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Motorcycles Will Bring Noise, Bike Fans to Greenwich Concours

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The Greewich Concours isn’t all about cars. Every year some very very fine motorcycles make an appearance, and even though there are usually only about twenty of them, they tend to be as brilliantly chosen as the cars themselves. And often their values eclipse the cars that visitors drive to the show itself. Well, some visitors anyway, because as we have seen there are definitely some ridiculously rare cars in the parking lot.

I have to confess that every year I spend very little time actually looking at the motorcycles, preferring instead to listen to their descriptions as they cross the podium at the awards ceremony. Part of this has to do with the fact that the show’s visitors rarely have something insightful to blurt out, as this tends to be a car crowd rather than a bike crowd. Even so, motorcycles are an important part of the field, and every year I see something that I hadn’t even heard about. Let’s take a look at some of the motorcycles that gathered at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich last year.

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SAABs Run the Show at Carlisle Imports 2013

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Just like last year, SAABs have completely dominated the Carlisle Import Nationals. In terms of plain numbers, SAABs led the way with 251 cars on the show field and 310 registered attendees, with Audi being a distant second with around a hundred cars. And then it was downhill from there, with every other marque gathering upwards of four dozen cars at best.

And once again, by the end of the day I had grown so envious of the SAAB club’s organization and activities, that I wished I had driven a SAAB to Carlisle this year just to be able to get food that were being served in their tent. Perhaps next year, perhaps next year. Just need to find a SAAB first. But right now, let’s take a look at the Swedish cars that gathered at last weekend’s Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals, and not just SAABs.

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German Cars Bring the Awesome at Carlisle Imports 2013

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The Carlisle Import Nationals wouldn’t be the show that it is without the hundreds of German cars and car fans that make the trip to Pennsylvania every year, some coming from as far away as Canada. And this year the field certainly didn’t disappoint, as the numbers of Audi cars alone seemed to approach 200. This was a great turnout for Opel as well, with more than 40 cars present. If you were there on Friday and Saturday, you would have seen just a tremendous number of cars in the German section of the field, perhaps the biggest turnout in the last five years of the event. And if you were there on Sunday you probably saw jack squat, because Sunday is the day that everyone drives back home. Which we warned you about.

Straying a bit from the topic of German cars, I feel compelled to note that the vendor area of the field grew quite unexpectedly this year, with seemingly double the number of sellers present on the field than in previous years. This was both good news and bad news. It was good news for actual car owners as they crowded that part of the field in what seemed to be a mini version of Hershey’s swap meet, and it was bad news for me because I was tempted to buy parts for cars that not only did I not own, but hadn’t even seen in years. Carlisle is tricky like that, it plays mind games on you, so you’ve got to watch out. Let’s gawk at some German cars instead after the jump.

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Diecast Delights: GAZ 3110 in 1:43

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Remember the GAZ 3110? Of course you do, it’s the taxi that was hooned by Jason Bourne in the second installment of the Bourne trilogy. And thanks to that film, millions of people got to see what they thought was a Volvo 240 with a weird front fascia. Truth be told, the GAZ dates back to a time when the Volvo 240 series was barely in the works, which should give you a good idea as to the mechanicals underhood. And now you can even have the 3110 in 1:43.

The GAZ 3110 came out in 1997, and essentially represented yet another facelift of the GAZ 24 which premiered in 1970, retaining its basic midsection and architecture. The GAZ 24 model line diverged a bit in the early 1980s with the release of the upmarket 3102 and no-frills 2410, and the 3110 traces its lineage to the basic 2410 model. And yes, these numbers are a pain to keep straight, but just wait till you talk to someone who actually knows all the different engines that went into the GAZ cars, because they have even more complex index numbers. 

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Carlisle Imports 2013: The British Cars

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I have seen the 2013 Carlisle Import Nationals, and it was good. The turnout was excellent, the weather cooperated, and the cars were obscure. Just the way we like it. Let’s start our review with the British cars, because we’re doing this alphabetically and there were no Austrian or Australian cars at the show. The British car contingent grew appreciably for this year, due in no small part to the TVR club holding its nationals event at Carlisle. It was also nice to see a large turnout of Triumphs and MGs. Some marques, however, were absent entirely as there was not a single Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, or Bristol on the field, just to name a few. In addition, not a single Land Rover was present, though historically the Land Rover community has not made any concerted efforts to appear at Carlisle. British Leyland-era cars were also underrepresented at the show, though all of these conspicuous absences can be written off to British car owners preferring their own single-country or single-marque gatherings.

As such, it was TVR and Triumph that really dominated the British car contingent this year at Carlisle. And man, there were some rare TVRs this year, including models that we didn’t get in the states (not to imply that North America was ever offered a huge number of TVRs to choose from) such as later model TVR Griffiths that drove down from Canada. Without further ado mucking about, let’s kick off our review of Carlisle by taking a look at the British cars that gathered this year. 

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Greenwich Concours Preview: 1970 Lotus Elan +2 Coupe

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While I’m sure we’ve all seen Lotus Elan roadsters, when was the last time you saw an Elan coupe? It’s no secret that the Elan’s sales and reputation in America were based on its appeal as a fair weather roadster, so coming across this nicely preserved +2 Coupe was a bit of a surprise.

Some showgoers were even more surprised than I was, specifically at finding out that Lotus had built a coupe version in the first place. You have to admit though, the +2 Coupe’s lines paint a much different overall profile, especially if your eye is trained to process only the cabrio version of this machine. Let’s take a closer look at this thing after the jump.

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Greenwich Concours Parking Lot is Basically Its Own Car Show

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A lot of classic car events claim to have a visitor parking lot filled with cars just as interesting as inside the show itself, but few events pull it off quite as deftly as the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. The annual event, which takes place every June in Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut, brings together not only the best cars in the northeast, but also one the most zealous and diverse crowds of car enthusiasts that I have ever seen. And that means that the selection of cars in the parking lot is going to be just as eclectic.

Over the years I have seen everything from a Tatra 613 to a Rolls-Royce Camargue in the parking lot across the street from the show. It’s actually gotten to the point where people will tour the parking lot itself in small groups, taking photos of the cars inside the lot. One year, for example, I parked next to a curious-looking BMW 5-series police car with lots of antennas on the trunk, though I have no idea what local department calls itself the Polizia Stradale, or why they would be using an old 5er. So let’s take a few minutes hours to gawk at some other Greenwich Concours visitors’ cars.

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Greenwich Concours Preview: 1974 De Tomaso Longchamp

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If you haven’t seen a De Tomaso Longchamp on the streets of your town lately, there is a very good reason for this. A grand total of 409 Longchamps were made during eighteen years of production, a number small enough to make ZiL’s limousine production facility go Pff, and the Rolls-Royce Camargue high tech assembly line some bloke’s garage turn green with envy.

The Longchamp itself was based on the De Tomaso Deauville, another vehicle not known for its ubiquity in the US. First shown at the 1972 Turin Motor Show, the Longchamp was well received, though by 1973 things had turned quite sour for the supercar industry due to the oil crisis. Designed by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia, the Longchamp borrowed the basic platform and transmission from the Deauville, using the 351 Ford Cleveland V8 which was popular in hybrid supercars of the time. Let’s take a closer look at this coupe after the jump.

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Foreign Cars of Rhinebeck Spring 2013

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Even though the Rhinebeck Spring Dust Off is known for its encyclopedic selection of rare American automobiles, starting with the brass era and into the 1980s, every year the event features some great foreign cars as well. Last time we took a look at some of the ridiculously awesome American cars that appeared at Rhinebeck last weekend, so now it’s time to examine the foreign car contingent.

Every year the Rhinebeck Spring Dust Off brings out about a hundred foreign automobiles on Sunday. The foreign car contingent is not great in number, but what turns up never fails to surprise. Back in 2008 it was a Tatra 613 that made the trip from northern Massachusetts, and last year it was the wonderful Renault R10 which we gawked at just a couple weeks ago. And at the other end of the examples-made spectrum was the Volkswagen Quantum GL5 station wagon in concours condition. But this year showgoers were treated to a duo of DAFs, one of them wearing a Volvo badge. Intrigued? Let’s take a closer look after the jump.

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Carlisle Import & Kit Nationals This Weekend

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The Carlisle Import Nationals are almost upon us, and if you haven’t ditched family plans in favor of sneaking off to southeastern Pennsylvania on the weekend of May 16th, now is the time to make up a story. No, let’s not use anything obviously made-up this time, like surgery for that sports injury from back in college that’s been bothering you, cause college was twenty years ago and you already used that excuse to get out of Uncle Irving’s fourth (or was that fifth?) wedding. And c’mon, that wasn’t a sports injury – you slipped on some barf walking out of the dorm at 3am and broke one of your toes. And no, the ol’ wisdom teeth removal excuse won’t work, cause then you’ll have to fake a swollen face for the next two weeks. Let’s just go with “I gotta go to that one important industry conference”.

And let’s face it, the Carlisle Import Nationals are an industry conference. This industry conference will, after all, consist of presentations, tutorials, seminars, speeches, as well as occasional Picard facepalms of varying duration as a result of what that guy did to his car. Impromptu Polka dancing contests have also been known to break out, but those are rare. This, ahem, industry conference and seminar will take place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania from May 17th through May 19th, but as I’ve mentioned before Sunday is not the best day to attend as that is the day that everyone drives back home. Let’s take a look at some highlights from last year’s edition of this totally important industry conference that you just can’t miss.

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