Lime Rock Fall Vintage Car Show, 2013

Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer, will always signify the Lime Rock Park Fall Vintage weekend to me. Since first discovering the event in the early 1990’s, I’ve made it my mission to attend the “Sunday in the Park” portion, the static car show on the track itself, every year if possible.

Perusing my picture archives uncovered photos of breathtaking automobiles from the 2013 event which have not been posted by me yet. The sky is very overcast in all the pictures, and while I have no memory of the weather from that day nine years ago, the clouds created a wonderful umbrella of diffused light for my camera.

Italian vehicles comprise the majority of the shots, including two unusual trucks. I may have had Italian cars on my mind more than usual, having purchased my 1967 Alfa Romeo just six months prior. There are several British and Swedish marques represented as well. Lime Rock is not an easy ride for me: it’s close to three hours each way, yet it will always remain a must-see event, time and weather permitting.

Links to my posts from visits in 2007, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 can be accessed by clicking on the underlined.

Ferrari 330 GTC, an ATF regardless of price

 

Jaguar XK120

 

Jaguar XK150

 

This Ferrari’s interior is so beautiful I didn’t even take an exterior shot

 

Above: 3 views of a Cisitalia cabriolet

 

A pre-war Alfa Romeo

 

Above: Ferrari 275 GTB/NART

 

Lancia Fulvia coupe

 

Another pre-war Alfa racecar

 

Above: An unusual Alfa Romeo van; note “Romeo” script on nose

 

Not to be outdone, here is a Fiat van with Maserati badges

 

Above: a pair of Swedes, Volvo 1800 on the left, and SAAB Sonett on the right

 

Hood bulge marks this as an MG-C, with inline 6 powerplant underhood

 

Above: another ATF is this Fiat Dino coupe, powered by a Ferrari V6. Front end bears strong similarity to my Fiat 124 Sport Coupe.

 

Alfa Romeo GTV

 

 

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

 

 

Sunday Morning Breakfast Drive, May 15, 2022

On the morning of May 15, 2022, we had our first breakfast drive event of the year, and drive we did! It was the first time since June of last year that we drove a route with a planned destination, and it was the first time since our static Cars & Coffee soiree of August 29, 2021, that we got our little group together. The weekend forecast was not favorable, although threats of actual rain were called off for Sunday morning. Nevertheless, the day dawned foggy and humid, which likely contributed to a light turnout of five vehicles.

We five met at our usual spot in front of the Mahwah Sheraton, and Larry did an excellent job of planning a route north through New York a bit before we dipped back into New Jersey, finally getting on Route 513 South which comprised the majority of the miles driven. Our destination was the same as last June, the Red Hut Diner on Route 46 in Rockaway, NJ.

We sat outside under a tent, although we needed it neither for shade nor water protection. It was quite comfortable outside, and we chatted about our favorite subject as usual: pencil manufacturing the car hobby.

Our waitress did an outstanding job ensuring that coffee cups never ran dry, and since we were the only patrons at the outside tables, they didn’t rush us out of there. Contrary to a forecast which predicted sunnier skies as the day progressed, we began to see dark clouds roll in, which kept the convertible tops of the Alfa, Porsche, and Miata in their raised positions.

It’s difficult to believe that summer is but five weeks away; our hope is to get at least one more event on the calendar before the longest day of the year brings unbearable heat with it. We’ll work on that schedule while we hope for a larger turnout next time.

1972 Chevy Nova

 

1993 Miata

 

1991 Alfa Spider

 

Porsche 911

 

 

 

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

 

The Jim Taylor Car Collection Up For Auction

We were sworn to secrecy (sort of): during the AACA National held last year in Saratoga Springs, NY, attendees were offered the chance to tour a nearby private car collection. Upon arrival, our host, Jim Taylor, warmly invited us, but also cautioned us that while photographs were allowed, he did not want to see his name, face, location, and automotive particulars “splattered all over social media”. Taking his request literally, my posts from that event in June 2021 made no mention of the visit. Did my fellow visitors also comply? I have no idea, but I generally follow the rules when requested.

Jim Taylor greets his visitors

This was not my first visit to the Taylor Collection. While on the 2013 edition of the New England 1000 classic car rally with my rally brother Steve, we were granted access to the huge facility. At that time, there was no request to keep things quiet; perhaps social media’s outreach was not quite as far-reaching eight years prior.

In both instances, the impression left by visiting his four-wheeled treasures was the same: complete awe. Not only are the cars in immaculate condition; most of the collection is represented by sporting machinery of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, which strikes at the center of my own passion. Even so, the variety of cars cuts across numerous domestic and import brands, so no matter your taste, you’re sure to see at least one car that will make you smile.

I have broken Jim’s privacy request very simply because Jim himself has. In recent weeks I have received several emails letting it be known that he plans to auction off his entire collection. The auction will be conducted by Broad Arrow Auctions in October of this year. With the exception of Jim’s Jaguar D-Type, the collection will be offered at no reserve. Here’s some verbiage from the auction company’s website:

 

Broad Arrow Auctions, a Broad Arrow Group Company, is thrilled to announce the single owner offering auction of Mr. Jim Taylor, taking place this 14-15 October in his hometown of Gloversville, located a short distance from Albany, New York. The grouping of more than 120-motor cars represents one of the finest assemblages of European, British, and American sports and vintage cars including an impressive selection of Allard, Alvis, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Cunningham, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, and Shelby motor cars.

 

I don’t pretend to know Jim, but I met him and heard him speak at some length, both in 2013 and in 2021, and frankly, I’m surprised he’s doing this. Of course, one never knows another’s full personal situation. He’s had the chance to enjoy his cars over many years, and his family situation may warrant that a selloff now is better than one in the future.

Jim in his ‘lounge’ – he collects more than cars

Jim and his family have owned and operated Taylor Made Marine products for years. A quick Internet search revealed one change that occurred between my first and second visits: the company was bought out. Whether this has anything to do with the liquidation of the collector cars is not for me to guess. However, I assure you that based what I’ve seen and heard, these cars are pristine and are kept in top-notch mechanical shape too, so bidders, bid with confidence!

Below is an assortment of photos from my most recent visit in June 2021.

 

JAGUARS

Jaguars are obviously one of Jim’s favorite brands, as verified here by his collection of XK-120/140/150s, E-Types, and ’60s-era sedans.

 

 

ASTON MARTIN ZAGATO:
BUICK:

 

CHEVROLET CORVAIR STATION WAGON:

 

PRE-WAR ALFA ROMEO:
MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL ROADSTER:
FIRST- AND SECOND-GEN FORD GTs, BOTH IN GULF LIVERY:

VOLVO 544 AMONG BRITISH SPORTS CARS:

A FULL SERVICE SHOP IS ON THE PREMISES:

 

BUGATTI:

 

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

NJ Region AACA Annual Car Show, May 2022

The NJ Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) held its “annual” car show on Sunday May 1, 2022, at a new location: the Lakeview Elementary School in Denville, NJ, immediately off Route 10. The word “annual” is in quotes because the last few years had proven to be a challenge to actually hold the show, either due to poor weather or due to Covid. My blog posts clearly document the lousy atmospheric conditions in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The pandemic wiped the 2020 and 2021 shows off the calendar.

The 2016 to 2019 events were held at a new location for us, the Mennen Arena in Morristown, and I had, on multiple occasions, made it clear to those who would listen that this was not a great spot for a car show. As much as I’m not superstitious, I also began to wonder if the spot was jinked.

The queue to enter the show field

There were no weather jinxes in play for this one. The day was near perfect: sunny, warm but not hot, with a few stray clouds high overhead. Compared to the wet years, when turnout barely got above two or three dozen, there were well over one hundred vehicles at this year’s event. Most of the vehicles were in classes numbered by decade and were judged to AACA standards (25 years or older, in stock, as-new condition). There were also classes for HPOF (Historical Preservation of Original Features, a non-judged class), as well as trucks, two-seat sports cars, Mustangs, modified vehicles through 1997, and ‘modern classics’ 1998 and newer. (Some of these classes are not officially recognized by AACA and are added to bring additional vehicles to the show, making all feel welcome.)

A partial view of the show field

 

FoMoCo chrome grilles glisten in the May sun

 

I was especially pleased to see the strong turnout of pre-war and immediate post-war (WW2 in both cases) vehicles. Despite what many think, interest in vehicles from this time period continues to be strong. For example, I had a delightful conversation with the owner of a 1929 Packard, who to me looked like he was perhaps in his late 30s/early 40s. He told me that this generation Packard had been his dream car since he was seven years old!

Registration Chair Vince had plenty of help this year

My 1967 Alfa Romeo, which ran without an issue, got me safely and soundly to the show and back. This was the first AACA event for my beloved Italian stallion since the Buffalo Farm Car Show in Flemington NJ in June of 2019. (It was the following month when the brakes failed, necessitating a complete overhaul, followed by a necessary carb overhaul.) My good friend and fellow club member Ed Geller, who owns multiple Alfas, parked his HPOF ’69 Spider next to my car, and we made for an attractive 1-2 Alfa punch.

A treat for the club this year was the addition of a new member who goes by the name “Gup” (don’t ask because I don’t have a clue) who has his own DJ business. He parked his heavily modified Ford rig about center stage, and spun the tunes all day. His ability to mix styles and genres meant that there no complaints that I heard about the music! In previous years, we broadcasted SiriuxXM “Forties on 4” or “Fifties on 5” through the PA, and it got monotonous. Gup was a great addition to this year’s festivities.

The Gup and his sound system truck

Below are photos of show cars which captured my attention. Since AACA requires judged cars to have open hoods and trunks, obtaining quality images can be a challenge. When the opportunity presented itself, I also tried to snap photos of cars which by virtue of their locations in the parking lot would allow a better framed composition.

1937 Buick

 

1940 Cadillac

 

 

1931 Lincoln

 

1985 Olds 442

 

1971 Chevrolet Camaro

 

1966 Olds F-85

 

1967 Buick Riviera

 

1968 Chevrolet Corvair

 

1969 Plymouth GTX

 

A brace of pre-war Fords

 

Featured car #1: 1929 Packard Phaeton

The Packard’s owner, a man perhaps in his 40s, told me that he wanted this style Packard since he was seven years old. His car had been restored in 1951, and was an award winner at that time, but then had been put into storage. When he bought it, the car required a thorough recommissioning, but he assured me that I was looking at paint that had been applied 71 years ago.

 

 

 

1952 Hudson Hornet

 

1953 Cadillac

 

Bob Smith with his 1950 Ford

 

1956 Dodge

 

1958 Nash Metropolitan

 

1967 Chrysler Imperial

 

1964 Ford Galaxie

 

1997 Ford Mustang

 

1988 Pontiac Fiero

 

1957 Ford Thunderbird

 

1974 Dodge Challenger
Featured car #2: 1993 Lotus Esprit

One does not see Lotus Esprits at many AACA events, so the appearance of this gorgeous white one grabbed my attention. Presuming that it had a V8 mounted amidships, the owner corrected me and said that the engine was a Lotus-engineered V4, and turbocharged to boot.

 

 

1961 Willys Jeep Station Wagon

 

1958 Chevrolet Corvette

 

Richard and his 1964 Buick Riviera

 

1963 Chrysler 300

 

1956 Chrysler

 

1950 Ford

 

 

1950 Buick

 

1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider and 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Jr

 

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

 

 

 

 

Carlisle Spring Auction, April 2022

One of the principal reasons for attending the Spring Carlisle Auction this year (a two-day event, which ran on April 21 & 22, 2022) was to take the temperature of the collector car market. It’s no secret that special-interest car pricing has exploded since the Covid shutdown began in early 2020. It’s difficult to pin down the exact reasons, but there’s been some influence from new and late-model used vehicle pricing having jumped sky high. We also have collectors who have decided that there’s no time like the present to get the toys of their dreams, and are willing to break open their IRA piggy banks to fund such dreams.

Online auctions, led by Bring a Trailer (BaT), provide real-world results, not just asking prices. A general observation has been that many collector cars are selling for double or triple what they might have fetched several years ago. This in turn has brought back the age-old argument that “the collector car hobby is too expensive! Everything is priced completely out of my range!” And for the umpteenth time, I’m here to argue that this is simply not true, provided you’re open minded as to what you would consider as a ‘collector car’.

I cover 13 sales results below from last week’s Carlisle event. Although I wasn’t necessarily targeting the lower end of the price range, 11 of the 13 cars listed below sold for under $10,000. And these aren’t junk. They are mostly domestic product, with a German economy car and two British sporting roadsters included. Yes, a few of them are 4-door sedans, however, that body style is gaining respect in the hobby. Four of them are convertibles. There are 4-cylinder cars, 6-cylinder ones (including one supercharged) and many V8s. Again, open-mindedness gets you something fun, and most importantly, a foot into the hobby, meaning a car you can drive to a Cars & Coffee event, a Cruise Night, or on a tour with a car club.

Carlisle Auctions is primarily attended by dealers who are looking to pay wholesale so they can flip for a profit. For the individual collector, this event continues to present an opportunity to buy a first or a twenty-first collector car at a price that’s more than fair.

As always, Richard’s Car Blog sorts the auction results IN PRICE ORDER, to give the reader an idea of what types of vehicles sell in similar price ranges. The blog also strives to provide multiple photos of each car, capturing the front, rear, interior, and engine compartment whenever possible.

 

$3,000 – $5,000:

T215, 1996 Cadillac Eldorado, dark blue/green, taupe interior. Northstar V8, auto, factory alloys, blackwalls. Interior shows expected wear for age. Sign claims “low actual mileage” but miles not verified.

SOLD $3,000. The deal of the day or a never-ending money pit? This car sold midday on Thursday, and I didn’t check it out until after the sale. Is there a bad CarFax? Branded title? Major accident repair? I don’t know, but someone may have done well just to get a running driving car for this money.

 

T112, 1976 Buick Electra 4-door pillarless hardtop, silver, red vinyl roof, red interior. 455 V8, auto. Clock shows 87k. Blackwall tires, full wheel covers, fender skirts, faded bumper fillers. Paint is shot, silver looks more like primer. Interior ok, driver’s door armrest deteriorated. (No mention if roll of duct tape is included.) Engine compartment a mess. Last year of GM’s full-size cars before the Big Downsizing in ’77.

SOLD $5,000. A neglected old boat, only for the Buick devotee. But hey, who says you can’t get into the hobby cheap? Bring a gas card.

 

 

$5,700 – $6,500:

T145, 1960 Rambler 4-door sedan, 6-cylinder, auto (push button!), dark blue body, white top, blackwall tires, white painted wheels with Rambler hub caps. Sign claims 41k original miles, could be true. Interior multi-grey, rubber mats on floor. Quite basic transportation even by 1960 standards.

SOLD $5,750 Rambler/AMC collectors are out there (I know a few), but this car is as plain as plain gets. Perhaps the best one can say is to acknowledge that the car survived. Only for the hardcore Rambler enthusiast.

 

 

F470, 1964 Chevrolet Corvair convertible, yellow, white convertible top, wire wheel covers, whitewall tires, aftermarket brown velour seat upholstery, dash cover. Flat-6, 4-speed, claimed 67k miles.

SOLD $6,000. To me, car’s appearance was greatly held back by incorrect seat upholstery; should be all black. No engine specs stated, so presumed this is lower HP version (110?). If underbody is solid, this is something of a deal on a 1st gen Corvair droptop (with the manual a plus). Recent BaT sales have been higher than this.

 

 

T101, 1979 Pontiac Bonneville 4-door sedan. V8, auto, Two-tone brown/cream, beige interior. Odometer shows 85k, could be actual. Fender skirts, whitewalls, full wheel covers, color-keyed bodyside molding. Interior shows little wear (driver’s door panel looks amazing for age and miles). Engine compartment could use a detail.

SOLD $6,250. Four door sedans are gathering more respect as collectibles, helped in part by rising values of two door cars. If you’re ok with pillared sedans, this one was nice. The orphaned marque could help or hurt depending on your point of view. (Saw this car in the Car Corral the following day, ask was $10,500.)

 

F450, 1996 Buick Riviera, 3.8L supercharged V6, auto, FWD. Black paint, chrome factory wheels, grey leather interior. Sign claims 69k original miles. Looks like a 10-year-old well-kept used car.

SOLD $6,500. A great touring car, eligible for all AACA events now that it’s over 25 years old.

 

 

$7,500 – $8,250:

T102, 1974 VW Super Beetle, light blue, white interior. Sign claims 53k original miles. Blackwall tires, VW hub caps. Exterior shows well except for (hopefully removable) decals. Interior has cracked dash, paint chips on inside driver’s door, lace-on steering wheel cover, coco floor mats. Engine compartment clean, shows signs of recent service.

SOLD $7,500. #3 condition car sold for #4 money, a rare deal in today’s market. Was the 2nd car run on Thursday, to buyer’s delight and seller’s chagrin.

 

F492, 1996 Ford Mustang GT convertible, 4.6L V8, auto, sign claims 65k original miles (and 6-digit odo backs that up).  Teal green, tan top, tan cloth interior. Blackwall tires on factory alloys, factory rear spoiler. A decent looking used car.

SOLD $7,500. These SN-95 models succeeded the Fox-body cars, and the original styling was derided as being a bit too soft (rectified in the 1999 refresh). These mid-to-late ‘90s Mustangs represent a tremendous value if you’re looking for pony car fun, especially in top-down mode.

 

 

T121, 1975 Triumph Spitfire, red, black top, non-original two-tone black/red interior. Painted wheels, center caps and trim rings, blackwall tires. Sign claims 45k original miles. Engine compartment clean.

SOLD $7,750. It doesn’t get much simpler than a Spitfire. You might want to try one on for size before plunking down your hard-earned cash. Still, lots of wind-in-the-hair fun for little money. Great first collector car, as parts are plentiful and the wrenching is easy.

 

F472, 1952 Packard 200 4-door sedan. Light green, full wheel covers, whitewalls, fender skirts. Original selling dealer emblem on trunk lid. Interior is grey/black, odo reads 23k, no mileage claim. Straight-8 flathead, stick shift, 6 volt. Trunk shows a wide-white 7.60-15 bias-ply tire on spare wheel; how old is that tire?? Sign claims “all original survivor”.

SOLD $8,250. I looked over this car as carefully as I could and could find zero evidence of a respray. It’s entirely possible this car was wearing factory paint. No rust-through was found during a cursory inspection. I’m smitten by any car that can remain as original as this one appears to have done. If true, a wonderful find for the Packard aficionado.

T134, 1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible, V8, auto, dark red, tan top and interior, 88k miles, factory alloys, blackwall tires, interior shows little wear. Sign claims recent service to timing chains and coolant inlets. First year for the XK8.

SOLD $8,250. These have consistently sold in the high four-figures up until recently. Several BaT sales earlier this year were in the mid-teens, so based on that, consider this sale a bit of a bargain.

 

$17,000 – $32,000:

T217, 1988 Ford Mustang GT convertible. 5.0 V8, automatic, claim is 46k original miles. Blue paint, grey lower cladding, dark blue convertible top, luggage rack, factory alloys, blackwalls. Interior is grey plaid cloth.  Overall hard to fault.

SOLD $17,000. Halfway between a CPI #3 and #2 value, price was fair for both parties. I maintain that Fox-body cars are still somewhat of a good deal in this overheated collector market.

 

F449, 1967 Buick Sport Wagon (with 2nd windshield above passenger seat). Silver, black interior, roof rack, what look like later Buick alloys with oversize tires. Buick 340 V8/automatic. Sign states upgraded with 4-wheel disc brakes and 4-wheel air ride suspension. Interior stock except for auxiliary gauges below dash and light grey floor mats.

SOLD $32,000. This result blew me away. It’s almost twice what CPI shows for a #2 car. Overall, the car was ok but was not presented in a very detailed manner. Perhaps the relative rarity of the Sport Wagon body (similar to the Olds Vista Cruiser) drove the bidders to exuberantly wave their bidders’ cards.

 

 

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

 

The 2022 New York Auto Show

The 2022 edition of the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) began this year’s run with two press days, on Wednesday and Thursday, April 13 and 14. The show is open to the public from Friday April 15 through Sunday April 24. Located in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in the west 30s, the NYIAS was last held in 2019. Covid halted the proceedings in 2020 and 2021. Through my job at CARiD.com, I and two other gentlemen on our Creative Team were able to attend with press passes on Wednesday the 13th.

Walking into the Javits Center as I have done for this show since 1987, which is when it moved from the NY Coliseum at Columbus Circle, I could not help but be struck by the imagery. Everywhere I turned, the banners, posters, and signage all indicated The Main Attraction.

Can you say ‘electric vehicles’?

You would be forgiven for thinking that you had perhaps stumbled upon an All-EV show. Almost every vehicle manufacturer in attendance was touting the EVs in its lineup. Some of them, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning, have been known about for months and have been eagerly anticipated by the general public. Others, like the new brand Vinfast, have little name recognition at present.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Before we get further into the EVs (and there were plenty of very interesting ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles on the floor too), it’s worth listing the manufacturers who were conspicuous by absence. This is nothing new, as the combination of online launches, rising costs, and new car intros scattered across the calendar have driven many manufacturers to conclude that physical auto shows are no longer worth the time and expense. Here’s who was missing: BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Acura, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Rivian, Tesla, Audi, Porsche, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC. Most puzzling was the participation of only some brands under a corporate umbrella: Chevrolet but not sister GM brands Buick, Cadillac, and GMC; and VW but not their Audi and Porsche brethren. While Chevy, Ford, Toyota, and Subaru among others consumed significant floor space, there still was lots of room for other stuff. And that other stuff was not one, not two, but three indoor test tracks, devoted to providing rides in EVs.

A Volvo C40 EV on the indoor test track

Think about it: with no concern about tailpipe pollution, EVs can be run indoors all day long (as long as charging is available). Ford had its own dedicated track, running the aforementioned Lightning and Mustang Mach-Es; Hyundai had its own track, with both Ford’s and Hyundai’s on the main floor; and downstairs, a larger track was shared among legacy and start-up EV makers including Nissan, VW, Volvo, INDI, and Vinfast. You should not be surprised to learn that attendees will be invited to ride, but not drive; for each ride there will be a professional driver behind the wheel. By the time the NYIAS wraps up, thousands of show-goers will have had an experience as a passenger in an EV. The car makers are hoping to turn those experiences into showroom foot traffic for their expanding EV offerings.

 

ELECTRICS

The two big surprises to me were the two brands I had not heard of until last week: INDI and Vinfast. INDI seems to have one model, cleverly named the INDI ONE, a large, 5-door, sloped roof hatchback reminiscent of the Tesla Model X. I had to do some online research after the show to learn that the company is based in California, although it’s sourcing parts from around the world. Their claim to fame is the under-hood computer, intended to allow a higher level of gaming for passengers. (Full disclosure: I do not see the attraction.)

(Above: the INDI ONE EV)

Vinfast was founded in 2017 in Vietnam, and plans to be the first Vietnamese car maker to expand into global markets. They had three different EV models on the floor: the VF7, VF8, and VF9, all variants on the currently popular crossover SUV. Their styling was unoffensive bordering on mildly attractive (no attempt at ‘weirdness’ to make them stand out), and I was surprised to read online that the company has had styling assistance from Pininfarina and BMW. They have also announced that they plan to open a manufacturing plant in NC.

It had not occurred to me that I might see the VW ID.Buzz at the show, and a nice surprise it was. Photos don’t do justice to the ‘cheekiness’ of it. I broke into a spontaneous smile as I rounded a corner and found this update on the classic V-Dub Bus in front of me. It’s sized right, and for EV fans, it could be a worthwhile alternative to an EV SUV.

The Subaru Solterra, which shares its EV platform with the Toyota bZ4X, was featured within the vast Subaru exhibit. Let’s see if the Subaru faithful, whose passion is wed to that flat-4, will embrace a product without it. Volvo, despite a full lineup of sedans, station wagons, and SUVs, had only 2 cars at the show: an XC40 Recharge (hybrid), and a C40 EV. Rides in the C40 were available.

 

 

The Mustang Mach-E, which has been on the market for a year or so, was also visible at other displays. Here are four examples of the Mach-E EV done up in different liveries:

 

STELLANTIS

This automotive giant, created in 2021 from the merger of FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automotive) and PSA (Peugeot-Citroen), sells the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo brands here. Roaming their large footprint on the main level, Jeep and Ram dominated, which is not surprising given the profits generated by those products. As examples, the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer was there, with one floor model priced at $103,000; the Ram TRX, which has been out for a while, was also present, with an MSRP of $97,000. The sole Chrysler vehicle on the floor was a Pacifica, although an updated version of the Chrysler Airflow EV concept was unveiled. Stuck in the poorly-lit back corner were Dodge (a single Challenger), Fiat (including two 500e EVs) and Alfa Romeo. The NYIAS marked the U.S. debut of the smaller Tonale SUV from Alfa, and it was quite the looker. Those attending the show specifically to see it might have a difficult time finding it.

 

Chrysler Airflow EV Concept

 

This is where you stick Alfa?

 

The new Alfa Romeo Tonale

 

ELVIS PRESLEY’S CONTINENTAL MARK II:

 

 

PERFORMANCE

Petrol power still has its advocates. Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs were on hand to entice those not ready to join the plug-in revolution. Toyota debuted its new GR Corolla, with a 3-cylinder gas engine pushing 300 horsepower to its front tires. Several copies of the new Nissan Z were there to be gawked at. And if you truly long for the good ol’ days, a small display of classic European and Asian performance vehicles, including a BMW M3, Acura NS-X, Porsche 911 Turbo, and Renault 5 Turbo, were clustered together in the rear of the main floor.

 

(Above: the Nissan Z)

 

(Above: old-school Euro sports cars)

 

CHOOSE THE LEXUS GRILLE WHICH LEAST OFFENDS YOU:

 

 

BOTTOM LINE

Despite making up fewer than 50% of the cars and trucks inside the Javits Center, EVs were clearly the stars of this year’s show. I wasn’t surprised by Tesla’s absence; I was by Hummer’s and Rivian’s. The other EV makers had no problem filling in the space they would have taken. As I was leaving, I realized there is a battle which has begun between the legacy automakers and the start-ups.

The legacy manufacturers are affronted by the new kids on the block. Many of the old timers have been at it for over a century and feel that they own the R&D process, whether ICE or EV. Yet Tesla, itself old enough to be considered a legacy car maker, went its own route, and did it successfully. Today’s start-ups, observing that success, are raising the cash, rushing to market, and trying to distinguish themselves in a field getting more crowded by the week.

Even the experienced ones are still trying to figure it out. Ford has 100,000+ orders for its F-150 Lightning, and after surveying existing truck owners, Ford paid attention when the survey results said “don’t make it weird”. On the other hand, Chevrolet’s new Silverado EV doesn’t resemble the existing truck, and the company is still about two yeas away from building deliverable units. Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia are deciding how different to make their EVs look compared to their ICE counterparts.

And here are INDI and Vinfast, expecting to ride the swelling EV wave. There is an understandable expectation that as the EV segment grows, there’s still room for new companies to capture their own slice of the pie. If history is any guide, and it should be, many of the companies entering the EV road race won’t make it to the finish line.

 

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

 

Das Awkscht Fescht, Macungie PA, August 2013

Das Awkscht Fescht, better known as “Macungie” (the name of the Pennsylvania town which hosts it) is an annual car show held on the first weekend in August. Their website claims that this year’s show is its 59th annual, and my Sharp calculator computes that to mean the event began in 1963. I first attended this show in the early 1980s, when there was a large turnout of BMW Isettas and I was in search of basically anything I could find out about mine. I’ve also written about this show previously: my Isetta was on display there in 2010, and I added posts after my visits in 2017 and 2021.

Continuing my look back through old photos, I found these from the 2013 show. Visiting Macungie is delightful.  It’s set on grass in a park, there’s huge car club support, and for the most part, vehicles are arranged by make and model. For significant others and young ones whose interest in old cars wanes after a few minutes, there are plenty of non-automotive attractions too, including craft booths, petting zoos, live music in an outdoor bandshell, and even a pool. It’s certainly small enough to cover in one day, but if your time is limited, or if it’s too hot to trudge into all 4 corners, you can always seek out the brands of your preference.

This year, my camera seemed to be trained more on cars of the 1950s. Perhaps it was the colors, or the ornate details one finds on the chrome behemoths of this decade.  Of all the included photos below, my favorite is the unrestored Cord. I can become jaded when looking at one over-restored car after another. The very idea that someone would keep such a valuable and rare car in this condition is wonderful and refreshing.

Unrestored 1930s Cord Roadster

 

1957 Ford Thunderbird

 

Nomad tails

 

Go-go-Goggomobil!

 

 

 

1957 DeSoto – note quad headlights which just started to be legal that year

 

Chrysler Imperial

 

1962 Chrysler 300H

 

Firebird nose progression – the ’69 has a poorly executed nose job

 

 

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

 

 

The 2013 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance

Richard’s Car Blog’s first post was February 13, 2015. My Alfa Romeo had already been in my possession for almost two years, and I wasted no time in creating posts about my adventures with the car, including my participation in that’s year’s New England 1000. (The Alfa was also driven in the 2013, 2014, and 2018 versions of that classic car rally).

Perusing photos taken before this blog’s launch, I’ve come to realize that many of the events I’ve attended or participated in prior to 2015 have never been covered here. So I am dutifully making amends, and enjoying the glances in the rear-view mirror.

In June of 2013, having owned the Alfa for a grand total of 3 months, I entered it in that year’s Greenwich (CT) Concours D’Elegance. Bruce Wennerstrom, founder and chairperson of the show, knew me well, as my Isetta had been at this same event in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010. For 2013, I was grouped with a variety of other beautiful Italian machinery. The weather was gorgeous, and so were all the other show cars. While no trophy came my way that day, my wife and I enjoyed the drive to and from CT, and also enjoyed taking in the sights within Roger Sherman Park, the verdant location of the Greenwich show each year.

My 1967 Alfa GT 1300 Jr

 

Rolls-Royce

 

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

 

Aston Martin

 

Ferrari 330 GTC (my ATF)

 

Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale

 

Jaguar XK-150

 

The other Italians in my circle (with one French interloper)

 

Bugatti

 

Fiat Dino Spider

 

Isetta police car (to catch jaywalkers)

 

Lancia

 

Lancia interior

 

Bruce Wennerstrom (right, white hat) prepares to present another award

 

On our way out (photo courtesy Dennis Nash)

 

 

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

 

 

 

My Alfa’s 1st Judged Event: NJ AACA Car Show, May 2013

My musk green 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior had barely been in my possession for two months in 2013 when I entered it in its first judged show. This was the annual event conducted by the NJ Region of the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America), held by tradition on the first Sunday in May. In 2013, the actual show date was May 5, and also following tradition, it was held in the parking lot of the Automatic Switch Manufacturing Company in Florham Park NJ. (Long-time club members simply referred to the location as “Automatic Switch”.)

The drive from our home in Neshanic Station was only 30 minutes, but it was a good test for the much longer 2013 New England 1000 classic car rally, coming up two weeks after this outing. When I had purchased the Alfa from my good friend Pete, it had already earned its HPOF (Historical Preservation of Original Features) award, and by AACA Judging Rules you cannot switch classes back and forth willy-nilly, so it was dutifully entered into HPOF. As the photos attest, there’s always an eclectic assortment of vehicles on either side of you in this class.

Arriving and parking early gave me the chance to grab my camera and walk the field, looking for other interesting cars to photograph.  I was not disappointed by the fine mix of pre-war and post-war, dometic and import, all glistening under the bright spring sun.

All cars are judged (unless an owner expressly requests to be excluded), and NJ Region judging loosely follows National’s rules. By the end of the show (around 3pm), the parade of vehicles driving up to the ‘viewing stand’ to receive their trophies from the Region’s President arrived three abreast. My Alfa received a special award, considered only for cars owned by club members: it won the “Best Unrestored Vehicle” in its age group. I was pleasantly surprised at the recognition, not expecting much of anything for the car at its first outing! Aside from a battery and a set of tires, I had also not done anything to it yet. The Alfa got me home without incident, and back into the garage it went as I patiently waited for this year’s NE1000 to begin.

 

1963 Split-Window Corvette Sting Ray

 

Lotus Elan

 

1968 Ford Mustang

 

Alfa Romeo Coupe

 

Alfa Romeo Spider

 

AMC Spirit

 

Kaiser Darrin

 

Sting Ray convertible

 

Lancia Zagato

 

Porsche 928

 

Dual Ghia concept car

 

Big, green, and Eldorado

 

Pre-war show winners

 

’30s Ford show winner

 

Two Packards astride Ford

 

Avanti

 

A trio of Mustang winners

 

The winning Alfa and its proud owner

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ode to a Drill

My dad was no different than most fathers in that he wanted a better life for his son than he had. Yet I was so influenced by my father that, in spite of my occasional anger toward him, I wanted to be like him. Therein lies the conundrum; my father, a man who didn’t finish high school, was a brilliant mechanic/machinist, mostly self-taught, who had a knack with tools that allowed him to fix almost anything mechanical. I, his college-educated son, was completely bored with my post-graduation desk job and wanted to work with my hands, essentially as way to get paid while learning how automobiles work.

These worlds collided in August of 1978 when I quit my job as an Economist with the U.S. Department of Labor to become an apprentice mechanic at a car dealership. (The specifics of this career move are covered in the blog post “Working in the Retail Automotive Business, Part 1: Autosport”.) My father was more upset with me over this decision than anything else I had done up until this point. Through tears, he expressed his concerns about quitting a “guaranteed government job” for what he saw as the difficult life of a blue-collar worker. But my mind was made up, and he was eventually resigned to it.

He didn’t agree with my decision, but that didn’t stop him from providing me with some of my first tools. The one tool that stuck out above the others was his Black & Decker corded electric drill. Its all-metal case and hefty weight made it obvious to anyone who lifted it that it could take some abuse and still function. I soon replaced its ¼” chuck with a 3/8” version. That drill got me through two years of professional wrenching, most notably as the tool used to drill all those holes in the roofs of new Volvos for roof rack installations (a very popular dealer-installed option on 245 wagons). My Service Manager borrowed it once and commented, “this is a serious drill”.

By 1980, I had moved to Service Advisor and my full-time technician days were finished. I kept all my tools, although they didn’t see much use through the remainder of the decade. By 1990, I owned my first house and began restoration on the BMW Isetta (the drill is visible in the 4th photo of the linked post) and the B&D drill was the only one I owned. It never failed to get the job done, whether I was drilling in wood or metal, or using it to spin a wire wheel brush of some kind.

Fast forward to 2001 and, now in a different home, this drill continued to see extensive duty. At some point, the power cord’s attachment to the drill began to fail, and required partial disassembly to repair. The trigger and its lock button began to stick, and another partial disassembly was needed to lube and service. I wasn’t even considering replacing the drill, though; I had owned it so long, and it had done so much work for me, that I thought of it as an old friend.

About 20 years ago, I supplemented the B&D with a Ryobi cordless drill. It had features which were completely missing on the ol’ metal job: keyless chuck, two speeds, and reversible direction. Still, the Ryobi just didn’t have the oomph of the Black & Decker. I kept both, using the Ryobi primarily for driving screws, and using it for drilling only when a 120V outlet was not nearby.

Last year, the trigger on the B&D began to act up again. There were times when the drill wouldn’t operate. I looked at the beaten metal housing and asked myself if it was time. During some routine visits to Home Depot and Lowe’s, I began to check out replacements. I’ve owned a few DeWalt tools, and their lineup of drills impressed me. I was determined to stay with a corded model for power, and a keyed chuck for its ability to better tighten around bits. I found one on sale for around $100 and went for it.

Here is where I realized that sometimes, sentimentality can get in the way of rationality. I was holding onto the Black & Decker drill longer than I should have, convinced that it was a great drill (emphasis on the past tense). Once I brought the DeWalt home, I learned what I had been missing. Yes, its case is plastic; yet it has a nice heft to it. The chuck spins like a precision mechanism. It has a variable-speed trigger and is reversible. It’s a wonderful drill.

A quick Google search for my Black & Decker turns up some references to this model drill dating back to the 1950s/1960s. My recollection may be cloudy, but I remember the drill being “old” when I got it in 1978. Let’s be charitable and presume that it was 10 years old when it was gifted to me. It died in 2021. That means it lived as a functioning tool for 53 years (and I didn’t pay for it!). Thanks dad; it was a great gift, and it’s fair to say that we both got our money’s worth from it.

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