Lifestyle & Events

Hybrids with Style: The 2011 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Frank Sinatra bought a hybrid car in 1957! So did his pals, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Eddie Fisher, as did music legends Hoagy Carmichael and David Rose, and numerous other celebrities.

But the cars were not the politically correct gas/electric hybrids of today; Sinatra’s clan, known as the “Rat Pack,” drove Dual Ghias, sleek high-performance GT convertibles with Dodge D-500 hemi engines and custom bodies hand-made by Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin, Italy. Such cars were called hybrids, because they combined reliable and easily serviced American engines with hand-crafted bodies by Italian, French, and British coach makers. The hybrids of the ’50′s and ’60′s were exquisitely beautiful automobiles, part of the mid-twentieth century renaissance in architecture, furniture, and automobile design. The 2011 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, taking place on June 4 and 5, in Greenwich, Connecticut, will have a special two-day centerpiece display of these stunning, but seldom-seen, mid-century hybrid cars.

Included in the amazing assemblage of hybrids to be shown are a Dual Ghia, Facel Vega, Cunningham C-3, Iso Grifo, Cobra, Allard P1, Hudson Italia, Fitch Phoenix and a Nash Healy.


dual-ghia-greenwich-concours

Because these cars all have American running gear and, in many cases, chassis and instrumentation as well, they qualify for inclusion in Saturday’s Concours Americana for American cars, while, because of their European bodies, they also qualify for Sunday’s Concours International for imported cars, and therefore will be shown on both days.

The mid-twentieth century also produced some outstanding motorcycles, such as the legendary Triumph Bonneville TT Special series of competition motorcycles, produced in the 1960′s. Another special display at the Greenwich Concours will be an exhibit of every model in the series, all superbly restored and owned by a single collector, and one of just two such complete collections in existence.

triumph-motorcycles-greenwich-concours

Also, 2011 being the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type, dubbed “the sexiest car ever made,” and one of only two cars in the permanent collection at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York City. There will be a dedicated circle of E-type Jaguars with examples of all the series and models.

The newly restored ex-Steve McQueen “Baja Boot” off-road racer is another one-off custom-built vehicle that will be exhibited at the Greenwich Concours.

Automobile Magazine, the Title Sponsor of the Greenwich Concours, will have a special treat in their pavilion, an installation of incredible Virtual GT driving simulators. Concours visitors will be able to test their driving skills at a great variety of race venues, in a wide choice of cars, with both manual and automatic gear boxes.

In addition to Saturday’s Concours Americana and Sunday’s Concours International, Bonhams will hold it auction of collector cars and automobilia on Sunday afternoon. Sponsor Chubb Personal Insurance can insure new purchases for lucky bidders, and Plycar is on hand to transport purchases to their new garages.

Another great favorite of Concours spectators are the displays of their newest cars by such Concours sponsors as Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Lexus, Ferrari, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Fisker, and McLaren. Some even offer test drives.

Again this year, there will be a regatta for former-America’s Cup 12-M yachts, which will compete in match races, both days, for the Greenwich Concours Cup. Depending on availability, spectators will have opportunity to take a short sail on a Cup boat. They can also board the very latest Sunseeker yacht at the adjacent pier.

As with past Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, The 16th Annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance will take place at the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut on June 4 and 5. AmeriCares, the renowned international relief organization top-ranked by Money Magazine, has been the charitable beneficiary of the Concours since 1996.

Hours are 10 am to 5 pm; admission is $25 for one day, or $40 for both days. Children 12 and under are free. Lunch is available on-site, and parking is free. Immediately off Exit 3 of I-95 in Connecticut, the Greenwich Concours is also accessible by train, plane, and boat. Check the Concours web site at GreenwichConcours.com, or call 203-618-0460 or for further information.


Amelia Island to be Graced by Pope Mobile

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

pullman-600-mercedes-benzLook at all the screaming, crying seniors and young children waving the papal flag as the Popemobile passes! They are jumping up and down like mad as the Pope waves and rolls down the crowded streets of Amelia Island, Florida! Well, not quite, but as the 125 year anniversary celebration of the invention of the automobile continues for Mercedes-Benz the 1965 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman landaulet built specially for Pope Paul VI will roll into the Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 11-13, 2011.

And though the religious faithful may have long gone from the flank of this particular Mercedes, the MB faithful will be out in force to view this car. The historic vehicle is making its first appearance on U.S. soil at Amelia Island and is part of a featured Class of Mercedes-Benz 600 vehicles on display during the automotive event, which features nearly 250 rare vehicles.


The Benz 600 Pullman landaulet was originally presented in September 1963 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany, and quickly became the vehicle to have among Europe’s wealthy elite. Weighing in at nearly 5,000 pounds, the 600 featured a number of technological advances for the day and was equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s first ever V-8 that could reach 0-100 km/h (kilometers per hour) in an impressive 10 seconds – similar performance to many of the sports cars of the period.

mercedes-pope-mobileSpecially customized for the Pope, this Benz was constructed with an individual seat for the pontiff that could be raised and lowered during the car’s procession through crowded streets. An elevated roof, extended rear doors, and raised floor were fitted along with other special equipment such as bulletproof glass. Over two decades, the car was used by three popes and was returned to Mercedes-Benz’s Stuttgart, Germany headquarters in 1985. It comes to Amelia courtesy of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, where it is one of many famous and priceless cars in its collection.

The 600’s basic equipment package was far above anything offered at the time and included air suspension, power brakes, central locking systems and an electronic heating and air conditioning system. With the numerous body designs and interior features to choose from, no two 600s were alike which ensured exclusivity for the owner. This was especially true for the owners of Pullman limousines and landaulets. The last 600 rolled off the assembly line in summer 1981 and during its 17-year production run, 2,677 were built of which 428 were Pullman limousines and 59 were landaulets.

“We are deeply indebted to the people at Mercedes-Benz for agreeing to send us the Pope’s personal 600,” says Bill Warner, Concours founder and co-chairman. “It has never been seen here in the United States and it makes a statement worthy of the Pope’s status around the world. It is an incredible vehicle and a true showcase for Mercedes-Benz workmanship and advanced technological thinking.”

The Amelia Island Councours is one of the premier Concours on the East Coast. We love the fact that since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated nearly $1.7 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities. The 2011 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be held March 11-13 on the at The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach. www.ameliaconcours.org


Vic Elford and the Porsche 917 Celebrated at Simeone Museum

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Vic Elford is one of the top, all time greatest Porsche drivers ever to hit street and track circuits. Born in 1935 in the UK, Elford is famous for his 1968 win at the Rally of Monte Carlo in a Porsche 911. He is also known for notching multiple wins at the 1,00okm Nurburgring, for Porsche’s first overall win at the Daytona 24 Hours and several Le Mans class wins. Elford is also the master of the Porsche 917 having driven five versions of the famous Porsche beast.

porsche-vic-elford-917It is Elford’s career, the Le Mans racing efforts and the Porsche 917 that the Simeone Museum in Philadelphia, PA has decided to Celebrate this coming weekend with Porsche Legends Day. This upcoming event marks the 40th Anniversary Of Porsche’s First Le Mans Win. The Museum is bringing in the “Hippie” 917 and Elford to wow friends and those interested in Elford’s stellar motorsports career and those interested in laying eyes on the famous “Hippie” 917. We give a huge hat tip to the Simeone Museum for bringing in one of the world’s greatest drivers and one of the greatest Porsche race-cars of all time.

PORSCHE LEGENDS DAY AT SIMEONE MUSEUM
THE GREAT VIC ELFORD WILL BE THERE!

Philadelphia, Pa. – The fortieth anniversary of Porsche’s first win at the Le Mans 24-hour race will be honored with a “Legends of Motorsport” weekend at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, located here, on November 5th and 6th. The guest of honor for the event is famed Porsche racer Vic Elford, and will feature the second-place car in that 1970 race: the “Hippie” Porsche 917 LH. The event is sponsored by the Philadelphia Metropolitan Porsche Dealers Association.

The Legends weekend begins with an “Evening with Vic Elford” dinner on Friday, November 5th beginning with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. Dinner is followed by remarks from Elford about his distinguished career driving for Porsche, Chaparral and others. Tickets to this event are $75 each and include admission to the next day’s presentation.

The Legends of Motorsport Demonstration Day on November 6th begins at Noon with a presentation in the main museum area by Dr. Simeone, concentrating on the origins and legacy of (arguably) Porsche’s most famous race car: the 917. The Museum’s “Hippie” Porsche 917 will be the centerpiece, flanked by two other racing Porsche’s, the Havoline 962 that won Sebring twice and a 911 Monte Carlo Rally car, similar to the car in which Elford started his Porsche career. After the presentation, Dr. Simeone will introduce Elford, who will entertain the crowd with stories of his years racing at Sebring, Le Mans and the Targa Florio.

The final portion of the event is the Demonstration run. The cars will be moved onto the 3-acre parking lot in back of the Museum where each, in turn, will be fired up and driven by Elford. The Simeone Museum is one of the few places in the world where visitors can see, hear and smell vintage race cars being run on a regular basis.

Admission to the November 6th Legends Demonstration day is included with regular museum admission: $12 adults; $10 senior; $8 students; children 8 and under, free. More information on the Legends weekend is available on the Museum’s Web site: http://www.simeonefoundation.org/


Amelia Island Concours 2011 Honoree: Bobby Rahal

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

bobby-rahal-amelia-island-concoursThe Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance announced that Indy Car great Bobby Rahal will be the honoree for the 16th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance scheduled for March 11-13, 2011, at The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach. Rahal has impacted the sport like few other drivers and continues today as a team principal in Rahal Letterman Racing.

“One of the great pleasures about Amelia is that we can honor the best of the best and Bobby Rahal certainly falls into the category,” says Bill Warner, Concours founder and co-chairman. “In nearly 20 years of racing, his record speaks for itself and he is still going strong today managing a successful racing team along with his son’s budding racing career. We are honored and excited to have him with us on Amelia Island.”

Racer, Team Owner, CART Executive, Businessman & Mentor

Robert “Bobby” Woodward Rahal was born in Medina, Ohio, in 1953, and worked his way up through the racing ranks starting with the SCCA’s feeder series to Formula Atlantic and then onto European Formula Two. In an 18-year career spanning F1, Can-Am, Le Mans/IMSA, and CART, Rahal notched three CART championships, including a win at the 1986 Indy 500, along with wins at the 1981 24 Hours of Daytona and the 1987 12 Hours of Sebring endurance races.

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Scenic Drives: Route 7A – Manchester, Bennington, Vermont

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

route-7a-vermontRoute 7A in Southwestern Vermont is one of America’s scenic drives. Also known as the “Ethan Allen Highway” this alternate to Route 7 runs from Bennington, Vermont northward to the town of Manchester, Vermont. Nestled in the valleys of the Southernmost Green Mountains, 7A runs through lush farmlands and wooded hollows. Roll down your windows, drop your top or open your sunroof and you can smell deep pine forests and “nature’s best” smells from small family-owned dairy farms. With speed maximums near 45 miles/hour the road is not meant for speeding or aggressive driving, more this is a road which allows you to drive and take in the surrounding bucolic New England farmland and mountain scenery. Think Robert Frost and Grandma Moses to put you in the mood.

Fall foliage season is a great time to drive on Route 7A. Tree colors range from bright orange and yellow to deep, dark red colors and with dark evergreen tree colors mixed in it is a pleasing site to see. We recommend the first week in October for viewing the foliage in this area of Vermont. scenic-drives-vermont-route-7aThe last week in September and second week in October can also be good times to view the foliage, but that may be the “shoulder”, either slightly earlier or late foliage viewing.

More about this scenic drive:

  • 30 miles long (approx.)
  • Runs North-South
  • Mostly 2 lanes
  • Runs from Bennington to Dorset by way of Arlington and Manchester
  • Ride to top of Mount Equinox as a scenic point of interest
  • Opportunity for viewing and / or crossing Vermont’s covered bridges
  • Option to ride Route 67a as a further detour
  • Farm stand shopping available

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Lime Rock “Sunday in the Park”: The BMWs

Friday, September 24th, 2010

limerock-sunday-in-parkOne of the highlights of Limerock’s annual Labor Day weekend Vintage Fall Festival is the Sunday in the Park car show and concours.  This unique event allows participants to park their cherished cars around the edge of the famed 1.5 mile road course.  Spectators and participants can walk the entire track and see some of the best cars in the region on display.   Since racing is not allowed on Sunday at Lime Rock, Sunday in the Park is the perfect interlude to the four days of exciting vintage and historic races.

In addition to the premium concours event, visitors may arrive at the park with their everyday driving classics. Pending a car is rare or in decent condition one may receive a coveted invitation to join their marque’s section on the track. This is really two car shows in one; you don’t need to be in the concours to enter into the general car show. This inclusive feature makes for a diverse collection of cars and a strong turnout of spectators.

This year the weather on Sunday was a sunny 75 degrees with light breezes to grace the spectators and gorgeous vehicles. Good weather lead to a great turnout and a perfect opportunity for the shutterbugs to immortalize a wide array of cars.  From Aston Martin to Citroen, from BMW to Rolls-Bentley, there were over 20 official marque categories spread around the track and what seemed to be several more that were unofficially grouped.

There was a great display of BMW cars. The Bimmers were parked on “no-name straight” just past (walking clockwise around the track) the Volvo display and just before the Italian makes. There were approximately twenty 2002 cars and ten E30 M3 cars. Among the standouts lining the back of the track were a fully restored convertible M3 decked out in a rare metallic green color and several impressive 2002s. (more…)

Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance 2010

Friday, September 17th, 2010

alfa-fairfield-county-concoursSeptember 11-12, 2010 saw the return of the 7th Annual Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance to the Fairfield Hunt Club in Westport, CT. Though gray skies threatened rain for the concours on Sunday, the rains never came but the awesome cars and crowds did show up.

Awards presented on field ranged from best pre and post-war foreign and domestics to Porsche, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Motorcyles and Barn-Find categories. The Barn-Find category was particularly interesting as you can see from Wayne Carini’s SAAB to the Split Window Corvette. Featured as well were categories of automobiles “Styled by the Wind”, cars with coachwork by Drake “Dutch” Darrin and photography by Jesse Alexander. (more…)

Historics Festival at Lime Rock 2010: The Porsches

Friday, September 10th, 2010

1974-carrera-rsrThe 28th Annual Historic Festival took place at Lime Rock Park on September 3-6, 2010 bringing the raw excitement of vintage racing to the scenic Litchfield, Connecticut hills.  The entry field included over 300 classic pre-war and sports competition cars in 10 groups. Groups were as follows:

  1. Pre-war Sports and Racing Cars: Motorsport Trophy
  2. 50s Competition Cars: Lime Rock Challenge
  3. Porsche 911 and 914: Klubsport Kup
  4. Best of British Production Sports: Chairmans Chalice
  5. F. Ford & F. Junior: Starter’s Delight; Group 5a, F. Ford: The Stimola Memorial
  6. Abarths & Alfas Galore: The Turin Tankard
  7. Wild, Wild Horses – Big Bore Production: Detroit Dilemma
  8. Speedy, Eclectic Mix: Sports Racing Cars: The Bennett Bowl
  9. Minis Against the Rest: Giant’s Despair
  10. Memories of Gilles, F2/Formula Atlantic: Fabulous Formulas

Participants in the Historic Festival actually begin their weekend on the previous Tuesday, August 31st with “test and tune” sessions. By Friday, September 3rd practices and qualifying have begun and the first race events are run.

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Bear Mountain Car Show, Cruise Night September 1, 2010

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Late in the Summer 2010, the Bear Mountain Car Show is still pulling a strong crowd of diverse cars. From wild and rare Italian exotics to classic American muscle, the show keeps getting bigger and better every year. You have to hand it to Rodbenders and PopYourHood for putting on such a great show at such a scenic location. Some of the highlights last week were the rare Ferrari F40 and the one owner 1970 Shelby GT 500 Convertible.


Last week some impressive American muscle cars showed up:

plymouth-duster-bear-mountain
Plymouth Duster
gt-500-convertibleShelby GT500 Convertible
69-chevy-camaro-bear-mountainChevrolet Camaro bear-mountain-car-show-dodge-challengerDodge Challenger

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Best Driving Roads: Park Loop Road – Acadia National Park

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

park-loop-road-acadia-parkPark Loop Road on Mount Desert Island, Maine is one of America’s most scenic and best driving roads.  The 20 mile road is located in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor, Maine. And while this road is not one to speed on, or go for sporty driving it will bring great pleasure in a slow cruise with the windows open or even the top down on a fine convertible.   Since the loop was recently paved when we visited, dropping the windows and slowly driving allowed us to hear how serene and calming the park environment is; basically all one hears is nature. (more…)