By Kelly Cash, All photos: Kelly Cash
This was a special year for Lime Rock Park's annual Historic Festival which occurs over Labor Day weekend in Salisbury, CT. The park played host as one of the stops on the 2018 International Bugatti Tour. With a kick-off parade, vintage car racing dating between the early 1900ís and 1960ís on both Saturday and Monday, a Sunday in the Park Concours d'Elegance and Gathering of the Marques (my favorite), a giant swap meet and an auction Ė this event is jam packed with something for everyone!
My family and I have been attending this weekend for quite some time. I typically take my motorcycle which is part of the fun. I first learned about this event from my 2-wheeled teaching friend, Bud. He had exclaimed to me long ago, ďKelly, I know you and your Dad love cars; you need to get down to Lime Rock and check out that vintage car racing and show on Labor Day weekend.Ē
And so we went. When I had arrived at Lime Rock for the first time, my jaw dropped; millions of dollarsí worth of cars racing around the track by folks of all ages, from all over, followed by 1.5 miles of antique cars. Hello? Yes, Iím hooked!
That following year, I brought 10 people with me. Now, itís the whole planning frenzy about a couple of months before that really gets my juices flowing. Where should we stay this year? Great Barringtonís Wainright Inn and all its 3 storied wrap around porches with rocking chairs to unwind? Sheffieldís quirky yet, romantic and cozy Race Brook Lodge with a farm-to-table 3-course meal? The sprawling Interlaken Inn? Or simply crash out on the back field at turn 7 in a tent? Where will I wake up and have French toast for breakfast and a nice hot cup of coffee!? Oh, the excitement!
As we got out of the car, with quite the effort to contain ourselves at the series of surprises in unique cars and motorcycles in the parking lot, I scanned the horizon to find the grounds full of life and amazingly green.
I heard something familiar coming from the sky and looked up; a 1950ís Beechcraft performed a fly over while a parachute jumper departed, landing safely with an American flag as the Star Spangled Banner concluded. I take in a breath of fresh air, exhale, and happily jaunt over the Sam Posey straight, noticing the brook is running at an all-time high compared to years past. (Yup I notice this shit!) The distant sound of engines shifting now become louder along with the metal rattling below my feet as I draw closer to the track and cross the bridge. I really start getting excited and wonder, what will be my favorite race of the day? What will be my favorite car? Who will I encounter with a ďlabor of loveĒ story? (Thereís always a tear jerker somewhere out there) What will be my favorite convertible, muscle car or something thatís just so sexy and unique you canít even describe it?
With the Bugatti on tour this year, I was stoked. I had never seen one in person, only in photos. Some of these cars are among the missing, one of a kind or limited production.
Well, in the Bugatti world, they are all limited production.
Falling before their time, the company sadly halted production in the 1950ís after several losses within the family including, Ettore Bugatti himself. There were only so many Bugattiís made and we just had the honor of experiencing some of the last originals in the world. Lime Rockís efforts and participation in preserving the history of these cars and supporting the vintage races is something to applaud in this regard. You donít see this stuff anymore and itís just too darn expensive.
Upon scoping out the exclusive line of Bugattiís under the tent, I noticed a 1930ís Type 35 had copper safety wire present along the body which were used to keep the hardware from coming undone. It looked really neat though intended for functionality. Then, there was the 1930ís Type 57, this car was super sexy. The elegant yet, simple design along with the craftsmanship of the dashboards and sweeping rear lines is nothing short of breathtaking. Dark background displays were enclaved in bright metals that laid flush in the beautiful wood trims with a very complimentary steering wheel.
One of my favorite moments of the weekend was a story of a father and son with a 1966 black Ford Fairlane. The father was the original owner and purchased the car for a mere $2,900. As I asked him to tell me about his car, he smiled with pride as he told me how he brought his newborn son home in it and planned to pass it onto him. The car was all original and immaculate.
My favorite convertibles just so happened to be a black 1960ís Porsche speedster and a 1960ís cream Chrysler Imperial. The Chryslerís dash was a total head turner, I had to take a moment to appreciate the design details as there were many gauges and the plush seats looked comfy and relaxing. I heavily enjoyed the vintage, simple and classy look and design of the Porsche.
The racing was nothing short of amazing. Going through the ages of time, we were able to experience the different race groups and categories of cars, from open wheel heading up to big bore, there was a wide variety to enjoy.
I think for me, Iím truly lucky and thankful for the event in that itís so close to home. The beauty is the people, their cars - its stories they possess, where their owners have been and most of all, their time to come out and show their car. I'm truly amazed to see these cars still racing around the track and not sitting in a museum, though that is ok, too. Be there next year!
Here are some of my other favorites from the event:
-1970ís blue Volvo wagon: I really like this color with the chrome trim details and havenít seen any Volvoís nicely kept as this particular one.
-1967 Exemplar I Concept Car: the usage of copper & brass is striking in this vehicle, they used this car to promote brass & copper alloys in the automotive industry for trim packages.
-Red Laverda SFC 1000 motorcycle, rare! (I will find the year).
-1952 Flexible Bus: We spent quite a bit of time with the gentleman that owned this fully restored bus.
Kelly Cash is an avid motorcyclist on both pavement and dirt, and boat enthusiast who lives in eastern Massachusetts. You can be sure you will be seeing a lot more of her at local racetracks.
© 2018 Kelly Cash
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