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!

 


BUGATTIS:


 ITALIAN:

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

GERMAN:

1950 VW; note lack of chrome

 

BMW Isetta bubble-window coupe

 

Row of BMW 2002s poses with hoods up

 

Audi GT Coupe

BRITISH:

 

Jaguar E-Type Series II Coupe

 

Triumph TR3

 

Triumph GT-6

 

E-Type OTS stunning in gunmetal grey & red

JAPANESE:

 

Mazda Miatas

 

First-gen Mazda RX-7

 

Datsun 240Z

DOMESTIC:

Early ’50s Chevrolet woody wagon

 

1963 Chrysler 300 convertible

 

Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible

 

1955 Dodge, with original flathead-6

VOLVOS:

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!

 


CARS FOR SALE:

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bugatti Cars at the Schlumpf Museum, March 1983

The goddess watches over the French collection
The goddess watches over the French collection

In March of 1983, my girlfriend and I took a one-week vacation trip to visit her sister and brother-in-law in Germany. The BIL was in the armed services for the U.S., and was stationed in Frankfurt. They had a government-assigned apartment and a room to put us up while we toured the German countryside, happily eating and drinking our way through the week. Somehow, I managed to convince my girlfriend that we should use our rental car to make a slight detour to the small town of Mulhouse, France, a short trip across the border. There in Mulhouse was the French National Automobile Museum, also known as the Schlumpf Collection.

Portrait of the car enthusiast as a young man
Portrait of the car enthusiast as a young man

I knew of the Schlumpf brothers and their Bugatti automobiles from numerous articles in the automotive press (especially those in Road & Track) published throughout the 1970s. For those unfamiliar with the long involved history of Ettore Bugatti, his racing and road cars, Hans and Fritz Schlumpf, their Bugatti obsession, and the brothers’ eventual downfall, further reading is recommended, as it is beyond the scope of this blog entry to cover these stories.

Most of their Bugattis were restored by the Schlumpfs
The Schlumpfs restored most of their Bugattis

If you think of Bugatti only as the builder of the 1,000 horsepower Veyron, their website has this wonderful history. A brief biography of Ettore Bugatti the man is summed up here by Wikipedia. The museum itself does a decent job reviewing its own history (although not every car is included) on its own website.

The Parisian street lamp motif is especially noticeable here
The Parisian street lamp motif is especially noticeable here

Back to our visit: we showed up on a weekday morning, and the museum was sparsely attended, although there were several busloads of French students milling about. The sheer number of cars was overwhelming, and the fact that the majority of them were Bugattis in a matching shade of French blue was even more overwhelming. Try as I might to capture them with my film camera, I only shot about two dozen pictures, which leads me to conclude that I had but one 24-exposure roll with me. As I had not documented specific model information for the vehicles I photographed, the museum’s website plus Google were used to research those details. The photo captions provide the year, make and model for all but a few of the cars below.

THE BUGATTIS

 

1929 Bugatti Royale Coupe Type 41
1929 Bugatti Royale Coupe Type 41 (photos cannot convey the enormity of this thing)

 

Bugatti Royale Coupe from rear
Bugatti Royale Coupe from rear

 

1930 Bugatti Type 43
1930 Bugatti Type 43

 

1937 Bugatti 57 Coupe Atalante
1937 Bugatti 57 Coupe Atalante

 

1938 Bugatti Coupe Type 57 SC
1938 Bugatti Coupe Type 57 SC

 

1939 Bugatti Type 64 prototype
1939 Bugatti Type 64 prototype

 

1942 Bugatti Type 68
1942 Bugatti Type 68 (micro Bugatti prototype)

 

1947 Bugatti Type 73
1947 Bugatti Type 73

 

Possibly a Type 57 with alternate coachwork
Possibly a Type 57 with alternate coachwork

 

1957 Bugatti Sport Type 252
1957 Bugatti Sport Type 252

 

A Bugatti of unknown vintage; note the EB on headlight bar
A Bugatti of unknown vintage; note the EB on headlight bar

 

Not all Bugattis are blue
Not all Bugattis are blue

 

OTHER MAKES

Pre-war cars at the Schlumpf
Pre-war cars at the Schlumpf

 

Red cars (mostly of the Italian racing variety) are here too
Red cars (mostly of the Italian racing variety)

 

M-B 300 SLR
Mercedes Benz 300 SLR racer

 

1953 Gordini 17S
1953 Gordini 17S

 

A pair of Ferraris
A pair of Ferraris

 

1951 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante
1951 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante (greatest car name ever: “Disco Volante” means “flying saucer”)

 

The museum visit was a highlight, perhaps the highlight, of that week in Europe. What an honor to be able to say that I visited this tremendous collection in person. Reading the museum’s website, it is eye-opening to see that it has been changed, enlarged, and enhanced, as you might expect of any museum after so many years. It remains on my bucket list to make a return visit to what is now known as the “City of the Automobile – National Museum – Schlumpf Collection”.

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.