Enough people showed up at Lime Rock Park's Sunday in the Park Concours d' Elegance and Gathering of the Marques car show on Sunday, August 31 that traffic bottle-necked and seemed to stand still for a mile or more of country road leading into the park entrance, a problem officials say has never happened before. Once inside, however, thousands of car enthusiasts had over 1,000 vehicles to pore over and enjoy to their heart's content on a quiet day at the Historic Festival 32 that is sandwiched between days of active historic racing over the Labor Day weekend.
Overcast but humid, the day had no racing to comply with local ordinance, but neither the sticky conditions nor the lack of racing stopped people from coming out. A stop light and merging traffic from another direction contributed to a long albeit scenic wait of an hour or more on the New England country road leading to the park with so many people arriving at the track around the same time at mid to late morning. Some gave up, broke out of line, and turned around rather than wait. Most did not. The annual concours and show has a reputation for being a good one.
Once inside, people did not appear disappointed. Display cars lined nearly the full length of the 1.5-mile track with the concours vehicles down the Sam Posey Straight and the Gathering of the Marques around from there. People strolled along in front of them, walking on the track surface, stopping to admire, point, take photographs, discuss with their companions, or read placards in front of the cars. Some talked with owners, swapped stories, or shared notes.
Judges in straw hats and blue blazers looked over the cars carefully, taking notes. Prizes were at stake for the collectors.
Ralph Lauren's promised five cars from his collection were on display in a special area. Interested enthusiasts could pick up and listen to an electronic device providing a personal audio tour as they looked at them if they wished.
According to Lime Rock, 224 vehicles were displayed in 29 classes at the concours. After the judging, the results were tabulated and a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 owned by Peter Sachs of Stamford, Conn., won Best of Show. The pale yellow/cream car had been entered in Class 3, “Risky but Racy, competition machines of merit, pre-1945.”
Another notable class winner was Dennis Nicrota’s pre-production 1964 Mercedes 300 SL (Class 13, “Power to Spare – and Grace to Boot”). This car was initially delivered to Briggs Cunningham.
Other winners included Roger Werner’s 1965 Cobra (Class 12, “A Sporting Proposition, sports cars 1962 – 1970”); Class 19, “Bentley Beauty and Brute, a tribute to W.O.’s best,” a 1928 Bentley 4.5L Le Mans owned by Roger Noble; and a 1963 Alfa Romeo Zagato SZ in Class 22, “Just As We Found It, untouched or minimally massaged,” owned by Larry Garcia.
Among the Gathering of the Marques displayed from Big Bend to West Bend were 112 Porsches in fine condition at the top of the Uphill. Seven Gullwing Mercedes were on display along with 29 Vipers. Other American cars collections included Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and Oldsmobile. A Ferrari club brought a dozen Ferraris to show on No Name Straight.
Racing will continue at the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 32 on Labor Day Monday. A tribute to Lee Duran is planned.