In the middle of Pittsburgh is a lovely city park next to a golf course. For most of the year it is the home to cyclists and runners and dogs and frisbees and picnics. However, since 1983 the park has been handed over to gear heads for a few days in The summer, and it becomes the home of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Vintage race fans came and then a car club or two thought it would be a cool day drive, and then it grew and it grew until it is now close to ten days of activities with dozens of clubs and thousands of cars. The highlight is still the vintage racing, but the car show now dwarfs the on-track activity. To be fair, it is really dozens of separate car shows that are operated by local and regional clubs, and which sprawl out over almost all the green space around the track.
The show is roughly arranged by country, and then with Marques within each of those areas. You can wander through Italy or England or Germany or the Americas and find everything from mild to wild parked in the show area. Almost everything is very nicely done and completed, so this is not really a show for swapmeet aficionados and uncompleted projects although there were a few barn finds. However, this is also not strictly enforced Concours D’Elegance, so in the Porsche area for example, a beautiful RS America was neighbors with a 550 replica. In the BMW area, an immaculate Isetta sat next to an even more immaculate 502. A Spare-no-expense VW R32 Golf sat right in front of a beautiful split window VW camper. This may sound chaotic, but it is the beauty of this event. You need to walk the field to see the best stuff.
Italian cars, as the featured Marques this year, held the position of prominence outside the clubhouse of the golf course. New and old Ferraris, Alfas, Abarths, and a rare Ghia took center stage. There was quite a bit of money on that stage! Slightly downhill was a large contingent of Fiats including a Brava 131S and an adjacent Lancia Beta both in pristine condition. When last did you see that combination? The British empire was also impressive. Scores of MGBs and herds of Triumphs, but two vehicles stood out. The first was a Sunbeam Alpine GT. beautifully restored in white, and a car not seen in the flesh in decades. The other was a lovely red Land Rover complete with rear bus seats. In Japan, there was a cool Honda S600 and a nice two tone Datsun 510. There was a good selection of muscle cars in America, but a couple of pickups were exceptional.
Practice sessions ran on track all day on Saturday with a mix of open wheel, sedans, and sports cars. Since the park is not a race track, it encouraged some interesting techniques to get around quickly. A series of uphill curves near Germany proved to be a great vantage point. Precision lines vs sliding the back around was fun to watch. Plus, you got to watch Porsche 912 vs BMW 2002 vs Abarth vs Alfa. Superb ! A stroll through the pits later had us nostalgic for when we raced the same cars. Although I did not envy the poor guys laying in the heat working on hot engines or diagnosing tough issues from the last run. Good weight loss program. This is true love.
PVGP is an annual favorite because it does not disappoint. Next year we figure out how to make the earlier rallies and track day.