We had had such a grand time on the 2013 New England 1000: we saw old friends, made new ones, and the Alfa performed almost flawlessly. That rally ended a 6-year drought, and I was determined to drive the Alfa in the event again in 2014, but rally brother Steve had some scheduling conflicts. I turned to another Volvo alumnus, my friend Bob, whom I knew was a fan of European sports cars and had the additional advantage of residing in central Massachusetts. Bob said he was in, so the Alfa was prepped and away we went.
Some of the work done to get the Alfa in shape included the removal of the air conditioning system. The factory belt-driven fan and shroud were reinstalled, and not only did the overheating problem cease to be, the engine actually ran on the cool side, at least according to the water temp gauge. This gave me great peace of mind given the distances we would be covering.
The 2014 host hotel was the Harraseekent Inn in Freeport ME, ironically, the same host hotel for our very first rally in 1998. The drive from my domicile to Freeport is over 6 hours in a modern car, a bit longer in the Alfa. Bob’s house, coincidentally, is almost exactly halfway between the two, and he and his wife graciously invited me to stay over, breaking the drive up (and back) in half, which was a pleasure.
The assortment of interesting and unusual cars was even more so this year. There was a Corvair Fitch Sprint, a Fiat Abarth, an Arnolt-Bristol, a 1955 Chrysler 300, a genuine Studebaker Avanti, and a very rare Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Berlinetta Speciale, which despite its rarity was driven to and from the event as well as the 1,000 miles of the event. It was also nice to see an MGB and Triumph TR-6 as reminders of the good ol’ days when the NE1000 field was populated by more popular (and affordable) sports cars.
This was my 8th time out on the NE1000, run by Rich and Jean Taylor of Vintage Rallies, and to my recollection, this would be the first time that the entire rally remained in one state. If we had to select a state to do this, Maine would not be a bad choice. It’s large, diverse, lightly populated, and extremely picturesque.
One of the many perks provided to us rally participants is the chance to visit car museums and collections, both public and private. This year we made it to the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum and the Bob Bahre Collection. Even though I had been to both on previous rallies, there always seems to be something new to take in. One such highlight was Bahre’s ‘30s-era unrestored Alfa Romeo 8C, and I had to pose with it.
The weather stayed cloudy and cool, with little precipitation. The overcast skies helped with the photography, but it was a bit nippy on the optional boat ride. One thousand miles over four days goes by very quickly, and before we knew it, it was over. On our way out of town Friday morning, we took advantage of the proximity of LL Bean’s HQ store literally just down the street before heading home.
The Alfa did it again! I had owned the car a little over 14 months and had already put close to 3,000 miles on it. It was a keeper, and I had every hope of driving it in next year’s NE1000.
THE BOB BARHE COLLECTION
Bob Bahre keeps his vast collection in a specially-built “garage”, if one can call a 2-story building where each floor can accommodate about 30 cars a garage. The majority of his collection focuses on American luxury cars of the 1930s, but it does get eclectic. The less interesting cars stay in the cellar. The fact that a Tucker lives in the cellar tells you something about this collection.
All photographs copyright © 2020 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.
7 thoughts on “The 2014 New England 1000 Rally”
Rich, We have met before at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegnce. I was introduced to you by my good friend Ted Kadala. I am a “car guy” but confess a bias for Volvos. If I recall correctly, you worked for Volvo for a number of years. I am on the Board of Directors of the Volvo Club and also serve as the Club’s General Counsel. We also share another friend: Larry Mihok. Who has repeatedly urged me to join you on your Sunday car rides, which I hope to do this year. I liked the article and other articles you have written on your Alfa Romeos. I admire your green Alfa coupe, and envy it too. I own 4 Volvos: A red 1996 850 GLT wagon (5 speed manual with 420,000 miles), a silver 1996 850 GLT wagon (5 speed manual with 350,000 miles), a white 1999 V70 AWD XC (200,000 miles) and a Crystal White Metallic 2016 XC90 T8 Inscription Hybrid Plug-In. I say I “envy” your Alfa coupe, because it is obvious you take good care of it. I take good care of silver 1996 850 GLT wagon too, which I enjoy driving because it is a stick (I purchased as a used Volvo VIP car back in 1999 when it had 50,000 miles on it). Unfortunately, several of the cylinders have weak compression and the transmission is humming. The cost to rebuild the engine will be about $5,000 and the cost of replacing the transmission with a used one (with fewer miles of course) will be about $2,000. I can’t in good conscience spend that kind of money on a car worth about $1,500, so I know I will have to “retire” it someday soon. But I suspect you will have the pleasure of driving both your Alfas for years to come. Based upon your articles you have mechanical skills that I lack. By the way, can you tell me what the symbolism is behind the Alfa Romeo logo? You have a red cross on the left and green snake on the right with a white background. Also, I noticed a green four leaf clover logo on some Alfa Romeos. At last year’s NY Car Show during the Media Days, when admission is limited to only members of the industry, I asked the young representative (she may have been a hired model and not an employee of FCA) what the Alfa Romeo symbol stood for and she just “shrugged her shoulders”. Anyway, I admire your devotion to the Alfa Romeo brand. I am glad it has returned to the U.S. market. I hope it remains. I also hope to catch you some Sunday along with Larry on one of your caravans. They look like a lot of fun. Finally, I enjoy reading your blogs, you obviously have a passion for cars, just like Larry and Ted. Happy New Year and I look forward to meeting you in person again. Hugh
Saw both your pics of the Bullitt Mustang & your GTV Jr. Back in the 70’s on lunch hour, I went to look at a very similar GTV Jr. just outside of Morristown, drove the car & liked it, but was afraid of the small 1300cc motor. In talking with the owner, while in his driveway, why he was selling, he said he had just bought a Mustang and he proceeded to show me the car in the garage (door was open). He reached thru the open driver’s window and handed me a small picture frame with a letter from Warner Bros. verifying that it was used in the movie. I never thought much about it at the time. As I remember the GTV was very similar in color to yours, but this was along time ago.
Hi Jim, thanks for your comments! That is some story about the Bullitt Mustang, and it certainly sounds like you got to see the real thing. Regarding the 1300 motor, yes, it’s small, but when it’s in good tune, I can reliably report that it revs freely and will keep up with ‘most’ modern traffic as long as you keep your foot in it.
Hi Hugh, thanks for the comments! Yes, I remember you well; I believe we may have met at a Greenwich Concours event a few years back. Listen, you really should join us for a Sunday breakfast run once we kick those back off in the spring!
Thanks for reviving my memories of my first and only NE1000. It was a thoroughly enjoyable week made even more so by your great company and the opportunity to get acquainted with your little Italian jewel. The photos are terrific, as usual, and even include a couple that I don’t have a copy of. I had almost forgotten running across that Fiat 126 with the unfortunate skin condition in that parking lot in Rockport!
Hugh’s inquiry about the Alfa and quadrifoglio logos piqued my interest since I couldn’t recall the details of their history. These two articles give a pretty good history about each of them.
Bob, thanks for your comments about the ’14 NE1000. We did indeed have a most enjoyable time in that Italian jewel. And thanks for jumping in to help Hugh’s inquiries, which I had intended to get to during the weekend!
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