SPRINGFIELD – Excitement was in the air Monday as vintage car enthusiasts gathered to detail plans for a three-day road race in downtown Springfield in July that celebrates the city’s history and promises a boost to the regional economy.
The annual Springfield Vintage Grand Prix is slated to premiere July 22-24, presented by the Vintage Sports Car Club of America in collaboration with the city.
“I am as excited as a little kid in a candy store right now,” said City Councilor Melvin A. Edwards, who is assisting with plans. “It is such an exciting opportunity.”
He was among organizers and city officials gathered at the Museum of Springfield History to formally announce plans.
“We are psyched,” said John Schieffelin, president of Vintage Sports Car Club of America. “The club runs on enthusiasm. The cars are the stars.”
The local race coincides with the city’s 375th anniversary, and celebrates the city’s history that includes being the birthplace of the first gasoline-powered automobile in North America, produced in the late 19th century by the Duryea brothers. In 1895, the first automobile race in the United States was won by the Duryea brothers.
The Springfield race and festivities will feature pre-1960 cars, and will be viewed by the public for free. The sports cars will include Porsches, Ferraris, Jaguars and other vintage cars.
Between 80 and 110 cars will compete in classes based on model year and other characteristics.
Michael Hall, of Springfield, who is founder of the Springfield race event, said the collection of vintage cars will be “mind-boggling.”
“It will blow your socks off,” Hall said.
It will be a great boost for a city that has had its challenges, he said. The event will be financed by private funds and sponsorships.
Edwards said he envisions an event that will attract 100,000 people and could fill every hotel from Hartford to Northampton. Read More >>>>