Sunday in the Park at Lime Rock

Gathering of the Marques‏

Sunday in the Park presented by Bentley. It was big.

It was the biggest, busiest, best-attended concours and car show in recent memory, big enough to cause traffic issues Lime Rock Park had not experienced before. At the 32nd annual Sunday in the Park Concour d’ Elegance presented by Bentley and its companion 800-car Gathering of the Marques, the entire track was jammed with enthusiasts.

Best of Show, a brilliant 1930s-era Alfa

In the concours, 224 vehicles were in 29 classes. After the judging, the results were tabulated and a stunning 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 owned by Peter Sachs of Stamford, Conn., won Best of Show. The stellar pale yellow/cream car had been entered in Class 3, “Risky but Racy, competition machines of merit, pre-1945.”

Another notable class winner was Dennis Nicrota’s pre-production 1964 Mercedes 300 SL (Class 13, “Power to Spare – and Grace to Boot”). This car was initially delivered to Briggs Cunningham.

Also winning were Roger Werner’s 1965 Cobra (Class 12, “A Sporting Proposition, sports cars 1962 – 1970”); Class 19, “Bentley Beauty and Brute, a tribute to W.O.’s best,” a 1928 Bentley 4.5L Le Mans owned by Roger Noble; and a 1963 Alfa Romeo Zagato SZ in Class 22, “Just As We Found It, untouched or minimally massaged,” owned by Larry Garcia.

People’s Choice went to an imposing but somehow approachable 1926 Kissel Speedster, owned by Andrew Benenson.

Of course, the Ralph Lauren display of five of his best cars was a major attraction.

It’s hard to describe the Gathering of the Marques. Clubs and individual owners bring cars then fill the track from Big Bend to West Bend. For example, there were 112 pristine Porsches at the top of the Uphill. Seven Gullwing Mercedes. Twenty-nine Vipers. Great collections of domestic hardware from Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and Oldsmobile. A Ferrari club even had a dozen Ferraris on No Name Straight.

Tomorrow, it’s back to racing, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 18 races in total. Lime Rock Park has planned a tribute to Lee Duran, in his memory.