Weekend Of Wheels At Lime Rock (And A Parade, Too)
Photos courtesy Lime Rock Park.
By CB Wismar
For some, they are exquisite rolling sculptures – the finest representation of the designer’s art. For others, they’re nothing more than a necessity, like electricity and cable TV. Then there’s the group that just finds them a nuisance — members of the “it was better in the horse and buggy days” school of thought.
Whatever your particular perspective, from September 1-5, in and around Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., this is the weekend when incredible automobiles comes to visit.
The Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 34 starts on Thursday, as it should, with a parade. Through the valleys of the Salmon Kill and the Housatonic River, through Salisbury and the loop around Noble Horizons (tough to get a seat, there) then down to Falls Village for a street fair and a concert with the incomparable Wanda Houston filling the village green with song.
That’s just Thursday.
Friday is practice day at Lime Rock Park, and the vintage race cars will be out in force. Don’t know the difference between a 1953 Nash Healey Le Mans and a 1929 Bentley Blower 4.5? This is the weekend to find out.
The drivers of these miraculous machines don’t just come from a few miles away to show off their beautifully restored machines. They come from places like Diablo, Calif. Essex, England. Duffy’s Forest, New South Wales, Australia. Bogota, Columbia. And “On a Boat in the Caribbean,” all to drive in the 34th Historic Weekend at Lime Rock Park.
Sure, Lou Timolat will be there from Falls Village, and Art Herbert will make the short drive from Monterey, Mass. Frank Filangeri will be there, as well, from Lake Ronkonkoma, NY. (We know that Lake Ronkonkoma isn’t all that far away from Lime Rock Park; it’s just fun to say out loud.)
Racing is on Saturday and Monday. There are different classes of racing so that Peter Ross’s 1932 MG J2 doesn’t have to try and keep up with Robert Mirabile’s 1963 Shelby Cobra. In all, 263 cars will be ready to race for cups and trophies and ribbons and the delight of the fans scattered on the hillside.
On Sunday, the Lime Rock track is quiet. It’s a good thing, because there would be no room to race. This is Sunday in the Park … the “Concours” of historic automobiles and great marques parks on every straightaway and hairpin turn of the track.
Sunday is the day when hundreds of rolling sculptures stand still long enough for everyone to stroll around the track, meet Honored Guests racecar driver John Morton (who will be racing on Saturday and Monday) and designer, author, photographer and former racecar driver Peter Brock. You can get close enough to both see and appreciate these amazing automobiles.
The 34th Historic Festival has invited TV star (the host of Chasing Classic Cars on the Velocity Channel) Wayne Carini to bring some of his very private collection of carefully restored automobiles and motorcycles to be on display.
This is a rare moment. Carini doesn’t show his cars in public, much. But this Festival is different. “I am pretty private when it comes to my collection,” admitted Carini. “But it feels right to bring some of my favorites to Lime Rock.”
Part of this weekend will be rich with memories for Carini [left]. “It was in the early 1960s. I had just turned 10, and my birthday present was a trip to see the races at Lime Rock.” That trip was not in the Carini family station wagon. “We went up in my Dad’s 1928 Lincoln Touring Car.” The history lives on.
Festival Chairman Murray Smith, himself an internationally respected automobile aficionado, and Sunday Concours organizer Kent Bain invited Carini to be this year’s “Honored Collector,” a designation endorsed by Skip Barber, Lime Rock Park president, who also welcomed the Presenting Sponsors of this year’s Festival, The Prestige Family of Fine Cars.
“This is a wonderful weekend,” affirmed Barber. “Since 1983, Lime Rock Park has held this annual celebration. It’s an event unique to North America in that the racing and the concours are all on one property during one major vintage and historic event.”
And, if you’re still looking for something special to watch on this celebration weekend, we noticed that Simon Kirkby, the Director of the Lime Rock Driver’s Club, is bringing one of his cars to race. It’s a 1963 Hillman Imp. Who can’t root for a car called an “Imp?”
Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 34
Sunday in the Park, Concours, and Gathering of the Marques
Sept. 1-5, 2016