A beautiful day for a drive around Bucks County PA!
All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.
The 2022 edition of the Glidden Tour is being held in New Jersey, and officially begins today, Sunday, September 25, 2022. As has been the case in recent years, the tour is co-sponsored by the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America), the AAA (American Automobile Association) and the VMCCA (Vintage Motor Car Club of America). The NJ Region of the AACA, of which I am a member, has been most active in planning this tour which is centered in and around Princeton, NJ, and features tours of local sites which played a role in the American Revolution.
There is a long history to the Glidden Tours which you can read about here. I will not take up space to reiterate that history, however, the tours started in the very early part of the 20th century as a way to demonstrate the reliability of the then-new horseless carriages. In 1946, the tours were started up again and have been run as annual “revival” events. This year, about 115 cars, all model year 1942 or older, are registered to drive a different route each day from Sunday through Friday of this week. Total mileage for the week will be in the hundreds, and many (if not most) participants have driven in many previous Glidden Tours.
I am honored to have been asked to be one of four official photographers for the event. I stopped at the host hotel yesterday to take some photos of the first cars as they arrived, and I have a specific schedule to follow starting Monday. My plan is to post some photos each day (no text) and conclude the week with a wrap-up story. In the meantime, enjoy the pix!
All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.
My inexact science points to the year 2008 when I, along with my driving cohort Larry, took over the planning for our “Sunday morning breakfast drives”. With only a few exceptions, we have stayed with this tried-and-true formula in the ensuing 14 years (I cannot believe that number as I type it). At the same time, L. and I are also always discussing ways to mix it up, and credit goes to him for the combination idea of a weekday drive followed by a midday food stop.
And so we selected Thursday Sep. 15, 2022, for our first-ever such event. Six brave souls (which can also be read as “six guys who are retired or are otherwise available”) showed up. Although the number was small, 3 of the 6 vehicles were new to us. Our destination was the Empire Diner in Monroe, NY, a previous breakfast destination, where we were able to be immediately seated up our noon arrival. The food was great, the service even better, and after our usual kick-the-tires parking lot session (including someone offering cash on-the-spot for Larry’s Chevy), we were headed back home.
Was it a success? It was, yet at the same time, we both recognize that there are still a number of our car buddies for whom any such gathering needs to be on a Saturday or Sunday. As I see it, we can add the weekday lunch idea to our arsenal for occasional deployment as we see fit.
All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.
It had been happening for a while. Every time I touched the Alfa’s inside rear-view mirror to adjust it, the next road disturbance would knock it back out of adjustment. It had gotten to the point where it didn’t take a bump in the road – I’d fix the position, and the weight of the mirror itself would cause it to slump like a wilted flower stem. Given that my car has only a driver’s side outside mirror, and poorly located at that (it’s halfway up the fender, out of my reach from the driver’s seat), I rely on the inside mirror a lot. It was time to perform a proper repair.
Peering behind the mirror, I could see a threaded shaft, but putting a wrench on it would have been a blind operation. There were only 3 Philips head screws holding the assembly above the windshield, so down it came. As soon as I pulled it away, the rubber gasket revealed itself to be completely deteriorated, so I was already in the well-known “might as well” mode, aka Mission Creep.
Putting the mirror on my workbench gave me much better access to the shaft and nut. This sub-assembly served two purposes: it allowed some adjustment of the total length of the shaft between the mirror and the glass, and it also allowed some adjustment in the amount of effort needed to move the mirror.
I played with the adjustment a bit, alternately tightening and loosening it to get to the right “feel”. While doing this, I seem to have noticed for the first time (after 9 years of ownership!) that the interior mirror has “day” and “night” settings, only of course in my case they read “giorno” and “notte”. With the work on the actual mirror quickly accomplished, it was time to turn my attention to the gasket. The original gasket measured about ¼” thick. I found nothing similar in any of my local hardware or auto parts stores, so to Amazon I turned to order up some ¼” thick black rubber sheeting. Tracing and cutting the gasket was simple enough. To make the screw holes, I first considered punching them with an awl. However, I experimented on an extra piece of rubber and tried drilling the holes. To my happy surprise, the material was thick and strong enough to allow clean holes to be drilled.
As they say in the repair manuals, “reassembly is the reverse of disassembly”. Everything went back together smoothly, and I used my newly-secured mirror as an excuse to take a 12-mile shakedown run. It held! Now I’ll have a crystal-clear view of that F-250 Super Duty six inches from my rear bumper while I’m cruising at 50 in a 45.
It’s three hours to the minute to drive door-to-door from my home in central New Jersey to the gates of Lime Rock Park, in the rolling hills of northwest CT. The long ride is worth it, as proven by my almost-annual pilgrimage to this, likely my favorite East Coast car show, which I’ve been attending since the 1990’s. What makes the Labor Day Weekend Sunday Concours so special? It’s the quality and variety of the vehicles on display. I’m a regular at Carlisle, Hershey, Macungie, Mecum Harrisburg, Greenwich, and various AACA events in my area. Yet Lime Rock always manages to create displays of automobiles I almost never see anywhere else, and, they do it without dragging out the same vehicles year after year.
I will let the photos act as my ‘evidence’, and I dare you to disagree!
The Lime Rock crew does a nice job segregating vehicles based on age and country of origin. In addition, there are always special classes each year.
This rarely-seen Alfa Romeo 2600, with an inline 6-cylinder engine, was resplendent in its burgundy paint with red interior.
The Trans Am pony cars were the featured vintage racecars of the weekend.
The GM Heritage Collection brought a number of rare and valuable Corvettes to the show. The star among them for me was the Mako Shark. The sign omits any mention of the fish being painted to match the car 😉 . (If you don’t know the story, you can read it here.)
Hudsons, stock and in race livery
THE WORLD’S ONLY VOLVO 142GT?
This fellow Dave talked my head off, but, he was passionate and knowledgeable beyond belief. The car’s trunk was full of authentic VOA (Volvo of America) catalogs of racing parts, many of which were installed on his car. He started with a rust-free 1971 142, which he completely restored to the way he wanted it. Along the way, he added a competition cylinder head, dual Solex carbs, a GT grille with fog lights, a GT dash cluster, accessory wheels, “142 GT” emblems, and much more. He estimated that the engine is putting out about 180HP. He name-dropped Mitch Duncan and Bob Austin along the way, so he seemed credible. In essence, he built a hot-rod 142E, using 100% factory parts.
A rare (and valuable) Ferrari 288GTO
More German cars
Jaguar E-Types (called XKE in America) were another featured model
JAGUAR E-TYPE SPOTTERS GUIDE
Series 1 cars were built from 1961-1967. They are distinguished by their glass-covered headlamps, with front signal lamps and rear lamps mounted above the bumpers. At first, there were two body styles: FHC (Fixed Head Coupe) and OTS (Open Two-Seater). In 1966 a lengthened model called the 2+2, with a tiny rear seat, was added. The Coupe can be distinguished from the 2+2 from the side. Make note of the length of the door glass and rear quarter glass. In the Coupe, the two are roughly equal. In the 2+2, the door glass is notably longer.
Series II cars were built from 1968 part-way through 1971. (Some 1968 cars have a combination of Series I and Series II features and are sometimes referred to as “Series 1.5”. We will not get into the distinction here.) Series II cars have exposed headlamps. The grille opening is slightly enlarged, but still only wears a single horizontal bar. Front signal and rear lights are mounted below the bumpers. Side marker lights were added to U.S. models. The 3 body styles, FHC, OTS, and 2+2, continued.
NOTE: All Series I and Series II cars had smooth (non-flared) wheel well openings, and all were powered by Jaguar’s inline 6-cylinder engine, although displacement increased from 3.8L to 4.2L.
Series III cars were built from mid-1971 through 1974, the final year for the E-Type. There were some major changes: the only available engine was now a V-12. The 2+2 continued, and the convertible was now built on the longer wheelbase of the 2+2, making an optional automatic transmission available in all body styles for the first time. The shorter Coupe body style was discontinued. The grille opening was made larger still, and received an eggcrate insert. Front and rear fender flares were added (the flares can be the easiest way to distinguish between Series II and Series III cars from a distance).
If there had been any doubts that eastern Pennsylvania is the center of the automotive hobby in these United States, my visit to Macungie, PA, this weekend to attend “Das Awkscht Fescht”, now in its 59th year, removed those doubts. How fortunate am I, living in the metro NY/NJ region my entire life, that shows in the Pennsylvania towns of Macungie, Carlisle, Hershey, New Hope, and Harrisburg are all within an easy one-day round-trip drive? Add to that the longevity of these events: I first attended Carlisle in the late ‘70s, Hershey in the early ‘80s, and Macungie in the early ‘90s. New Hope’s website claims they are in their 65th year. Mecum’s Harrisburg auction, a newcomer to these parts, began in 2015 and I haven’t missed one yet.
Yes, we know about “Monterey” in California, a long-standing tradition every August. It’s grown to gargantuan proportions, combining multiple shows and auctions into a jam-packed week. Amelia Island in Florida in March is referred to by some as the “Monterey of the East”, again with shows and auctions running back-to-back. However, these are once-a-year programs on the calendar, without any other nearby automotive events during the rest of the year. The Keystone State calendar starts with Carlisle in April, then the Hershey Elegance in June, Mecum Harrisburg in July, Das Awkscht Fescht and New Hope in August, Carlisle again in September, and concludes with Hershey in October. All these shows are well-attended by car owners and spectators alike, and the collector car club support acts as a backbone, ensuring consistency year after year. This tally doesn’t count the marque-specific Carlisle events, club-sponsored local shows, or the incredible museums in the state such as the Simeone in Philly.
Back to Macungie 2022: it’s a 3-day event and always has been, with some variety each of the days. Saturday seems to bring out the largest number of cars and so it was my choice again for this year. The weather was hot and humid, but the occasional breeze and some intermittent cloudiness helped alleviate the dog days of August. Attendance was excellent, even if some areas of the field never filled to capacity. (In fairness, I saw cars arriving as late as noon, so the field may have seen its ranks swell a bit.) While it’s mostly American cars, the pre-war turnout is strong. The decades of the ‘50s and ‘60s are also well-represented. Import vehicles, led this year by a special field of British cars, provided some variety.
Similar to what I’ve done at Hershey, I find it a huge advantage to arrive early and photograph vehicles as they drive in. The gates opened at 7:30 a.m., and I situated myself and my trusty Sony (this time using my prime 85mm telephoto lens) along the entrance path and snapped away. Later, I walked the entire show and captured many of the cars that I didn’t get to see drive in under their own power. While I was unable to enter a car of my own this year, I conversed with numerous friends on the field who had brought cars, and I hope to join the fun in a more engaging way for next year’s big 60th anniversary!
Sometimes, the smallest cars make the grandest entrances:
British cars were set apart from the rest in their own special part of the field:
Is the “new” Mini “mini”?
This car was parked among the Brits. When I teased the owner about it, he retorted, with a knowing wink in his eye, “well, the Smiths gauges are British!”
What constitutes a “bargain”? Is it always limited to an “on sale” price? Does a bargain happen when a seller is unsure of an item’s value and lets it go for a lowball offer? Is it possible that when an entire category (think housing) is deemed expensive that anything which sells below market, no matter its condition, is perceived as a bargain?
The definition of a bargain has been discussed a lot lately in the superheated collector car market. Starting sometime in 2020, soon after the Covid pandemic shutdown, prices of special interest cars skyrocketed. In some cases, certain cars saw their values double and triple compared to one or two years prior. Vehicles that were previously deemed uninteresting were bringing silly money, especially at online auctions. It has gotten to the point where some collectors have opined that “any running, driving collector car for under $15,000 is a ‘bargain’”.
There’s that word again. When I attended Day 1 of Mecum’s 2022 Harrisburg auction (their first time back in PA since before the pandemic), it was because I knew from past experience that any potential bargains happen early in the proceedings. My auction report below covers the sale of 11 cars which I found interesting, 10 of which sold on Wednesday, and one on Thursday. All the cars below sold between $5,000 and $22,000. Not all were bargains (looking at you, 2002). However, as I’ve heard myself repeatedly state, if you are looking for a collector car, have between $10k and $20k to spend, and most importantly are open-minded about make and model, there are indeed some bargains to be had.
Vehicles are listed in ascending sale price order. Listed sale price is the HAMMER price and does NOT include the 10% buyer’s premium.
Lot #W67, 1937 Pontiac 2-door sedan. Black paint, plaid seat covers over very worn tan upholstery. Red wheels with newer looking whitewall tires. Six cylinder, 3-speed. Much of the exterior glass is cracked and/or delaminated. No reserve sale.
SOLD for $5,000. We had a long talk with a bidder was fiddling with the car the entire time. (I thought at first he was the owner.) He claimed that the car was in good shape and that he was going to buy it, however, we saw a young man, perhaps in his early 20s, who was the winning bidder. Hope he has fun with it.
Lot #W132, 1991 Honda Civic Si, 2-door sedan, red, black interior. 108 HP 4-cylinder engine with 5-speed manual gearbox. Odometer shows 119,131 miles. Looks clean for its age and mileage, and more strikingly, appears unmodified. May have been painted at one point to a less than professional standard.
SOLD for $8,500. Miles are low for a 30-year-old Honda. Aside from sketchy repaint, there were no glaring faults. Let’s hope the new owner drives it and avoids any temptation to make mods, which thankfully all previous owners were able to do.
Lot #W36, 1971 BMW 2002 2-door sport sedan, dark blue, black vinyl interior, odometer shows 84k miles. Windshield label claims “in climate-controlled storage since 1987”, but must have lived a rough life prior to that. Extensive rust throughout body and engine compartment.
SOLD for $9,000. A shockingly high result, even in this overinflated age. I had pegged it at 5 grand max. I thought I heard the auctioneer state that it was sold to an online bidder, who may have thought the car looked good in photos.
Lot #W57, 1982 Chevrolet El Camino, two-tone tan and beige, tan interior. 350 V8, automatic, A/C. Sign states recent repaint. Little to fault cosmetically.
SOLD for $10,500. El Caminos will always have a following, although it’s the Chevelle-based ones from the 1960s and early ‘70s which generate the most interest. Still, given the popularity of pickup trucks of all sizes and ages, and the behemoths which pass for full-size trucks today, it’s easy to look at something so reasonably sized like this one from 1982 and understand the attraction.
Lot #T130, 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III, pale green, dark green vinyl top, black interior. 460 V8, fully equipped with all the luxury features of 1970.
SOLD for $10,500. This sold on Thursday, so while we didn’t see this one cross the block, we got the sale result from Mecum’s website. The right people weren’t in the room. This was a #3+ condition car which sold for #4 money. I can only guess that the green colors held it back.
Lot #117, 1986 Jeep Comanche pickup truck, dark blue, tan interior, V6 and automatic. Sign claims 58k miles. Factory A/C, power steering and brakes, radio, and not much else.
SOLD for $13,500. Might seem like a lot for an ‘80s pickup truck, but given what Chevy and Ford versions are selling for, this price seems fair. Besides, if you like having something different, this is the ticket.
Lot #W106, 1960 Ford Thunderbird 2-door hardtop, bronze, white painted top, bronze interior, wire wheels, whitewall tires. Sign states “Special Edition”; not sure what that includes, but this car had factory air, super rare sliding sunroof, and porthole windows. No reserve sale.
SOLD for $18,000. Last year of the Squarebirds, of which I’m not a big fan. However, the color combo, condition, and perhaps most importantly, options on this one made for an appealing package. This might have been a bit of a bargain at this price.
Lot #W147, 1963 Buick Riviera, black on black. First year for GM’s first “personal luxury car” to compete with Ford’s Thunderbird. Appears done to correct original standards except for unattractive aftermarket wheels, but they should be an easy fix. Well-equipped from factory, except lacks A/C.
SOLD for $20,000. Imagine that it’s 1963, you have about $5,000 burning a hole in your pocket, and you’re in the market for a new car. Your choices include 3 new cars introduced this model year: the Riviera, the Corvette Sting Ray, and the Studebaker Avanti. Oh, and although it was introduced in 1961, let’s throw in the Jaguar XKE. If you needed yours to be a 4-seater, and you (correctly) had doubts about Studebaker’s longevity as a manufacturer, the Riv wins. It’s amazing these first-gen Rivieras aren’t worth more. This one sold a little under current market.
Lot #W107, 1965 VW Beetle 2-door sedan, red, grey/white interior. Appears freshly restored to decent standard. Sign claims upgraded from 6V to 12V electrics (necessary to power those LED headlights which were added). Cheeky little thing.
SOLD for $20,000. When I was a younger man and first started going to car shows, I swore that VW Beetles would never become collectible. I was very wrong. The world will never forget the Beetle.
Lot #W87, 1968 Mercury Cyclone GT (sign states Fastback, but car is notchback). Burgundy, black vinyl top, black interior, gold stripe, full wheel covers, whitewall tires. 302 V8, 4-speed manual, bucket seats and center console. Exterior and interior in good to very good condition, engine compartment could use a detailing.
SOLD for $20,500. As we have seen time and again, it’s the Fords that bring the bucks while similar Mercurys, which cost more when new, don’t perform as well. This was a rare model in a rare body style. The 4-speed was the big attraction. A sold deal for the FoMoCo fan looking for something a little different.
Lot #W146, 1929 Ford Model A roadster, green body, black top and fenders, yellow wire wheels with whitewall tires. Appears to be an older restoration. We spoke briefly with the owner who claimed that the car “runs well”.
SOLD for $22,000. It’s unusual to see pre-war cars at a Mecum auction, but this was one of several that crossed the block, and that was just on Wednesday. Interest in these old sleds is far from dead, even though anyone who would have bought this new has long since gone to the great salvage yard in the sky.
The Neshanic Station (NJ) combination flea market and car show was held on Saturday July 16, 2022. As this show is all but three miles from my house, my Alfa Romeo and I were there. Last year, its inaugural season, I was able to make it there four times. This year’s visit was my first since July 17, 2021, making almost a year to the day since I last attended.
It was warm, but not unbearably so, when I arrived a little after 8 a.m. There were already about a dozen cars parked on the field, and about a dozen more arrived after I did, so the turnout was very respectable. Last year, the show organizers tried hosting shows twice a month. This year they have been keeping to a once-a-month schedule, but a change for 2022 is the addition of a trophy for “best car”. Not sure what the judging criteria is, and I left before any winners were announced. If the possibility of a trophy or some other prize helps encourage participation, I’m all for it. I just don’t need something else collecting dust on a shelf.
In addition to the usual domestic machinery, there were a few of those funny foreign cars on display, and I made acquaintances with their friendly owners. Anthony drove down from South Orange (about 45 minutes away) in his Bertone X1/9. (If you’re unfamiliar, when Fiat left the U.S. market in the early 1980s, Bertone took over production of the Fiat X1/9 and imported it with Bertone badges in place of the Fiat emblems.) His was a little crusty around the edges, but he proudly showed me all the maintenance and repair work he’s undertaken since he bought the car. I got the impression that this is the first car on which he’s ever wrenched, and he attributed helpful YouTube videos to providing the needed knowledge. I was impressed with his nerve, cleverness, and ingenuity, especially given that he’s working on a car that went out of production over 30 years ago.
Joe was a bit more local; he drove over from Bound Brook in his 1970 Datsun 240Z, the first year for this pivotal sports car. He had recently completed some major restoration work, and the car looked great. As we were talking, he let it be known that he also has a Volvo 122 station wagon, and he said he actually prefers driving the Volvo over the Datsun. In either case, his love of smaller import machinery was most obviously made when he described how much he loathes driving his wife’s GMC SUV!
I left the show field close to 11 a.m., yet I was not the first to depart. The size and variety of the turnout gave me the impression that the show organizers were having a great day. I hope to attend several more times this year before the season winds down.
El Caminos new and old
Anthony’s Bertone X1/9
This past Friday, July 15, 2022, I attended the Somerville, NJ Cruise Night, held on Main St. It’s been a few years since I’ve attended. In fact, I’m fairly certain that the Cruise Nights were completely cancelled during 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid shutdown. If my own blog is to be believed, I’ve not been in attendance since 2016!
It was good to be back. Both sides of Main St. were lined with a nice variety of special-interest cars. The sidewalks weren’t too crowded, and the warm summer New Jersey air, to my great relief, lacked the usual humidity. I strolled up and down the blocks several times, after which my wife drove into town so that we could share a pizza at the well-regarded Alfonso’s. By the time we were done, it was getting dark and having seen what I was there to see, we headed home.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the town of Somerville was at first against the entire Cruise Night idea. But once they saw the crowds and the business these crowds brought to the local establishments, everyone was on board. Perhaps later this summer I’ll swing back and bring one of my own cars to park on Main St.
There were plenty of Corvettes in attendance: I spotted C2, C3, C5, C6, and C7 generations parked along the street. In addition, at least 3 different C8 Vettes were seen cruising up and down the main drag.
Triumph TR-6 sports cars seem to have survived in large numbers compared to some other ’70s sports cars
DeTomaso Pantera. Drivetrain axle yokes are the size of my skull; they need to be to put that power down.
I thought this pre-war (’39? ’40?) Plymouth was snazzy
A 1968 King Midget. Had a long talk with the owner (Clifford) and we compared notes about what it’s like to own a small quirky car like a King Midget or Isetta.
Alfonso’s is one of the best Italian restaurants in the area. We walked in and were told (this at 7 p.m.) that the wait for an inside table would be 25 minutes, and for an outside table, 40 minutes. Instead, we sat at the bar to eat pizza and drank beer.
If you thought that the only thing worth celebrating this past Saturday, June 18, was Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday, you would be wrong! An equally joyous event was held that day at the Mahwah NJ Dunkin’ Donuts on MacArthur Blvd., and that was our first Saturday (as opposed to Sunday) Cars & Coffee event.
Early arrivals had their cars parked before 8:30 a.m., and most of the ten drivers who showed up were in place by 9. The local Dunkin’ did its usual fine job of serving up bagels, muffins, and hot coffee, while we men eschewed chairs and spread ourselves out standing around the parking lot.
Although this wasn’t advertised in advance, you can imagine that a DD can get busy on a Saturday morning, and more than a few locals wandered over to gaze at the morning’s collection of American (4), German (4), and Italian (2) machinery. All four domestic vehicles were GM products, while the four German cars were evenly split between BMW and Porsche. The Alfa Romeo brand represented 100% of the Italian cars. It’s nice to see the variety of vehicles that our informal gang brings out.
We had our fill of each other by 10:30, and the departure from the parking lot almost resembled a Le Mans start. The Saturday choice was an experiment; the turnout was about average, far from the largest number we have had show up. We’ll decide down the road whether to switch back to Sunday, or leave Saturday as an alternate selection during the driving season.