial Day Weekend Season Opener
Featuring the Trans Am Series & the Sunday Royals Car Show
Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 22-24

Trans Am cars are big, bad ass and brutal – and really fast at Lime Rock. With Dodge coming on board to Trans Am in 2014, the real “Pony Car Wars” are back: Mustang versus Camaro versus Challenger. The next day is the sixth annual Sunday Royals Car Show, Connecticut’s best “workingman’s” show, the anti-concours concours; great cars of every kind, from hot rods to sports cars and everything in between. If it’s cool, it’s here.

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TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
Featuring IMSA Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona
Plus Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
Friday & Saturday, July 24-25

IMSA is back after a one-year hiatus, with the super-quick PC Prototypes and the GT Daytona (GTD) production-based sports cars racing together in this mid-summer spree of speed! The ORECA FLM09 prototypes reach more than 150 mph on Sam Posey Straight – and the GTDs (everything from Aston Martins, Audi R8s and BMW Z4s to Ferraris, 911s and Dodge SRT Vipers) aren’t far behind. PLUS, both classes of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – some of the best stock car road racing in the world – are here. You’ll see the big, loud and fast Camaros, Porsches, Mustangs, Aston Martins, BMWs and 370Zs banging fenders in GS, while the ST race has the quick and agile Hondas, VWs, BMW 128/328, Mazda 3/MX-5 and Porsche Boxsters. IMSA has been racing at Lime Rock since the early 1970s, and the tradition continues.

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Lime Rock’s Traditional Labor Day Weekend Historic Festival 33
Featuring the Thursday Race Car Parade and the Sunday in the Park Concours & Gathering of the Marques
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday, September 3-7

Since 1983, the East Coast’s premier vintage and historic motorsport event has been Lime Rock’s Historic Festival and its companion Sunday in the Park Concours & Gathering of the Marques. Honored Guests and Honored Collectors help create five days of motoring magnificence that begins with the free Vintage Race Car Parade and Falls Village Street Fair on Thursday, Sept. 3, continues with racing on Friday and Saturday, the Concours and Gathering on Sunday (more than 1,200 cars are in the Park!), and ends at 6:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7, when the final checkered flag falls on the last of 40 races. As always, more than 250 vintage and historic race cars will fill A Paddock, the Swap Meet in B Paddock will be packed, the Midway is alive with activities – and the racing on the track is non-stop from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Monday. Historic Festival 33… There’s nothing else like it anywhere in North America.

 

Tickets www.limerock.com

03 Nov

First Vintage 24 Hour Race at Daytona Nov. 12-16

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Daytona, FL –The traditions of the 24 Hours of Daytona will be revived and relived at full speed on the high banks and infield road course of Daytona International Speedway from November 12-16, 2014 at Historic Sportscar Racing’s inaugural Classic 24 race weekend.

The inaugural HSR Classic 24 Hour Daytona vintage races are dedicated to cars and drivers that raced in Daytona’s classic endurance races of the past. High speeds, high banks and a long night of six period-correct race groups competing on a rotating schedule, the Classic 24 is open to all significant Daytona sports cars that raced from 1961 through 2010.

The Classic 24 Hour Daytona 2014 will be the longest and the toughest vintage and historic car race in North America, an American-flavored version of the Le Mans Classic 24 hour historic car race that runs every other summer on the famous Le Mans 24 hour circuit in France. Competitors will race on the full nine-turn, 3.56-mile Daytona 24 Hour road-oval circuit that includes the infield road course and the steeply banked 2.5 mile Daytona “tri-oval”.

Since 1966 the 24 Hours of Daytona has been a premier fixture on the international racing calendar. Originally the opening race of the World Sports Car Championship the Daytona 24 Hour has long been a magnet for European and Asian racing teams.

“That Daytona tradition will continue in the Classic 24 Hour on November 15th and 16th,” said HSR President David Hinton. “This event really struck a nerve internationally. We already have over 140 entries in the six race groups for the Classic 24, many from European teams. The latest is a Porsche 907/LH entered by Willi Kauhsen Motorsport to be driven by Le Mans winner Jurgen Barth.”

A fleet of European Group C prototypes from the 1980s is expected, along with a cadre of Daytona’s endurance racing’s all-stars. Five-time Daytona 24 Hour winner Hurley Haywood leads a cast of Daytona superstars who will race in the inaugural Classic 24 on November 15-16, 2014.

Joining Haywood on the Classic 24 grid will be Porsche factory racer Patrick Long, 1989 Le Mans winner Jochen Mass, Daytona, Le Mans and Sebring winner Andy Wallace, three-time Daytona 24 Hour winner Brian Redman, Brian Johnson (Lead Singer, AC/DC), two-time Daytona 24 Hour winner Elliot Forbes-Robinson, Forest Barber, World Touring Car Champion Dieter Quester, Sebring 12 Hour winner John Fitzpatrick, grand prix and sports car ace Arturo Merzario, two-time Grand-Am GT Champion Leh Keen, GTD Championship-leader Cooper MacNeil, Rolex 24 winner Rob Dyson and son Chris Dyson in one of their Rolex 24 winners.

An early Classic 24 entry is the Porsche 934 raced by the late Bob Wollek in the 1976 and 1977 World Championship in races such as the Le Mans 24 Hours and 1,000kms of the Nurburgring.

The Classic 24 Hours’ six race groups will be organized chronologically and correspond to the history of the 24 Hours of Daytona and its ancestor, the Daytona Continental.

Classic 24 Hour Daytona 2014 – Race Groups

  • Group A – Sports racers, prototypes and GT (Grand Touring) cars from 1960 through 1972. Corvettes, early Porsche 911s and Ferraris.
  • Group B – Cars from 1973 through 1982 – Corvettes, Porsche 934 and 935 Turbos, BMW 3.5 CSL. Porsche Carrera RS and RSR.
  • Group C – Cars from 1983 through 1993 – Group C and GTP
  • Group D – Cars from 1994 through 2002 – GT1 and World Sports Cars such as the Ferrari 333SP
  • Group E – Cars from 2003 through 2010 – Audi R8, Daytona Prototypes
  • Group F – HSR Group (HSR approved racing sports and GT cars)

“The Classic 24 hour race starts with the green flag for Group A at 1:00 PM on Saturday, November 15, 2014 and Group F goes under the checkered flag at 1:00 PM Sunday November 16th,” said Hinton. “Each group races for one hour…four times, day and night.”

Friday November 14th will feature a full slate of HSR races starting at 8:00 AM with qualifying races for the Classic 24 beginning at 9:30 AM. Friday’s races conclude with the 5:00 PM Bob Woodman Tires International/American challenge. Weekend passes start at $35.00 per person.

For more information, visit Classic24Hour.com.

[Source: Sports Car Graphic]