A Royal Turnout at Lime Rock’s Sunday Royals Car Show
Earth-shaking muscle cars, supercharged Sprites, pristine pickups and unrestored “survivors” were just some of the more than 400 cars, trucks and motorcycles that lined the track at Sunday’s sixth annual Royals Garage Car Show at historic Lime Rock Park.
(Click here to see a great collection of photos from the Royals Car Show taken by Greg Clark and Michael DiPleco, LRP's official shooters. You do not need to be a Facebook "member" in order to view the gallery.)
But this was more than just another car show: All of the $5 and $10 bills handed in by entrants and spectators will go to the Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills in association with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and the “Butterfly Affair” fundraising Gala, as part of this year’s charitable joint venture between the Royals family and Skip Barber, famed race winner and president of Lime Rock Park.
“Skip donates the track and its personnel, and we donate our time as a way to give something back to the community on a day when the track is closed to racing,” noted Glenn Royals who, with brother J.R., owns and operates Royals’ Garage in Torrington. While the general-repair facility, opened nearly 40 years ago, specializes in Corvettes and has worked on cars owned by “Cannonball” racer Brock Yates and actor Michael J. Fox, “we’re just as fussy with our regular customers’ cars,” said Royals.
Perhaps most impressive is this Lime Rock event’s inclusiveness: It’s open to nearly anything with something special to separate it from more-plebian transport. And it brought some truly special cars indeed.
When was the last time you saw two original, unrestored cars with their original owners? Bill Eichner’s 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 looked as fresh as when he drove it off the showroom floor. And Russ Truelove’s 1956 Mercury Monterey NASCAR stocker appeared to have just roared off the old Daytona Beach track where he raced it that year. Survivor cars also included a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger with 17,000 miles, a 26,000-mile 1993 Mazda RX7 that looked barely broken-in, and a red 1954 Austin-Healey 100 that was clearly driven and enjoyed.
Four entries were distinguished enough to win their lucky owners trophies awarded by the Lime Rock-Royals team...
• “Royals Crown” A numbers-matching 1969 Camaro Z/28 in Rally Green owned by David Stelly of West Granby, Conn., captured the Royals Crown. “J.R. chose it,” Glenn Royals confided. “It’s an absolutely perfect restoration”
• “Veterans Vote” Stutz hit the American performance-car scene decades before the first Corvette. Torrington resident John Grunder’s 1929 Stutz Blackhawk was rare and stunning enough to win the Veteran’s Vote. Sat the presentation, veterans were asked to stand with the car for the photos
• “Skip’s Selection” Michael O’Brien of Collinsville, Conn., won Skip’s Selection with his flawless red-and-black 1934 Ford Cabriolet custom. “I just really liked the looks of it,” said a clearly smitten Skip Barber
• “People’s Pick” A day of balloting gave spectators their say as well: Kerry Washay, also of Torrington, and his opulent metallic-blue 1960 Cadillac Coupe de Ville drove off with People’s Pick
The Royals family and Skip Barber have obviously figured out a great way to sate a car-crazy crowd at a race track where history lives. See you at the Seventh Annual!
- Robert Markovich
Robert Markovich is a car enthusiast of the highest order and is a semi-regular entrant in the Sunday in the Park Concours d' Elegance at each year's Lime Rock Historic Festival. We asked him to record his thoughts about the Sixth Annual Sunday Royals Garage Car Show.