PITTSBURGH, PA (December, 2020) Like many large-scale events this year, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix was affected by the pandemic. Ten days of car shows, races and motorsport parties were canceled, but that didn’t stop the Grand Prix from delivering a meaningful donation for our charitable partners.
This past May, the PVGP announced it was canceling its 2020 Race Week events and “Shifting Gears” to encourage its car club partners to get out on the road in the safety of their own cars. The result – more than two dozen events were held throughout the summer and fall, raising $60,000!
We applaud our racers, volunteers, car club partners and event participants who got involved and made incredible efforts to keep the Grand Prix spirit alive. From staging events to donating their 2020 registration fees, the response was overwhelming and vital to our charity mission.” said Dan DelBianco, PVGP executive director.
Joseph S. Martz, president of Merakey Allegheny Valley School, said, “thank you for all you did to make lemonade out of lemons, we are incredibly grateful to the PVGP and its supporters for putting your hearts and souls into the “Shifting Gears” campaign.”
Jesse Torisky, CEO of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh, exclaimed “during this pandemic autistic people haven’t stopped being autistic and they need our services now more than ever and likewise, the PVGP supporters have not stopped working – we are humbled by their tireless efforts.
Sixteen racers generously donated their 2020 race entry fees, crossing the finish line with a whopping $10,450 donation! PVGP Chairman Jim Dolan was the first racer to make a donation and said “this has been an unprecedented display of what community involvement is all about and I thank everyone”. Stu Long and the team at Nelson Ledges staged a Test & Tune in August to benefit the PVGP and added $1,150 more!
The Porsche Club raised $6,100 with Parade Laps in Schenley Park on our normally scheduled Race Day on Sunday, July 26, and they also held several driving tours.
The idea to get together was the mastermind of Ed Rice, President of the Allegheny Region Porsche Club. “The impromptu event was a stunning success”, according to Ed “I was in a melancholy mood when the event was canceled and I just didn’t want to sit around and do nothing that weekend. Then I thought, what the heck, every year in the days before Race Weekend in Schenley Park I drive the racecourse to get into the vibe of the PVGP. I decided I was going to invite all of my Porsche Club friends to join me.”
The Pittsburgh Section of the Mercedes-Benz Club matched the first $1,000, of member donations for a $2,555 donation and added $1,000 with a fall road tour to Moraine State Park.
Jason Uhler and the Greater Pittsburgh Mustang Club raised $2,137 while touring the countryside in their pony cars in our Orange Belt Tour in July. The Marque of the Year Corvettes, led by Jim Kinest, staged a Corvette Club Caravan Challenge in May and donated their 2020 registration fees, $1,448!
Karen Hanchett and Patrick Martin staged two Motorbike Tours to Jamison Farm in Latrobe that raised $1,200. Bud Osbourne and the Western PA Triumph Association worked on these tours and the PVGP July Countryside Tour that raised $2,030.
The Rolls Royce & Bentley Club raised a grand total of $14,080 through three separate events. Greg & Christie Farrell hosted a party at their home in June, raising $1,400. Bentley Pittsburgh hosted a car show at their dealership in Wexford in September that brought in $7,950. With an auction of her Handmade Glass Art Terri Hohmann added $3,530, and Rolls Royce Club President Chris Davis’s neighbors’ “Little Miss Cookie Squad” baked and sold cookies weekly this summer for $1,200.
The ALFISTI Alfa Romeo Club pledged $1,000 from its July Over the River Tour. West Penn Miata Club raised $800 with its own kick-off style Rallye. Jack and Cathy Dernorsek led the 3 Rivers Region Model A Restorers Club on a Red Belt Tour in August that brought in $465.
Land Rover North Hills sponsored the October 24/25 Fall Car Show at Pitt Race Complex that raised $2,100 the same weekend that the Western PA Triumph Club and Gary Fredo hosted a road tour netting $1,555. To get the PVGP over the $60,000 mark the Greater Pittsburgh MG Club donated $1,000 from its membership.
With the pandemic raging around the world and most car events cancelled for the foreseeable future many charities are being left with no fundraisers. Concours marketing leader Bernard Martin recently stepped up to the plate to offer his services to help charities across the country.
According to Bernie, "The conversation actually started at Amelia Island early this year. Dan DelBianco and I where sitting at the pool late Sunday afternoon and we where more or less reaching the conclusion that we may not be able to hold any. PVGP events this summer. I suggested that we get all 17 car clubs and encourage them to drive their cars in a series of fundraising rallies. We had just completed hosting the 2019 Alfa Romeo Owners Club convention and had used the belt system around Pittsburgh for a number of the driving tours so we had a ready made tour route with signage already in place."
The Pittsbrugh Vintage Grand Prix has renamed this year theme to "Shifting Gears" as a result of that conversation.
In early Spring Lilly Pray approached Bernie about a project that she had become involved in called "Rally Across America". Lilly has been a highly respected concours judge for many years and she was the first Ambassador for the effort. The founders of "Rally Across America", Jim and Wendy Petty, wanted to create a website and social media for their concept of raising $1 Million for charities across the United States by helping car clubs and car aficionados host driving events for their local charities.
Bernie told Lilly that this project was right in his wheelhouse as he was already planning events for the Three Rivers Alfisti to raise money for the PVGP.
Bernie created the website and social media for the organizations and also create all of the "Rally-in-a-Box" tools needed to ambassadors to create their own driving event. He tested a number of auto touring and rally apps for mobile devices and included the functions for the Rally Ambassadors.
Lilly Pray has a passion for cars, she’s been channeling that energy into an organized drive that will give back to the community. Lilly, a nurse in Boulder, Colorado, serves an ambassador for Rally Across America, a grassroots organization whose goal is to raise more than $1 million for nonprofit groups across the U.S.
Lilly jumped at the opportunity to help Rally Across America, which hosted its inaugural drive on June 7, with proceeds going to the Connecticut Foodbank. A total of 41 cars took part, with each driver donating the suggested $100.
New Record $410,000 Donation – the 7th Record Donation in the Last 8 Years!
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) and its presenting sponsor, the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association, (GPADA) presented a record $410,000 check to the PVGP Charities.
The presentation took place on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at the “Dancing with the Cars” party – the opening preview of the Pittsburgh International Auto Show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
The check represents the funds raised by the PVGP throughout 2018, combined with the proceeds from the GPADA’s Dancing with the Cars party that night.
(left to right) Unveiling the donation check are John Putzier – CEO Greater Pittsburgh Automobile dealers Association, Brian Urban – PVGP Assistant Race Director, Bernie Martin – PVGP Cortile and Social Media, Elizabeth Humphrey – Merakey AVS Ambassador, Anita Iyengar – Autism Society of Pittsburgh Ambassador, Dan Wind – President GPADF, Matt Diehl – President GPADA and Dan DelBianco – Executive Director PVGP. Photo by Amy Rocini.
“This was the 7th time in the last 8 years that we were able to set a new record for fundraising and the 11th time in the last 14 years.” said Dan DelBianco, Executive Director of the PVGP “we are proud of our growing success and we are so appreciative that the GPADA’s Foundation holds this event and donates the proceeds to our charity partners.
John Putzier, CEO of the GPADA said “our partnership with the PVGP has turned out to be a win-win-win for the GPADA’s Foundation, the PVGP and for the charities. Together we can do so much good by combining the two biggest automotive events in Western PA to generate funds for autism and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
According to Bernie. "I was invited up on stage to present #PVGP check to the charity ambassadors. I’m was quite honored to there, to be associated with so many fine people and humbled to be on the stage for such a great event" while attending the 2019 Dancing with the Cars Charity Preview at David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Bernie and Wayne where invited to assist Stuart Sobek, the Founder of the upcoming Las Vegas Concours d' Elegeance and Vance Walker, the LVCE Managing Director, in some of the planning and logistics for their first time event. Sometimes getting an experienced set of eyes on a new event is a good idea and the guys in Las Vegas have all the trappings needed to host a truly stellar concours.
Before we delve into the details, there's a few things you should know like when is it and what is the story behind the cool art deco logo.
The Helene Award will be presented each year to deserving innovators in the automotive industry for outstanding achievements in the design, development and future of the automobile.
Dragon Ridge - The Concours Location
The Concours happens on Saturday, October 26, 2019, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Dragon Ridge Country Club. which is about a 20 minute drive from the Bellagio host hotel for the Concours events.
Much of our time was helping develop the field layout, shuttle stops locations, trailer parking locations and discussing how to plan for traffic flow and staging.
Dragon Ridge Country Club has a bit of a Scottish Highlands feel to it. It's located in the MacDonald Highlands, which are a series of highly affluent residential neighborhoods in Henderson, Nevada in the foothills of Black Mountain. The neighborhood is part of the Las Vegas Valley and it sits on the edges of the McCullough Mountains and overlooks much of Henderson and Greater Las Vegas including the Las Vegas Strip.
Dragonridge Country Club is one of the highest points of Greater Las Vegas. Guard-gated, it is more than 170 acres of rolling hills overlooking the Las Vegas skyline. It's quite a sight to behold and promises to be an amazing location for a Concours.
Take a peek at the slideshow below and check out some of the initial planning that is being worked on!
By Bernard Martin
When Wayne and I started this Concours LLC endeavor, we agreed on several groundrules:
When we get emails, like this one from Ford Heacock below, and phone calls from some folks we highly respect, and see very kind things written in articles about our events, we know that that the six hours of planning was more important than the six minute solution we could have tossed in and hoped for the best.
At our events we operate on keeping everything simple. It's called K.I.S.S. by most. We don't ask a volunteer or judge to do anything more than a couple things that they can check off on the fingers of one hand. Otherwise people will forget things if its too complicated. This especially holds true for any first year event: You don't know what you don't know.
At the end of the day, it really takes a team of great people to make a succesful event. It takes every person on the team jumping in to lend a hand.
We certainly had an "all hands on deck" moment last May. We experienced the second highest amount of rainfall since the "1000 Year Flood" that closed the Greenbrier for a few months after the June 2016 high water mark destroyed so much of the facility.
We had watched the weather closely on Saturday and decided that we should be clear of rain during the Concours on Sunday. We made the call at 2pm on Saturday afternoon. We would not need to implement our "rain plan" that would have required moving cars into the building by late Saturday afternoon.
Sunday was indeed beautiful, albeit slightly overcast, with only a few raindrops at the beginning of the Concours. Perfect weather for the photographers actually. What we had failed to pay close attention to was the severe amount of overnight rain. I recall Wayne calling me as I was finishing some showfield marking about 10pm at night on Saturday. The rain was coming down in buckets. As I walked back to the golf cart for the last time, I told him we where finally ready for tomorrow and I was not going to make it to the Gala but was going to take a hot shower, have a glass of wine and get some sleep.
We could still handle that easily and but needed to take care of the other half of of the showfield classes.
We still needed a place to put five more judged classes. Fortunately, the golf pro suggested the idea of putting cars in front of the main entrance to The Greenbrier. We where very fortunate to have originally planned to use the front entrance for our show. We pulled out and dusted off the very original plans that called for putting some iconic 20-30's era cars right in the middle of the roundabout and the brass cars under the roof. We had a plan. We could park all the classes and have a show.
But how do we notify everyone? It came down to the effort of the judges. What an incredible group of judges Paul Ianuario assembled. Each group called their class, told them where to go and when to unload. The Volunteer hosts who had been to other car shows really pulled out the stops and made if happen. OODA loops!
It really does take a lot of people to make an event success. You've got to have a team and a that team you have to trust to do their jobs to the best of their own discretion.
It's the people that mean alot to us. It's the people that should mean alot to your and your efforts doing a car event.
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Bernie Martin is the Founder and President of Rapid Production Marketing in Pittsburgh. It’s a branding and consulting agency that develops strategies and tactical implementation.
A long time resident of Pittsburgh, Bernie has combines his passion for cars and in 2009 created The Cortile in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix week. The Cortile takes place at the Bob O’Conner Gold Course at Shenley Park. It is a unique car show as it is one of the few events during the race weekend managed by the PVGP Association. Most of the other car marque shows are managed by the individual car clubs.
As the Managing Director of the event Bernie and his team bring a wide range of Italian marque cars to this very special show with this year’s highlight being Alfa Romeo.
During the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d' Elegance Wayne and Bernie where invited by Paul to spend some time with Roy Sjoberg.
Roy H. Sjoberg was named Executive Engineer-Viper Project in February 1989. In that position, he created and managed the Project Team for the development & production of the Dodge Viper. The "Platform Team" concept envisioned by Sjoberg (to bring the Viper to production) became the corporate-wide organizational structure for Chrysler.
There was some terrific stories about the inception of the Viper and Roy's recruitment to Chrysler!
We not sure if everyone know's Paul Ianuario backstory. Paul is a retired engineer who spent more than 40 years in the automotive supplier industry and has degrees in engineering, mathematics, and physics.
Our discussion on the patio at The Ritz ran the gammit from mothballed factories to CNC machining and CFD testing.
Paul is going to be the Chief Judge at the Inaugural Greenbrier Concours d'Elegance, so of course there was a healthy amount of discussion about all aspects of Concours judging ranging from car selection and assignment to classes to filed layout and weather contingencies.
Paul is the president of SLR Support Services, Inc. His company provides consulting services and support for museums and vehicle related events. Paul was under contract for twenty years as Curator of the BMW Zentrum and recently stepped down from this position. He was an AACA Museum Director and served eleven years in that capacity.
Bernard Martin interviews Ralph Gilles who is the Head of Design at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Ralph spends some time going through the history of the Alfa Romeo marque, discusses the development of the 2017 Alfa Romeo Guilia, and finishes up the interview with an thank you to the Alfisti Vintage Racing community.
Alfisti have been keeping the brand alive in the North America during their 20+ year hiatusand Ralph admires Brandon Adrian's very rare and early 1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce Spider 750F. This is the actual car that won (1st in Class Winner) at the F.I.A./ARCF 12-Hour 1957 Sebring, Florida International Grand Prix of Endurance for the Amoco Trophy and was 2nd in class in the 1958 Sebring 12-Hour the following year. This is one of if not the most significant Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce Spider's in the world with a early F.I.A. competition history and it was the FIRST Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce Spider with a International racing win at a maior International F.I.A. event in the world. (F.I.A. World Sports Car Championship). This car is the 'Real' and only original 'Sebring' Spider
2015 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Interview with Bernard Martin, Managing Partner "The Cortile." Interviewer: Ted Sohier Camera Operator/Editor: Justin Mackey
The Cortile is a hybrid car show. Hybrid in the sense that it is one of the few car shows on race weekend managed by directly by the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Association. Many of the other shows are graciously managed by local car clubs.
In October of 2007 Dan Delbianco and Bob Speer had lunch with Bernie Martin and the subject of Italian cars, and the lack of them at the PVGP, came up. The Italian manufacturer's and coachbuilders had some of the richest history of automotive design and performance engineering. There seemed to be two key problems: There where no Italian Car dealers in the Western PA region; There where no active Italian Car clubs to manage a car show
By the end of that lunch it was decided to roll the dice and see if we could attract some Italian gems to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix by creating an "All Italian" Marque of the Year. As Bernie tells it, Bob and Dan looked at him and said "Great Idea! You're in charge"
So, in 2008, at the 26th running of The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, "All Italian Cars" were featured as the "Marque of the Year" There was an overwhelming response! But there was still no local car club and no local dealers to manage an all Italian car show in the future.
During the course of the 2008 show there where many discussions about why more Italian car owners didn't participate. Some of the main reasons given was that the traditional location of the Italian car event turned into a swamp if it rained. It was also noted that many visitors to the PVGP, not realizing the rarity of some of the cars in front of them, wanted to "hop in" because there where only a few Italian cars that showed up.
Bernie's wife and other family members decided early into that weekend that they needed to keep the momentum going with the Italian Marques into the future. By the end of the 2008 event the discussion was flowing. Several people made the journey across the park to look at a section of the golf course that was completely vacant near the #8 & #17 green of the Bob O'Conner Golf Course at Schenley Park. It was decided to create an All Italian event every year.
Those founding members included Bernie Martin, Walt Spak, Sean Kunkle, Wayne Long, Chad Pcsolyer, Jim Shaw, Dan Delbianco, Bob Speer and Ian Martin. In 2009 the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix launched "The Cortile" which has become a very unique, opulent area befitting the gorgeous Italian gems that participate. The Cortile is a PVGP run event and not a club event which makes it rather unique from many of the other car shows that occur over the Grand Prix weekend.
Some of the stories, pictures and articles that we have been included in over the years.