Lime Rock Park Historic Festival, Sep. 2018

Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park held its 36th annual Historic Festival during the Labor Day weekend, running from August 30 through September 3, 2018. If you enjoy vintage racing, then Friday, Saturday, and Monday are your days to watch classic race cars battling it out around this historic track. By local ordinance, racing is not allowed on Sundays. The Festival organizers have taken advantage of that restriction by hosting their “Sunday In The Park” event, with hundreds of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) cars arrayed along the entirety of track’s perimeter.

Each year there is a special featured marque, and for 2018, that marque was Bugatti. By my count, there were 70 of these famed French cars on display, a number that might be rivaled only by the former Schlumf Museum’s holdings. The strong turnout speaks to the high esteem with which Ettore’s cars are held. Many of the race cars appeared to be in original condition, while most of the road-going cars have been restored at some point. No matter, as Bugatti owners (like Bentley owners) are known to drive their cars rather than treat them like trailer queens.

While the Bugatti display bordered on overwhelming, there were plenty of other vehicles on the field to draw one’s attention. This show tends to attract primarily European cars, and the British, German, Italian, and Swedish turnout did not disappoint. A relatively new feature at Lime Rock is the so-called “Gathering of the Marques”. Open classes, sometimes labeled by Country of Origin and sometimes specified by make and model, are created, and owners are invited to park their vehicles on the track.

The Gathering of the Marques attracted particularly large volumes of BMWs (especially the 2002 model), Porsches (especially 911s), Mazda Miatas, plus the cars of Sweden, Great Britain, and Italy. (Where else but at Lime Rock would a fan of Italian cars such as myself see an Alfa 1900, Fiat Dino Coupe, and Lancia Stratos all on the same day?) A smaller but significant selection of domestic iron provided a nice contrast to the European cars.

The flea market area which used to exist near the start of the straightaway has all but disappeared, but a few vendors had interesting cars for sale, at what appeared to be reasonable prices. And let’s not forget that the paddocks are open to the public on Sunday, so race vehicles otherwise not on display can be ogled as part of the entertainment.


The threatened rain showers never materialized; in fact, the temps remained reasonable, staying in the high 70s/low 80s. Anything would have been better than last year’s deluge. It’s a three-hour one-way drive for me, but the quality and variety of offerings has drawn me back almost every Labor Day weekend for the past 25+ years. The track’s setting, nestled in a valley in the Berkshire Mountains, only adds to the ambience. The Lime Rock Fall Historic Festival is a must-see event on the calendar for auto enthusiasts in the Northeast.


Click on the photos to enable full-screen view!




Fiat Abarth Double Bubble


1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 (for sale for $395,000)


Lancia Fulvia Zagato! Here’s looking at you, Lenny!


Lancia Appia four-door pillarless sedan


1974 Lancia Stratos Stradale


1983 Lancia Rally 037 Stradale


Alfa Romeo Zagato GT Junior


Alfa sedan rear ends


Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider


Alfa Romeo Spider


Lancia Beta Zagato


Fiat Dino Coupe, powered by Ferrari V6 Dino engine


Chrome-bumpered Fiat 124 Spider


Lancia Fulvia Coupe


Pre-war Alfa monoposto race car; note “SF” (Scuderia Ferrari) emblem


1950 VW; note lack of chrome


BMW Isetta bubble-window coupe


Row of BMW 2002s poses with hoods up


Audi GT Coupe



Jaguar E-Type Series II Coupe


Triumph TR3


Triumph GT-6


E-Type OTS stunning in gunmetal grey & red



Mazda Miatas


First-gen Mazda RX-7


Datsun 240Z


Early ’50s Chevrolet woody wagon


1963 Chrysler 300 convertible


Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible


1955 Dodge, with original flathead-6


1968 Volvo 122 wagon


OK, Volvo experts, what’s not correct here?


Volvo 780 Coupe


Volvo 1800ES


Volvo 850 T5-R wagon


Volvo 1800E Coupe


Volvo C30


Brand-new Volvo XC40!







All photographs copyright © 2018 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.




































10 thoughts on “Lime Rock Park Historic Festival, Sep. 2018

  1. Not sure I’m really an expert, but I’ll hazard a guess as to which of this 1981 Volvo wagon’s parts are incorrect:

    – hood – headlamps – grille – front parking lamp/turn signal units – front and rear bumpers

    First, the vertical taillights which wrap around the rear corners of the body indicate that the car is an ‘81 model year or newer. Midway through the 1981 model year, Volvo introduced a “GLT” version of the 245, which added blackout greenhouse and body-side trim, as on this car, but retained the manually-adjustable outside rearview mirrors of the DL wagon. Looking at the passenger’s-side door mirror, its size and shape tell me it’s a manually-adjustable mirror (instead of a power-operated OSRV mirror).

    Now, an ‘81 (245) GLT wagon should also have had the so-called “coffin” hood with its raised center section, as well as quad-rectangular headlamps, which migrated to the DL/GL/GLT/Turbo for that model year after being introduced on the six-cylinder GLEs two years earlier. And the ‘81 Volvos still employed larger, 5-MPH front and rear bumpers, which have been replaced on this example by the later, slimmer, 2.5-MPH units which first appeared in the U.S. market for the ‘83 model year.

    Some 240-series enthusiasts also “backdate” newer models by retrofitting the earlier flat hood, single round headlamps, and corresponding grille (as seen on this example). Perhaps the most obvious non-USA items are the orange-and-white front parking lamp/turn signal units. US Volvos received all-orange units. 909-815-6410


    • Hej Steve,

      Your modesty is supplanted by your extensive answer. I would have been happy with “car should have 4 headlights, not 2”, but you nailed the details. Thanks for chiming in.

      Best, Richard


  2. Well, if Steve Hansen isn’t an “expert”, one doesn’t exist! His analysis is right on target. The wagon owner went for the flat hood look and it looks great.
    Great coverage of the event and terrific photos. I think you’re correct that this has to be one of grandest display of Bugattis ever outside of the French National Auto Museum
    What a nice variety of Italian cars, especially the different Lancia variants.
    One minor nit-picky correction, the Fiat Abarth has a flat roof and therefore is not a “Double Bubble”. The correct designation for this car is Record Monza 750 Bialbero. I think the Double Bubbles also had two scoops on the engine lid that matched the humps on the roof.


    • Hey Bob,

      Yes, as you can see in my response to Steve, he got all the details on that wagon. And I’ll grant you that I incorrectly labeled that Abarth. I thought I had seen a sign nearby referring to it as a Double Bubble, but I still wouldn’t kick that one out of my garage!

      Best, Richard


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