The track at Lime Rock Park became an exhibit area for approximately 1,000 automobiles on Sunday as part of the racetrack’s Historic Festival 31. According to Lime Rock, about 200 collectible cars made up the Lime Rock “Sunday in the Park” Concours d’Elegance with 750 cars making up the annual “Gathering of the Marques” around the track.
According to one representative of LRP, this year marked one of the largest collections of automobiles displayed at the track on show day, a day nestled between two full days of racing over Labor Day weekend when a peaceful agreement between the track and a neighboring church keeps the track quiet for local congregants.
Among the collectibles on display were featured almost half of the 25 Cunninghams ever built by the Palm Beach, Florida manufacturer and racer, Briggs Cunningham. Dr. Frederick Simeone of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum brought his 1952/53 Cunningham C4R and was on hand to chat with the many people who stopped by to admire the rare vehicle.
Near the Cunninghams was parked the 1948 Ferrari 166 owned by Miles Collier of South Naples, Florida. According to Watkins Glen historian Bill Green, who was in attendance at the Festival for the weekend as a guest speaker for the Cunningham contingent nearby, the restored Ferrari is the very race car in which Sam Collier went off the road on the second lap of the 1950 road race in Watkins Glen, NY. Collier later died from his injuries. The spot where he left the road is still marked with a stone memorial.
Other collectible vehicles in the assortment on display ranged from older Volkswagon Beetles to cars reminiscent of Fitzgerald’s American novel, "The Great Gatsby." Among the most vintage of models were a 1907 Success Model B Runabout, a 1910 Oakland 24 Roadster, and a 1915 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. Several collectors or presenters sat behind their vehicles in lawn chairs, sipping cool drinks or reading as spectators peered into the old cars, posed with them for photographs, or walked over to ask the attendants a few pertinent questions.
Judges for the event were busy working in their trademark blazers and straw hats jotting notes on clipboards and moving on to the next vehicle. Shiny gold stickers on the signs about the cars marked whether or not that vehicle had been “Judged.” Several awards would be presented by the end of the day.
Around the rest of the track was the “Gathering of the Marques” where automobiles celebrating important anniversaries were on display. These included Aston Martins celebrating 100 years; Corvettes, 60; Trans Ams, 47; Porsche 911s, 50; and Lotus Elan, 50.
A brief shower at mid-day drove away neither the cars nor the spectators. Regulars to the Historic Festival often come Saturday for the racing and Sunday for the show so they get the full experience of what historics at Lime Rock is all about.
Racing resumes at Lime Rock Historic Festival 31 on Monday, Labor Day, for a last day of competition. Twenty races are planned in 10 groups; one set for morning and another in the afternoon for another full day of action before Festival 31 itself phases into its own chapter in car and racing history.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. is the author of several books and is working on a new book about racers and racing with an Irish historic racer. See her blog about the sport at “Motor Sport Muse.”