After sipping coffee in Squirrel Hill with a friend, catching up on the last few months of our lives, I headed home via Schenley Park. NOT!
Everything was blocked off with white sawhorses. I found a parking spot and strolled around, chatting with the women at the gate letting the trucks and car trailers into the park, realizing that this has been going on for all these years but I’d not experienced it in the 25 years I’ve lived in Pittsburgh. The 32nd Vintage Grand Prix in Pittsburgh where the cars are raced right on the streets.
from their website
“The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix’s mission is to produce a world-class vintage racing event to raise funds that help provide residential care, treatment and support for children and adults with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities through the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.”
I learned a lot in a short amount of time, walking down the road, talking with car owners and pit crew or significant others. I met a volunteer who is a “rope tower” during the races. No one wants his services but I understand some will need to be towed.
A nice couple from Milwaukee with a really cool MG that they toured in England with 89 other MG owners. I’m always fascinated how people get into different interests and activities in their lives, why people collect things, their hobbies. One man had a former show dog, Vivian ( or perhaps Vivien, sorry) who was a distinctive English bull dog. He said showing dogs, racing cars, there are a lot of similarities.
I can tell you that the people I talked to are making themselves happy by participating in this sport, caring and restoring their cars, and being part of an eclectic group with passion for what they are investing themselves in.
Meet Luke. From the North Hills. He has worked on this Lotus for 5 years. Check out the humps he created so he can fit into the car as he is 6’2″. He shared the photos of the work he accomplished, what it looked like when he started and it is amazing. When his mother was expecting him in two short months, she drove demo laps at the VGP. His father was there offering support and advice, cheering him on. He told me how there was a meeting for the drivers and then they would walk the course. He even invited me to ride in the Lotus at the Charity ride but Saturday I am shooting a wedding. I looked in and down and wondered if I would fit or if several people would have had to extricate me from the seat.
Luke taking time to show his Lotus photos and explain how he rebuilt it to a young man who is going to be a seventh grader at Colfax this fall. This almost seventh grader been coming to the Vintage Grand Prix on his bike for the past three years and has a real interest in cars.
Luke and his dad
Meet Rich. Drove in from Denver, Colorado. His wife flew in from a business trip in New York so they are at the VGP for the first time. He races cars after an experience with an avalanche while extreme skiing.
He explained a lot to me (which I am hesitant to write for fear it will be inaccurate) but his 912 (which he got off Craig’s List) uses gas without ethanol. NOTE: A Porsche 912 NOT
Inside the trailer that holds the car.
You should hear his engine when he fires it up! Porsche 912 1967
Here’s Rich replacing the jet due to the low altitude here.
I thought it would be fun for Rich to meet Luke (turns out they will be competitors in the same class) as they were both first time racers in this particular event so Rich drove his car down the road and I followed.
Here are Rich and Luke
And here’s Chris. Chris is from Verona, PA. He has restored cars for years. But this is his first race. You can just tell he has put a lot of love into his car.
MGB GT 1968 Under two litre class
And here is Richard Barnes the Competition Director and the man who introduced me to Rich
Yes, there are female drivers. Here are some competitors lined up to register.
Without realizing I caught a shot of Lauren in line at registration. She is “paddocking” with Luke but wasn’t there when I was doing all the pictures. See edit below with addition of Lauren and the 1956 Turner she drives. Thanks Luke B for the photograph below.
A couple more cars so you can see the variety participating
Driving by some of the open wheel cars. A nice man from Toronto who is on a Pit Crew explained all about the open wheel construction and the rear engines. Another man with a couple of Sprites offered to get me some contact information so I could share the photos.
When I left there were still cars arriving
Late addition courtesy of Luke B the Lotus Owner Saturday 9:00 AM
After reading the post Luke B sent me the following photograph of another first time driver
Here’s what he said
I saw you caught a photo of my friend Lauren at registration. It’s too bad you didn’t get a chance to meet her – she’s paddocked with us now, but I think that was after you left. Not only is she one of only a few female drivers this weekend and one of the few young drivers, but she’s another local entrant and, like me, it’s her first time racing here. Here’s a photo of her and the 1956 Turner she races:
Photographed by Luke B.
Do you remember seeing Uncle Frank’s Chevrolet (1953) when he was just putting the engine in?
Here’s what it looks like now after all the work (love) he has put into it! Shot from the passenger window- the interior.
My sister Mary sent me these photos she took on her phone in NYC.
She texted the year- 1949. a very good year!
A Chevrolet Ambulance. Looked up definition for the word Chevrolet and found Louis Chevrolet “a Swiss Born American Race Car Driver of French Descent”
I’ve been saving the photos to post for our brother David’s birthday today, also Flag Day. (You might remember how bad I am at sending out a card in time.)
Happy Birthday David. Thinking of you and hoping you have a wonderful day.
Love from your sisters,
Ruth and Mary
Steve and I ventured out Saturday afternoon and what started out as a gray, dark day became perfect
First, we met George and his 1973 VW Thing. He came when the weather was good as his vehicle has no roof! Made in West Germany and customized in Redondo CA, he bought it in Indiana and told me his goal is to have every car he thought was cool when he was a kid. He has five cars and I should have asked him what the other four were but that question will have to wait for the Oktoberfest Car Show at the old VW Factory in Westmoreland next Sunday, October 14th.
Jason Sauer of Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery was the host of the event and showed me his demolition car named DOA and “that’s what it is” he said,”Dead!” That is why it was covered with a white sheet!
Parts of it have been torched out of the body and grace his Art Gallery walls and there is even a car pieces wind chime hanging from the tin ceiling of the gallery. He was the host for the day. He was at an event in Texas and had Xerox Most Wanted signs and people posed for the piece you see on the gallery wall. All the photos are on the trunk of a car, hanging on the gallery wall and the participants tagged themselves on FB.
Sam Thorp posed by the van she painted.
Steve bought a psychology book at Awesome Books a few doors down and he pointed out the giant sleeping cat in the front of the bookstore. We had fun in Garfield Saturday afternoon.
(At least I think it’s a 1957 from the images I could find on google.
If you think I’m wrong, let me know)
You can see why they made the Pixar movie CARS. Two eyes and a nose and a mouth are perfect and lend themselves to being humanized, animated and given the ability to talk.
Just in case you need a little something to keep you busy on weekends.
It’s only a mile from my house and I keep seeing her look at me when I drive by. Cars are female, right? Like boats? (Except in the movie CARS there are a lot of guy cars) But do you still hear comments like, “She’s a real beaut!” or ” I got her up about seventy on the straightaway.” when referring to a car. How did boats and cars get designated female and is that something old fashioned that is totally out of style? Here’s some debate I was able to find on the subject at English Forums.
The blog has been a real family effort since I have been on vacation. My DIL drove by slowly so I could shoot the giant flag and Mustang on the lawn. This is one of those 100+ days we had in early July. Already we are past mid July! Oh my.
Now it’s drought conditions around here so the lawns are more brown. The thunderstorms just don’t provide enough precipitation
It is an amazing skill Uncle Frank has- refurbishing old cars. Did you see his 1933 Buick?
The car he is working on now is a year younger than me! He’s got the engine in now. I am fascinated by the ability to do such work. Watch for future updates as he takes this baby on the road.
And the interior is from a Cadillac. I wouldn’t know where to begin. It is going to be a beauty! Shot in his West Mifflin garage.
The family has been in Pittsburgh a lot this summer. A wedding, a family reunion, a funeral, and this weekend a bridal shower.
Here are Maura and Michael sharing some raspberries while sitting on Uncle Frank’s 1933 Plymouth. You may have seen the post where Uncle Frank and Aunt Linda were pulling out of the driveway to drive another bride to the church in this snazzy car. It’s a beauty.