A member of the Electric Dream Team went to the 2010 Zippo Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. This is one of the biggest vintage racing events in the country ,attracting hundreds of historic race cars of every size and shape. Performance levels ranged from Formula Vees to CanAm cars, and every era from prewar to near-current was represented in the vast array of cars that filled the Watkins Glen paddock.
Part of the festivities at the Zippo Vintage GP is the Friday evening tour of the original Watkins Glen race course which ran on public roads in and around the village of Watkins Glen, a few miles from the present race track. Entrants in all the race classes are invited to drive their race cars for 3 laps of the old course, paced by police cars to keep the speeds under control. What makes it fun for the competitors is that it gives them an opportunity to drive their race cars without having to be all done up in their helmets and fire suits. They can experience a bit of true wind-in-the-face driving and even take a passenger along.
You never know what cars will turn up for the tour, but it always makes great photo opportunities. Here is a sampling of the photos our man took at a spot along the tour route.
This Porsche 914-6, in the famous Brumos livery, was a stout competitor in the weekend’s races.
The event’s featured marque was Alfa Romeo.
Jon Norman has been racing this Alfa since the 70s.
Alfas like this were formidable competitors in small-bore sedan racing.
Another Alfa from the WG tour.
Do the guys in this prewar Alfa look like they’re having fun?
A big contingent of Allards also turned out for the weekend.
How about a 70s BMW?
Here’s one we’ll bet you’ve never seen. This is a Bocar, a Chevy-powered special from the 50s.
Is this gorgeous or what? A 2-liter Chevron B36.
What would any vintage sports car event be without a Cobra?
Here’s another Cobra, a bit more of a serious race car.
This V8-powered early corvette looked and sounded great on the track.
This sharp-looking C2 is owned and driven by Corvette guru Jim Glass.
Is there anything on wheels more beautiful than a classic Ferrari GT car?
The most famous Triumph GT6 in the world, the Group 44 car, now owned by Classic Motorsports Magazine.
Can’t you just picture this classic Maserati screaming down the Mulsanne Straight?
The car that launched sports car racing in the US, the MGTC. Several of them were at Watkins Glen.
A mainstay of 50s sports car racing, the MGA.
Not all MGAs were convertibles. This hardtop has a long racing history.
In the 60s MGBs like this one ruled several SCCA production classes, and some are still in the thick of competition today.
Nothing says “classic sports car” like a Morgan.
Even fairly recent Mustangs have made their way into SVRA vintage racing. There’s a class for almost anything with 4 wheels and an engine.
How’s this for variety? An ex-Dave Marcis NASCAR stocker.
The mid to late 1950s were the era of American V8-powered road racing specials. This is one of them.
What’s cool about these photos, besides the charisma of the cars themselves, is how much fun the drivers and passengers are having. The vintage race car hobby is about as grin-inducing as anything we can think of, for both the participants and the spectators, and not all the fun takes place on the race track. If you’ve never been to a major vintage race weekend, it’s a visual and aural treat you owe yourself.