Identify that Car–Sterling Kit Car

When Debi and her father came back to Phoenix from Pittsburgh we started reviewing the photos they took for the PVGP article.  We clicked through the photos and chatted about the cars until we hit the photo below.  What marque is that was the question out our mouths? We looked at the styling, wheels and even the logo on the hood.  No matter how much you zoom in on the photo we were stymied.  The search was on to…Identify that Car!

Sterling Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

Debi started working on one computer and me on the other–off to see the wizard of Google.  Her father simply stared from the couch in the office as a spectator–if it isn’t a 1940′s to 1960′s American car or motorcycle he is out of his comfort zone.  Debi was first to latch on to a lead and identify the car as a Sterling kit car.  Debi is a master of the Internet search.

The Sterling Sports Car company is based in Pittsburgh and builds a mid-engine cars with a 1970′s retro car feel.  The kits are designed to work with a variety of engines including electric and all sit on a tube chassis.  Their marketing claim is that they do not require a donor car like many other kit cars.

While it is a good looking car I still find myself wanting the race inspired styling of a Factory Five Type 65 Coupe.

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Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix-2011

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has been around for 29 years. I have a vague memory of it from living in Pittsburgh but never had the chance to attend. Well things are no different this year. I was stuck in Phoenix but Debi convinced her father and brother to take a couple of hours on a hot and humid Saturday morning to attend the event in Schenley Park while she was visiting Pittsburgh for the week.

The event is truly a mega-event with racing, car and motorcycle shows and multiple satellite events during the week at local spots sharing the bounties of Pittsburgh.  This year Porsche was the featured marque and there were quite a few that came out for the fun–with many owners proving their classic 356s and 911s were built for racing by doing time on the roads of Schenley Park.

The park lies at the edge of Carnegie Mellon University and my Alma Mater Pitt and becomes the ultimate urban road course for this particular event every year. The Cathedral of Learning (Pitt) is in the background of the photo below.

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
The vintage racing portion of the event starts the week out at the BeaveRun Motorsports Complex and finishes the week on the Schenley Park road course. Throughout the week in between the racing there are cruises, parades, galas, rallies and lots of car talk.
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
This all black BMW race car is from the Sewickley Car Store. I grew up very close to the dealership and constantly drooled over the BMWs and Porsches that lined their lots. Auto fanaticism starts early and runs deep.
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

Given the magnitude of the event this motorized couch looks as if it would be the ideal way to get around. Suzuki brought this eco-friendly couch to display electric drive technologies. It is not as stylish as a Tesla Roadster but you probably could get really comfortable.
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

Check out photos from the show and the race along the grounds of Schenley Park in the PVGP Photo Gallery. Special thanks to Doug, Debi’s brother, for contributing some of the photos in the gallery.

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Simply Memories-1950′s Pittsburgh Dirt Track Racing

I continue to go through photo’s from my Dad’s collection and stumbled on some dirt track racing photos from the 1950′s.  He could not drive due to very bad eye sight but hung out with a group of guys that raced.

Pittsburgh Dirt Track Racing
Pittsburgh Dirt Track Racing
Pittsburgh Dirt Track Racing

I have very little other information on the photos.  If someone recognizes the cars or track drop me an email and I will update the post.

Check out a few more photos in this series in the Simply Memories Gallery.  Help me identify the track and cars.

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“Car People are all the Same”

I recently found myself back in Pittsburgh on a business trip with spare time to visit with the in-laws, drive by old haunts and detour to the Frick Car and Carriage Museum.  Pittsburgh is an old city (dating back to 1758) and its history is filled with names that are instantly recognizable anywhere in the country; Carnegie, Mellon, Heinz, and Frick just to name a few.   These industrialists and their families  made their fortunes in the Pittsburgh area–many of them decided late in life that they needed to atone for the life they had lived and the impact on the workers in their plants by giving back to the community with libraries, museums and educational institutions.

Frick Car and Carriage Museum

The Frick, as it is called, is the homestead of the Frick family nestled just outside Pittsburgh in an unassuming area called Point Breeze.  The tree lined streets hide a beautiful property filled with an art museum, greenhouse, Frick home and of course the Car and Carriage garage.

Frick Car and Carriage Museum

“No Photography Permitted”, is the sign that greeted me when I walked through the doors–my heart sunk.  I would have no photo memories or way to share my experiences with the world.  I started to walk along the carriage displays with my hopes dashed when I was approached by an older gentleman in a gray suit and white cotton gloves.  He reached out his hand and smiled as he introduced himself as Bill Roberts.  He inquired about what brought me in today.  I stepped up and gave my typical speech about the MyBimmer website, car history and frequent visits to car shows.  I also included the fact that I was a Pittsburgh native in the conversation.

He welcomed me to the museum and shared his car background including owning five  BMWs and a couple of AMG Mercedes.  We wasted no time in heading into the car portion of the museum and starting the guided tour.  Bill took time to talk about every car, from restoration details to car colors and specifics details about each restoration.   Bill told me that Frick expanded the museum to include 23 cars from the Whitney Synder collection in the last decade.  Whitney had been a passionate car enthusiast that lived in Sewickley and took every opportunity to indulge in his automotive passion.

Frick Car and Carriage Museum

Bill explained that he and Whitney were long time close friends and often worked together on restorations and various challenges with getting these old classics running.  Car after car and story after story–two hours flew by.  Bill made every car’s story unique; from driving one of the steam powered cars to his very on Mercer that is featured in the museum’s movie theater.  He knew these cars at an intimate level and really helped you see the challenge involved with each of the restorations .  Many of the car manufacturers are unique to the Pennsylvania region and not widely known but to those true car enthusiasts.

Frick Car and Carriage Museum

The cars in this collection were “Top of the Line” and the experience was just as good.  Above is the only car photo I took during my visit to the museum.  If you find yourself in Pittsburgh and have a couple of hours to spare you should make this a planned stop.

As I finished the tour, Bill pulled the white glove and extended his hand one more time to shake.  He smiled and said, ” Us Car People are all the same–we love the cars and the story’s they represent.”  He finished off by saying, “Have a Great Day and come back again.”

Thanks to Bill Roberts for his time in giving me a personal tour and his devotion to the Frick Car and Carriage Museum along with his passion and enthusiasm to the car community.

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