The 2014 New England 1000 Rally

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.

Alfa and I, ready to depart Neshanic Station

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 Rich and Bob show: new team, new adventure

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.

Corvair Fitch Sprint

 

Fiat Abarth

 

Arnolt-Bristol

 

Ferrari 250GT Pininfarina Berlinetta Speciale

 

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.

2nd year in a row that the rally book included pic of the Alfa (taken during 2013 rally)

 

As always, documenting the official license plate install

 

The traditional Sunday car show had us jammed onto the Harraseeket’s lawn

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.

Alfa and I again (different Alfa)

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.

Jaguar XK-150

 

Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster

 

Ferrari 330 GT 2+2

 

Porsche 911

 

MGB

 

The queue to depart a checkpoint
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.

Couple of black beauties at Owl’s Head

 

The Alfa poses with Maine shoreline in background

 

Arnolt-Bristol & Ferrari keep Alfa company

 

Arnolt-Bristol is a car most of us haven’t seen until now

 

Fiat 126 (never sold in U.S.) found in Maine parking lot

 

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2020 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

4 thoughts on “The 2014 New England 1000 Rally

  1. 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

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  2. 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!
    Best, Richard

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  3. Richard,
    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.

    https://www.logocentral.info/alfa-romeo-logo-meaning-history-alfa-romeo-emblem/
    https://petrolicious.com/articles/more-than-luck-the-story-of-alfa-romeo-s-quadrifoglio-badge

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    • 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!
      Best, Richard

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