I can’t say enough great things about the tour of the David Markel collection in Skippack, yesterday. Seeing the beaming smiles of our merry band of Alfisti was just what was needed to thaw the winter doldrums. Although I chickened out when I saw the rain in the morning and brought a P*$!s%*e, many more intrepid folks brought out their Giulias, Stelvios, 4Cs, Spiders and Sports Sedans. Thank you!!
Our docent, Jerry Rader did a wonderful job explaining the history and unique features of the 50+ rolling sculptures that we ogled at inside the five buildings we visited. With thirteen buildings housing the collection, we left plenty of distinctive autos to see next time (each time we tour, we see a different set of buildings). One particular treat was a newly curated collection called “Rossa” which, as the name suggests, was filled with Italian beauties – Ferraris, Alfas, Ducatis, Guzzis and others. Spectacular! Another highlight, was visiting the facility where the collection curator, Ryan Zeller, maintains the spectacular machines. Yesterday, he was working on a replica Cobra (I know, I know, but it was really well done), a fresh from California Dino (aka Ferrari), and a Giulietta SZ getting some love. We broke for lunch after that and enjoyed some catching up and swapping stories over meals at restaurants in lovely Skippack.
The last building we visited was actually two buildings. The first was filled with classic Packards, Cords, Cadillacs and other amazing examples of perhaps the pinnacle of American automobile design, the 30s. I had seen these cars before but somehow, the colors on some of them simply memorized me. I wasn’t alone. A number of us couldn’t stop staring at the deep, deep aubergine (or cabernet?) colored Cord. Likewise, the green on the V16 Cadillac attracted us like mosquitos to a lantern. While the colors were captivating, the mechanical detail on the vehicles was equally enchanting. From the built-in level bubbles on the headlights of one Packard to the Art-deco instruments on another, from the exposed hairpin valve springs on the Crocker (never heard of that one?) motorcycle to the jewel-like landau hinge on another Packard, every detail was lovingly designed and fabricated by craftsmen. Remarkable. But wait, there was more. As I mentioned, the last building was actually two. In the second were some treasures worthy of the Simeone museum, including Fangio’s Alfa-engined race car he campaigned in Argentina, a real (yes real) Ferrari P4, a Porsche 906, an Abarth Fiat, and a real (yes real) 427 AC Cobra. What a great way to end a day where we simply ran out of superlatives.
I want to thank everyone who made the event – both familiar faces and some new ones. I also want to extend thanks to Steve Harter who did such a professional job organizing the event. And finally, on behalf of the entire Delaware Valley Alfa Romeo Owners Club, I want to thank Jerry Rader for sharing his knowledge, Ryan Zeller for letting us see under the hood of the machine that keeps these machines on the road, and finally David Markel for his generosity in sharing his world-class collection with us.
On another note, we have a New Event that might be of interest to you.
Saturday, March 9th – Car Detailing Seminar – Berwyn, PA – The local Ferrari club has extended an invitation for us to join them at the Mainline Car Vault in Berwyn to learn about car detailing and how to prepare your car for a concours presentation. If you’re interested, refer to the attached flyer – you need to register.
Saturday, April 20th – Tech Session – Nick Falcone Enterprises – Bala Cynwyd, PA – Join us for our annual spring tech session, hosted by Vince and Ruth of Nick Falcone Enterprises. Mark your calendars now and look for more information in the future.
Cars and Cigars – Skippack, PA – I’ll be updating our events section of the website www.dvaroc.org and the events calendar shortly with several Cars and Cigars events at Skippack. These are low-key events, like Cars and Coffee, where you can show your car, hang out with other auto enthusiasts and enjoy some good food and drinks.
And one more thing….
There is some grass-roots interest in having the DVAROC and CPAROC jointly host the 2026 AROC Convention. It’s in the early planning stages, but in order to pull this off, we need a bunch of Alfisti to chip in and help with it. If you have any interest and time you can give, please reach out to Jose Joga at email@example.com He’s done a lot of early stage planning and his enthusiasm is contagious. If you have any interest or just want to learn more, we can talk about it at the tech session.
Spring is just around the corner!