Rare Ferraris, Bentleys, Alfa Romeos and Lancia Aurelias were on display in Dolores last week as part of the Colorado Grand Tour.
Owners and drivers were pleased to share information about their vintage race cars, often popping the hood for onlookers. The Galloping Goose Historical Museum provided refreshments for drivers, who were on their way to Durango from Telluride as part of a 1,000 mile Western Colorado tour.
The 1929 Bentley Speed Six is heavy and reliable, said owner Joe Harding, of Vista California. But once its straight six gets going, the 6,000 pound classic lightens up.
“After 40 mph, she just glides,” Harding says, and tops out at just over 100 mph.
The crash gear box requires double clutching, and if you don’t get the rotations per minute right, it won’t go into gear.
Flat out, it gets 6 miles to the gallon, and has a 50-gallon gas tank. This model made Bentley famous because it won a lot of long distance races, Harding said.
Max Behrens and his dad, Don, were having a blast driving their 1953 Ferrari 212 down the Dolores Valley. It is one of six made, with a Vignale body that experimented with fins popular for the era.
“Its one of the more unique Ferraris,” Max Behrens said.
He said there is an attraction to vintage race cars because they don’t have all the computerized gadgetry of modern sport cars.
“They are much more engaging to drive without all of those digital, electronic aspects – a more pure connection to the car,” says Behrens. “Sunday morning, flying through the hills listening to the car, that’s what it’s about.”
The 1955 Lancia Aurelia was a technological marvel for its time, said owner Brook Betz. The luxury street-car model had the first production V6, used sliding pillar suspension and had a transmission in the rear of the car.
“The technology appeals to me. In Europe, at the time, it was popular with the race car drivers who would own one to cruise around with their families,” he said.
Its racing counterpart, the 1954 Lancia Aurelia D-24, was hugely successful on the European race circuit, said owner Bill Evans.
“It blew the competition away,” he said, as locals peered into the engine compartment. “It weighs nothing, and has a huge engine.”
The D-24’s sophisticated design was ahead of rival manufacturers at the time, according to Colorado Grand’s profile.
The car had ideal weight distribution, and low unsprung weight. It weighs just 1,829 pounds, and the 3.3 liter, V6 engine produced 265 horsepower, with a top speed of 165 mph.
Proceeds from the Colorado Grand road rally through Western Colorado will go to local nonprofit organizations and charities.
Last year $523,000 was raised by tour participants and sponsors. Of that $200,000 was distributed to the Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation, and $42,000 went to scholarships for residents of small towns. This year the Galloping Goose Historical Society received a $2,000 donation that will be used to spruce up the rail station and museum.
Tour drivers were escorted by the Colorado State Patrol and Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office deputies.