Last Sunday was a swampy, crappy day, with skies like wet paper towel….
The ride getting up here was somewhere between uninspired, and completely mired…
There was an annoyingly long line at the entrance gate…
But finally, the bridge…
And I’m in.
Welcome to Lime Rock Park in beautiful Lakeville, Connecticut.
Tucked way up in the northwestern-most corner of the Nutmeg State, about 80 miles (and normally a delightful ride) from my home in extreme southwest Connecticut.
But today, fat low rainclouds have been bumping and sloshing against the Litchfield Hills, and when it’s not oozing rain, you’re weeping sweat.
Most folks have made the journey here with sensible weather protection—four wheels, a roof, windows, air conditioning…
But there’ll always be people like us…
…for whom just getting here is at least half the adventure.
Like me on my entirely unhistoric 2010 F800GS:
A thoroughly modern bike, and an excellent conveyance for a journey back in time.
So here’s the deal: what you are about to see will not include much in the way of motorcycles. And while I’ll cover a little bit about my Housatonic scramble to get up here (and back down to Fairfield County), what I will be primarily reporting on is…
That’s right: a ride report to see cars.
But not just any cars. Some of the sexiest, sweetest, most bone-worthy cars on this green earth.
All here to appreciate (and share), thanks to my trusty bike.
Lots of ride reports feature mountains, canyons, hardscrabble trails and desolate highways.
But today I’m here to share some different scenery:
Care to come along for the ride?
Let us begin, then, with the Porsches. In particular, some early evolutions of the timeless and sublime Carrera. For which I have always had a particular affinity, bordering on sibling-ship.
For starters, they’re German. My mother’s German.
They were “officially” born in 1964. I was born in 1964.
They’re gorgeous, in a peculiarly efficient way. I like to think of myself as a rather efficient individual (and, well, at least my kids qualify as gorgeous.)
So, on to the Carreras. We all have forebears; so do these cars. In Porsche-speak they’re affectionately referred to as “bathtubs” (a reference to their body shape, which I never fully understood, because I think it’s positively elegant) or as the “356” body-style. Starting with this 1956 Speedster Prototype example:
Next up, a 1957 Porsche 356A Carrera GT in a beautiful kind of “soldier blue”:
If you’re not a Porscheophile and you detect some kinship with the Volkswagen Beetle, you’d be right. The 356 was penned by “Ferry” Porsche Jr., son of Ferdinand Porsche Senior, father and author of the V-dub. Wiki history here. Compare the 1957 “356” above, to this—a 1956 Volkswagen Beetle which made the trip down to Lime Rock from Burlington, Vermont.
Like father, like son.
Which brings us to (possibly) my favorite car in the entire show, the “if I were a car, that’d be me” car. A 1957 Porsche 356A sunroof coupe in black, with red interior. It’s like the perfect licorice-mobile:
From this same “pre-911 era,” a Porsche Speedster Zagato, either from ’56 or ’57…
(I kinda think the foam-core posters sitting in it really distracted from the car’s lines, but here you go):
Which brings us into the sixties, and this, which I’ll affectionately refer to as my birthday car.
We’re both 49 (although looking at a sports car of this vintage reminds you just how old 49 is getting to be.)
But should I say, rather than old, classic?
I can’t peg the date on this next particular 356, and it didn’t have any “show entrance” paperwork. It was just sitting next to the vendor truck where I picked up a sammie for lunch.
But it was pretty, in my second-favorite P-car colorway: silver & lipstick:
Thus, all of the Carrera’s refinements and evolutions led to this, the direct precursor to all modern 911 Carreras, the Porsche 912.
Essentially, it’s the new (then), ur-911 body style, powered by a bathtub motor from the outgoing 356. In this case, a pretty candy-apple 1966 example:
Thus concludes a ride to—and walk through—some of the earliest and prettiest Porsches I’ve ever seen.
Now, a little palate-cleansing with two wheels…
Some fellow travelers to Lime Rock . A nice airhead (and apparent deadhead):
Some other (more modern) Bimmers…
A sweet Ducati (is this a MultiStrada?)
And me under a tree, which provided some modest rain protection when the skies finally opened up, but which also didn’t much matter as I got soaked on the ride back down through Litchfield…
I suppose I could have “ridden” a bimmer and stayed dry, if it happened to be one of these—kind of like the coelacanth of BMWs, an ancient expression of the brand before it grew a fourth wheel. Here’s the lovely (if generally unloved) Isetta:
Not the cherriest example—maybe a little more of a raspberry—but (as the sign on the car said) “a perfect project car.”
Ironically enough, I have an Isetta tin poster hanging up at home…
But there was also a selection of the four-legged variety of BMWs, starting with some CSi’s, not to be confused with the TV show. Here’s a ’73:
Then this little slice of Bavarian Cream Pie:
And this CS, aka “GR8WHT”:
This cabernet-hued CSi Alpina was, in my opinion, the prettiest of the lot:
And last in the BMW family, a fresh, forest green ’73 2002tii:
All Beemers (Bimmers?), bearing the same iconic blue & white propellor as my F8:
Now last, but not least, some one-offs, oddities, and Italian supermodels. A guy was buzzing around the track giving rides to folks in this:
A mid-fifties Messerschmitt KR200, or Kabinroller (cabin scooter). It’s a far cry from their World War II aircraft, but charming in its bug-eyed weirdness.
And it’s a cabrio!
Somewhere between a steering wheel, tricycle handlebars, and an aircraft’s control stick is…this:
And while I didn’t ask, is that black controller in the upper center of the dash a…manual, wrist-operated windshield wiper? Also got a kick out of seeing this:
A rather rare bird as Alfas go (I’d never laid eyes on one before): a 1961 Giulietta Sprint “Low-Nose” Coupe.
A pretty unusual (and exotic) Italian beauty.
But not quite supermodel material. These, however, certainly were, starting with this 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE.
This ’64 Lusso…
And this knockout, a 1967 Ferrari 330 GT Coupe:
Plus this little racing firecracker, the original Fiat Abarth…
I fell in love too many times to count. If you haven’t been to Lime Rock before, you really ought to check it out sometime.
Great track in a spectacular setting…
But if you want to fall in love, go there for their Historics weekend. Twice as fun with half the wheels, if you ride.