22 Apr

BMW of Darien Signs on as Presenting Sponsor of the New England Auto Museum Father’s Day Car Show June 17th in Norwalk


BMW of Darien, part of the Callari Auto Group was founded in 1967 by Felix Callari

BMW of Darien, part of the Callari Auto Group was founded in 1967 by Felix Callari

Norwalk, Conn. – New England Auto Museum has announced that BMW of Darien has signed on as the Presenting Sponsor of the 4th Annual Father’s Day Car Show to be held Sunday June 17th from 10AM to 3PM at Mathews Park in Norwalk.

Felix Callari had a passion for cars, beautiful, powerful automobiles He opened his BMW dealership in 1967 with the dream to blend that love of cars with the solid relationships he developed with fellow car enthusiasts in the hopes of creating a car business based on trust and knowledge. He did just that when he opened his first dealership with Saab, Triumph and Sunbeam in 1966, later adding BMW in 1967.

Felix Callari passed away in 2008, but his legacy lives on through his two daughters, Paula Callari (President) and Flavia Callari (Vice President). Currently, Callari Auto Group is comprised of BMW of Darien, MINI of Fairfield County and Volvo Cars Westport. Each dealership maintains the standards that Mr. Callari instilled in his employees through the many decades prior. Customer satisfaction, product knowledge, honesty and transparency are the hallmarks of Callari Auto Group.

Mr. Callari was a true pioneer in the automotive industry making the customer the number one priority. Because of his efforts, the three dealerships that make up Callari Cars are now poised to celebrate a combined 100 years of excellence. Last year, BMW of Darien celebrated its 50th year in the car business and while it continues to grow and evolve, its roots are still the constant mantra of 1967, honesty, integrity; product knowledge and service are the cornerstones of its success.

In its 4rd year, the NEAM Father’s Day Car Show takes advantage of its surroundings on the spacious lawns of the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum which provide a scenic backdrop for a spectacular collection of classic cars. The show provides a wide variety of attractions for car owners and spectators alike including tours of the Mansion and the neighboring Stepping Stones Children’s Museum as well as great BBQ food, ice cream and games.

The addition of BMW of Darien as Presenting Sponsor highlights the selection of the BMW 2002, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, as featured European marque.

The 2002 series was probably the most important model in BMW’s history. In the early 60’s,

BMW 2002 introduced in 1968 (Photo BMW Blog)

BMW 2002 introduced in 1968 (Photo BMW Blog)

although small cars like Isetta, 600 and 700 kept the Munich company alive, its image was mushy and the financial outlook was still poor. It was the 2002 series that changed its fate. This little 2-door sedan redefined the image of BMW. It combined a powerful engine and agile handling with solid German build quality and practical 4-people accommodation into a reasonably priced package. No one else had ever done that before. From 1966 to 1977, BMW produced 850,000 units of the 2002 series. That’s more than 4 times the number of the Isetta series and each car enjoyed a much higher profit margin. The car not only brought BMW a big fortune but also established the winning formula for the subsequent 3-Series to follow and sales success that continues to this day.

Anyone interested in showing a car at the Father’s Day Car Show may pre-register online at the New England Auto Museum website at only $15/per car or at the gate on the day of the show for $20/per car. All show cars will be welcome with no cut-off year. Spectator admission is free. Prizes will include awards for the Peoples’ Choice, the Mayor’s Choice, Favorite 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

22 Jun

Sun Shines on Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk

Jon Hammond with his sons Ben 6 and Dylan 2 enjoy the New England Auto Museum's Father's Day car show Sunday at Mathews Park.

Jon Hammond with his sons Ben 6 and Dylan 2 enjoy the New England Auto Museum’s Father’s Day car show Sunday at Mathews Park.

Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:15 pm
By FRANCIS CARR Jr. Hour Staff Writer
link to original article in The Hour

Norwalk, CT - Classic car enthusiasts, antique collectors and spectators gathered for the 10th annual Darien Collectors Car Show for the show’s first year in its new Mathews Park location.

The Darien Collectors Car Show takes place on Father’s Day each year. Despite morning showers that delayed the start of the show, the clouds parted and Mathews Park was crowded with cars and families by noon. Sixteen awards were presented to car owners throughout the day.


Mayor Harry Rilling was on hand to present the Mayor’s Choice award, which went to Parker and Gwen Ackley, of Fairfield, and their 1915 Dodge Brothers Touring Car, the oldest in the show. “He likes the really old cars,” said Gwen Ackley, noting that the prize was a toss-up between her car and a 1926 Ford Model T owned by Don and Peggy Morey of Norwalk.

The Ackleys, who appeared in period dress, drove their hundred-year-old Dodge from Fairfield to Norwalk on Route 136 in the rain. “When we got to Sherwood Island, the sun came out, and we were like, ‘Yay!'” Gwen Ackley told The Hour.

The Ackleys are history buffs, and live in a house crammed with vintage clothing, Victrolas and old radios. They acquired their car on an excursion to Hoffman’s Barn antique store in Red Hook, N.Y., near the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome where the pair were volunteers. The store owner had placed the car in his store to create ambiance, and was reluctant to sell it.

A week later, the Ackleys returned to inquire again. “This car got so much attention in the shop that it was driving (the owner) crazy,” Gwen Ackley said. The car was theirs. “We were very naïve, but luckily we got a great car.”

One of the event’s featured cars was Vinny Lyons’s 1968 Ford Mustang 238 Cobra Jet, one of only 50 such race cars built by Ford and sent to car dealerships as a promotion. At the time, Lyons was a service manager at Rye Ford in Rye, N.Y., and he began driving the car in drag races to promote his dealership. In 1969, Lyons acquired the car for $1,000, and has continued to race it. Today, Lyons drives in about three races per year, in Beaver Springs, P.A., Lebanon Valley, N.Y. and Englishtown, N.J., Lyons told The Hour.

This year’s car show was a fundraiser for the New England Auto Museum planned for Norwalk, said Auto Museum Marketing Director Nick Ord. Proceeds from car entry fees would go to support museum costs, Ord said.

Fathers, for their part, said they planned to relax and spend time with family. Ben Djiounas and daughter Morgan, 2, said they were enjoying themselves, although Djiounas said he is “not intimately” acquainted with cars or car culture. Djiounas said he planned to barbecue with family later in the day. Eric Brean, “absolutely” a car fan, and daughter Amelia, 4, planned to spend the afternoon relaxing. “We’ll probably go out to lunch, and then go home,” Brean told The Hour.

Hour photos/Matthew Vinci

Hour photos/Matthew Vinci

29 May

Rare Kurtis 500S on display at NEAM Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk Sunday, June 21st


Norwalk, CT – In December 1953, Road & Track wrote “Frank Kurtis of Glendale, California deserves full credit for being the first man in America to attempt to produce an American production sports car.” In 1956, Motor Life added “the Kurtis 500S practically owned West Coast sports car racing for a couple of years.” A 500S broke the Del Monte Forest track record by five seconds in 1954, and another was on the pole at 1955’s 12 Hours of Sebring. As the accolades mounted, Frank Kurtis earned his place in sports car history. Like all of the cars built by Kurtis, the 500S is a healthy slice of the American automotive pie.

From its beginnings in 1935, Kurtis Kraft built midget cars, quartermidgets, sprint cars, Bonneville speed record cars and USAC Championship cars. According to historian Alan Girdler, from 1950 until 1964, every winner of the Indy 500 was either built by Kurtis or directly influenced by his designs. The heritage shows in this example, as presented by Automotive Restorations Inc. of Stratford, CT; the 500S profile is pure Indy roadster. Its chassis is a classic Indy car design right down to the torsion bar suspension and quick change rear end. The build quality and details of each of the 500S models are also worthy of an Indy car, showing it was planned by a man who had done this sort of thing many times before.


Fewer than 30 of the 500S models were ever produced. Many like this version were sold as kits with complete chassis, wheels and suspension parts. In this instance, Cadillac motor mounts accompanied the kit when ordered by original owner Darrel W. Johnson of Ferndale, MI. Although started by Johnson, the car remained unfinished for many years until purchased by Warren Wetterlund of California, who commissioned its completion by John Wyals and noted hot rod builder Roy Brizio. As was the custom of the time, a lighter small block Chevrolet engine was substituted for the original and more powerful Caddy. Everything on the body and suspension panel layout was left as Kurtis intended for its original customer in 1956.


Also to be featured by Automotive Restorations at the Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk will be a race-prepared 1964 Morgan 4/4. Equipped with a 1700 Ford crossflow engine featuring twin Weber carbs and dry sump oil system, the car produces 173 horsepower. It’s fast and easy to drive with an excellent power to weight ratio and is a consistent finisher in vintage racing with only minor maintenance required during the season. A great looking vintage Morgan, this car will go head-to-head with Porsche 956’s and Jag XK’s all day long.


The Father’s Day Car Show, sponsored by the New England Auto Museum, will be held at Norwalk’s Mathews Park, adjacent to the historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum on June 21st from 10 AM to 3 PM. Admission to the show is free, with a donation to the New England Auto Museum building fund gently suggested and appreciated. Tours of the mansion will be conducted from 12 noon to 4 PM and the next door Stepping Stones Children’s Museum will also be open for visitors of all ages. The show will feature over 100 antique, classic and a broad variety of collector cars along with food, ice cream and a chance to select your favorite car.

Story and photos courtesy Automotive Restorations Inc.

28 Mar

Darien Collectors’ Car Show moving to Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Park Father’s Day June 21st


Norwalk, CT – On Sunday, June 21, 2015, the New England Auto Museum in partnership with the Darien Collectors’ Car Show will present a Father’s Day Car Show at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Park in Norwalk, CT. The event will be held from 10AM-3PM and will offer hundreds of unique cars to view. Admission to the event is free to spectators; a donation will be encouraged and 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.

Come out and enjoy an afternoon of classic cars in all shapes and sizes, talk with the owners, be a judge and select your favorite car, grab a bite to eat and even visit the Stepping Stones Children’s Museum and the historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, right next door. It’s a great afternoon for Dad and the whole family!

Anyone interested in showing a car may pre-register online at the New England Auto Museum website; it’s only $10/per car. Prizes will include awards for The Peoples’ Choice, The Mayor’s Choice, The Museum President’s Choice and a Charles England Trophy for the Most Interesting Car. 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 New England. This non-profit organization will become 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.



01 Jun

Darien Collectors’ Car Show in Gear for June 15


Darien, Conn. – The ninth annual Darien Collectors’ Car Show rolls into Tilley Pond Park at West and Lakeside Avenues, Darien, Connecticut, on Sunday, June 15, 2014, 11am – 2pm. Spectacular vintage, modern and high-performance automobiles will be the stars of this perennially popular show. The rain date is Sunday, June 22.

This community gathering attracts 2,000 visitors to share camaraderie and view the more than 120 historically significant show cars from Darien and surrounding towns. Last year’s People’s Choice award went to Michael Silverstein’s 1966 Ford GT40 Mk2A endurance racing car built under license from Carroll Shelby. This year’s lineup promises beauty and speed with a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, a 1958 Jaguar XK150 Convertible, a 1960 Austin-Healey Mark I Sprite, a factory-spec 1965 VW Sedan, five Lincoln Continentals spanning 20 years and three 1960s Cadillacs, among other highlights.

The Darien Lion’s Club will offer barbeque lunch on the show field from 11am – 1:30pm; picnic tables and chairs are dotted throughout the Park. The show website provides additional information, www.dariencollectorscarshow.com

Charlie England, show organizer, extols, “The Darien Collectors’ Car Show on Father’s Day is a celebration of families, fathers and interesting cars…especially unknown cars that may not have been seen in some time. To this we add the sheer beauty of Tilley Pond Park’s mature trees, rolling lawns and fountains, creating one of the most perfect venues in Lower Fairfield County. Admission is only $5.00; car owners and children aged six and under enter for free. Parking across West Avenue is also free and abundant. Come join us!”

The Darien Collectors’ Car Show benefits At Home In Darien, helping Darien seniors live in their own homes and community as long as possible. www.aginginplacegallivant.org.

Sponsors for the show include BMW of Darien / Callari Auto Group.