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2015 PVGP Downtown Parade and Show

Looking up at PPG
Looking up at PPG

It’s been a very damp year here in Pittsburgh. Most car related events have required the inclusion of umbrellas, shammies, and other necessary wet weather gear. The ongoing joke has been that it has rained just twice this year, once for 76 days and then again for 68. This day, however, was a pleasant deviation from the norm. Though it did drizzle lightly early, the day got much better and was a brilliant one from late morning on for the 2015 PVGP Downtown Parade and Show.

Saab Sonett ready for show
Saab Sonett ready for show
The Dodge Viper of Jim Stout
The Dodge Viper of Jim Stout

Most of the participants formed up in Station Square which is a charming little business area just across the river to the south of the city. It boasts some great shops, professional offices and restaurants as well as a new soccer arena. It’s a great setting to form up for the parade into town and offers some great views of the city while you wait.

Payload display in a vintage Ford Truck
Payload display in a vintage Ford Truck

With a police escort provided by Pittsburgh’s finest, the participants for the day’s parade and show left the staging area for their various locations throughout the city. Many would head to Steel Plaza at the base of the old US Steel building while the rest would scatter throughout town at Market Square, PPG Plaza and Point State Park. All locations provided beautiful settings and a party like atmosphere. It’s an all too short event, but well worth the trip even just to spectate.

BMW Isetta packed and ready to go
BMW Isetta packed and ready to go
Beautiful vintage VW Bug
Beautiful vintage VW Bug
Fully in the mood for the day
Fully in the mood for the day

Try to join the fun next year if you have not been down. It’s great fun and you’ll be glad you did it. Enjoy the rest of the photos and follow this link for a full gallery of images from the day and remember, any print or merchandise purchases help to support the PVGP charities!

Roush Mustang
Roush Mustang
Steel Plaza display for PVGP
Steel Plaza display for PVGP
BMW i8 and others gathered in Market Square
BMW i8 and others gathered in Market Square
Alfa Romeo racecar at PPG
Alfa Romeo racecar at PPG
Ferrari 458
Ferrari 458
Austin Healey 3000 at PPG
Austin Healey 3000 at PPG

The 2015 PVGP Walnut Street Invitational

This quite possibly might be my favorite event of the week. I should note that that sentiment has nothing to do with the fact that as I age, I get less enthusiastic about walking great distances to see things. Writing that just made me tired. I like to think I enjoy this event because the show has everything from great shopping, food, people, atmosphere, and oh yes…marvelous cars. The setting is well suited to the wide array of automotive history on display that is curated by one of the finest automotive junkies I know. He never disappoints and always makes sure there are cars that will appeal to a broad range of people. If you can’t find a car at this show that speaks to you, then I would suspect that you have no interest in cars.

Alfa Romeo Spider
Alfa Romeo Spider

This year was as brilliant as ever with vintage powerhouses and modern sports cars to racecars and hot rods on display. Even American and British classic were on hand to dazzle and delight with their shiny bits and pieces. Though it rained, which it has done quite a lot this year, the crowds were still strong as was the turnout of cars. I’ll let the photos do the talking with this one as they easily show the breadth of the significant cars on display. It was a fantastic show that was very well attended and boasted a great display of Italy’s finest.

On the corner with a Lamborghini Countach
On the corner with a Lamborghini Countach
A lovely Moto Guzzi
A lovely Moto Guzzi

I think if I had to be pinned down to pick a car from this display it would have been the MG Midget “Rat Rod” but then that likely has more to do with my mood at the moment than anything else, but that was a very cool car. I have a very long and eclectic list of cars that interest me so my answer to that question changes frequently. In reality, if my life depended on it, I probably couldn’t come up with a top favorite car. I could give you my top 5, though…or 10.

"Rat Rod" MG Midget
“Rat Rod” MG Midget

At any rate, it was a superb evening. Eyetique had a party going well into the evening and most hung around to the bitter end. For a full gallery of the event just follow this link. You should get your fill there. Enjoy and the next show is in just a few hours!

Excellent live entertainment
Excellent live entertainment
Beautiful Jaguar E-Type
Beautiful Jaguar E-Type
The mighty Lamborghini Countach
The mighty Lamborghini Countach
1960 Cadillac
1960 Cadillac
Beck Porsche 904
Beck Porsche 904
A very distinguished Franklin
A very distinguished Franklin
Alfa Romeo Giulia SS
Alfa Romeo Giulia SS

The 2015 Historics at Pitt Race

Well, it’s another year down, but much has changed for this one. The Historic races at Pitt Race are still quite young when you look at the history of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. It’s just entering its 11th year now, but in that short time period, the facility has brought a new dimension to the overall celebration and experience. It’s, now 2.8 miles of asphalt ribbon goodness further expands that experience and adds an entirely new look and feel to the racing that goes on.

Skydivers helped with the South Track opening celebration.
Skydivers helped with the South Track opening celebration.

The track is situated on a wonderfully secluded plot of land in Wampum PA and boasts some challenging turns, elevation changes and blind turns. The facilities are ever expanding with more support facilities added in just the past few years. The opening of the South Track now increases the challenge and interest even more.

Awaiting the parade start
Awaiting the parade start
The South Track is open!
The South Track is open!

This weekend hosted everything from sky diving ribbon cutting fanfare to the high adrenalin racing we love to watch. Big bore ground pounders and very light weight and diminutive open wheel racers were all over the track and paddock. It had everything for the truly afflicted car addict to occupy his/her time. Another way to put it, your senses got a full on attack from the sights, sounds and smells. A pretty fantastic weekend, in all.

Taking in some parade laps on the new track.
Taking in some parade laps on the new track.
Big Bore action on track.
Big Bore action on track.

The racing was as intense this year as ever with drivers working twice as hard as they learned to master the new track while trying to work their way to the top of the podium. Each group witnessed great battles as well as a few miss steps. It was an even better event than anticipated so be sure to make it out next year if you missed out this time around.

One of the more stylish ways to get around the paddock.
One of the more stylish ways to get around the paddock.
BMW race action
BMW race action

It would be very difficult to get everything posted here, so please follow these links for full galleries from Friday, Saturday and Sunday as much was going on. Sometimes it’s easier to let the photos speak for themselves. Enjoy and stop out at the new facility some time. You won’t be disappointed!

Close quarter racing
Close quarter racing
Some sound advice
Some sound advice
Never hurts to have a sense of humor
Never hurts to have a sense of humor
A little Ford Mustang power
A little Ford Mustang power
Heading down into turn 5
Heading down into turn 5
A Lotus carving its way through the course.
A Lotus carving its way through the course.

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

 

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

U.S. Vintage Grand Prix Watkins Glen 2014

I always love going to this event. The vintage racing at Watkins Glen never fails to produce some great memories and there is almost always some very special cars in attendance. This year I was drawn to a stunning 1968 Alfa Romeo T33/2 Daytona. This is a car that gets its name from the fact that it won its class at the 24 hours of Daytona. Not a minor achievement.

Alfa Romeo T33/2 Daytona adding additional class to the garage at Watkins Glen.
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Daytona adding additional class to the garage at Watkins Glen.

Equally impressive, though, was the Bentley Mulsanne that joined us in the camp grounds. Not sure I can think of a more interesting car to show up in. I tip my hat to that individual for sharing his car with us while at the same time raising our aspirations. The Campgrounds never disappoint when it comes to seeing unique cars and campers.

Bentley Mulsanne at Watkins Glen
Bentley Mulsanne at Watkins Glen

The track action was what you would expect with a bit of everything going on. There is always the group running at the front pounding away for victory. Not to suggest the rest are just out there doing parade laps, though. No, there was still good racing through and through for every group and with vintage cars, I’m just glad to see them out there. It’s a far better way to experience these cars and it trumps a museum nearly all the time. Hearing many of these cars at full chat will stay in your mind for a long time. Which is good as some of them will cause you to go deaf.

1965 Ford Mustang HiPro at Watkins Glen.
1965 Ford Mustang HiPro at Watkins Glen.
1959 Lister Costin exiting the Boot at Watkins Glen.
1959 Lister Costin exiting the Boot at Watkins Glen.
1996 Fabcar 911 exiting turn 1 at Watkins Glen.
1996 Fabcar 911 exiting turn 1 at Watkins Glen.

This will always be an event that is well worth your time if you have not been. I highly recommend attending and if you have budding car enthusiasts, do take them along. I have no doubt they will enjoy every minute of it.

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Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

This year’s Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix featured a number of events that should not be missed. If you have never attended, it should be on your list of summer car show activities. There is really no reason to have not attended yet or to wait any longer.

Porsche 911 on track at Schenley Park
Porsche 911 on track at Schenley Park

 

The weather cooperated, for the most part, save for Saturday at Schenley. The rain that day nearly prevented the show cars from taking to the grass and at the start, you actually might have been better to arrive in a boat. As luck would have it, though, things settled enough that everyone was able to get into position and enjoy the rest of the event. Some of the finest cars were on display from vintage British greats like Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Aston Martin to all American heavies including Ford GT40s, Corvette, and Shelby Mustangs. The Germans and Italians were well represented as well with impressive displays from Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo just to scratch the surface. It was a feats for the eyes with some of the finest curves in automotive history on display.

Ford GT40 MkIV at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
Ford GT40 MkIV at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

To experience all that the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has to offer, I have attached a gallery link to this text that will enable you to see the eye candy that was on display at all the events from this year. Do enjoy and feel free to navigate your way through the other galleries I have featured on my site. Until next time!

A beautiful when wet Lancia
A beautiful when wet Lancia