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Festivals of Speed: From Roadsters To Racecars

By  July 26, 2013

A few times a year, there is a Concours d’Elegance held in Florida called the Festivals of Speed. These photos are from the event in St Petersburg back in April. I was hoping to show them sooner, but was sidetracked for a while with a broken coolant temperature sensor connector in my Miata. But that’s a story for another time. Here, at last, are the photos from that hot sunny day.

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Walking up to the event, I spotted this black fifth generation Chevrolet Corvette Z06. I’m a sucker for CCW wheels and was so distracted by those chrome lips that I didn’t even see the much more rare Alpina Z8 just behind it until much later, when I was editing the photos.

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There was also this very clean green 1967 Ford Galaxie. Interestingly, the owner has mounted what appear to be factory wheels from an early ’90s Ford Explorer rather than something period correct. Despite the nearly 30 year difference, it kind of works, visually.

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On arriving, I was greeted with a wide variety of old and new. On one side of me was a Devon GTX and on the other, a replica of a Jaguar C-Type. The GTX was developed by industrial design house, Devon, and based off of the Dodge Viper, but was unfortunately canceled for production when the Great Recession arrived.

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To the other side of me was this Ecurie Ecosse 1953 Jaguar XK120 C-Type replica and an authentic 1970 Jaguar E-Type. If you’re going to have a $1.25 million+ dollar vintage  Jaguar racecar, this is not a bad way to go about it, with this one costing a small fraction of that and without fear of destroying something almost irreplaceably rare.

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Some day I’d like to own an Elise in just that shade of lime green if I am ever lucky enough to make the kind of money to buy and maintain one. This lovely little snot rocket is equipped with a supercharger.

This trio of Lotuses really caught my eye. Enzo Ferrari may have called the Jaguar E-Type the most beautiful car ever made, but for me it’s the Coke bottle curves of the Elise and Exige that eclipse it for that title.

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The yellow one appears to be sporting more of those wonderfully deep dished CCW wheels.

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Taking it to the extreme was the 2009 Red Bull Lotus Exige GT3/GTR racecar.

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At first sight, I thought this was some sort of Mugen powered variant of the Radical SR8 due to similarities in the appearance, but it turns out that it’s a Ligier JS49 built by former Formula One team Equipe Ligier. This one, along with a few other cars present, is owned and operated by local St Pete performance shop Speed Syndicate.

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This 930 generation Porsche 911 has received some RUF upgrades along with their wheels.

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Another 930 911 in attendance was this very rare factory built slantnose on HRE wheels. Behind it is a Beetle powered Porsche 356 Speedster replica.

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These Sox & Martin and Dick Landy Challengers, along with the Can Am cars below, seem to be locals. I’ve seen them previously at the local Cars & Coffee and  Honda Grand Prix of St Pete.

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This chrome wrapped Nissan GTR was quite a challenge to shoot. Stand 20 feet back and it looks okay. Not something I would do, but okay. Get closer to take a photo and the reflection gets quite busy looking. I think it works better on a racecar. Leave the chrome street cars to Bieber.

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On the more tasteful side of things was this beautiful Lexus LFA.

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After years of seeing Ariel Atoms in Sport Compact Car magazine and on shows like TopGear, I finally got to see one in person. It made my Miata seem large by comparison.

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Lotus Turbo Esprit

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Speaking of small cars, there was a whole line of old Triumphs and Austin Healeys. I’d seen Austin-Healeys before, but before this my exposure to Triumphs had been limited to the TR8.

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Rover Mini next to a current Mini Convertible.

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Triumph GT-V and MGB

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Alfa Romeo GTV, a fan favorite.

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This Austin-Healey 100-6 was quite the looker with its two tone paint and abundance of car club badges.

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The following three really stood out at the show for me.

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This tiny car is a Honda Z360. I’d previously only seen this in GranTurismo games. This Kei car was so tiny that it was dwarfed by the Ariel Atom.

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Those wheels are only 10″ in diameter!

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It even still had the original factory stereo and quite a massive wheel to turn such a small car.

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This one required some research to identify…

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From the badge it was obviously a Meyers Manx, but the body looked nothing like the sweet dune buggies I’d previously seen from them (another dangerous little car I’d like to own some day).

Apparently, Bruce Meyers got tired of other companies ripping off his design back in the sixties and came up with this, the Meyers Manx SR (Street Roadster) a more complex, less easy-to-replicate buggy made for the street. “Though it was thought that there were 400 to 600 of these kits produced, it now appears more like 200 were sold by B.F. Meyers & Co. and possibly 200 more sold by the successive companies that bought the molds after the company went down.” [Source: Meyers Manx: History]

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This is an incredibly rare car in the United States right now. The Nissan Skyline GT-R. Funnily enough, this was the second time I’d ran across this particular one in a couple of weeks. I’d seen it in a parking garage when I was taking a break from shooting the Honda Grand Prix back in March. These were never officially sold by Nissan here and the company who brought them in, Motorex, was shut down by the federal government years ago. Every once in a while I still run across one though.

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On the way home, I spotted a first generation Dodge Viper RT/10. Despite the less upscale look, the first two generations were my favorite years of the Viper. More true to Dodge’s mission of building a more contemporary Shelby Cobra.

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On the interstate on my way home, I spotted the red Triumph TR3 again and this uber rare Ford GTX1.

The GTX1 was an aftermarket drop top version of the Ford GT that was built for a limited time by Genaddi Design Group. They originally intended on making 600 of them from the Ford GT (100 of which were to be prototypes), but the last I’d heard they were nearing the end of production in 2008 and had only sold a little over 100. When it originally came out, I’ll admit I hated it. But I’ve since loosened up about supercar customization, and after having seen this one up close at a Cars & Coffee event a couple of years back, I became a believer. With a roof or without, the GT was a stunner.

That’s it from the Festivals of Speed. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope to have something new for you to drool over soon.

Re-published from Hooniverse, text and photography by Bryce Womeldurf
Copyright 2013 HOONART/Bryce Womeldurf

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