Elkhart Lake Vintage Classic 2013 - Pt. 1. - Mostly Triumphs.

On Friday, we went out to Road America for the 28th Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival, and it was brilliant. It was a three-day event, starting on Friday with practice day, in which the teams get the cars tuned and adjusted for the track and conditions. This is a near-perfect opportunity for photography, as the crowds don't really come until Saturday and Sunday. Generally, everyone was really friendly and happy to have their cars photographed, and chat the day away.

This year celebrated the 50th anniversary of Formula V (race-built chassis with Volkswagen engines and drivelines). Also, it was a special Triumph-focused event, so today's post will be mostly full of Triumphs.

However, as we pulled in, I saw two eye-watering cars I did not recognize, so I had to get there first in case they got away. They are Cheetahs, built from 1963-1966 by Chevy performance tuner Bill Thomas, as a competitor to Carroll Shelby's Cobra. If you ask me, they look even better than Cobras. The mechanicals are all Corvette, stuck on a purpose-built chassis under a super sexy skin. This means that parts are easy to come by. They were both powered by Chevy Small blocks, and with no muffler, they were sonically lethal at this distance. Yes, my ears were murdered by them.

I asked the owner about the advantages of side-fire exhaust (where the exhaust pipes exit the vehicle at the sides, instead of at the back). He said not only do they look the business: they can be lighter, since they're shorter. Also, since they don't cross the rear axle, they don't get in the way if you need to drop the rear end of the car (the entire rear axle assembly) for repair. Ahhh!

The black one was owned and driven by this guy, who was pretty much the spitting image of Jeff Bridges' The Dude, from The Big Lebowski. Is that a radiator behind the driver's head, under the roll bar? Possibly to cool the rear differential?

A beautiful grass green Triumph.

This pavillion was Triumph Central. Lots of great cars in here, and super nice people.

Your head goes in those domes.

Play me a tune, trumpets.

This Triumph had a body shell that was unique at this event (Turns out it was the only one in the world.) There'll be a better picture of it a little later on in the post, with it's wheels on. The red semi trailer in the background was bought from Ferrari, and was still decked out in Ferrari logos. Even if your team's focus is exclusively Triumphs, it's still best to leave a Ferrari semi as it is. You don't see one of those every day.

I don't believe this minty Triumph was there to race, just to taste. It did not taste of mint, but I don't regret the experience.

This is a Triumph with a body by Bill Devin (1959-2000), a Triumph builder and tuner from Oklahoma. Nice body, Bill!

One of the Triumphs at the Ferrari truck's team with it's lid open.

Here's that pointy Triumph all put together. Turns out it's a BRE Triumph 250 K, which was a one-off racer built by Pete Brock and R.A Kastner in 1968. It was a Triumph 250 with a more aerodynamic body. I have no idea what a one-of-a-kind car like this is valued at, but it was there to race. 

Tomorrow, we'll feature the Formula V's from the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival. Thanks for reading!


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