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Yankee Yesteryear Car Club Annual Show 2012

Jay Ramey November 15, 2012 All Things Hoon, Car Shows

willys bermuda

Sittrons and Pew-joes are great and everything, but sometimes its nice to go to a show that’s all about rare domestic cars, and by that I don’t mean rows upon rows of Mustangs and Chevelles. So a few weeks ago I headed into the northeast quadrant of Connecticut for Yankee Yesteryear Car Club’s annual car show and swap meet in the town of Brooklyn. This annual event brings together over a hundred rare cars and trucks, from the 1920s into the present day. The vast majority of the cars gathered this year were from domestic manufacturers, though a couple German and British cars were also in the field. Perhaps the best thing about this show is  the opportunity to see classics that are unlikely to be seen at your average concours event or Arizona in January, like mint 1970s barges and unrestored pickups from the 1960s.

It was also a treat to see a nice selection of car-based pickups, ranging from the GMC Caballero to the Ford Ranchero, cars that I hadn’t seen in years and ones that usually don’t make it into the auction reviews in Sports Car Market magazine. While I was at this show, our own Jim Brennan was just thirty five miles east at the 32nd British Motorcar Gathering and Picnic organized by the Connecticut Triumph Register. I contemplated going to both events that day, but after spending way too much time at the swapmeet part of the field, succeeding in spending merely tens rather than hundreds of dollars, my wallet and I needed a rest. So let’s take a look at this year’s highlights.

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27th Annual Simsbury Fly-In and Car Show

Jay Ramey November 14, 2012 Car Shows

dodge monaco

A few weeks ago I attended the 27th Annual Simsbury Fly-In and Car Show, in the northwest Connecticut town of the same name (except without the “27th annual” or the “fly-in” part, the town is just called Simsbury). Plane & car shows are nothing new, as there are some famous events around the country that combine both modes of transportation, like the Owls Head Spring Antique Auto & Aeroplane Show in Maine.

This year’s Simsbury show once again featured an eclectic mix of foreign and domestic automobiles, with attendance leaning towards 1960s American cars. There were some repeat customers that have made an appearance on the pages of this blog before, such as the 1989 Ford Sierra Cosworth Sapphire that was last seen at Lime Rock Sunday Concours this very year, as well as some surprises like a timewarp delivery mileage Yugo. Let’s take a look at some of this year’s highlights.

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Hooniverse Bookshelf: Russian Motor Vehicles: Soviet Limousines 1930-2003

Jay Ramey November 13, 2012 Cars You Should Know

lime book 1

If you saw the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, you may have noticed a very interesting car in that film that should have immediately caused you to wake up and pay attention. Amidst the parkour infomercial and the product placement overload, gearheads were treated to a very brief cameo by a vintage Russian limousine. If you immediately recognized it as a ZiL when watching the film for the first time, give yourself a pat on the back. If you jumped out of your seat during the theater screening and yelled “That’s a ZiL 117!!! There were only like fifty of ’em made!!!” give yourself another pat on the back, not only for your command of obscure Eastern Euro sedans, but also for educating the terrified moviegoers around you. Now they will also know that that was a ZiL 117, a V8-powered short-wheelbase version of the ZiL 114 limousine, only about 50 of which were made in the early 1970s as escort cars for government motorcades.

If, on the other hand, you didn’t know what that black sedan was, but you wanted to read more about Russian limousines, there’s a book out there that should help. Maurice A. Kelly’s Russian Motor Vehicles: Soviet Limousines 1930-2003 is a solid though not particularly all-encompassing effort by the British author to shed light on the somewhat obscure topic of Russian state limousines. Let’s take a look inside.

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V.I.S.I.T. – Very Tired Peugeot 505, Possibly Diesel

peugeot 505

There I was, just driving along and minding my own beeswax in northern Mass, until a familiar (to me) shape flew by in the corner of my eye. I doubled back and sure enough, it was a Pew-joe sedan sitting in an empty lot. A closer inspection revealed that this was in all likelihood a 505 STI that may or may not have been converted to diesel at some point, which went a great deal towards explaining why this tired example was sitting in an unpaved lot all by itself.

Diesel Poozhoes were not especially popular in the mid-80s, as it was morning again in America and gas was cheap again. So a BMW 5er-sized saloon was not an appealing buy with 80bhp on tap. Sure, Detroit still marketed oil burners in the 80s, but that was largely a case of cars coming to market years after the economic conditions that made diesels appealing had started to wane.

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Eastern Euro Classics in 1:43

Jay Ramey October 29, 2012 Diecast Delights

diecast 1

Ever wanted to find scale models of the hard-to-pronounce cars you saw on your European vacation 30 years ago, but don’t know where to get them? No need to convert your hard-earned dollars into hard-to-pronounce currencies or go anywhere, as these model cars are easier to find than you might think.

Let’s face it, in North America its hard to find models of cars in 1:43 scale, or any other scale for that matter. Overpriced and unrealistic diecast cars painted in ridiculously bright colors (with grandiose certificates of authenticity that look like college diplomas) are hawked through magazines like back in the 70s at eyewatering prices, alongside worthless commemorative coins and steak knives. Even car magazines proudly display intricate 1:18 scale models of some classic for over $200 like its the bestest thing ever, but who’s going to buy that? And forget about finding a model of your daily driver. Chances are, nobody on the continent has it.

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French Fender Day 2012

citroen ds sm

I think we can all agree that cars and bicycles go well together, right? Okay, let me rephrase that: French cars and French bicycles go well together. I mean, just how much heavier than a bicycle can a Deux Chevaux with an empty gas tank possibly be? A bicycle is probably about as safe in a crash too, but let’s not get sidetracked. Last weekend I attended a French bicycle gathering in Connecticut that also played host to a small group of Citroens and Peugeots. French Fender Day brought together bicycle enthusiasts from all over Connecticut and neighboring departements, as well as nice selection of local French automobiles. Let’s take a look at the French cars that turned out this year.

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Hooniverse Bookshelf: Cars of the Soviet Union: The Definitive History

ussr cars 1

If you’ve always wanted to delve into the wonderfully complex and not often seen world of Soviet automobiles, but didn’t want to pop several blood vessels in your eye from trying to figure out the difference between a Moskvitch 2141 and a Moskvitch 214242, or a ZiL 41047 from a ZiL 41074, then I just might have the book for you.

Andy Thompson’s Cars of the Soviet Union: The Definitive History is a fun and accessible 376-page book that examines Soviet automotive industry, from a historical and political perspective, covering the period from 1917 till 1991 in five parts. Behind the instantly recognizable and sexy car names like AZLK 214006(7)-117, you’ll find a whole parallel universe of automotive history, which was always capable of surprising. Since this is Hooniverse, you’re probably aware that in the 1950s there were AWD sedans and wagons available from at least two Soviet carmakers (the Moskvitch 410 & 411, and the GAZ M72). But did you know that for over thirty years the USSR had a V8-powered long-wheelbase minivan that came in police and ambulance versions? We’ve just barely scratched the surface.

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Event Preview: Tutto Italiano Autunno at Larz Anderson Auto Museum

Jay Ramey October 9, 2012 Car Shows

alfa romeo 8c

Everyone knows that in Italian autunno means rain date, right? Well, actually autunno is the season that we’re now technically in, or would be if the temperatures on the right coast received the memo that it’s now October. Last year’s Tutto Italiano, Larz Anderson Auto Museum’s immensely popular annual Italian car day held on the first weekend in August, was rained upon with rarely seen ferocity (though the show went on), necessitating a second Italian car day to mollify the enraged mobs of car fans. So a second show was held in October, to much acclaim.

Last year’s October show could safely be called the Tutto Italiano: Supercar Edition, as Italian supercars dominated the event. Add to this perfect weather – sunny with temperatures in the mid-60s – something which would be scientifically impossible to achieve in early August, and you have the right combination for a great car show. Add to the mix supercars doing powerslides out the gates, Wayne Carini chatting with everyone, a dozen new Fiat 500s, and you pretty much have a perfect day. This year’s Tutto Italiano Autunno will take place on Sunday, October 14 at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, just outside Boston. Let’s take a look at some favorites from Tutto Italiano Autunno, aka Tutto Lite from last year.

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Lime Rock Sunday Concours 2012: French Cars

Jay Ramey October 2, 2012 Car Shows

citroen visa

Wrapping up our coverage of Lime Rock’s Sunday Concours, which took place in the least populated quadrant of Connecticut over Labor Day weekend, we’re going to examine the French cars that gathered at the race track this year. We’ve previously looked at the German, British, American, and Italian cars that made a pilgrimage to Lime Rock.

This year’s French car contingent was very strong, with Citroens seemingly outnumbering the Italian cars gathered at the circuit. In fact, the number of Citroens at Lime Rock appeared to eclipse those at Carlisle Import Nationals, which would make this the second largest Citroen gathering on the right coast this year after Citroen Rendezvous at Saratoga Springs. Carlisle continues to hold the title for second largest French car gathering on the right coast, boasting more than a dozen AMC-era Renaults alone, not to mention a healthy number of Peugeots and Citroens. But let’s take a look at some of this year’s highlights from Lime Rock.

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Upcoming Event: Fort Adams in the Fall Car Festival in Newport, RI

Jay Ramey October 1, 2012 Car Shows

plymouth sport suburban

If you’re going to be in the Boston or Providence area on the weekend of October 21st (and let’s face it, who isn’t going to be there that weekend?) you actually have some options as far as car shows go. While Larz Anderson Auto Museum will host it’s Green Car Day in the Boston suburb of Brookline, an hour and half south the town of Newport, RI, will host its 11th Annual Fort Adams in the Fall Car Festival. In previous years the event has attracted an eclectic mix of classics, with the selection leaning towards reasonably rare American cars.

Historic Fort Adams has also been the location of Newport Concours d’Elegance for 2010 and 2011, until the event’s cancellation for 2012 due to a loss of venue and backup venue at the last minute. The last year Newport Concours was held was, ehhhh, not the awesomest year for the event, let’s just put it that way, but hopes were high for 2012’s relaunch. The Fort location itself has some pluses and minuses, chief among the latter being that there is only one car entrance into the hexagonal stone fort, and the limited space on the inner courtyard itself.

In any case, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the 2011 edition of Fort Adams in the Fall, with some Mystery Cars thrown in for good measure.

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