By on July 30, 2015

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I bet you didn’t know the longest continually running vintage car race and show in the nation is held in Yinzerville. That’s right. Every summer since 1983, Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park becomes the scene of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. The course consists of a 2.33 mile stretch of road inside the park that challenges drivers with its twenty three turns, walls, telephone poles and other common features of an ordinary road.

This event routinely draws drivers, spectators and car buffs from all over North America and Europe, with this year’s attendance being 200,000 over the week of events. The Vintage Grand Prix raises money for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School and, since its inception, has raised $3.9 million dollars for these charities. Your humble correspondent just happened to be in the area a few Sundays ago and made an unplanned stop at the event.

The race itself draws better photographers than I, although I was able to snap some half decent shots of the first race with my cell phone (I wish I had brought my SLR believe me).

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But the show itself is what many spectators come to see, here you will find some very unique automobiles such as this pre-war Bentley.

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Ford Thunderbird

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Packard

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Lincoln Continental

07_20150719_120631_65Conti

Porsche 550 Spyder

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Mercedes 300

09_20150719_132614_57Benz2

Pontiac Firebird

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Cadillac Coupe de Ville

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Chevrolet Corvette C2

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And also some newer models such as the Porsche 918 Spyder…

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…this Alfa Romeo with Ontario plates…

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…a Mercury Marauder fit for the Mehta household (the cardboard note says: “Free beer to any Corvette owner with a better slip time.”)…

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…and a Ferrari driving home.

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For more information about the event, visit their website at www.pvgp.com.

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46 Comments on “In Pictures: Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix...”


  • avatar
    th009

    914 FTW!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I missed it this year due to other commitments, but my son went. He said it was great. It never fails to be ghastly hot at that event.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Thanks, Mark.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You’re publisheeeed! It looks rather steamy there that day.

      And that is a -fake- Packard, I haz a sad.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The heat and humidity were ridiculous, but not nearly as ridiculous as the Allante owner who painstakingly removed ever reference to “Cadillac” and replaced it with Pininfarnia and covered the airbag crest with an Italian flag.

        Oh on the Packard I think I gave mark the wrong picture, let me see if I can find the right one.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Lol, I hope you took pics of that because it sounds awful.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I took alot of pics of that oddity. The owner was a bit off himself. Somewhat friendly but refused to take a picture with the car. Then he was blissfully unaware that this MY93 -the Northstar- was somehow not the wrong version of the car to buy.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Allante Denial:

            http://postimg.org/gallery/sahl21fs/6122eb9e/

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I pity the fool who decline the 4.9.

            I will have to view those at home, that site not allowed here at worko.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The Allante never came with a 4.9… 4.1, 4.5, and Northstar only.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Bah, somewhere in my brain I knew that. Makes sense they wouldn’t want to use their best V8 in their most halo product. Because GM.

            In 1993, I’d go check out a N* Allante and notice the awful, then I’d go down the street to the Mercedes dealer and get a beautiful new design SL500 instead.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The motor only came out for MY93, people didn’t know it was garbage yet.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I just meant the Italia-Merican assembly and general carelessness! The exact opposite was true at the time with MB.

            Wasn’t the GM rule -always- “No buy 1st year of power train.” ?

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Dude… Think about where you were when you were trying to take that picture of the guy with the non-Allante.

            Even though he wanted to show off the car, there’s a reason why he didn’t want *his* picture taken…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The rule was never buy GM in the first model year, but that’s any mfg IMO.

            @geozinger

            I didn’t get that vibe, and usually “those” folks travel with “friends”. This guy was by himself.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    OK, so were these guys going 100% in that race? Just curious.

    And that Continental…MMMMMMMMM, good….

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The Conti is pure car porn.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      They were driving pretty fast once they made the turn, I imagine the level of trying was pretty high.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      It appears to be gentleman racing, so coming out unscathed would be considered far more important than position. They’d be taking it easy on corner entry and being especially cautious near other drivers. At least, I hope that’s what they’re doing with vintage cars!

      Looks like a good way to spend a weekend.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        It’s gentleman racing for sure, but some of them are really going for it. A few years back I saw a guy roll a vintage Alfa, and every year there are numerous offs with varying amounts of damage – it’s certainly not a parade.

        The “pit lane” above the race is also open to the public, and a great place to wander and chat with owners.

        All-in-all, it’s really a unique event, with various classes racing around an expansive car show situated on a nicely kept golf course, right in the middle of a vibrant city, all for free. There are few better car-related ways to spend a weekend than drinking a few beers while moseying around the car shows and races at the PVGP.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I haven’t gone in the past two years because I’ve been on visitation status but normally the older pre-war and some of the smaller post-war British cars and Porsche 356s can go all the way because they have about 100-150 BHP. I remember they did alter a few corners in the past but there’s an angry 4 lane wide 90 degree turn as you round what is effectively the finish line and I’ve seen a few racers completely blow that corner and slam hard into the Jersey barriers.

      The newer entrants like the 2002s and some early 3-series that have aged into the category along with a few Z-cars I’m sure are going less than they can go but there are some long straightaways where they can get to 60-70 MPH. I’ve driven the course late at night since it’s basically a roadway through Schenley Park and with a modern car you can easily break 70 without worrying. It just gets sketchy in some of the turns in the back where there is effectively a down sweeping S curve that could take out anybody if you’re not watching yourself.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What is the brown malaise thing behind the Bentley? Pontiac?

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I think that’s a 1970 Dodge Monaco. Who knows, it may have the Super Lite!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think you are correct sir. I have never seen such a Monaco (am guessing this style was short lived)! It’s kinda stylish. Great placement of reverse lights. I don’t get the little triangle thing between the rear lamps.

        http://www.fuselage.de/dod70/70dod_mon_ad04b.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          That’s a fratzog! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge#Logos

          It was one of the logos used for Dodge in the 1960’s.

          I stand corrected. The car is a 1971 Monaco, not a 1970. I haven’t seen one intact in years.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ah ha – I never see Dodge vehicles old enough to see a frizzfrog logo.

            But – after visiting Wiki I think they should resurrect that DB logo (which is very premium looking) and apply it to their upscale models.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I used to go to the PVGP when we lived over that way. (My wife is a native Pittsburgher) It was usually a great time in the park. The best part really is the show, especially the Italian car show within the show. *That* was one of my favorite parts of the race.

    These guys are going as fast as they are comfortable going in their cars. Which means some are trying harder than others. But it seems they rarely crunch cars together. It’s all in good fun.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I seem to remember that there *have* been fatalities (20 years ago or so) at this race – in a section of Schenley Park with hairpin turns and heavy block walls. At least one fellow hit the high curb and flew into the wall. Open-top vintage racer – vintage (or no) helmet.

      I think that there was a “wheel tangling” wreck (between Lotuses) once as well.

      So, the pace is deliberately “leisurely” these days.

      “Debbie Downer”

      Edit: I went there a few times with a cousin who would put his Corvette on display…

      I remember seeing Myron Cope (late, great Pittsburgh sports announcer) start the race, as it benefited his chosen charity (Autism Society).

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I was there last year, positioned at the apex of Turn 13. Some racers try harder than others, but the scariest car was the new BMW M4 which served as a pace car. It was bannered as a BMW performance driving school car from South Carolina.

      The punky driver saw fit to tear through the course as fast as possible, putting on much more of a show with X-hundred horsepower under the hood. He kept taking chances, power sliding through the hairpin turn, until finally he clipped the raised curb with his expen$ive left rear wheel. It made me laugh.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Cool event and nice photos.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Here are all 385 pics from the show:

    http://postimg.org/gallery/rt06b0n6/8bf73acc/

  • avatar
    rpn453

    28-Cars-Later, it appears the correct web address is pvgp.org.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Using your phone-can actually sort of makes the pics look as “vintage” as the cars, in other words, it actually kinda works!

    Thank you for the pics, we oughta make your stuff regular. Lots of neat pics with minimal text.

    Now I need to get out my Dads old Mid-America Raceway pics.

  • avatar
    Funky

    The two major races of this ~2 week event are held at Schenley Park and the Pittsburgh International Race Complex (the race at the Race Complex occurs during the weekend prior to the Schenley Park race). Having attended both (as a “lifelong” attendee, beginning back in the 1980s when the event first began), I would recommend, if you really enjoy watching the vintage racing rather than the car show, vendors, and various VIP and car club exclusive tents/gatherings, checking out the race at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex. At the Pitt Race complex the spectators have a view of 1/2 to 3/4 of the 2.8 mile track (instead of having a view of one turn or a very short segment of the Schenley Park track which is often obstructed by the high paying VIPs who have exclusive rights to the best viewing areas). Both events are very nice, depending on one’s perspective/interests. The real racing fun, however in my opinion, occurs at the Pitt Racing complex portion of the ~2 week event.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I’m with you, the old Beaver Valley now PIRC course is where to go if you like to watch them truly race since more tend to show up for qualifying and you get a good time to watch them go fast. But if you’re into walking pit row and just want to chat up people about cars they’re passionate about the Schenley Park event is better.

      I’m more into the park scene because there I’ve had the pleasure of talking to quite a few fun folks, helped load more than a few cars, and gotten to drive in a Bug-eyed Sprite.

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