The 1990 Carlisle Import Car Show

It was shortly after entering the automobile industry in 1978 that I learned about “Carlisle”. It’s the name of a town in Pennsylvania, but to car buffs, “Carlisle” more specifically refers to the hobbyist flea market/car corral events which have been conducted at the Carlisle Fairgrounds since 1974.

At first there was Fall Carlisle in October, followed shortly by Spring Carlisle in April. Then came the additions: GM, Ford, Chrysler, Corvette, Import/Tuner, Truck. Auctions were added, as were winter shows held in Florida but still under the Carlisle name. You can read about Carlisle’s beginnings at this link here.

I attended my first Carlisle event in 1979, observing that the flea market offerings were about 90% in support of domestic cars, understandably so. When the Import Show was added sometime in the late 1980s, I was excited at the prospect of what might be there. Some photos from the 1990 Carlisle Import Show were included in my blog post about attending the 2008 Carlisle Import Show with my Isetta, the one and only time I brought the Isetta there. Going through my pictures, I decided that the 1990 show deserved a post of its own.

These snaps are of a decidedly different quality, and my faint recollection is that they were taken with a Kodak disposable camera, which were in vogue at that time. A deluxe version had a switch allowing panoramic photos, which was put to good use here as a way to capture a vehicular lineup. Note how spread out the cars are parked, and how much empty space is behind them. Compared to Spring or Fall Carlisle, this Import show was a much more lightly-attended event.


Those of you who think that my Alfa obsession is a recent phenomenon would be mistaken; here is a photo of a late ‘50s/early ‘60s Alfa Giulietta Spider, taken as it sat in a row of Italian cars. Note the Fiat 124 Spider on the right, and note all the empty rows in the background! I believe that hill is the beginning of what is known as the North Field.

What have we here, an Isetta?? In 1990, I had not yet begun my restoration in earnest, so I’m sure that I was thrilled to stumble across this. From this photo the car appears to be all there, although the red engine paint is incorrect. The sign in the window reads “Warning Health Hazard”.

A large part of the success of these early Import shows must be credited to club support, as this photo of Volvo P1800/1800S models makes clear. I count 8 of them here, but am unsure if Irv Gordon’s car was among them.

A potpourri of German and British cars, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Morris, and Jaguar.

Qu’avons-nous ici, des voitures françaises, toutes des Citroën

More Volvos, this time, mostly 122s.

This is the only known photo in my collection of a Volvo 1800 convertible. It’s a bit ungainly with the top up. As you may know, this is not a factory convertible. Most, perhaps all, such conversions were done by a Long Island dealer, Volvoville. They ran ads for the cars in the back of many of the car magazines of the day. It is also interesting to note the 700-series wagons in the back, which in 1990 would have been no more than about 5 years old.

Three very different Triumph sports cars, from left to right: TR4, TR3, and Spitfire.

Jaguar E-Types (also known as XKEs) have always been desirable and worth preserving, going back to their launch in 1961. This is a Series I model (1961-1967), as evidenced by its covered headlights and above-bumper front turn signals. Note the VW bus lacking side windows behind it, most likely originally intended for commercial use.

It looks like a downsized two-seat Thunderbird, but its official name is DKW Auto Union 1000 Special Coupe. My copy of the Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-1990 states that this model DKW (Das Kleine Wagen, German for The Little Car) was introduced on our shores in 1958, with a 2-stroke 3-cylinder engine, displacing 980 cc and producing 50 HP. List price was $2,495, which may sound pricey when many full-size American cars were starting around the $2,000 mark. However, if one wanted something with sporting pretensions, T-Birds and Corvettes were $1,000 more. Perhaps the closest competitor to this car would have been the VW Karmann Ghia coupe, priced at $2,445. DKW and Auto Union eventually became Audi.

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


My Grandfather’s First Car

Angelo DiLella was my maternal grandfather, and I knew him well, at least as well as one could know a grandparent who spoke almost no English and didn’t talk much anyway. From researching my ancestral history, this I do know: he was born in Italy in 1894 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1911. Consider the timeframe for a moment: There were no automobiles in 1894, and when he arrived here at the age of 17, self-propelled cars and trucks were just starting to take over from the horse (possibly to his detriment at first, as upon arrival, he was employed as a blacksmith making horseshoes!).

He got married in 1921, and by 1930, was living with his wife and four children in Hoboken, N.J. Whatever the public transportation options, at some point he decided that the family needed its own set of wheels. And so he became owner of the 4-door sedan pictured here, a fact passed on to me by my Aunt Rita who gifted me this photograph a few years ago.

My grandfather died in 1969 when I was 15; I never spoke to him about this car, or any car. I never saw him drive. By this time, my Aunt Rita did all the driving for her parents (my grandmother never had a driver’s license). Had I the opportunity, I would have loved to know where he got it, what he paid for it, and what it was like to drive. Of course, that imagined conversation would have started with: “hey Grandpa, what year, make, and model was it?”

Today, I’m left to my own devices to find the answer. After several hours of working the Google machine, here is my overarching conclusion: most 4-door sedans of the 1920s look remarkably similar. The upright grille, separate headlights, double-level bumpers, louvered hood, running boards with step plates, and suicide-hinged rear doors are features of almost every car I found. The decade of the ‘20’s was a transition from 4-doors with folding tops to metal tops; from wooden spoke wheels to metal disc wheels; and from rectangular side glass to the introduction of some curvature to the forms.

This last point brings me to the D-pillar on Grandpa’s car: note how thin it appears from the side, and how that rear quarter-glass has square corners. By the late ‘20s, many sedans incorporated a slope where the roof came down to meet the top of the D-pillar. The one other distinguishing characteristic on this car is the 2nd (lower) horizontal side molding, below the door handle. In the online photos I found, very few cars had two moldings like this one does. Finally, an extreme blowup of the photo, focused on that rear tire, shows what looks like the Chevrolet bow tie on the wheel hub. I think this car is a 1927 Chevrolet, and if anyone has supporting or contradicting evidence, I’d love to hear from you.

What else can we see in this photo? The car is not in great shape. Both front and rear fenders show body damage; the right rear outer door handle is missing; and if these are 6-bolt wheels, each wheel has a lug missing. It amuses me to imagine my mother as a 10-year-old girl riding in this ‘jalopy’ with her parents, quite likely her first-ever automotive experience.

How long did my grandfather keep this car, and did he replace it with something else? My Aunt Rita lived with her parents her entire life; if she got her license at the age of 18, she would have started driving in 1946. Around 1950, the family moved from Union City, N.J. to Staten Island, N.Y. I was born in 1954, and I have good memories of my Aunt’s Ford sedan, a ’52-’54 vintage she bought used. Maybe the old Chevy lasted until she got that Ford. It’s all speculation from here, as we lost Aunt Rita in 2015. But she was the ‘car enthusiast’ in the family, owning a succession of Oldsmobiles and then Volvos. I have a few photos of her and her cars, so I think I will write an article about her in a future post.


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

Alfa Romeo Club Dealer Visit & Tour, Oct. 30, 2022

The New Jersey Chapter of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club (AROC) sponsored a combination dealer visit/drive event on Sunday October 30, 2022, which saw a significant turnout of older Alfas along with some newer vehicles. The dealership, Alfa Romeo of Englewood Cliffs (NJ), located on Route 9W, graciously opened its doors to us on a Sunday morning, providing coffee and breakfast treats while we owners took advantage of the opportunity to mingle under sunny and unusually warm late October skies.


The size of the group was impressive; aside from six Spiders, there were five Bertone Giulia Coupes, a Milano, a 4C, and modern Giulias and Stelvios. A Fiat 500 Abarth rounded out the Italian entries. As the owner of a GT 1300 Junior, it was most interesting to me that there were four 1300 Juniors present, 3 Coupes and a Spider, incredible given that the model was never officially imported to the U.S.



After our morning soiree, some of us joined our tour leader Scott Klion and followed him in his red Giulia on a scenic ride up the Palisades Parkway and around Storm King Highway in NY, ending with a lunch at the charming Painter’s Tavern in Cornwall-on-Hudson. I’ve always admired how Alfa owners love to drive their cars in a spirited fashion, even if I in my 90-HP Junior struggled to keep up! My wife and I had a long ride back home from the restaurant, but it was good to get out, put some miles on ‘Junior’, and see some of my old Alfa friends again.


1300 Junior Spider


Spider in nero


Series 4 Spider in rosso


Argento Spider


Spider in Inglese Verde


Hard to tell, but this Spider is dark green


’73 GTV, with GT 1300 Junior in nero behind it



GTV in rosso



Your scribe’s GT 1300 Junior in Muschio Verde (musk green) next to a Spider


This ’68 GT 1300 Junior in Bluette was recently restored


Rosso Milano, the only Busso V6 there


A 4C in a shade of blue I’ve not seen before


A current-generation Giulia


Fiat Abarth


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




Sunday Morning Cars & Coffee, Oct. 23, 2022

On Sunday, October 23, 2022, we once again took advantage of a spacious parking lot adjacent to a Dunkin’ Donuts facility to host our own Cars & Coffee event. No driving was included in the plans, and we had a small but enthusiastic group of eight people (plus two VCNA retirees who were surprise guests) willing to mill about on what turned out to be a beautiful autumn morning.

The Dunkin’ Donuts on MacArthur Blvd. in Mahwah did its usual fine job in serving us bagels and coffee, and plenty of Sunday morning visitors were distracted enough by our vehicular lineup to break their routines and come over for a chat.

Cars in attendance included two Corvettes, a Chevy Nova, two Porsche 911s, a Mercedes-Benz turbodiesel, a well-preserved and rarely-seen Volvo S70, and your author’s Alfa Romeo. Interestingly, the imports outnumbered the domestic entries (3 Chevys versus 3 Germans, 1 Swedish, and 1 Italian), something we normally don’t see at our gatherings.

We may try to squeeze in one more driving event before the weather turns inhospitable for the winter. If not, we shall see what 2023 will bring!

1961 Corvette (C1)


1967 Corvette (C2)


1967 Alfa Romeo


1972 Nova


’80s Mercedes-Benz 300D


’80s Porsche 911


21st century 911


Volvo S70 sedan


Nothing but nothing looks like the back end of a C2 coupe


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



RM Sotheby’s Auction, Hershey, PA, Oct. 2022

A fixture for many years as an element of the AACA Fall Hershey, PA car show, RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction is conducted at the Hershey Lodge, a few miles away from Hersheypark. There, they have ample room to erect several tents, and the vehicles can relatively easily be driven (or pushed) in and out of the building as each one’s turn comes up to cross the block.

In recent years, RM has specialized in offering American cars at Hershey, and a large percentage of those have been pre-war (before World War 2). Since concluding my week with the Glidden tour last month, I can’t seem to shake this exciting notion of pre-war machinery being used for touring purposes. I’ve also been keenly interested in taking some measure of the supply and demand (that is, selling prices) of these older vehicles.

Some in the hobby continue to cling to the notion that collectors’ interest in any particular era of cars directly correlates to the age of the collector. Put another way, there are those who believe that there is greatly diminished collector interest in vehicles over 70 years old, as those who would remember them as new vehicles from their youth are all but gone from this earth. (This is also why some believe that automobiles from the ‘50s and ‘60s have diminished in value, as the oldest of the Baby Boomers who remember them from their own youth have begun to pass.)

My own observations discount this theory. I’ve rambled on before about the possibility that collectors are starting to view cars from the earliest days of the automobile as similar to paintings and furniture, meaning that they are being collected as much for their intrinsic and historic value as they are for their value as driving machines.

This year’s RM auction was a two-day affair, as has been the custom. As I was in town for only one day, I was witness only to Day Two at the Hershey Lodge. The vehicles on the ground were all due to be auctioned that evening; it appeared that the Day One auction cars had already been moved elsewhere. Of the ten cars mentioned below which caught my attention, six are pre-war, and five of those six sold, some for hefty amounts. (Vehicles which were offered at No Reserve are noted below.) Full results from Hershey can be found at Prices shown below include buyer’s premium of 10%. I have sorted the lots this time in model year order (except for the Fiat which did not sell, covered at the end).


Lot 340, 1902 Oldsmobile Model R curved dash runabout

Black with red trim, black upholstery, wire wheels, blackwall tires. Website claims half-century with current owner’s family. Car was pushed into and out of the building for the auction.

SOLD for $38,500

I had incorrectly presumed that this was a re-creation, as every “curved dash” Olds I’ve ever come across has been such. If this is truly a 1902 automobile, then it’s 120 years old, and that alone is remarkable. Given its historical significance, I’d say that under $40,000 sounds like a bargain.

Lot 353, 1903 DeDion-Bouton

Yellow body and wheels, wood fenders, black upholstery. One year newer than the Olds, yet has a steering wheel as opposed to the Olds’ tiller. Car is smaller than it might appear in photos. Website claims that DeDion-Bouton was the world’s largest car manufacturer in 1900.

SOLD for $46,750 (no reserve sale)

“Only” 119 years old, but looks to be in great shape. What is it worth? On this day, it was worth just under $50,000. I’d fathom a guess that it would fetch more at a European auction.


Lot 385, 1914 Thomas K-6-90 Flyabout

Red paint, wheels, and upholstery, black folding top. Brass trim in and out, wicker basket out back. Dual unmounted tires on right side. Big car on 140-inch wheelbase. Website states that “6-90” in model name indicates 6-cylinder, 90 horsepower engine, also claims that car was rebuilt with custom coachwork in the 1980s.

SOLD for $594,000

Who says no one will pony up for a 1914 Whatever? Not I. Of course, Thomas is a brand with a significant early history. Six-hundred large bought this one, which, compared to modern supercars which sell in the 7-figure range, might make this one understandable. Everything’s relative.

Lot 352, 1921 Napier T75 Speedster

Green paint, yellow wire wheels, black upholstery. Swoopy open body with two rows of seats. Website states that this is one of only 120 cars built between 1919 and 1924.

SOLD for $52,250

I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of this brand before. In researching the car, it should come as no surprise that I have not. It’s a British marque which only built cars for six years, and only churned out 120 units at that. Like the DeDion-Bouton, I would imagine that the Brits would have paid more had it been auctioned across the pond.


Lot 408, 1934 Ford

Dark green body, black fenders, light green wire wheels, wide whitewall tires, tan interior. Rear-mounted spare tire. Website claims upgraded to 12V electrics, and same owner since 1984.

SOLD for $36,500 (no reserve sale)

A very attractive closed-body Ford which appears to have been restored close to its original appearance. This was the second-to-last car to cross the block on Thursday, which may have depressed the price a little.


Lot 364, 1956 Continental Mark II

Green metallic paint, full wheel covers, wide whitewall tires, green and white interior. Green steering wheel is a shade which clashes with the rest of the interior. Immaculate engine compartment. Difficult to find fault.

SOLD for $96,250

Compare this to the Mark II I spotted in the Hershey Car Corral just a few short miles away, and you begin to understand the difference in value based on the costs associated with doing a complete and correct restoration on one of these. Price paid was fair for the condition, but driving it will devalue it.

Lot 401, 1956 VW Beetle convertible

Brown paint (sign on car calls it “Sepia Silver”), VW wheel covers, whitewall tires, dark brown top, tan interior. An old Bug, as distinguished by the low-mounted front signal lights and small rear window. Website claims 23,666 miles shown are original.

SOLD for $71,500

This was one of those over-the-top restorations that looked better than new. I was around plenty of new Beetles in the ‘60s and ‘70s and none of them ever looked this sharp. In today’s market, there are plenty of deep-pocketed individuals willing to spend this kind of money for an example of the People’s Car.


Lot 384, 1959 Chrysler 300E convertible

White paint, wire wheels, wide whitewall tires, tan top, tan leather interior. Sign on car claims that of 140 built, this is 1 of only 27 which survive.

SOLD for $75,000

Some call the 300 Letter cars the original muscle cars. I disagree, because I think the definition of “muscle car” encompasses a smaller (intermediate) body with a big engine. Rather, these 300s are often called big brutes. By 1959, the Chrysler styling had gotten a little fussy, but there was a lot to like here. It’s difficult to refer to 75 grand as a good deal, but for the Mopar enthusiast, this was.



Lot 391, 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe

Blue metallic, M-B wheel covers, blackwall tires, light brown interior. 3.5L V8, automatic, factory sunroof. Sharp looking Benz with prominent grille, wraparound rear glass, vestigial fins.

SOLD for $88,000

A beautiful and rare Mercedes, for about the same amount of money as a mid-sized Mercedes-Benz SUV would cost new today. The difference is that this one will hold its value.


Lot 377, 1912 Fiat Type 56 Touring

Dark blue, blue wooden wheels, brass radiator and headlights, wood windshield surround, black leather interior. Website claims this car was built by American Fiat, a subsidiary of the Italian parent company, and was actually manufactured in Poughkeepsie, NY! The website further claims that the car was restored in the 1990s, including an upgrade to hydraulic brakes.

NOT SOLD (high bid not recorded; pre-sale estimate was $700,000 to $900,000)

Photographs cannot convey the impression that this vehicle had on me. It’s huge, and so full of small details that one could spend an hour just constantly circling it, taking it all in. I was smitten with it, maybe because it’s a Fiat, maybe because I’ve never seen such a large Fiat! Whatever one’s interest is in collector cars, this one could easily serve as a centerpiece, whether the collection’s focus is pre-war, American-built, or European-branded. I loved it, but even if I could afford it, it wouldn’t fit in my garage!

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












AACA Hershey, October 2022

Hershey this year was a one-day visit for me, so I spent most of the morning canvassing the car corral, had lunch, then headed over to the RM Sotheby’s auction at the Hershey Lodge. I was there on Thursday October 6th, and the weather was great for an outdoor car show. The hobby continues to evolve and change, and we have observed the ups and downs at Hershey over the years. This year’s car corral was approximately 50% full, and that’s a guess of course. But for those who have visited in the recent past, I can inform you that the parking lot alongside the Giant Center was completely empty this year. As recently as 2018 (based on my own blog report) it was completely full. To my thinking, websites like Bring A Trailer have shifted many collector car transactions to online formats.

Nevertheless, even with the smaller number of vehicles in the corral, there were a few that were of more than passing interest to me. I’ve listed those vehicles below in model year order. (I will have a report on the RM Sotheby auction as a separate blog post.)


1931 Ford Model A Roadster. Tan body, wheels, and top, black fenders, whitewall tires on wire wheels. Darker tan vinyl interior. Single side-mount spare, rumble seat, separate trunk out back. Sharp looking all round.

Asking: $22,500

One of the least-expensive ways to enter a Glidden Tour, and the top goes down to boot.

1931 Ford Model A rumble seat coupe. Taupe body, black fenders, yellow wire wheels, whitewall tires. Single spare mounted out back.

Asking: $19,500

This one makes the ’31 Roadster at $22,500 look like the better deal.


1936 Ford DeLuxe 5-window rumble seat coupe, black, tan cloth interior. Wide whitewalls, appears original and unmolested. Sign on car claims just removed from 30-year storage (that can be good and bad) and no rust ever.

Asking: $34,900

Smart-looking coupe, V8 is nice upgrade from a Model A, rumble seat a fun option to have.


1953 EMW 327 Cabriolet. That is not a typo. After WW2, one of BMWs factories ended up on the wrong side of the West Germany/East Germany dividing line, and they continued production of cars now badged “EMW”, with the blue/white roundel now red/white. Black and red paint, blue and white interior, convertible top MIA. Interior needs a lot of work, no indication that it runs or drives.

Asking: $85,000

This was on offer from a large dealer. Lots of scratch for what might be a project, but for the BMW collector who’s looking for something different, this is bound to be a hit at the next BMWCCA convention.


1956 Continental Mark II, pale beige body with taupe roof, black and white interior. Full wheel covers and wide whites. Sign on car claims “runs and drives well”.

Asking: $28,500.

This car was one of FOUR Continental Mark IIs on the grounds (including the RM auction). Don’t call them Lincolns! They were badged as “Continentals”. Everything I’ve read about them has stated that they are an expensive nightmare to restore, which rings true given that they were essentially hand-built cars. This was cheap for a Mark II, but as they say about cheap Ferraris and Jaguars, that initial purchase price is only the first of many checks to be written.


1957 BMW Isetta, red, beige interior, BMW hub caps, blackwall tires on white wheels. Door has deluxe vents but single wiper. Was seen running and driving in the car corral.

Asking $27,000

Sign on car claims complete restoration. A quick lookover by me didn’t find anything glaringly wrong with the correctness of the job. Isettas are way off their highs of 10 years ago. This was priced fairly.



1963 Chevrolet Corvair convertible, teal, matching interior, white top. Sign on car only states “turbo”. Transmission was not noted. Full wheel covers, redline tires. Not all body panels appear to match.

Asking: $14,900

There are better 1st gen Corvairs for this kind of money.


1970 Jaguar E-Type roadster, silver, black top, red interior. As a Series II car, has the 4.2L 6 cylinder and 4-speed transmission. Blackwall tires on chrome wires. Look great in this color combo from 20 feet. Sign on car states: “usual rust in rockers, old paint with dings and flaws, body rubber dry”.

Asking: $69,000

Worth it only if you’re willing to drive it as is.



1971 Alfa Romeo Spider, red, black top and interior. Headlight covers, Campagnolo wheels; steel wheels also included. Sign on car claims total engine rebuild and new clutch in March 2022.

Asking: $21,500

Saw this car very early in the a.m.; there was so much dew on it that it was not possible to judge its exterior cosmetics. These early S2 cars which still had small bumpers are gaining in popularity, now that S1 Duettos are priced at two to three times the asking price of this one.



1977 Leyland Mini Cooper. Teal metallic, patterned cloth interior. Multiple driving lights, flared fenders over Minilite-looking alloys. Sign on car claims 1.3L 4-cylinder engine with fuel injection, 4-speed manual, big brake kit, performance exhaust, upgraded suspension, new tires.

Asking $19,995

This tiny thing looked like an absolute blast to drive, especially given the improved power-to-weight ratio. Might be a challenge to find this much fun these days for under 20 grand.


1985 Ford Mustang SVO, red, grey cloth interior. All SVOs had the 2.3L turbo 4 and 5-speed stick. Sign on car claims 66k original miles and no rust.

Asking: $14,250

I have had my eye on these for a while; they are an interesting, Euro-flavored alternative to a 5.0 Mustang. This one looked very clean, but the asking price is still higher than some recent auction sales which have been around $10k.


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











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.