New England 1000

Right after leaving the Audrain Concours Sunday afternoon, I checked out of my hotel to check into another Hotel in Newport to kick off the New England 1000!

The hotel was on Goat Island, and the roof top parking garage started to gather the cars that would drive on this rally. Sam Hallowell owns this 365GTC/4 that I’ve known for many years. We’ve taken this car all over the US from Wisconsin to Ohio, and Sam decided it was time for another rally.

He’s wanted to attend one of Rich and Jean Taylor’s Vintage Rallies for years, but getting his wife to agree to do navigator duties was the challenge. Sam asked me last year if I would be interested, and I immediately agreed. Shortly after I accepted the invitation, Sam’s wife thanked me for sitting in! I told her this was certainly not a hardship!

Rich Taylor has been running the New England 1000 for 35 years though his company Vintage Rallies with his wife Jean. I’ve known them for years, but never had the chance to do one of these rallies. They are held all over the country from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic states, but this is the rally that started it all. Unfortunately, Jean couldn’t attend this year due to cancer treatment, but Rich soldiered on with a staff of good friends and long time participants.

After leaving Newport, we drove from the shores of the Atlantic to the Green mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. A published route book was in my lap with turn by turn instructions to follow. Each day we would have at least three stages in which at least two were timed. The Taylors had the total distance noted, along with an average speed they attained and total time it took them to achieve a particular stage. With some calculations and observations, the navigator could deduct whether their car was going to arrive at the end of the stage at the same amount of time it took Rich to drive it. As we cross the finish line at each stage, the Rally Masters notate our arrival times and add up our overall scores. Sam and I decided we were not that competitive but would participate in at least getting decent times. The goal was not to end up dead last!

I was really impressed with the variety of the turn out. The rumor on the street was many of the long time participants were convincing the Taylors to allow them to use their more modern cars on these rallies. I realized when the Taylors started this rally 35 years ago, they were in their 30s along with their rally participants. Now they’re all in their 70s and 80s, and maybe not be as limber, or have the stamina to drive a vintage car 1000 miles without air conditioning, or power steering! The good news is they’ve been able to attract some new rally entrants who are a little younger with some older cars, so it’s not a bunch of modern Jaguars, and BMWs!

Plenty of time was given at the end of each day to arrive at our host hotel to freshen up before dinner. The driving days were long, but no one arrived after dinner. Speaking of food, Vintage Rallies was able to provide very good food for all the meals. I’m sure prices and quality can vary for the food at any of these venues, but I never felt that was compromised at any meal!

Rallies like these are all about shared experiences. A group of like minded car people came together to spend a few days driving fun roads, and in the evening shared a meal and some drinks to celebrate the day!

Sam did the majority of the driving on this rally, and I was happy to navigate. I had my route book, GPS odometer, and back up GPS navigation app in case there was a discrepancy in the route book. Of the four day rally, there were only a handful of lefts where they should have been rights! With the help of GPS, most navigators could correct the course quickly.

Vintage Rallies also scheduled stops to visit some private collections and museums along with way. Often times, they were hosting lunch.

From the mountains in NH, we headed back to the coast on the second night to Kennbunkport Maine for a Lobster and Oysters!

A wonderful 300 SL was on the tour, but needed some help from the staff mechanics. They had a failing starter motor, but I think managed to make it last the duration of the rally! I even helped swap out a mechanical fuel pump on a 330GTC, but alas no pictures or proof because I was too busy getting soaked in gasoline!

We also had a lovely 365GT 2+2 on the rally all the way from Colorado that was serviced and maintained by my friends at Scuderia Rampante!

Another nice hotel, another great meal on day three!

The last day of the rally, it was a foggy start, but the forward scenery was always entertaining.

Kudos to the Cunningham that easily kept up with all the modern cars!

My favorite car on the rally was Steve’s Fiat 8V. Not only did Steve and his wife Michelle brave the variety of weather for the whole week with the top down, they also showed this car at the Audrain Concours. I really enjoyed hearing this little V-8 echoing in the mountains and valleys of New England throughout the rally!