Celebrating its 26 year, the Colorado Grand continues to captivate all involved with its scenery, roads, cars, people and all-absorbing atmosphere. This magical event was originally inspired by participation in the Mille Miglia Storica by the late Bob Sutherland and Mike Dopudja who sought to showcase Colorado at a somewhat more leisurely pace and raise money for Colorado charities. Recognizing the need for event support they recruited Captain Larry Tolar of the Colorado State Patrol and our primary charity, the Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation was adopted.
The recipe breaks down like this; gather 85, pre-61 sports and racing cars of distinction piloted by sporting enthusiasts from around the world. Coordinate these participants to rendezvous in Vail and armed with a world-class route book, navigate a thousand miles of stunning scenery and roads over four days. Add a dash of Colorado culture with lunch stops at various small towns along the route that include local homemade food and hospitality. Gently fold in the fall weather and turning leaves and allow to set up. Top it all off with our unique Concours d' Non-Elegance, nestled in the Switzerland-inspired Lionshead area with the cars displayed wearing their road wear proudly.
As for the 85 total cars, 16 of them were some of Maranello's finest. The earliest Ferrari was the 1949 166 MM Touring Barchetta, S/N 0022M owned by David Seielstad who brought his wonderful Barchetta from Hawaii (which also solidified David for the long distance Ferrari honors). The Barchetta is noted as the first Ferrari ever shown at a concours taking first in class at the Concours d'Elegance Lido in Venice in 1949, presented in its original black with green goat-skin upholstery. The car raced in 11 events in Italy, Monte Carlo, and Portugal, placing 10th overall and 3rd in class in the 1951 Targa Florio.
Other Ferrari cars of note include Jimmy & Lisa Dobbs III's 1952 212 Inter Vignale Coupe, S/N 0239 EU-0292 MM which was decorated in its 1952 La Carrera Panamericana Sinclair livery, back for its second time. We had two 410 Superamericas stuffed with Lampredi 4.9-liter power plants including Jack and Debbie Thomas' Series I, S/N 0479 SA, a 1956 Turin show car that wound up with the Saudi Arabian royal family, and Lammot DuPont's fascinating Series II Superamerica, S/N 0713 SA built on the short 2600 mm chassis. Ordered for Richard Wolfe of Columbus, Ohio a Mercedes-Benz collector, who had the factory fit some unique features including 300SL bumper guards and taillights, steering damper, and rear-view mirrors. He also ordered a compass, a Blaupunkt radio with reverberation unit, a Halda trip computer, and dual rear-window wipers. The car was shown at the 1957 Chicago Auto Show and the Sebring 12-hour race.
Filling out the monstrous 4.9-liter entries was my personal favorite, Wayne & Graceia Golomb's 375 MM Plus PF Cabriolet Speciale, S/N 0488 AM. Delivered on New Year's Eve 1954 to King Leopold II of Belgium, this strikingly beautiful Cabriolet is also quite startling when running. It is a magic moment when expect to hear a mild-mannered touring motor but instantly you are transported to the pits at Monza when the belching 340hp is lit up.
Repeat Granders John & Heather Mozart brought their Testa Rossa 59/60 Fantuzzi Spyder, S/N 0770 TR, a factory team car, driven by Phil Hill, Olivier Gendebien, Dan Gurney, Tony Brooks, Wolfgang Von Trips, Richie Ginther, and Pedro Rodriguez. In it, Hill set the fastest lap at the Nürburgring in 1960 (the long course). 1960 it finished second overall in the 1960 Buenos Aires, 1000 Km with Von Trips and Ginther at the wheel.
Longtime Granders Michael and Katharina Leventhal brought their 1956 250 GT LWB Alloy Berlinetta, S/N 0555 GT. Notable races include seventh overall in the 1957 Mille Miglia and fifth overall in the 1957 Trieste Opicinia Hillclimb. It would enjoy considerable success at Italian hill climbs and races from 1958 to 1961, including the 1959 Targa Florio, where it garnered a ninth overall and first in the GT class.
Another rare sight was Lee Harrington's 1958 250 GT Speciale, S/N 0853 GT. Finished in Swedish Blue by Pinin Farina for Prince Bertil of Sweden, is one of five, Ferrari-built stunning bespoke 250 PF coupe Speciales; this final one is considered to be the PF Coupe prototype. There are numerous unique features including the ¾ glass window treatment and rear tail light treatment. Lee, a perennial concours participant chose the Colorado Grand for his touring debut.
Additional 250 GT's included Hugh Ruthven's 250 GT Drogo, S/N 0977 GT that completed its 25th Colorado Grand and Robert Kauffman's 250 GT Boano Coupe, S/N 0609 GT, the 14th of 18 low-roof alloy-bodied coupes. There were two, 250 GT Series II PF Cabriolets brought by Parker Hall with S/N 2703 GT and S/N 2099 GT brought by Chris Marsico.
Finally, we had five 250 GT SWBs, including three early alloy cars; Joshua Feiber's 1960 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Alloy, S/N 1813 GT, a repeat Targa Florio entrant from 1960-1962, and a third in class at the 1960 Trieste-Opicina Hillclimb; Chris Andrews' 1960 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Alloy, S/N 2033 GT the 30th of 167 such cars constructed, raced in Italy by its first owner in 1960 and 1961 before being sold in 1962 to race-car driver Lorenzo Bandini and Jerry Lynch's 1960 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Alloy, S/N 2095 GT. Jerry's SWB had an extensive racing career beginning a week after delivery primarily in enduros, finishing third overall at the 1961 Mille Miglia and second overall at the 1961 Coppa Sant'Ambroeus. Long events such as the Coppa Intereuropa, Targa Florio, Nürburgring and Spa were its specialty. Jerry bought the car in 1974, had it restored, then raced it at the Monterey, Road America, and Steamboat Springs for many years. Lawrence Bowman brought 250 SWB Berlinetta 61/Comp, S/N 2767 GT, one of only 21 SEFAC Hot Rods built, enjoying an illustrious racing career in Europe in 1961 to 1962. And last, but not least, Randy Reiss' late 250 SWB Berlinetta S/N 3695 in stunning fly yellow.
This year's 1,000 miles were primarily focused in Northern Colorado with our day 1 start from Vail, through the Yampa Valley, over Gore Pass and down into a Lake Dillon for a much welcomed hot lunch to take the edge off a soggy ride. The afternoon was highlighted by ski resort tour including the trek up to the Loveland Pass summit, elev. 11,990 ft. and past Arapahoe Basin (which will became the first ski resort to open this year) and Copper Mountain on our way to Leadville, America's highest city (10,152 ft.) for a coffee stop at the historic Delaware Hotel. We continued on over Tennessee pass, past Ski Cooper and the historic Camp Hale, established by the U.S. Army in 1942 as a winter-troop training base and back down into Vail for the end of our first day.
Day 2 began with a beautiful day's run over Vail Pass to Breckenridge, over Hoosier Pass and into Salida for lunch. The afternoon was highlighted by a stunning drive by Twin Lakes and up Independence Pass (12,095 ft.), the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide and into Aspen to ultimately end our day in Snowmass.
Our third day headed us north through Glenwood Springs and through the Piceance Creek Basin and into Meeker for lunch. We continued on to Craig through the Yampa Valley with a coffee stop at the Carpenter Ranch, a 1,000 acre ranch operated by The Nature Conservancy for our evening's destination in Steamboat Springs.
Our final driving day included a route over Rabbit Ears Pass to Kremmling, through the Arapahoe National Forest with a short coffee stop respite at the C Lazy U Ranch, an incredible 8,500 acre, luxurious dude ranch. The remainder of the morning took us over Willow Creek Pass and into Walden for lunch where we were treated to among other things, local wild game faire appetizers highlighted by pheasant crostini! With only 134 remaining miles, we collectively reflect on this glorious week of our enchanted forest adventure and cannot hold back a big smile as we high-five our successful completion of another Grand (my twentieth). Our final evening's banquet provides platform to present our awards, thank our sponsors, volunteers, motors and devoted organizing team. Up early on Saturday we prepare for the concours d' Non-Elegance and display our bug-splattered vehicles in the European-styled Lionshead mall for all to see. Thanks to our very generous participants and sponsors, all indications are showing that we will have another record year of returning much needed support to very deserving charities.
I lost a great friend today.
Gerald got me truly revved up about Ferrari cars 20 years ago. And when I mean revved up, I’m not talking about introducing me to the cars that had graced my walls many years ago or the stories I read endlessly in Road & Track, but he really opened my eyes to the world of Ferrari. He had a way about him that fascinated me in a way that no one had done before. His voracious appetite for preserving the history of the marque allowed the magic of Ferrari to be unfurled before my very eyes. My initial introduction was via a phone call to find out the pedigree of my first Ferrari, a wonderful 1984 308 GTS QV S/N 52623. Not only did he take the time to provide me with the skimpy background that this 7,000 mile car had, but spent tons of time educating me on the model, how many had been identified as being built and suggesting additional research material. Additional teaching sessions further exacerbated this fascination to the disease phase that I was slowly slipping into.
Gerald thrived on other individuals taking a keen interest in the prancing horse minutiae as did he and with his teaching background he stoked the fire to the point that I became interested in tracking and preserving the mark as he was. He encouraged me to start the 330 register and track all 330 series cars, when he probably got tired of me asking questions on this model. To this day, I can’t visit a dealership without recording what I can which has led into my current fascination of tool kit research & documentation, new car documentation and the 456 Register. He must have chosen the coolest profession ever, I’ve thought to myself often. Being able to get up early in morning with his coffee, and head downstairs into the lair and document the stories of these cars and the lives of those that were lucky enough to strap on and play caretaker to these great automobiles. I could spend endless hours listening to his and Carol’s stories that make these cars different from all others. I’m sure all marques have their share of enthralling tails, but Ferrari cars have attracted all types of owners, dealers and drivers. I’ll treasure my time strapped to a good scotch and listening to stories ranging from playboys like Porfirio Rubirosa, swapped serial numbers, past flamboyant dealers like Don Fong, mysteriously appearing non-existent models, precious cars buried underneath the ground for dozens of years, torched up into pieces and hidden in barrels of oil, burned to the ground, unceremoniously retrofitted with snakeskin or alligator seats or roofs, transplanted Chevy small blocks and gifts for mistresses. These are the real legends behind these fascinating vehicles. Yes, they were very successful at the track and under the stylistic brush of the likes of Pinin Farina, Vignale & Zagato, but how can you compete with these tales. You just can’t make this stuff up.
First and foremost I fully believe that his integrity as a Ferrari historian he was second to none. I began to learn his methods of tracking and documenting serial & model numbers, Ferrari internal codes, etc. He thought me well on documenting reports from multiple corroborating resources and not from hearsay and continually pointed out errors in documented works . Consistently recording factory nomenclature and deciphering installed components from original documentation was of particular joy to him. Much of his historic note taking has become accepted practices for many a Ferrari serial number geek. His early-on efforts of record-keeping set the standard for future Ferrari knowledge preservation that we are all grateful of.
Gerald was to become one of the coolest guys I had the pleasure of knowing. His love of Carol and his family, Southern rock, Auburn football, old goofy English cars, cooking & good food, wine, scotch, grappa, Italy, the Mille Miglia and of course Ferrari cars was infectious. He was the insiders guide to Monterey week, which we were privileged to have shared with he and Carol for many years which filled us with memories for a lifetime. We talked he and Carol into bringing the MG Tojeiro, Leonard-Special LOY 501 to the Colorado Grand in 1995 (probably after liberal amounts of Grappa), and in spite of spending a glorious week in Colorado, Carol’s idea of a week vacation didn’t include sliding around in a hot, oil slick laden aluminum-floored, sporty car without a top. Gerald returned the following year with Jim Arnieri as co-piloto in the gorgeous little green racecar.
Thanks Gerald for your friendship and wisdom over the years . You will certainly be missed by the Ferrari world and those of us that knew him. So, as I listen to the Allman Brothers, Traffic and Freebird and nurse a 35-year old wee dram, I raise a toast to you my friend. “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? For I must be travelling on, now, 'Cause there's too many places I've got to see.”
More to come, but here are pictures from the 2007 Colorado Grand:
1938 8C 2900B - Miles Collier & Scott George
1961 Ferrari 250 SWB - Malcom Welford & Mark Donaldson
Good Friend, Co-Piloti, ace photographer & Girard-Perregaux Brand President Ron Jackson
1956 250 GT Boano Alloy - Jack E. & Debbie Thomas
1953 166MM/53 - P.B. Bachman III & Ferrari Historian Keith Bluemel
1961 250 SWB Berlinetta 61/Comp PF - Bruce McCaw & Hans Wurl
1960 Ferrari 250 SWB - Tony Singer & Randy Reiss
1956 290MM Jon & Erick Shirley
1952 340 MM Comp Le Mans Spyder - Michael & Katharina Leventhal
1952 340 Mexico - Bruce & James Lustman
1953 250 MM Berlinetta PF - Thomas & Will Mittler
1959 Chevrolet Corvette Scaglietti - Bud Lyon & Bill Neale
1954 Ol' Yaller I - Jim Edwards & Adam Martin
The Author in a 1957 XK 140 MC - Neil Jones & Seth Rollert (who gave up his seat for me for the run to Hotchkiss)
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
After a wonderful registration and “concours” day, we had a brief encounter with the brisk weather that would greet us for Monday Morning. Registration day is always a ton of fun. I’ve known folks for so many years, it’s like coming home. As I have been known to say about many of the super car events, “yes these cars are great, but it’s the people that bring folks back to an event.” So many wonderful cars and people are joining us for this 18th adventure in the high altitude of
John Mozart's Alfa 8C 2900
Pictures copyright GP Purist
Tom & Susan Armstrong's Cunningham C-3 Vignale Coupe
Pictures copyright GP Purist
The Machul's Alfa 8C Monza
Pictures copyright GP Purist
Pictures copyright GP Purist
This year’s car that Ron Jackson and I are sporting is a lovely white Chrysler Sebring Cabriolet (convertible). You see, we are and more importantly Ron Jackson tasked with recording the weeks events in digital photo form, and we tend to take many shots from the back and side of the car, thus our “cabriolet” is essential to the task. Ron has come completely equipped with everything produced for digital photography by Nikon. Rumor has it that Nikon’s stock has risen substantially since Ron began collecting these fine instruments.
Blast off from the Vail Cascade Monday was a balmy 25 degrees F, and of course top-down is the only option for these open air vehicles. We headed east along I-70 towards Silverthorne and then North in search of the town of
Herford Traffic Jam
Pictures copyright GP Purist
We headed back over the long stretch of pavement allowing the entrants to stretch their ride’s legs. Along the road we were greeted by a 730-head cattle drive replete with cattle boss and their trusty dogs. Circumventing these beasts required that a patrol lead the way flashing his lights and swerving back and forth to motivate them to give up the right of way. Now we were frightfully aware of what we were driving through and around for the previous 2 miles! What a sight.
Unfortunately there were three fatal breakdowns along the way, a red Porsche caught on fire, a Jaguar D-Type just quit and Decker Swan’s BMW 328’ clutch “froze”. So, all of the back-up cars were now fully utilized with participants. We arrived after experiencing a couple of construction zones and one stop by a sheriff of one our participants, Jan Tegler a freelance writer riding with Auto Aficionado Publisher James Lopez in James’ brand new Audi A6. The Sheriff was hidden in a valley and the end of a curve and there was no chance to slow down. Ron and I were right behind them, so of course we took pictures… We arrived in Steamboat Springs once a
Did I mention that my partner in crime came equipped with two prototype watches that will be produced with for the Colorado Grand??? As it turns out, one is strapped to my wrist and I’m quite enjoying it. For its size it is much lighter than I expected and is oh so comfortable. This is going to be a winner and I understand that orders have already been placed. Thanks again to Ron Jackson & Girard Perregaux for their unbelievable sponsorship this year. With out too much help this will no doubt set the high water mark for sponsorship for the charities this year. We successfully avoided the rubber chicken meal and located a local steak establishment and event tried Black Bear sausage! Ok, I’m ready for tomorrow. Oh, don't forget to check out the GP Purist's Blog at http://www.gppurist.com for more information and more importantly photos!
Following up its years of support for the Colorado Grand, Ron Jackson and Girard-Perregaux will produce 100 limited and numbered edition pieces to celebrate the partnership of the event and the prestigious Swiss watchmaker.
This unique Vintage XXL Chronograph will feature a unique dial emblazoned with the Colorado Grand logo. The steel case and rubber strap and the sporty dial echo the spirit of this very important automotive road rally. All of the hands including sub dials pick up the red and blue colors from the Colorado Grand logo and work nicely with the waffle-patterned dial. The XXL case features a see-through case back and is wrapped around the wonderful GP033CO movement. The in-house, automatic movement beats at 28,800, has 63 jewels and a power reserve or 46 hours and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
The watches will be available first to the 2006 Colorado Grand participants and will then be available for purchase through authorized Girard-Perregaux retailers. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Colorado Grand to support local Colorado Charities.
In addition, Ron Jackson and Girard-Perregaux will present and donate two one of a kind watches to be auctioned on the final evening of the event with the entire proceeds to benefit the Colorado Grand. These unique 1 of 1 watches (one for the men and one for the women) will be presented during the Grand and in the past years have been highly sought after as highly desirable timepieces.
These unique watches follow-up this successful partnership that began in 1998 with Ron Jackson’s intense involvement with this worldly event that brings 75 of the most important pre-1961 sports and racing cars and their owners to the beautiful roads and scenery of Colorado. Founded by Bob Sutherland in 1989, the Grand is recognized worldwide as the finest event of its kind. In its 17-year history the Grand has raised more than $2 million dollars for small Colorado charities and towns. The Colorado State Patrol provides motorcycle escorts for the event, and local residents pitch in to help serve lunches. The Grand creates an unusual synergy among automotive enthusiasts, the police, and local residents.
Ron Jackson and Friends in Ouray, Colorado
Pre-war entries, which are encouraged, include Alfa Romeo, Peerless, Mercedes-Benz, Delage, BMW, Bugatti, and Talbot cars. Post-war cars include Allard, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, HRG, Porsche, Lancia, Kurtis, Jaguar, even Bristol, HRG and Pegaso.
You may find more information at the Colorado Grand’s website at http://www.coloradogrand.com
This year's field only included 6 Ferrari cars (one of the lowest number of Ferraris in recent memory on the Grand) including:
1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta S/N 0158ED - Bill Jacobs
1958 Ferrari 250GT Drogo S/N 0977 GT - Hugh Ruthven
1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Alloy Berlinetta S/N 0555 - Michael Leventhal
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta S/N 2617 GT - Gary Schaevitz
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Competizione Berlinetta “14-louvre TDF Prototype” S/N 0425 - Bruce Lustman
1962 Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta S/N 3695 - Randy Reiss
This years Grand was one for the books with the roads, weather, cars and people as nice as you can ask for. Our route focused us in the Southern half of the state of Colorado allowing us to explore some of the often reached locales in the beautiful state of Colorado. The Grand always starts and ends in Vail with different stops each evening in different localles. Departing Vail, we headed over McClure Pass on our way to our first super lunch stop in Paonia, known for their local wineries and fruit gowing capability. After lunch, we skirted the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Ridgway and onto our evening stop in Telluride.
Day Two was a short day backtracking to Ridgway onto our first ever lunch stop in the awesome mining town of Ouray. Our only encounter with weather was over the Red Mountain Pass via the Million-Dollar Highway (my personal favorite pass), where Colorado Butterflies fluttered down to cool things off. It was a beautiful site and our first brush with Fall and Winter of 2005. Our stop for pie / Jerky in Silverton allowed us to visit this quaint town (also one of the ends of the Durango Silverton Train line) and rest up from our 50 mile trip... 53 miles later we arrived at our evening destination of the suburb (ok, resort), north of Durango named Tamarron.
The third day we were starring down the barrel of a 282 mile tour which included a trip to the most Southern Colorado town of Arboles andf beginning our Northern trek past Chimney Rock, Pagosa Springs and Wolf Creek Pass and through Slumgullion Pass replete in its turning leaves where we drop in to the very cool remote town of Lake City for Lunch. Did I mention that these lunch stops are the recipiants of a donation from the Colorado Grand and one Scholorship for a lucky student? In turn, the townspeople unveil their Emeril-like cooks to feed us top-notch down-home cooking and hospitality. Just Wonderful. We head to Gunnison and ultimately into the town of Crested Butte to finish our day.
Our final day requires us to return to Gunnison as there's only one road in and out of Crested Butte, over Cochetopa Pass and into Salida for lunch (a favorite of the Granders). Our efforts are very visible here with much of our donations going to the outdoor bandshell. A very welcome suprise was previous Granders, Bud and Terry Spratlen hauling their 250 LWB Spyder up from Denver to display with us and greet old friends. It was wonderful to see them. After lunch, we headed through Buena Vista, Granite, Leadville (the hightest incorporated city in the US) and reluctantly pulled into Vail to end our 1,000 mile oddessy. Friday evening's banquet is centered around the Silent and live auction and the killer slide show presented by Girard-Perregaux and closet-photographer Ron Jackson. One of the links below points to Ron Jackson's photo collection. We were successfull in raising over $70,000 during the evening's events, thanks to many generous donors and Girard-Perregaux whoch donated one mens and one ladies 1 of 1 watch to the Grand to be auctioned off during the live auction. The watches alone brought $35,000! The Colorado Grands purpose is to raise money for Colorado charities and this year should see the Grand top $2m in donations over the 17 years, with last year generating over $200k alone.
Saturday's final event is dedicated to the Concours d'Non-elegance, where the Grand Cars are displayed still in their bugs, dirt and grime. Over 60 cars were displayed including many different car clubs from Denver. How can I sum up this event? Shock and Awe? Overwhelming Pleasure? Hard to describe really, but its the most amazing combination of people, cars, roads, weather and hospitality going. Its a chance to meet up with old and new friends, talk about cars, watches, wine, good food and all things nifty. A hugh round of applause goes to all involved in pulling off this incredible event. Below are galleries from a few folks, many thanks to their contributions.
Five of the Six Big Bentleys on the Grand
I remember sitting on a bench with Bob in Beaver Creek overlooking the finishers of the event years ago, and you could just see the joy (maybe it was a little exhaustion as well...) when he exclaimed "this is the way cars should be displayed all dirty, muddy and maybe a few sheep guts". It was a messy ride for Bob one year when his Miller took the life of a local rancher's sheep. He located the owner, paid for his sin, cut off the pants legs of his khaki pants (now shorts) and continued down the road. Thus, our mantra year after year is to not wash the cars and display them as sort of a badge of honor. This tradition continues to this day.
In addition, one of my goals is to expand the Colorado car clubs participation in the event. We had one of the largest gatherings ever with super participation from the Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club (thanks to Gary Moschetti), the Alfa Club of Colorado (Thanks Curtis Mannisto), the Rocky Mountain Maserati Club, ZSCCA (Bob Blackwood), the Rocky Mountain Jaguar Club (Rogers & Trish Willett and the SAAC (Cobra Club). Also, thanks to John Warner and my wife Theresa for the help in putting on the show.
A huge gathering from the Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club
The RMMC (Rocky Mountain Maserati Club)
had a Great Turnout
It's an English Car... If it Isn't Leaking, you Need to Fill it Up!
We head out early today as we have about 300 miles to cover. There's only two ways out (paved) of Telluride and thus, we double back through Sawpit and back to Ridgeway passing Ralph Lauren's stunning ranch again. And now it hits us, if we're going back through Ridgeway, we should be able to find more Cherry Pie! Sure it's 8:30 in the morning, but maybe the restaurant is open... We cruise through town only to find the True Grit Cafe, closed. Thinking quick before the pre-sugar rush subsides, we spot a bakery/cafe across the main street! No, they don't serve pie at 8:30 in the morning, but they do serve Cherry danishes made by the same people that made the pie! As we are shoving down our fuel for the morning, more granders arrive and we pose with Geoff Goldberg & Lynne Remington and Herb Wolfe and Elliott Rabin.
The Gang at the Ridgeway Bakery
(l-r - Geoff Goldberg, Lynne Remington, Ron Jackson,
Elliott Rabin, Paul Gilpatrick & Herb Wolfe)
We are now back on the road towards Montrose as we approach the Blue Mesa Reservoir / Dam, which is at the mouth of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, one of the least known and most amazing features of Colorado. We've done the Black Canyon route before on the Grand, but it still takes your breath away. While this 2,000 feet deep 53-mile canyon doesn't equal the size of the Grand Canyon, I think it's more beautiful.
The Black Canyon
Hilary Raab's Wonderful Atlantic
We swapped cars again, this time I was offered a ride in Hilary Raab's 1935 Type 58 Atlantic. What a great experience. This original 3.3 liter example underwent several chassis and body transformations ending up with the gorgeous Atlantic body and supercharger along the way. It makes all the right noises and smells, whining, crunching and whizzing along the way to our lunch destination Paonia. The car must weigh nothing (all in the motor) and gets along very well. I enjoyed this ride very much and we were even passed by the 1960 Ferrari TRI-60 Fantuzzi Spyder. Was this how the other competition felt when they were passed by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien in 1962 as they went on to win Le Mans? Thanks Hil, for the great ride.
The Le Mans Winning TR S/N 0780/0772/0808
Sucking the Headlights out of the Bugatti
Paonia is another classic lunch stop for the Grand and the hospitality and food were wonderful. As I leap back into the 300 SL for the final leg of the Grand, Tim Allen is looking for stick time in the SL, and the right seat is offered to me. I'm thrilled to have the time with Tim and we head out of the city park parking lot, and immediately send us off course navigating the local's explicit directions to "meander down this road..." We meandered as best we could and lo and behold, we located the highway. We followed the jaunt through the old coal company, which is a neat little back road and returned back to the main highway now aimed at one of my favorite passes, McClure Pass. The leaves were really turning on this pass and as we passed Marble and the dilapidated Redstone Castle we marveled at the stunning Colorado scenery. The afternoon was magical, I enjoyed one of the best afternoons I've every had. We talked about many things and found we had many like interests, not just cars. Turns out he's a computer geek too, an artist, grew up in Denver and enjoys Grand Lake. We discussed politics, family, health, but kept coming back to cars... Thanks Tim, now let's find you a Grand car.
I-70 and the Glenwood Ganyon bring us back to the sharp reminder that reality exists just ahead, somewhere past Kobe Bryant's currently despised hangout of Edwards. Our finish line comes with the fanfare of flags and cheers and a bit of sadness that this day must end.
The final banquet is held at the top of the mountain, and after a ride in the gondola to the top, our dinner is followed by the photo presentation that Ron and I worked on throughout the event. The crowd seemed pleased and Jim Salestrom joined us for the final night and serenaded us with three songs. He announced that he has officially joined the Dolly Parton band again and his songs brought back a flood of memories from when he played for us for the first time in 2001 after we experienced the tragedy of 9-11. The silent auction raised over $50,000 for Colorado charities, which is what this is all about.
Here are the pics for Day Four.
Click here to view Ron Jackson's Ophoto gallery
Our SL55 ride ended when Tim Allen wanted to drive the SL, so we were replace in a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing provided by MB's Classic Center. This 41,000km very original car was wreaking with patina and a ton of fun to drive.
Ron and Paul in the 300 SL
Right out of Durango we headed up Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft.) to Molas Pass summit (10,910 ft.) which is an absolutely stunning pass, which ultimately leads to Silverton, the final stop on the current Durango/Silverton train ride. We had a 20 minute stop for construction and had some great opportunities to snap some shots. Here is Cliff Singer, Jerry Sienfeld and Ron Jackson behind Jerry's Porsche RSK.
(l-r - Cliff Singer, Jerry Sienfeld & Ron Jackson
You can see Silverton from up here plus the hills at the top are lined with expired silver mines and tailings.
Red Mountain Pass
We bypassed Silverton and headed toward Ouray where we stopped at the Bear Paw coffee shop where an ex-Denver construction worker has planted him self in the stunning town of Ouray to build an awesome coffee shop. This bookstore/coffee shop is well worth the stop where in 2002 it was chosen as one of America's 50 best places to live by Men's Journal Magazine. We then headed off to Ridgway a mere 9 miles away and we lined up at the park in the middle of town. This town was the location for the movie True Grit and the True Grit cafe (which provided our lunch today), is filled with memorabilia from the movie. A classic stop on the Grand, we rammed down a killer lunch with our choice of fresh Peach, Apple or Cherry pie. Bar none the best pie any of us had ever had. The parking folk were even dressed up in period dress to welcome us in style. As we leave lunch, we pass Ralph Lauren's 13,000 acre ranch which is the epitome of the perfect ranch. It was huge and included many different terrain features including stunning snow-topped peaks. The car swapping has begun, and my cohort Ron Jackson has bummed a ride in Herb Wolfe's 166 MM S/N 0050M, and Elliott Rabin came with me choosing to drive our 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.
Herb Wolfe's Ferrari 166 S/N 0050M
Elliott had a great time with the car and drove us into Telluride to end our grueling 101 mile journey. Hard to express in words the scenery, roads and weather we experienced this day. Final day tomorrow with our bogey being Vail.
Mountains above Telluride
The 300 SL after a Great Day
The weather was stunning and about 64 degrees. I was hanging out in a polo-type shirt at 8:30 in the morning! The pass had very little traffic which allowed for a glorious ride up and over this twisty and narrow road. We followed several cars including the SL55, Maybach and the 1960 Ferrari 250 TRI-60 Fantuzzi Spider. Everybody made it to the top of Independence Pass fine with the exception of Hilary's Bugatti, which ran hot, necessitating a refresh of radiator fluid & water gathered from a nearby pond. This turned out to be a great place to shoot several of the cars including the TR and the 375 Plus. Now I witnessed something the Italians probably never thought of. Wayne Golumb's 375 was built for King Leopold and such was equipped with many special features such as an altimeter. It was evident that they never thought their car/altimeter would run up to over 12,000 feet, as at that height, the gauge stopped!
We then traversed down the pass enjoying the stunning scenery, the changing of the leaves and witnessed the late summer fisherman attacking the calm waters nearby. We headed for Twin lakes, and then on to Salida for lunch, passing several of Colorado's fourteeners (14,000 ft. mountains) off to our right. Salida is a favorite Grand stop as they always pull out the stops when we come to town. They have a great park in the middle of town and many of the townsfolk drop by. The lunch fixings are all homemade and this year the high school jazz band entertained us in the nearby band shell. If memory serves me right, the Grand donated funds to help with the shell.
The afternoon drive was very long taking us deep into southern Colorado passing through Pagosa Springs through the country side and even dipping into northern Nevada as witness by our drive by in Arboles which sports a large casino. Ron swapped into the passenger seat of Geoff's Lancia as we then headed north. The roads were long and deserted and without a passenger to scare, I took a few liberties with the AMG and had a few seconds to take a few choice shots. I caught a few pictures of some wonderful old train cars and a switcher on the side of the road. After passing through Durango and event spotting the Durango & Silverton train on it's way back from Silverton twenty more miles later we ended at the Purgatory resort and after a frigid tent dinner with entertainment, we retired to the pub for more car stories. Tomorrow we embark on probably the best route on the Grand where we hear over the pass to Ouray on to Ridgeway for lunch and end in Telluride.
Here are the pics for Day Two.
A glorious day was had by all. The weather could not be more perfect, between 70 & 80 the whole day. Here is the steed with my co-driver, Ron Jackson at our lunch stop at Steamboat Springs.
Ron Jackson at the Steamboat Lunch Stop
Tom Horan & Michael Brendle on Gore Pass in the AC
The Shirley's Ferrari 375MM in Steamboat
330 miles to cover today, 120 of them in the morning, leaving a long afternoon. We got an early start (at least mentally and physically we were prepared, but after a time to search for our keys to the SL55, we started later than we would have liked. Our un-official role is that of digital photographers and we prepare a presentation for the Friday night banquet. Our typical M.O. is to arrive in front of a vehicle either by waiting one the side of the road and punching it when a Grand car is spotted, or while moving, we slow down and take our snaps, allow the car to go by, then work on the next one. As many cars run in a pack, we tend to get numerous cars fairly quickly. We had a great day, catching many cars and saving them to memory.
Some of the great cars spotted today were Stephen Block & Ross Cummings' 1953 Pegaso Z102BS Le Mans Spyder, Dennis & Natalie Machul's 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2600 Monza (awesome!), Bruce & Leslie Male's 1956 Maserati A6G 2000 Zagato, Wayne & Graceia Golomb's 1955 Ferrari 375 Plus, Eric Zausner & Steve Moal's 1950 Studebaker Doctor's Coupe, Richard Procter & Ron Hetherington's 1936 HRG Le Mans, Glenn & Linsey Mounger's 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet, Jon & Mary Shirley's 1954 Ferrari 375 MM, Miles Collier & Scott George's 1937 Delahaye Type 135 MS Special Roadster, Graeme Revell & Tony Schwartz's 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Spyder, Jim Spiro & Jim Lindsey, 1960 Ferrari 250 TRI-60 Fantuzzi Spider, and Herb Wolfe & Elliot Rabin's 1950 Ferrari 160 MM Dino Scaglietti Spyder and Dennis Varni & Tim Allen's 1957 Maserati 200SI. We got to meet Tim Allen today, who is also a watch geek (who isn't on this trip?!) and we beat him up about his Maurice Lacroix. Herb Wolfe ran into a fuel pickup problem and had to bypass the oil cooler system once he got to the lunch stop. Ron and I helped Glen & Linsey Mounger in Rifle, CO, whose battery lost all electolites and necessitated a trip to NAPA. 15 minutes latter they were off with Linsey at the wheel.
New sponsor, Mitch Katz and Larry Stanton with Premier Financial Services enjoyed a spirited romp through the backcountry in an identically prepared black/black SL55. Just imagine the farmers sitting on the back porch along the road with all of these rare cars and two identical Mercedes-Benz convertibles whooshing by at light speed. We noticed many a folk enjoying the show unfolding right before their eyes. I suspect that work productivity suffered for many of these businesses along the route.
I'm hoping to see many of the other cars that I want to see tomorrow such as the two Mercedes-Benz 540Ks, the Bugatti Atalante & Hil Raab's Bugatti Atlantic. The weather is supposed to be turning tomorrow as we head to Salida for lunch and ending in Purgatory.
I'll be posting MY photos daily, Ron's will come later. Click here to view Day One's gallery.
This year is probably the best we've experienced for pre-war cars, six pre-war Bentley's alone. Herb Wolfe has his Ferrari 166 MM Spyder S/N 050M/308M here. This car spent a portion of its life in Colorado, vintage racing in the hands of Dan Collins in the many local event in the 50s. There are three Ferrari 375s including Jon & Mary Shirley's 375 MM, Wayne & Gracia Golumb's 375 Plus (The Rossellni car), and Graeme Revell & Tony Schwartz's 375 MM Scaglietti Spyder.
There are many very rare cars such as the 1953 Pegaso Z102BS Le Mans Spyder, 1936 HRG Le Mans, 1956 Maserati 350S, 1950 Studebaker Doctor's Coupe, two Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolets, 1953 Aston Martin DB2 Bertone and an Austin Healey 100S. Simply awesome.
Jerry Seinfeld is on the Grand again in his Porsche RSK, and Tim Allen showed up at dinner, although we have no idea what car he's in and with whom... About half of the entrants are new this year, so we should have some interesting events unfold.
Ron and I are starting out in the SL55, a black on black stunning beauty. The Girard-Perregaux stickers are placed on the car and look beautiful. It should be an awesome day as we head to Steamboat Springs for lunch and end up in Snowmass in the evening. I'll post photos tomorrow.
I'm preparing to head out for the Colorado Grand, a 1,000 mile trip around Colorado in 4 days. We head up to Vail tomorrow about noon, and start in earnest on Tuesday. We start from the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort in the morning. There are 14 Ferraris entered in the event so far, and here is the Ferrari entry list:
#41 - 1958 Ferrari 250 GT (Drogo)
#50 - 1960 Ferrari LWB California Spyder
Jeff Mamorsky & Martin Emmison
#59 - 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France
Michael & Katharina Leventhal
#64 - 1952 Ferrari 340MM
Sherman Wolf & Terry Herndon
Amherst, New Hampshire
#81 - 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet
Glenn & Linsey Mounger
Bainbridge Island, Washington
#88 – 1957 Ferrari SWB Spyder California (Substitute for Ferrari 340 Mexico)
Bruce Lustman & Mike Dopudja
#89 - 1954 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Tour de France
Richard & Geoff Mattei
#110 - 1950 Ferrari 160 MM "Dino" Scaglietti Spyder
Herb Wolfe & Elliot Rabin
Englewood, New Jersey
1955 Ferrari 375 Plus
Wayne & Graceia Golomb
North Muskegon, Michigan
1959 Ferrari 410 Super America
Bruce McCaw & TBD
1953 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Spyder
Graeme Revell & Tony Schwartz
Hidden Hills, California
1954 Ferrari 375 MM
Jon & Mary Shirley
1960 Ferrari 250 TRI-60 Fantuzzi Spider
Jim Spiro & Jim Lindsey
New Orleans, Louisiana
Here's the schedule:
Tuesday, September 16th
Vail to Steamboat Springs (lunch) to Snowmass
Wednesday, September 17th
Snowmass to Salida (lunch) to Purgatory
Thursday, September 18th
Purgatory to Ridgway (lunch) to Telluride
Friday, September 19th
Telluride to Paonia (lunch) to Vail
Saturday, September 20th
Saturday will feature the famous Concours d'Non-Elegance, which I'm responsible for. Here's a picture from 2002:
The car entry list is like no other rally in the US. Seventy-five pre-1961 sports and racing cars of distinction. The site is at http://www.coloradogrand.org. I'm going to chronicle the trip daily here on my blog. For the third year, I m riding with my co-driver and GREAT friend Ron Jackson, President of Girard-Perregaux. This is a shot from us last year in a 320 SLK:
This year, we're piloting the fastest production Mercedes ever built.
Drool here. 493 Hp/516 Ft pounds of torque! 0-60 in 4.5 sec.!
If you're in the area of Vail at the Lionshead Plaza, drop by on Saturday for the show, which runs from 9 am till 2 pm. We invited every exotic car club in Colorado.