Happy Birthday, National Park Service!
What better way for a classic car enthusiast to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our National Park Service than with 10 favorite drives through 10 national parks - and the 10 classic cars to drive them? In our new infographic, match the classic car with the scenic drive for a celebratory road trip (don’t worry, we give you hints). Test your knowledge and share it with friends.
Yellowstone – America’s First National Park
The United States starts preserving America’s natural landmarks in 1872 when President Theodore Roosevelt designates the Yellowstone wilderness as the first National Park. Forty-four years later President Woodrow Wilson brings all of the parks, monuments, preserves, parkways and historical sites under one Federal umbrella, the National Park Service.
59 National Parks Showcase Our Country’s Natural Beauty
Today, 450 parks are spread throughout the 50 states, Washington D.C, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands. Fifty-nine are National Parks; the largest is the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska that encompasses 13.2 million acres.
307 Million National Park Visitors in 2015
In 2015, over 307 million people visited our national parks. The most visited is the Great Smoky Mountain National Park with over 10 million annually. Visitors are greeted by 22,000 full time National Park Service staff members, who are assisted by 250,000 volunteers.
Check for Limited Car Traffic in Parks
Though many National Parks have begun limiting the amount of inside traffic to help protect the environment, a great classic car cruise is still possible. Plan your trips to locations like Arcadia National Park in Maine or Olympic National Park in Washington State and include surrounding areas for spectacular scenic drives.
Take the Road Less Traveled
Less traveled routes through National Parks have much to offer. Head along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to experience incredible vistas and plenty of places to stop that you won’t find on the more popular South Rim road. The trip around the Canyon from the South to the North Rim is four hours, so you may have to pick one.
(Nicholas Courtney/ www.shutterstock.com)
Visit More Than One National Park
Many parks can be combined into a multi-day adventure, such as the “Mighty 5” in Utah – Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Leave time to branch off onto the cruise-worthy Kolob Canyon Road and witness a fiery orange sunset melt into the red canyons below. Another popular drive is U.S. 89, which connects Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park (via U.S. 26), Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon.
Keep America Rolling – Cruise a National Park
Our infographic lists a few of the scenic and awe-inspiring parks we are fortunate to have in our country. Visiting National Parks is a classic summer cruise, so visit one of these incredible locations or head to a park near you. Especially this summer, celebrate our country, our cars and our national parks in true red, white and blue fashion. Keep it rolling America!
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
While taking a road trip to one of our National Parks, protect your classic or collector car with customizable coverage from Classic Auto Insurance. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will answer all your questions and find the perfect policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.
One Vintage Car – One Grand Adventure
Do you ever think about taking a road trip in your classic car? Bet it isn’t an 80,000-mile world tour, which is what one couple from the Netherlands decide to do in their 1915 Ford Model T. Dirk and Trudy Regter wanted an adventure and they definitely get one.
This Owner Knows His Model T’s
Dirk, a retired architect who inherited his love of classic cars from his grandfather, is no stranger to vintage cars, having already owned a 1923 Ford Model T and a 1928 Ford Model A. He knows the Model T is reliable, durable and remarkably suited for rough terrain. Ford built his cars for unpaved roads!
Crazy for a Cause
Taking a 100-year-old car on an around-the-world adventure is viewed by some as lunacy. “A lot of people said you are crazy; why would you do it?” Dirk says. “But our tour gets a lot of attention and we need the attention to raise money for the SOS Children’s Villages International charity and orphaned children worldwide.” Their trip is more quest than the typical sight-seeing venture.
Could Your Classic Travel Over 50,000 Miles?
In 2012 the Regters set off in their Model T from Edam, Holland with no formal route planned. With a top speed of around 40 mph, the couple clock over 15,000 miles through Africa the first year, 17,000 miles across the U.S and Canada in 2013 and 16,000 miles through South America in 2014.
We’re an American Fan
On their U.S trip, Dirk and Trudy discover just how popular the Model T is in our country. “Everyone knows it!” and the classic car community welcome them with open arms. “The most amazing thing was meeting people who also loved the Model T.” The love of a good classic car is universal.
It Pays to Be Handy
The car is entirely original apart from the tires, which were replaced with a larger variety to improve the ride. The wheels still have the original wooden spokes. Along the way there are repairs (a flat tire, broken alternator) but nothing Dirk can’t handle. “I’m pretty handy. A screwdriver, hammer, duct tape, tie wraps and tensioning straps go a long way.”
Over 15 Million Model T’s Produced
The Ford Model T is the first mass produced automobile in the world with over 15 million cars made between 1908-1927. First produced in the U.S, Ford soon establishes assembly plants in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the U.K. It is popular everywhere as the couple discovers when they meet a farmer in Botswana with a one sitting in his barn.
An Accident Derails the Worldwide Tour
Tragedy strikes in Belgium at the end of 2014 when a speeding truck rear-ends the trailer transporting their beloved Model T. Luckily everyone is alright but the car suffers extensive damage. The couple’s plans for the Australia/New Zealand/Indonesia leg of their trip has to be postponed while they raise money to repair their car.
Down but Not Out – Rebuilding Continues
Dirk and Trudy (along with their chase team) are eager to be back on the road this year to continue raising money for charity. Determined not to let this little setback derail their worldwide journey, they are rebuilding. You can follow their efforts (and contribute to their fund) on their website. “I hope Henry Ford would be proud of me.” This classic Model T and its owners will soon be blazing new trails on this most excellent adventure. Meanwhile, the folks at Ford Germany put together a video chronicling Dirk and Trudy’s worldwide journey. Feel free to share it with other classic car lovers, as we wish Dirk and Trudy good luck!
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Whether you take your collector car out on the road or store it in a garage, protect it with one of our customized policies. There is no “one size fits all” coverage here! Let the friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance answer all your questions and find the right policy for your classic car. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.
2016 Carmel Artomobilia August 26-27
From a 1969 Indy 500 Camaro Convertible Pace Car to a 1973 AMC Gremlin, this collector has a little bit of everything. Artomobilia’s Jon Pitz speaks with Tom about his eclectic collection and his upcoming participation in the 2016 Carmel Artomobilia August 26-27, 2016 in the Arts & Design District of downtown Carmel, Indiana.
The AMC Gremlin - You Either Love It or Hate It
If you are a fan of 70’s platform shoes, shag carpet and disco, then Tom’s 1973 AMC Gremlin with Levi Straus denim interior is your cup of tea. With a love-it-or-hate-it body design and 28 mpg, the Gremlin is considered by many to be the first American made subcompact. Tom loves to show it off because “it always gets a reaction”.
“Orphan Cars” Find a Home
This collector is a fan of “orphan cars”, those models whose manufacturers have ceased to exist, like the Gremlin, Bobcat and DeLorean. His Mercury Bobcat, a cousin of the Ford Pinto, has a V6 engine and woodgrain side panels. Despite having a hard time finding parts, these orphans have found a home in his eclectic garage.
A Passion for Pace Cars
“I like pace cars or cars that have a festival heritage,” Tom says as he shows off his 1969 Indy 500 Camaro Convertible Pace Car. With its Dover white exterior and Hugger orange graphics, this is one of the most popular pace cars around. “This is the car I remember seeing and loving!”
Indy 500 Well Represented
Chevy recreates the same color scheme for the 2011 Indy 500 Camaro Pace Car. Tom has one of those sitting right next to his 1969 model. He also has a 1971 Dodge Charger Pace Car. None of the Big Three issue a fleet of pace cars that year so a group of four local Dodge dealers (led by Eldon Palmer) step in to create 51 limited edition cars.
Heard It, Have to Have It
The only non-American car in the bunch is an Aston Martin Vantage. He hadn’t been looking to own one of these beautiful cars but once the dealer cranks it up and he hears the engine, Tom is hooked. “It is the first and only time I bought a car because of the way it sounded. All we had to do was talk price”.
Follow Your Collector Heart
You look around and see that Tom is an owner who follows his heart when building his collection. Each of his cars have a special meaning or story behind it. The garage is more a gathering of old friends than an assembly of automobiles. Isn’t that what true collecting is all about – our passion for the cars?
Art Lovers and Car Enthusiasts Celebrate
Artomobilia is a two-day celebration of automotive art and design and the unending passion we have for our classic and collector cars. The weekend festivities kick off Friday night with Fuelicious: A Celebration of Wheels + Wishes, an exclusive event on the grounds of the Lucas Estate, featuring 50 distinct collector cars, all in support of the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund. Saturday the streets of Carmel’s Arts and Design District come alive with music, food, shopping and some spectacular cars on display. We hope to see you there!
Proud Sponsor of Carmel Artomobilia
Classic Auto Insurance is proud to support the 2016 Carmel Artomobilia and classic car collectors everywhere. Let us help you customize the perfect insurance policy for your one of a kind car. Our friendly, expert staff will answer all your questions and help you find the right coverage for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car collection.
Have You Gotten Your Father’s Day Gift?
With Father’s Day fast approaching on June 19, everyone is in a mad scramble to secure their gift. If you could dream big and get your dad anything, what would it be? Our choice has to be a classic sports car (or as close as we can manage) like a Shelby Cobra. Our friends at Elite Autos in Jonesboro, AR have a 1965 Shelby Cobra Kirkham and we’re just dying to get our hands on the keys (for gift research!).
Carroll Shelby Designed Fast Cars
As with all things bearing the name of Carroll Shelby, this car is fast. The original AC Shelby Cobra is a collaboration between the British AC Cars Ltd and Carroll Shelby International in 1962. The all-aluminum sports car made a name for itself on the racetrack but didn’t fare too well in sales. Only 993 cars are built between 1961-1969.
Opt for a Cobra Copy Instead
Since original Shelby Cobras are selling in the high six figures, considering a replica seems the way to go. We put together a checklist to make sure we cover all of Dad’s must-haves – style, speed and plenty of muscle. What you’ll need to decide is whether a copy will meet his standards.
Look Like Steve McQueen in a Cobra
A Cobra is the sports car everyone recognizes. Putting Dad behind the wheel of one of these will not only boost his ego, it will make him the center of the universe (everyone gravitates to a Cobra at a car show). Having people taking selfies with him and his Shelby will become the norm. (Reminder - Buy him a pair of Steve McQueen Persol sunglasses, too.)
Satisfy Dad’s Need for Speed
At a top speed of 189mph, the original Cobra is a bit of a challenge for the average driver. Thankfully technology has fixed some of the Cobra’s imperfections (suspension, braking) and Dad will be able to satisfy his need for speed safely and easily.
Power to Play with the Big Boys
Carroll Shelby built his original Cobra to take down the Chevy Corvette on the track. Can a modern day copy go toe to toe with the big boys? Yes, this Kirkham Cobra can. With its 482 cubic inch V8, it gives Dad more than enough power to blow the doors off any contenders at a stop light.
MIG Jets and Cobras Have Much in Common
Surprisingly, jets and Kirkham Cobras have a lot more in common than just speed. All of their car bodies are built in a former MIG jet factory in Poland. They construct an aluminum skin around a steel tube frame much like a jet fuselage. Kirkham is one of the few companies that build a Cobra the way Shelby intended, with an aluminum body.
Shelby Cobra Kirkham – The Best of Both Worlds
Our Father’s Day gift gives Dad the best of both worlds; he will own a legendary sports car and be able to drive it to his heart’s content (without worry). We’ve satisfied all his criteria so hopefully he will love it (and let us drive it). Maybe now we’ll move ahead of the family dog on his favorites list.
2016 Carmel Artomobilia August 26-27
Want to see what it’s like to own an original Shelby Cobra? Take a look at our video interview with one Indiana gentleman whose 52-year love affair with his Cobra is still going strong, and share it with your friends. He’ll be displaying it at the 2016 Carmel Artomobilia August 26-27 in the Arts & Design District of downtown Carmel, Indiana. Be sure to come out to see it!
Happy Father’s Day from Classic Auto Insurance
A great car like a Shelby Cobra deserves to have great insurance coverage. Tell Dad that our friendly, knowledgeable staff at Classic Auto Insurance can answer all his questions and find the right customized policy for his new sports car. He can visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard his dream car. And Happy Father’s Day to all of the collector car dads out there.
In celebration of the Ford GT’s 50th Anniversary, Dave Bannister is embarking on a most excellent adventure. The founder of the Ford GT Forum and a few of his fellow GT owners are heading to 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's oldest and one of the most prestigious active sports car endurance race, held annually since 1923 in France. Along the way, they are taking a six-day European tour of motor racing circuits that play a role in the car’s history … in the history of car racing, period. And we’re going along for the ride.
GT Enthusiasts: Start Your Engines
“Ford hasn't raced at Le Mans in 50 years,” Dave tells us. “This is the car’s fiftieth anniversary. Ford is bringing the GT back. It’s the return of GT, the return of four door racing and the fiftieth anniversary, all at once. We figure if we're going to do it, we might as well do it now.” So, are you ready for Dave’s six-day adventure? Vroom!
Day 6 – 8.4 Miles
“We are celebrating the next chapter in Ford GT history we're privileged to be a part of!”
Chassis P/1046 – the No. 2 Shelby-American Ford GT 40 MK II-A – the car that won Le Mans for Ford and America – is here at Le Mans, along with the fired-up race teams of new Ford GTs and the Band of Brothers, of course.
Dave Bannister and a limited number of Ford GT owners are participating in the historic return of the Ford GT to Le Mans as VIP guests of Ford Motor Company at its expanded facility at raccordement, the final corner of the circuit, and trackside suite. Hosted by Edsel B. Ford II at the race, with participation from Ford VIPs such as Chairman Bill Ford, CEO Mark Fields, Executive VPs Raj Nair and Jim Farley, they have full VIP access to:
- Trackside qualifying and race viewing from the Ford Racing Centre
- Access to the Ford Pit Suite above the garage during the race, Pit Walk and the Le Mans Museum
- Guided tours of the Ford pit garages Circuit perimeter tours of different vantage points around the 8.4-mile circuit during the race
- Special Friday lunch hosted by Edsel Ford and Henry Ford III with private driver meet and greet
- Transport to the Le Mans center for the Friday driver’s parade and a special VIP dinner
- First-class food and beverage in the Ford Racing Centre, limited edition attendee-only gifts
- Ford GT parking and a full package of media access to stay up to date with the race while on-site
- End of race celebration
Top of Its Class
Fifty years after the Ford GT 40's original 24 Hours of Le Mans win, a Ford is back at the top of its class. At the first of three Le Mans qualifying sessions, the Chip Ganassi Team USA GTs are the two fastest cars in the LM GTE Pro class. Dirk Müller and #68 are the fastest with a 3:51.185 lap time, while the #69 Ford GT runs the second fastest. At Le Mans, which starts Saturday, June 18, the fastest laps from each car set the starting order. USA! USA! USA!
Day 5 – 500+ Miles
Italy to Le Mans
“We jammed super hard on the Autostrada,” says Dave Bannister. “Just awesome driving. Beautiful roads, beautiful scenery, no worries about cruising at high speed. The Italians really seem to love seeing the cars whiz by.”
Did We Say, Dangerous?
The Ford GT Forum’s tour of European race circuits brings to life the racing history of the Ford GT back in the 1960’s. What’s more, venues like the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Nürburgring in Germany, even the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy are all exceptionally dangerous. “We have a handful of them in the U.S, but certainly nobody builds tracks like these anymore.” For the Band of Brothers, it is a breathtaking ride.
Ford GT Owner VIP Hospitality at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Now another level of fun begins. The Ford GT Owner VIP Hospitality at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is “spectacular” and “amazing,” with lots of games and entertainment upstairs. The real entertainment of this event will be on the track, of course. Dave says, “The dream is real. And I have no idea what they've done to the (new) GT, but it sounds super gnarly now. Angry beast.” Let the qualifying runs begin.
Day 4 – Motoring Italy
The Ford GT Forum Historic Tour rolls into Italy, motoring through the super narrow streets around Lake Como in Milan, Italy. “This is definitely the craziest rally yet,” Chip Beck says. In addition to navigating the 400-year-old Italian streets, the group learns a thing or two about Italian parking (a favorite challenge for a GT owner). After lunch, the Band of Brothers manage to extract their GT's from the parking lot to head a couple hundred miles west to the town of Saint-Vincent in the Aosta Valley region of north-western Italy, where they stop for the night.
“Our fearless leader makes some serious speed on the Autostrada,” Chip reveals. “Cruising speeds of 125+ mph makes it a pretty quick trip. #34 has had a chance to stretch her legs and it's going to be tough to return to sane speeds after this. Onward!”
Meanwhile, the Ford GT race teams arrive at Le Mans …
Day 3 – 320 miles
“Our Band of Brothers ran the Nürburgring in the rain and it is pretty hairy.”
Nürburgring, the 150,000-capacity motorsports complex in Germany built to seat 150,000 spectators, is where the Ford GT makes its racing début in May 1964. The original car, a GT 40 designed by ex-Aston Martin team manager John Wyer with Ford Motor Co. engineer Roy Lunn, is made at the UK’s Ford Advanced Vehicles with a monocoque chassis and a 289 Ford V8 mated to a Coletti transaxle. The cars that wins Le Mans in 1966 are the American-developed MK11’s fitted with the 427 cu ins FE motor and Ford-built T44 transaxle. When all is said and done, the GT 40 wins more prestigious race events than any other model road-race car in history.
Hairy Nürburgring Lap
Today, two of the Ford GT drivers get sideways on the Nürburgring, catching it before going off. Only one of the group takes a second lap. “Now I know what living with paparazzi would be like if I were famous,” Chip Beck says. “We don't go anywhere without a bunch of cameras pointed at us.”
Virgin Autobahn Experience
As the group heads to Lucerne, Switzerland, some of the drivers get their first taste of the Autobahn. “We are cruising at 120mph in the center lane and get passed on our left by a guy in a brown station wagon!” Chip says. “C4 and I touch 135mph a couple times and our quicker drivers busted 150. Once we cross the border into Switzerland, we slow down to 90 to stay out of jail and cruise into Lucerne, where our hotel sits on the edge of a huge lake. The whole place is indescribably beautiful and everyone is high after today's 300+ mile cannon ball run. Cocktails and an excellent dinner cap it all off. Now, I sit out on my balcony alone with my thoughts. One very special American car has put a smile on the faces of thousands of Europeans who have greeted us warmly at every stop. I'm glad I'm alive, right here, right now. What a day.”
Day 2 – 193 Miles
The GT owners dub themselves “Band of Brothers” as they drive the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, a favorite home of endurance race circuits – and a dangerous one at that.
Just last month at the WEC's Six Hours of Spa, the #67 Ford GT takes second place at the checkered flag, the best result yet for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team – even though sister car #66 GTE Pro Ford GT crashes with just over one hour of the race remaining. It is an anxious moment for the team as they watch while driver Stefan Mücke tries to exit Eau Rouge towards Raidillon, the track's most famous and dangerous section. “Everything is okay,” Stefan says after having precautionary tests at a local hospital. “I feel okay and it is good to know we have a strong car. Thank you to the team for building me a safe car.”
An American Band
Meanwhile, the Band of Brothers finish the day at Pension Agnesen Hof in Barweiler, Germany feeling like rock stars. “Driving our Ford GT's over here makes our crew feel like the Rolling Stones,” says Chip Beck. “Everywhere we stop, the cars are mobbed day and night. A band of GT's in one place is something nobody has seen before and everyone knows exactly what they are. So cool.”
Day 1 – 268 Miles
“Today was a great day.”
After picking up their GT’s in Southampton, UK and gassing up (“At least the fuel in the UK is cheap.”), the group travels to Sint-Martens-Latem in Belgium by taking the “Chunnel” - short for Channel Tunnel, a 50.5-kilometer rail tunnel beneath the Strait of Dover that links the United Kingdom with northern France at Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais. Except for a lengthy delay, the Chunnel ride is A-OK. “Easy in, easy out, wide lanes with plenty of clearance,” Dave says. Once they arrive in Belgium, though, it’s all about the RIDE. “Once I opened the door, it became a line.”
Follow Le Mans 2016
For over 10 years, the Ford GT Forum has been the internet home of the Ford GT global community. Designed specifically for its members, the Ford GT Forum keeps owners and enthusiasts up to date on all the latest Ford GT news and discussions. Check here for Dave’s daily updates, and check this list for all the ways you can follow Le Mans 2016 over the air, streaming on the web, social media and more. Photos courtesy of the Ford GT Forum.
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
As an active member of the Ford GT Forum, Classic Auto has a particular soft spot for this car that’s celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016. We’d be happy to insure your Ford GT or any other classic or collector car. Our friendly experts will answer all your questions and find a customized policy for your specific needs. Visit our website today at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.