Monday, October 9, 2017

Classic Racers can't stand still at Art in Motion Concours by Lawrence Ulrich

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Fifty years from now, when the masses are shuttled in autonomous UberPods, and drones hunt the last rebels who dare to drive, tracks like Monticello Motor Club may be the only sanctuary for holdouts who can’t let go of their keys, or the good old days.

Overly apocalyptic? Perhaps. But as I drive in a road rally at the Art in Motion Concours d’Elegance, it’s clear why vintage and collector cars still command big crowds and astronomical prices: Those robotic hydrogen shuttles may be safer and greener, but they won’t be as beautiful, romantic or fun.

The Friday rally to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts – itself a repository of history, at the site of the original 1969 Woodstock concert – kicked off a weekend of all-encompassing car love at Monticello. I’ve already bumped into Danny Sullivan, whose epic “spin and win” in the 1985 Indy 500 made him a racing superstar. 

At Bethel Woods, I spot champion driver Tommy Kendall and his wife Caroline, emerging from one of the show’s oddest, coolest cars: A 1968 Porsche 911 police car, in the orange-and-white livery of the Dutch police; with a flashing cherry top affixed to its Targa bar and a bullhorn-style siren on its rear-engine deck. Porsche sent its 911 Polizei-Bekleidung car on the U.S. auto circuit in ‘68, convinced that American police would love to add a Porsche pursuit vehicle to their fleets, but no dice.

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