All posts by Matthew Little

2015 PVGP Blacktie and Tailpipes Gala Recap

The Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala – It’s the place to be seen and an event that ushers in the first race weekend of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix with a high degree of speed, beauty and style. And why? Quite simply, you just can’t usher in a huge automotive event like this without an elegant gathering that champions charity and the automobile. Every year, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix does it in style with the Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala.

Guests pose next to an Austin Healey 3000 at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Guests pose next to an Austin Healey 3000 at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala

PVGP Blacktie guests

 

Bob at PVGP blacktie

 

A Rolls-Royce Corniche navigates its way through the crowd
A Rolls-Royce Corniche navigates its way through the crowd

This year the South Hills Country Club hosted the event and did another beautiful job of it. The PVGP celebrated there in 2013 and the club did such a superb job hosting, it just made sense to go back and do it all again. It’s a great venue and the turnout was again, superb as you can see by the attached photos.

Guests during the PVGP blacktie gala

The PVGP Ambassadors pose for a photo with Miss Pennsylvania
The PVGP Ambassadors pose for a photo with Miss Pennsylvania
One of two BMW i8s in attendance
One of two BMW i8s in attendance

The cars – and one big 1960 Peterbilt – arriving at the event were showcased and focused upon as much as the well-dressed guests they transported. It was the whole package and the evening was filled with wonderful food, people, conversation, and charity. A combination that always works and did again this year.

Guests gathering at the PVGP Blacktie Gala

The mighty 1960 Peterbilt
The mighty 1960 Peterbilt

Enjoy the images posted with this article and as always, follow the link for more. You can always purchase images from the site and with a portion of the profits going to the PVGP; you will be helping the charities. Enjoy!

F Type Jaguar Pacecar provided by Bobby Rahal
F Type Jaguar Pacecar provided by Bobby Rahal

Blacktie Gala guests

Stunning Austin Healey 3000
Stunning Austin Healey 3000
A refined Bentley Continental GT
A refined Bentley Continental GT
BMW i8
BMW i8

2015 PVGP Kick-Off Rallye

Another Kick-Off Rallye is done and in the books. It’s the first event for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and comes up very early in the calendar each season. This year it fell the day after the 4th of July so we like to think things got started with a bang. It’s a great way to get the ball rolling and is a fun way to get in the mood as this ultimate celebration of all things automotive gets underway.

The original Mini Cooper
The original Mini Cooper

The rallye is casual fun and offers participants a way to socialize and admire each other’s cars while engaging in some spirited competitive driving. Everything on wheels is acceptable for this event as you can see from the photos. Past rallyes have hosted the quick and nimble like the MG Midget and Porsche 914 as well as giants like the 1936 Packard and a very impressive 1973 Dodge Monaco. This year proved to be no different with an equally wide range of vehicles poised to contest for victory. Of note this year was the Mazda club that showed up with a nice array of 9 roadsters. The streets fill with everything and it makes for great fun and much conversation from participants and spectators alike.

Zoom Zoom
Zoom Zoom
The diminutive Lotus
The diminutive Lotus

We had a new course this year that sent competitors on an elaborate and winding trip through the city and some of the nearby communities. The route included a few quick timed checkpoints and a flurry of questions surrounding historic items passed along the way. The clues were clever and kept you on your toes as you tried to stay on track while answering questions along the way. The route invariably gets people turned around at some point including me.

Mt Washington
Mt Washington
Saab Sonett passing the Log House
Saab Sonett passing the Log House
Team Clarks making good time
Team Clarks making good time

The competition was close with the day ending in a three way tie. It took some work, but a tie breaker was worked out and the top three teams were awarded their plaques. Team Clarks represented by  Greg Joseph and John Williams took top honors for the celebrity class, but quickly shared that honor with Vinnie Richichi and Bonny Diver of CBS who were very enthusiastic participants this year.

CBS and The Clarks represented during the Rallye
CBS and The Clarks represented during the Rallye
Three way tie for first...sort of
Three way tie for first…sort of

If you missed it this year, be sure to get involved in the next, if you are able, as you won’t regret it. Check out the rest of the photos in this posting and follow this link for more. All shots from the day are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will be going to the charities that benefit from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Also, keep checking in as I will be featuring other events throughout the Grand Prix. Enjoy and hope to see you on the road!

Getting ready for the start
Getting ready for the start
PVGP MINI Track Ride car
PVGP MINI Track Ride car
An excellent way to represent the Italians. A fiat 500 Abarth.
An excellent way to represent the Italians. A fiat 500 Abarth.
Our PVGP Ford sponsor truck
Our PVGP Ford sponsor truck
I can't think of a better advertisement to see along the route.
I can’t think of a better advertisement to see along the route.

PVGP Keg Tapping

The PVGPs new sponsor for the Winners Circle...Hofbrauhaus!
The PVGPs new sponsor for the Winners Circle…Hofbrauhaus!
PVGP racecars at Hofbrauhaus
PVGP racecars at Hofbrauhaus

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix received a special honor from its new sponsor Hofbrauhaus last evening in the form of a keg party. In my book, that’s not a bad way to kick a relationship off. Every first Wednesday of the month, Hofbrauhaus holds a keg tapping party. For July, Grand Prix month, they opened their official beer for the PVGP and the party was intense.

John & Dotti Bechtol's 1972 Alfa Romeo Spider
John & Dotti Bechtol’s 1972 Alfa Romeo Spider
PVGP MGA
PVGP MGA

Several sports cars were on display just outside the building and quite a few of the PVGP volunteers and supporters were on hand to help get the celebration started. The food was superb and the beer fantastic! Since most of us had never been to a keg tapping party like this, we were all in for a great treat filled with music, many many toasts, a parade, and some Grand Prix Pilsner.

Porsche 911 RS
Jim Southwood’s 1972 Porsche 911 T

At the end of the evening it was clear. These lads know how to party and they are very enthusiastic in their support of the PVGP. The winners circle will be hopping this year for sure so if you’re competing, you might want to drive a little harder and get on the podium. This is sizing up to be a perfect relationship for both Hofbrauhaus and the PVGP.

Live entertainment
Live entertainment
Awaiting the keg tapping
Awaiting the keg tapping
The parade
The parade

PVGP keg tapping

 

Dan DelBianco rallying the crowd
Dan DelBianco rallying the crowd
Members of the PVGP prepare for the keg tapping
Members of the PVGP prepare for the keg tapping
The PVGP Pilsner is served
The PVGP Pilsner is served

DSC0827705

DSC0827805

 

1972 Alfa Romeo spider
1972 Alfa Romeo spider
Porsche Cayman
Porsche Cayman

 

The Elegance at Hershey 2015

I’ve only been attending The Elegance at Hershey for the last three years now, but since it’s only in its fifth year, that’s not too bad. During that time, the show has grown in relevance quickly. It’s definitely one of those shows that you should not miss if you have a great appreciation for rare and significant automobiles. The exclusive cars on display are showcased beautifully on the grounds of The Hotel Hershey and are easily some of the finest in the world.

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham
1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

The Elegance is the penultimate event of this three day celebration with the first two days centered on The Grand Ascent and a new event celebrating some rather curious automotive creations during Saturday’s Concorso Bizarro. Those two events are a great lead into the main attraction and provide quite a bit of entertainment on their own.

1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Mille Miglia Superleggera Coupe by Touring
1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Mille Miglia Superleggera Coupe by Touring

Sunday’s show field for The Elegance welcomed attendees with a wide range of brilliant automotive offerings from the early 1900s through the 1960s. All manner of coachwork was on display featuring the height of luxury to the essence of speed. The garden party like setting made for a very relaxed atmosphere and suited the elegant lines of the cars quite well. It was a great event that offered a lot to take in visually.

1938 Bugatti T-57C Atalante Coupe by Gangloff
1938 Bugatti T-57C Atalante Coupe by Gangloff
1928 Rolls-Royce "Springfield" New Phantom
1928 Rolls-Royce “Springfield” New Phantom
Unrestored 1969 Lamborghini Miura 400S
Unrestored 1969 Lamborghini Miura 400S

Best of show went to Mark Hyman’s spectacular 1948 Daimler DE36 “Green Goddess.” There are simply not enough words to describe the beauty of this car. That said, there were probably a half dozen other strong contenders for the same honor. The field was, and typically is, that strong at The Elegance. Check out the accompanying photos for more evidence of how stunning the cars were and follow this link for the full event gallery. Enjoy and be sure to add this event to your calendar!

1948 Daimler DE36 Green Goddess Drophead Coupe by Hooper
1948 Daimler DE36 Green Goddess Drophead Coupe by Hooper
1964 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 "Goldfinger" Coupe
1964 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 “Goldfinger” Coupe
1933 Ford-Auburn "Louis Special" Roadster presented by Wayne Carini
1933 Ford-Auburn “Louis Special” Roadster presented by Wayne Carini
1923 Bentley 3-Liter Speed Sports Touring by Chalmer & Hoyer
1923 Bentley 3-Liter Speed Sports Touring by Chalmer & Hoyer

The Grand Ascent 2015

Every year a band of stunning vintage sports cars arrive at the grounds of The Hotel Hershey in Hershey PA. They test and tune in preparation for the run to victory up a hill that has challenged drivers since the 1950s. The setting is in the woods and provides beautiful vistas for viewers to watch these drivers race their cars up the hill. It’s a fantastic spectacle that is well worth the journey out if you’ve yet to attend.

Stunning pre-war Bugatti
Stunning pre-war Bugatti

 

Porsche 356 at the ready during The Grand Ascent
Porsche 356 at the ready during The Grand Ascent

Friday welcomes the arrival of the competitors and the air is filled with the sound of engines tuning. Preliminary runs are made up the hill and the dialing in continues in an effort to make the perfect run. It’s a somewhat relaxed setting with much friendly chatter and well-wishing throughout the field. There is still a strong desire among many to win, but the overriding feeling is to have fun and enjoy time with good friends. The driver’s reception in the evening continues that sentiment.

David George's Bear Special Indy Champ Car
David George’s Bear Special Indy Champ Car
1941 Oldsmobile Special owned by Steve Moskowitz
1941 Oldsmobile Special owned by Steve Moskowitz

The morning light on Saturday reveals a similar scene with cars being readied and getting into position based on their grouping. The runs up the hill begin early and run into the afternoon as each driver chases victory. This year Wayne Carini was a guest and fielded his Triumph TR4. He made some great runs, as did some outstanding contenders in the Pre-war group.

Wayne Carini in his Triumph TR4
Wayne Carini in his Triumph TR4
1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 during The Grand Ascent
1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 during The Grand Ascent

Once again, it was a superb event. One that will long be on my calendar of events to attend. Check out the shots accompanying this article and follow this link to view the full gallery of images from the weekend.

David George's Bear Special Indy Champ Car
David George’s Bear Special Indy Champ Car

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Goes High Style

PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes gathering
PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes gathering

You can’t have a huge automotive event – eighth largest in the world – without kicking it off in a big way. Every year, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix does it in style with the Black Tie and Tailpipes Gala. A new location is selected each year and a large number of donations are made to help the auction raise money for the charities.

Lincoln at the PVGP Black Tie Gala
Lincoln at the PVGP Black Tie Gala
Lotus at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Lotus at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala

This year the host for the event will again be the South Hills Country Club.  The PVGP celebrated there in 2013 and is looking to exceed the success that event had. It’s a great venue and the turnout is always superb, so I would expect things to go rather well. There should be an abundance of well-dressed attendees and some stunning cars.

Guests at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Guests at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala

Enjoy the images posted with this article and as always, follow the links for more from previous years. You can always purchase images from the site and with a portion of the profits going to the PVGP, you will be helping the charities. Enjoy!

Guests enjoying the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Guests enjoying the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Jaguar Pace Car at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Jaguar Pace Car at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Maserati Ghibli at PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Maserati Ghibli at PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala guests
PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala guests
You can't have a party without an Alfa Romeo
You can’t have a party without an Alfa Romeo

P.S. As I write this, there are still tickets available. Head on over the PVGP site and buy yours now!

Mustangs at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala
Mustangs at the PVGP Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala

BLUE MAX

Blue Max
Blue Max

The name is so fitting to this car. It is German, it is indeed blue, and was the pinnacle for its time. Though some nagging misunderstandings still persist about this car, it is one well worth a look if you are ever in the market for a unique and well-rounded vintage super car.

Porsche 928 Car of the Year
Porsche 928 Car of the Year

The Porsche 928 is a car that has long been one that some either love or dare I say, hate. That love/hate is fostered for a variety of reasons. The love for it comes from an appreciation of the cars innovations as well as its power, speed, and comfort. The hate, well that comes from myths about high maintenance costs, the belief to some that it is slow and fat and the fact that it was created to supplant the mighty 911. Its pluses became minuses for many as it was everything the 911 wasn’t. It had a water-cooled engine residing in the front with two extra cylinders, near equal weight distribution, and great handling both on and off track making it a wonderful GT car.

Porsche 928
Porsche 928

It was a ground up effort from Porsche from the start and the end result was a quite striking form. I often run hot and cold on this car, but in the form you see here, it is an undeniable winner. This particular car is coated in the perfect color matched to the wildly fantastic Pasha interior and is even wearing the right shoes. It’s the total package right down to the very spider like intake hiding just beneath the hood. Perhaps the only thing missing from this particular model is a…well…nothing. This one is spot on from nose to tail.

Porsche 928 Phone Dial Wheels
Porsche 928 Phone Dial Wheels
Porsche 928 Pasha Seats
Porsche 928 Pasha Seats
Porsche 928 Central Console
Porsche 928 Central Console
Porsche 928 Engine
Porsche 928 Engine
Porsche 928 Instrument Cluster
Porsche 928 Instrument Cluster

So the next time you are out and see this, or any other 928, stop and show it some love. You won’t be disappointed you took the time to do so. For a few more images of this car, pop on over to this gallery.

Porsche 928 Door Sill
Porsche 928 Door Sill

Counting Down The Days

It’s never too early to start counting down to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. It’s one of those events that you look forward to attending shortly after the last one ended. If you could experience sensory overload from too much automotive exposure – which is impossible by the way – this would be the event to subject you to it. You have everything from black-tie and casual parties to rallyes, shows and full on racing. It literally has everything. With that in mind, it only makes sense to take a look back at last year’s Kick-Off Rallye as that is the event that gets the giant wheels of this machine rolling.

Righthand drive Mini
Righthand drive Mini
Inside the 1961 Chevy Impala
Inside the 1961 Chevy Impala

The Kick-Off Rallye is a great way to start things off. It’s casual fun that offers participants a way to socialize and admire each other’s cars as well engage in some spirited competitive driving. Everything on wheels is acceptable for this event. The past rallyes have hosted the quick and nimble like the MG Midget and Porsche 914 as well as giants like the 1936 Packard and a very impressive 1973 Dodge Monaco. I think there was even a delivery van one year. The streets fill with everything and it makes for great fun and much conversation from participants and spectators alike.

Stunning MGA
Stunning MGA

Driving the course is always a mystery. The clues are clever and keep you on your toes as you try to stay on track while answering questions along the way. If that gets to be burdensome, you can always skip right to the end, get comfortable with a beverage and watch everyone as they roll in. Since the cars are all numbered, it’s a bit fun to see what order they arrive. I guarantee it’s never in order. Not even close. I try to shoot this throughout the event and use the numbers as a gauge to determine how far along things are. That is always a mistake. The route invariably gets people turned around at some point and that includes me, but honestly, that’s part of the fun. Oh and as a side note, should you see me along the route and decide to follow believing I know where I’m going, big mistake. I generally don’t know where I’m going and never get advance notice as to the route. Plus, I often double back as I bounce around trying to photograph everyone.

The large and incharge Dodge Monaco
The large and in charge Dodge Monaco

So do join in if you are able as you won’t regret it. Check out the rest of the photos in this posting and follow this link for more. All shots are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will be going to the charities that benefit from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Also, keep checking in as I will be featuring other events as we get closer to this year’s start and will be posting throughout the Grand Prix once it is underway. Enjoy and hope to see you on the road!

The Jag
The Jag
The perfect livery for this Mini
The perfect livery for this Mini
Triumph TR4
Triumph TR4
Austin Healey 3000
Austin Healey 3000
Porsche 550 Spyder
Porsche 550 Spyder

The Doctor Is In

Ferrari 458 Italia "White Horse"
Ferrari 458 Italia “White Horse”

It’s a safe bet that many of you reading this now are quite familiar with DoctaM3. He possesses a brilliant collection of significant supercars and he uses them! Now I don’t know about most of you, but that delights the hell out of me. It’s a joy seeing cars like his out in traffic mixing it up with everyday traffic. You just don’t get to see them often enough. For that reason, I thought I would do a quick feature on one of his cars. I was not sure which one would show this past Saturday, but then that’s half the fun. As luck would have it, the Ferrari 458 Italia was the mount of choice.

Supercars Personified
Supercars Personified

I love these cars. I have a broad appreciation for almost all cars, but the 458 is a beautifully designed modern Ferrari. The color choice here is well suited to the car and the black roof gives it an even lower look and serves the engine well as it stands out nicely framed in black. The body lines are subtly apparent and your eyes can pick up all the key details as you look the car over. There is great harmony between the flowing curves and creases that give the car an undoubtedly sensuous look while still maintaining a hint of aggression.

Ferrari 458 Italia engine
Ferrari 458 Italia engine

The interior is just fantastic and the fact that you can trot right onto the track in this is just silly. I’ve been out in one at speed and it’s almost comical to be in a car that capable and still have all the finest amenities surrounding you as you go to war. My mind just thinks you should have less, but apparently you CAN have your cake and eat it too. I won’t complain.

Ferrari 458 Italia interior
Ferrari 458 Italia interior

From top to bottom it is a well packaged and very useful piece of art. It even has a surprisingly large compartment that I dare say you could nearly fit a body in. A bit of shock as you get no sense of its capacity, let alone its existence, when viewing the car from the outside. Just a wonderful standout car!

If fate is kind to me, I will hopefully have the opportunity to feature some of his other cars. In the meantime, enjoy this one and please follow the link to a few more shots from the day.

Ferrari 458 Italia DoctaM3
Ferrari 458 Italia DoctaM3
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Italia tail
Ferrari 458 Italia tail

The Fisker Karma – Electric Avenue

Karma was a rather curious name for a brand new plug-in-hybrid that was fielded by an equally new company in Fisker. Referencing the principle of causality right out of the gate was a bold move on anyone’s part, but more so having come from a company with no history of doing what it was proposing with this car. Its desire to convey good karma would have been perfect had the hopes and aspirations of its founders come to fruition. Instead, the company’s once bright future has been dimmed though a glimmer of hope for a new beginning does exist. Considering what they went through to get this car to the public, I do hope it gets that second chance. They managed to create their dream in less time and for less money than the giant GM could do for the Volt and that alone is a pretty significant accomplishment and well worth some good karma.

Fisker Karma Wheel
Fisker Karma Wheel

I have always loved these cars and seeing this one stealthy maneuver into place at the local Cars N Coffee is always a treat for me. The styling and attention to detail is superb which should come as no surprise since the co-founder, Henrik Fisker, had a brilliant design background. He left his mark on the Aston Martin DB9, V8 Vantage, and the lovely BMW Z8. His dream of reviving the coach built car in America was a good one and these cars poses a uniqueness not seen in the States for some time.

The interior is beautifully finished with an elegant central console that extends from the front through to the back. It has two sculpted windows that permit you to see through to the battery cell. It also houses a lovely crystal like gear selector as well as what no American can be without…cup holders. The wood trim accents were finished from reclaimed wood from California wildfires and the hides were utilized in a way that produced little waste.

Fisker Karma Steering Wheel
Fisker Karma Steering Wheel

The exterior styling is well done for such a rather large car. The flowing lines and graceful curves are accented with just the right creases and the large 22 inch wheels are perfectly suited to the scale of the car. And don’t pass on the roof as it’s worth a look. It’s a brilliant and well integrated solar cell unit that serves to keep the 12v system charged when not in continual use unless, of course, you park it in your garage.

Fisker Karma Solar Roof
Fisker Karma Solar Roof

I could go on and on about the virtues of this car, but the best thing to do is check it out the next time you see it at a show or just out and about. It’s well worth your time. Short of that, enjoy the rest of the gallery as it visually details many of the elements discussed and feel free to click on over to this gallery from the show for larger high-resolution images. Enjoy!

The lovely curves of the Fisker Karma
The lovely curves of the Fisker Karma
Wood trim dash of the Fisker Karma
Wood trim dash of the Fisker Karma
Fisker Karma key and gear selector
Fisker Karma key and gear selector
Fisker Karma left rear quarter "exhaust speaker"
Fisker Karma left rear quarter “exhaust speaker”