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.