The 2022 Glidden Tour Summary

The 2022 edition of the annual Revival Glidden Tour is in the books. It wrapped up last Friday, September 30, 2022, with a closing banquet at the host hotel outside of Princeton, NJ. In all, 115 pre-1943 cars were registered; an unofficial count states that 7 cars did not finish the tour due to various mechanical issues; a small number were unable to attend; and that leaves me estimating that approximately 100 vehicles completed the tour, driving a total of 450 miles over the course of 5 days.

Starting with the purchase of my first collector car right after college graduation, a 1957 Ford Skyliner, my interest in this hobby has been in the cars of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, no surprise coming from a card-carrying Baby Boomer. However, participating in this year’s Glidden tour as a boots-on-the-ground photographer, present at almost every planned stop over the entire week, has turned my head around. Now I’ve seen proof that pre-war cars can be as reliable and as enjoyable as post-war cars for touring purposes.

Here are some general observations about Glidden drivers and their Glidden cars:

  • Driving 60 to 100 miles a day, no matter the weather, is not only NOT an obstacle; it is THE enjoyment. (The places of interest and the meal stops are only a means to an end.) A casual observer, stumbling upon these cars gathered together, might think this was a car show. To the owners, however, these cars are “Touring Cars” (NOT “drivers”). The difference is this: a “driver” will likely show at least some cosmetic wear, and not all its mechanical features may operate to 100% effectiveness. A Touring Car, by contrast, is both cosmetically and mechanically exceptional. A touring car leaves the owner with no doubt that the car will start, accelerate, handle, and stop. One friend commented to me that “these cars look like they just left the restoration shop”, which misses a major point. These touring cars are driven enough that they have proven their roadworthiness. A fresh restoration may need 200 to 500 shakedown miles before it could be trusted to do what a Glidden Touring car can do.
  • The typical Glidden owner is devoted to their marque. I met two Studebaker drivers, both of whom have a collection of Studebakers at home (one man said he had “10 more”[!]). A Ford Model A owner told me this car was one of four A’s. A delightful woman in a 1937 Buick said that this was just one of a handful of Buicks she and her husband had, at which point she rattled off the year and model of each of the other Buicks. A man with a 1940 Ford stated that he has a small collection of flathead Fords at home. One takeaway for me is that the owners know the ins and outs of their cars very well.
  • Horsepower is nice to have, but the experienced touring driver makes do with what’s under the hood. The Model T probably had the lowest HP rating of the tour cars, and 1/3 of the tour vehicles were Ford Model As, making 40 HP to push a car weighing over 2,000 pounds. At the other end of the spectrum were a Cadillac V12, a Packard V12, and the two Continental V12s. The Glidden tour is not a race, and again, the ability of all these cars to drive the crowded roads of NJ and get to their destinations in reasonable time speaks to the professionalism and experience of these tour drivers.
  • Glidden participants travel throughout the country to participate each year. The Tour Guidebook listed all 115 registrants, and also tallied the number of Glidden tours previously completed. For thirteen, this was their first (and they are referred to as “freshmen”). The remaining 102 have completed at least one other tour. Twenty-nine have driven in 10 or more such events; two people have done 30; one 34, one 39, one 43, and in the top spot is someone who has completed 54 Gliddens!!! Cars were trailered to this year’s event from states as far away as Florida, Colorado, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona.
  • The Tour Guidebook lists 14 cars which carried an additional set of passengers, meaning, 4 in a car. Many of the cars from this era have spacious back seats, and this concept also goes back to the idea of “touring” as something which can be enjoyed with a greater number of people provided your vehicle has the room for them.

 

Last week, I posted a daily photographic account (which you can find here for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). However, I did not identify any of the vehicles. Some cars stood out for me more than others, and here is a brief write-up about a few of my favorites:

 

  • 1920 Mercer Raceabout: If the searing yellow paint didn’t catch your attention, then the barely-muffled exhaust would! The Mercer’s driver was having no problem keeping up with traffic, and the wide grin on his face verified that he was having as much of a blast as you’d expect. I caught up with him at one stop to ask about the cubic inch displacement of the Mercer’s 4-cylinder engine. He said that it’s “about 300 c.i.” which helps explain his ability to run with the 8- and 12-cylinder jobs. I found myself photographing his car repeatedly during the week.

  • 1941 Lincoln Continental: We were treated to TWO beautiful Mark I Continentals on this tour, and while Tour Chair Vince made it clear to me that he preferred the maroon one, I fell in love with this warm silver one. The female owner/driver caught me continuously taking pictures of it, and said to me “it’s not a show car, you know!” I told her it was just as beautiful as any show car. In a self-deprecating way, she complained that her car was photographed at an event and ended up on the cover of the Lincoln Owner’s Club magazine, which to her “was just a shame as there were so many other nicer cars there!” Her car ran as well as it looked. This was my overall favorite car on the Tour.

 

  • 1931 Auburn 8: This car was in the running against the Continental for favorite car. From certain angles, it was stately, powerful, and streamlined. Yet from other angles, the car appeared bulky and less graceful. Nevertheless, it was an imposing automobile to see cruising down the road. I didn’t speak to the driver, but he was out and about every day with no apparent issues.

 

 

  • 1936 DeSoto 4-door convertible: I had a long chat with the owner’s wife, who told me that this had been her father-in-law’s car, so it’s been in the family for a long time. She said the car is very comfortable and has been extremely reliable. She and her husband also have done The Great Race twice, for which they purchased a 1971 GTO! But it sounded like they both enjoyed that experience less, as she described the tremendous pressure to compete, as it’s a TSD rally. It’s interesting to compare the styling of this ’36 to the 1935 DeSoto Airflow which was also on the tour.

 

 

  • 1911 Cadillac Model 30 Touring: All credit goes to the driver and passenger of this 4-door open car, both of whom brought adequate clothing for the conditions, which thankfully remained mostly warm and dry. This was one of the oldest cars on the tour, yet they were out there, often leading the pack! When the driver finally opened the hood for me to peek, I saw that the car was running a 4-cylinder engine with twin spark plugs per cylinder. As per Wikipedia, this engine displaced 3.7L, quite large for a 4-banger. Wiki also states that the 1911 Cadillac was the first car to have an electric starter.

 

 

My immersion among 100+ cars from the first 4 decades of the 20th century was rewarding beyond words. It was an in-your-face education about the early years of autmotive engineering and styling. Now of course, I want to find a pre-war car to call my own, and go touring in it!

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

The NJ Glidden Tour for Friday, Sep 30, 2022

Friday’s tour, the final driving day of the week, began with a stop at the NJ National Guard Militia Museum, followed by a visit to the Princeton Battlefield. After lunch in Colonial Park, the group headed back to the hotel via the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway.

 

 

 

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

NJ hosts the 2022 Glidden Tour

The 2022 edition of the Glidden Tour is being held in New Jersey, and officially begins today, Sunday, September 25, 2022. As has been the case in recent years, the tour is co-sponsored by the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America), the AAA (American Automobile Association) and the VMCCA (Vintage Motor Car Club of America).  The NJ Region of the AACA, of which I am a member, has been most active in planning this tour which is centered in and around Princeton, NJ, and features tours of local sites which played a role in the American Revolution.

There is a long history to the Glidden Tours which you can read about here. I will not take up space to reiterate that history, however, the tours started in the very early part of the 20th century as a way to demonstrate the reliability of the then-new horseless carriages. In 1946, the tours were started up again and have been run as annual “revival” events. This year, about 115 cars, all model year 1942 or older, are registered to drive a different route each day from Sunday through Friday of this week. Total mileage for the week will be in the hundreds, and many (if not most) participants have driven in many previous Glidden Tours.

I am honored to have been asked to be one of four official photographers for the event. I stopped at the host hotel yesterday to take some photos of the first cars as they arrived, and I have a specific schedule to follow starting Monday. My plan is to post some photos each day (no text) and conclude the week with a wrap-up story. In the meantime, enjoy the pix!

 

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Thursday Lunch Drive, Sep. 15, 2022

My inexact science points to the year 2008 when I, along with my driving cohort Larry, took over the planning for our “Sunday morning breakfast drives”. With only a few exceptions, we have stayed with this tried-and-true formula in the ensuing 14 years (I cannot believe that number as I type it). At the same time, L. and I are also always discussing ways to mix it up, and credit goes to him for the combination idea of a weekday drive followed by a midday food stop.

And so we selected Thursday Sep. 15, 2022, for our first-ever such event. Six brave souls (which can also be read as “six guys who are retired or are otherwise available”) showed up. Although the number was small, 3 of the 6 vehicles were new to us. Our destination was the Empire Diner in Monroe, NY, a previous breakfast destination, where we were able to be immediately seated up our noon arrival. The food was great, the service even better, and after our usual kick-the-tires parking lot session (including someone offering cash on-the-spot for Larry’s Chevy), we were headed back home.

Was it a success? It was, yet at the same time, we both recognize that there are still a number of our car buddies for whom any such gathering needs to be on a Saturday or Sunday. As I see it, we can add the weekday lunch idea to our arsenal for occasional deployment as we see fit.

 

Ken’s Porsche 911
Sean’s Mercedes-Benz sedan
Larry’s Chevy Caprice sedan
Pete’s Porsche 911
Bill’s ’67 Corvette
Richard’s Miata

 

Departing the Sheraton parking lot

 

What a beautiful rear end to follow!

 

Most guys ordered omelettes, thinking it was Sunday 😉

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Alfa Romeo Interior Mirror Repair

It had been happening for a while. Every time I touched the Alfa’s inside rear-view mirror to adjust it, the next road disturbance would knock it back out of adjustment. It had gotten to the point where it didn’t take a bump in the road – I’d fix the position, and the weight of the mirror itself would cause it to slump like a wilted flower stem. Given that my car has only a driver’s side outside mirror, and poorly located at that (it’s halfway up the fender, out of my reach from the driver’s seat), I rely on the inside mirror a lot. It was time to perform a proper repair.

Peering behind the mirror, I could see a threaded shaft, but putting a wrench on it would have been a blind operation. There were only 3 Philips head screws holding the assembly above the windshield, so down it came. As soon as I pulled it away, the rubber gasket revealed itself to be completely deteriorated, so I was already in the well-known “might as well” mode, aka Mission Creep.

Putting the mirror on my workbench gave me much better access to the shaft and nut. This sub-assembly served two purposes: it allowed some adjustment of the total length of the shaft between the mirror and the glass, and it also allowed some adjustment in the amount of effort needed to move the mirror.

I played with the adjustment a bit, alternately tightening and loosening it to get to the right “feel”. While doing this, I seem to have noticed for the first time (after 9 years of ownership!) that the interior mirror has “day” and “night” settings, only of course in my case they read “giorno” and “notte”. With the work on the actual mirror quickly accomplished, it was time to turn my attention to the gasket. The original gasket measured about ¼” thick. I found nothing similar in any of my local hardware or auto parts stores, so to Amazon I turned to order up some ¼” thick black rubber sheeting. Tracing and cutting the gasket was simple enough. To make the screw holes, I first considered punching them with an awl. However, I experimented on an extra piece of rubber and tried drilling the holes. To my happy surprise, the material was thick and strong enough to allow clean holes to be drilled.

As they say in the repair manuals, “reassembly is the reverse of disassembly”. Everything went back together smoothly, and I used my newly-secured mirror as an excuse to take a 12-mile shakedown run. It held! Now I’ll have a crystal-clear view of that F-250 Super Duty six inches from my rear bumper while I’m cruising at 50 in a 45.

Newly exposed headliner looks good

 

Old gasket at 55 years of age

 

Shaft and threaded nut now accessible

 

Mounting plate needed nothing more than a cleaning

 

 

Tracing on new black rubber sheet

 

Holes drilled at low speed; material held steady

 

Back home; mirror catches photo guy in action

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

Lime Rock Park, Labor Day Sunday Concours, 2022

It’s three hours to the minute to drive door-to-door from my home in central New Jersey to the gates of Lime Rock Park, in the rolling hills of northwest CT. The long ride is worth it, as proven by my almost-annual pilgrimage to this, likely my favorite East Coast car show, which I’ve been attending since the 1990’s. What makes the Labor Day Weekend Sunday Concours so special? It’s the quality and variety of the vehicles on display. I’m a regular at Carlisle, Hershey, Macungie, Mecum Harrisburg, Greenwich, and various AACA events in my area. Yet Lime Rock always manages to create displays of automobiles I almost never see anywhere else, and, they do it without dragging out the same vehicles year after year.

I will let the photos act as my ‘evidence’, and I dare you to disagree!

 

The Lime Rock crew does a nice job segregating vehicles based on age and country of origin. In addition, there are always special classes each year.

 

 

 

This rarely-seen Alfa Romeo 2600, with an inline 6-cylinder engine, was resplendent in its burgundy paint with red interior.

 

The Trans Am pony cars were the featured vintage racecars of the weekend.

The GM Heritage Collection brought a number of rare and valuable Corvettes to the show. The star among them for me was the Mako Shark. The sign omits any mention of the fish being painted to match the car 😉 . (If you don’t know the story, you can read it here.)

 

Nice to see one with blackwalls, as it might have worn when new

 

Olds Vista Cruiser

 

Hudsons, stock and in race livery

 

THE WORLD’S ONLY VOLVO 142GT?

This fellow Dave talked my head off, but, he was passionate and knowledgeable beyond belief. The car’s trunk was full of authentic VOA (Volvo of America) catalogs of racing parts,  many of which were installed on his car. He started with a rust-free 1971 142, which he completely restored to the way he wanted it. Along the way, he added a competition cylinder head, dual Solex carbs, a GT grille with fog lights, a GT dash cluster, accessory wheels, “142 GT” emblems, and much more. He estimated that the engine is putting out about 180HP. He name-dropped Mitch Duncan and Bob Austin along the way, so he seemed credible. In essence, he built a hot-rod 142E, using 100% factory parts.

 

 

Volvo 1800
Volvo XC70 with a lift kit

 

FIAT MANIA!!!

X 1/9

 

124 wagon

 

2nd gen 124 Coupe

 

Chrome bumper 124 Spider

 

Big bumper 124 Spider

 

Dino Coupe

 

Dino Spider

 

Multipla

 

 

A rare (and valuable) Ferrari 288GTO

 

More German cars

 

DeSoto wagon

 

Jaguar E-Types (called XKE in America) were another featured model

 

JAGUAR E-TYPE SPOTTERS GUIDE

 

Series 1 cars were built from 1961-1967. They are distinguished by their glass-covered headlamps, with front signal lamps and rear lamps mounted above the bumpers. At first, there were two body styles: FHC (Fixed Head Coupe) and OTS (Open Two-Seater). In 1966 a lengthened model called the 2+2, with a tiny rear seat, was added. The Coupe can be distinguished from the 2+2 from the side. Make note of the length of the door glass and rear quarter glass. In the Coupe, the two are roughly equal. In the 2+2, the door glass is notably longer.

Series II cars were built from 1968 part-way through 1971. (Some 1968 cars have a combination of Series I and Series II features and are sometimes referred to as “Series 1.5”. We will not get into the distinction here.) Series II cars have exposed headlamps. The grille opening is slightly enlarged, but still only wears a single horizontal bar.  Front signal and rear lights are mounted below the bumpers. Side marker lights were added to U.S. models. The 3 body styles, FHC, OTS, and 2+2, continued.

NOTE: All Series I and Series II cars had smooth (non-flared) wheel well openings, and all were powered by Jaguar’s inline 6-cylinder engine, although displacement increased from 3.8L to 4.2L.

 

Series III cars were built from mid-1971 through 1974, the final year for the E-Type. There were some major changes: the only available engine was now a V-12. The 2+2 continued, and the convertible was now built on the longer wheelbase of the 2+2, making an optional automatic transmission available in all body styles for the first time. The shorter Coupe body style was discontinued. The grille opening was made larger still, and received an eggcrate insert. Front and rear fender flares were added (the flares can be the easiest way to distinguish between Series II and Series III cars from a distance).

All E-Types have beautiful rear ends!

 

The Tesla charging stations remained vacant all day on Sunday

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.