My excitement was barely containable. For the FOURTH consecutive year, I would be driving in Rich and Jean Taylor’s wonderful vintage car rally, along with about 50 like-minded car enthusiasts. My good friend and rally partner Steve would again be joining the troupe, with one significant difference: we would each be taking our own cars. Steve would be teamed up with his girlfriend (now wife) Carol in their Sunbeam Tiger, and I with my fiancé (now wife) Margaretanne would drive our recently-acquired ’72 MGB. Oh boy.
They can’t say they didn’t ask for it. As alluded to in an earlier post, after three straight years of hearing us rave about the rallies, the ladies wanted in. We departed from Steve’s home in Morristown NJ and caravanned to the rally starting point in Lake Placid NY. My B, purchased just a month prior, was relatively untested, and I’ll admit to some trepidation about its roadworthiness (Lucas electrics and all that). However, Steve’s British car (aside from its Yank lump) had been a bastion of reliability all these years, so I did my best to cast aside doubts.
Arriving at the Mirror Lake Inn on Sunday May 20, the field of rally vehicles did not disappoint; if anything, this year’s variety of cars got more interesting. The number of domestic vehicles was greater than previously seen, and included a ’64 Corvette Sting Ray, ’70 Ford Mustang, ’63 Dodge Dart, ’61 Chrysler 300G, and ’62 Ford Thunderbird (ALL convertibles).
The European sports cars continued to dominate the field, and we became almost blasé at repeated sightings of Mercedes 300-SLs, Porsche 356s, Aston-Martins, Jaguar XKs, and Ferraris. The BMW 507 seen earlier returned; and of special note to me, our friend Dave Allison, who had previously entered an Alfa Giulietta spider, a Porsche 356, and a Lotus Elite, showed up with a 1971 Austin Mini. His conclusion? Of the four, the Mini was his favorite to drive!
And drive we did; as always, it’s almost exactly 1,000 miles over four days (that’s why it’s called the N.E. 1000), not including our mileage up and back. Fears about the MGB were totally unfounded; we suffered no ill effects from driving an almost-30-year-old car (not counting a very fiddly convertible top). For my wife, truth be told, getting up early and adhering to a rigidly-scheduled day was not her idea of a vacation, but she did admit that the concept and the camaraderie made it fun.
The return trip was uneventful. I kept the MG for the remainder of 2001, but with the BMW Isetta finally being show ready, I wanted to focus on only one collector car. Besides, the newish ’93 Mazda Miata in the garage offered plenty of sporty top-down driving whenever I wanted, so in the spring of 2002, I sold the B for exactly what I paid for it.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2001 rally, Steve and Carol relocated to California. Due in large part to our geographical separation, it would be another four years before we again entered a vintage rally together, driving a yet-to-be-purchased vehicle. Stay tuned for that story.
All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.
10 thoughts on “The 2001 New England 1000 Rally”
Dear Doc. Reina, While I thoroughly enjoy your tales of participating in the NE 1000 and the many pictures of some very fine automobiles, I am sadly disappointed in the lack of pictures of THE only America sports car that participated. Namely the 64 Corvette Stingray. As a fellow automobilista (I sort of made that up) and former Corvette owner I must protest this snubbing of what is surly an equal to some of that fine Eurotrash! As I impatiently wait for your next blog, I am hoping you will prominently place several pictures of the Corvette(s) that participate.
Sent from my iPad
John, thank you for your comment. I’ll begin by first inviting other followers of my blog to offer their own responses to you.
Unlike John, I see no need for close-ups or details of (yawn) yet another plastic casket Corvette. It would be nice to have some details on the only car there I can not identify easily. the white low-slung coupe with the number 71. If I’m not mistaken, it’s a Kellison bodied something or other. http://www.kellisoncars.com/
It would be interesting to know what’s under THAT piece of fiberglass.
Hi Bob, thanks as always for your insightful comments!
I went back to the route book, and there it is, listed under “Early Vintage over 3.0 Liter”: Vehicle #36, a 1959 Kellison J-4R Coupe. It’s almost like a game of “Where’s Waldo”, but the Kellison is in 3 of the photos in this blog post.
Googling “Kellison J4R” brought this result:
Same car! Note the #71. That was fun to find. Perhaps my rally brother has some additional recollections to share.
I was pretty sure that’s what it was. The little ads for them in the back pages of R&T, C&D and SCG seared that shape into my adolescent mind. Interesting that the Times piece notes that Rich Taylor was it’s second owner and probably the driver in that Rally. A little digging through the Kellison website back to the “original” site unearthed this article by Rich from Popular Mechanics (!?) wherein he tells of its acquistion, restoration and his Excellent Sebring Adventure with it: http://web.archive.org/web/20000824043024/http://www.seemall.com/KELLISON/J4PMART.HTML
Hi Bob, that is a neat story in PM. I have absolutely no memory of Kellison ads (after all, I am a decade younger than you); the ads riveted into my subconscious
are the “Playboy’s Dream!” ads for the Volvo 1800 convertibles that our friends at Volvoville were building. Little did I know that years later I’d know that crew all too well.
SLH, any recollections of this Kellison, either from the ’01 NE1000, or from car magazine ads?
[…] participating in the New England 1000 classic car rally for four years straight, I took a break. Admittedly, this “break” was dictated by circumstances; Steve had moved to […]
[…] and I decided to take my ’68 Mustang California Special on the 2005 New England 1000. We last drove the rally together in 2001; Steve and his wife drove a Sunbeam Alpine in the 2002 edition of the […]
[…] of our participation in the 2013 New England 1000 rally. Previous reports for the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2007 rallies can be found at the highlighted […]
[…] My wife came along on this one and enjoyed its more laid-back pace compared to the one NE1000 rally in which she participated, in 2001. We did this Berkshires/Springfield tour in my 1968 Mustang California Special, and she also appreciated the higher level of comfort than was offered in the MGB which was our ride in ’01. […]