We came up here to the Elkhart Lake Brian Redman Challenge at Road America this weekend, just for the fun of it. No work, all play. Saw some old compadres who are, surprisingly, still racing. The atmosphere after all these years is just as raw and intoxicating as it was when I came here as a teenager. People still come to camp out and watch the races, just like they did back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Looking around, some of those cars are still here as well.
We happened to walk out of a restaurant in downtown Elkhart Lake when we realized we were smack dab in the middle of a sports car concourse with exotic sports cars and old race cars all looking like brand new.
Without being too corny, I realized the too often quoted phrase from the Forrest Gump movie applied perfectly here. “Local car shows are like a box of chocolates … You never know what you’re going to find.”
Parked next to a camper in the pit area at the Elkhart Lake Brian Redman Challenge at Road America I spotted an Allard J2X like the one Steve McQueen used to own. I stepped closer to read the hand written description on the windshield to find out that this one had been driven to victory by Carroll Shelby and Jim Kimberly (of the Kimberly-Clark family) in a Brazilian enduro race. That would perk your interest a bit wouldn’t it? Not something I see everyday.
The streets of tiny Elkhfart Lake were packed with people who had come to see the cars on display in the downtown area. There was a 1968 Camaro Z/28 Convertible which had been the Road America Can Am Series Pace Car at one point. Of course, they did not make a convertible Z/28 … except for this one which was commissioned for Pete Estes, Chevrolet General Manager. The sign on the display said it was a “one-of-none” meaning it was a concept car that survived after all these years. This car sold at auction in 1991. It was the first production muscle car to sell for more than $100,000.
A tiny, small-bore 1956 OSCA Maserati MT4-TN was on display in the concourse at Elkart Lake. You talk about provenance. This car took first place in the 1956 Elkhart Lake Enduro Race with Carroll Shelby and Jim Kimberly driving. It is one of only 72 MT4-TN roadsters built by the Maserati brothers under the OSCA name. When the Maserati brothers split with their patron Adolfo Orsi in 1947 they were not allowed to build a car under their own name brand. So they continued building small-bore race cars under the acronym OSCA (stands for “Officina Specializzata Costruzioni Automobili.”) These cars were built by the Maserati brothers from the ground up, purpose built to be race cars. The four-cylinder engine is said to have had incredible acceleration. The MTN-TN roadster you see here was purchased originally by Jim Kimberly. It won Sebring in 1958.
Looking like brand new, this 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra was on display in the Elkhart Lake concourse. What a treat to see. The had written sign on the windshield said it was one of just 32 narrow hip Cobras produced. They estimate that there are probably only 20 of these cars left in existence. This one has never been restored, but had a repaint in 1974. It is in amazing condition.
Could not talk to the owner, but this 1961 Ferrari 350GT California replica is said to be the one from the 1986 cult movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” If this is the actual car it was restored by Modena and has a 427 motor. One of three replicas by Modena used in the movie, it is the one that was actually driven in the movie. It sold at a Mecum Auction in 2013 for $235,000. As the story goes, when it was restored, Modena left one little dent in the car as a tribute to its movie roll.
See what I mean? You go to what you think is going to be a little car show, and what do you find? This show was a diamond in the rough. Be sure to look for our Cars-On-Line Car Show Calendar online. It lists all those special shows which might be coming up in your area. Otherwise, you’ll never know what you’re missing.