The Thrill Of Supercars At Audrain Automobile Museum In Newport
A 1967 Lamborghini Miura, and a 1995 McLaren F1 are some of the supercars on display
Through May 29, the Audrain Automobile Museum will be showcasing supercars. Its quite a lineup, with many millions of dollars represented on the show floor. For instance, the McLaren F1 is often regarded as the greatest street car of all time, and a 1995 example is in the exhibit. Another F1 auctioned at Pebble Beach last year for $20.5 million.
Only 17 Vector W8s were built, with outrageous specifications for the 1980s. It had carbon fiber and aluminum bodywork on a semi-aluminum monocoque chassis. The car weighed only 3,320 pounds. The 625-horsepower six-liter twin-turbo V-8 enabled 242 miles per hour and zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds. But they sometimes broke when journalists drove them, and the company went into receivership in 1993. The Vector in the exhibit is from 1992.
Donald Osborne, CEO of Audrain, said the Vector is one of the most popular cars in the exhibitin part, because few people have actually seen one. When it arrived, I spent a lot of time looking at it, and what I saw impressed me more and more, he said. Its painfully evident why the Vector never went into actual productionits built to an astonishing standard, and the fit and finish is outstanding. There are parallels between Jerry Wiegert, the man behind the Vector, and Preston Tucker.
2005 Porsche Carrera GT:
1988 Porsche 959S
1995 McLaren F1
1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Straßenversion
2003 Ferrari Enzo
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Due to the current health crisis, this seasons Cars & Coffee will be a little different from years past.
-Registration is mandatory capacity limits will vary-Limit 2 people per registered car-Cars will be parked 6 feet apart-Face masks are required to be worn for the entire duration of the event-Everyone must practice safe social distancing
For the safety of attendees and staff, they ask that everyone must abide by these requirements and those who do not will be asked to leave.
Registration for each event will open the Monday prior to the event. Please to sign up for their newsletter to receive these registration emails.
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Audrain Cars & Coffee
Even when on vacation I seem to find car events. While in Rhode Island I had the opportunity to attend the Cars & Coffee in Newport sponsored by the Audrain Auto Museum. This was a casual event held in a large field at the polo grounds in Newport. There was a fairly good turn out of cars, old and new, classics and drivers. Of course nothing like the crowd we get for cars and coffee here at Abingdon Spares, but this is a newer event, they will get the hang of it sooner or later! It seemed like a very organized setup. The majority of cars were what I would call “newer”, Corvette, Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, and then a mix of all types and conditions of cars. A few of the classics, a few nearly race ready cars, and a few “what is that doing here?” ones! Two rare birds are in the last photo, a Maserati Mistral and a Fiat Dino Coupe, neither one red either! A very interesting morning.
Here are a few photos, mainly the few British ones I could find!
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Nor: With A Porsche Show On The Horizon For The Fall What Types Of Cars Will You Be Putting Into The Show What Do You Need To Borrow And What Types Of Cars Make The Cut
DdM: We are still in the beginning of planningâ¦ We are light is the early cars. Donât have a GmÃ¼nd, 550, 901, 959, a rally car, or a tractor, so will likely try and borrow those! It will be interesting to have original matching numbers cars, both restored and preservation class. I appreciate cars with patina or âhistory of use.â Also, cars with race history. Maybe an outlaw or two. We recently acquired a â73 911 RSR tribute car that Kevin Jeannette at Gunnar Racing built. Really interesting. I know there are some Porsche purists that will frown upon this! But we think of it very much as the European equivalent to American customs & hot rods, which we love.
When planning exhibits I often wonder, what is the next generationsâ interest? I have two kids that are Millennials. This plays into the major mission for the museum – educating and getting young people interested in the car hobby. Makes me think of the local German car tuners club, mostly BMW, VW, Audi – they do the New England Wrap Up at Eastonâs Beach every October and get hundreds of cars showing up from all over region! Thatâs a whole segment of the car scene that the three of us older guys donât pay much attention to. But it is a real happening, a big part of the local car culture. Awesome!
Audrain Auto Museums Cars & Coffee At Fort Adams Sunday
This Sunday, September 13th, join car enthusiasts from 8am to 10am at Fort Adams in Newport for their Cars & Coffee event.
All cars must pre-register, so do that NOW. Youll also get added to their mailing list for future events.
Due to the pandemic the event will be a little different from years past. Please see below for the updated protocol:
· Registration is mandatory we are limiting registration to 100 cars
· Limit 2 people per registered car
· Cars will be parked 6 feet apart
· Face masks are required to be worn for the entire duration of the event
· Everyone must practice safe social distancing
For the safety of attendees and staff, we ask that everyone must abide by these requirements and those who do not will be asked to leave.
After you register, you will be emailed a ticket. This ticket is non-transferable and must be presented at time of entry . If you have to cancel your registration, please reach out to Victoria Antonucci at 401-856-4420 or .
About the Audrain Auto Museum
Founded in 2014 in Newport, Rhode Island with a mission of Preserving, Celebrating & Sharing Automotive History, the Audrain Automobile Museum connects and engages with other local non-profits and the greater Aquidneck Island community.
As the Audrain Automobile Museum continues to grow, so does its status as a must-stop destination for both car enthusiasts and Newport visitors alike.
Nor: How Did The Audrain Museum Happen
DdM: Nick Schorsch and several of his business partners are car enthusiasts and collectors. They had purchased the Audrain Building to restore and initially use for their summer offices.
Merchant and real estate tycoon Adolph Audrain commissioned Bruce Price, a prominent New York City architect, working in the Italian Renaissance Revival style completed the building in 1902.
We had just acquired a â36 Packard Eight and I remember saying, âI wish we had a place to show cars! This is an awesome car.â The partners had been discussing options for downstairs. Initially, the plan was to return the ground floor to high-end retail. The first Brooks Brothers store outside of New York City was right in the corner where the Mercedes-McLaren is sitting right now. It was exciting, they decided to turn downstairs into a museum! It made good sense â a spectacular architecturally significant building on Bellevue Avenue on Newportâs historic âMuseum Mile.â No better place to show antique and classic cars!
So we started the whole building restoration project in December of 2013. The museum conversation probably happened in May. By July we had completely changed the scope of work on the ground floor and structural changes were underway. By mid-October 2014, we were open. It happened that quickly.
Nor: After Four Years What Has Been Your Favorite Show So Far
DdM: Weâve done ten thematic shows now. Favorite? Probably the second pre-war exhibit, Big Bold & Brassy. I knew little about brass era cars until I started working with Nick. Itâs been really great to be on a learning curve while working with the cars and planning an exhibition. Thereâs more to do. Keeps it interesting. Yeah, Iâve really enjoy that. The other showsâ¦I donât knowâ¦theyâre all favorites for a variety of reasons. Muscle Car Madness is next, I grew up with muscle cars, so call it my new favorite!
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Nor: Is The Focus Of The Museum Refining At This Point
DdM: We have been discussing the museumâs future direction a lot recently. Weâve largely drawn from the collections – plural – meaning the partners car collections, and the Museumâs as a public charity too. The Museum is acquiring cars with acquisitions funds and by actual car donations. So, collectively, with now over 250 cars â there is a lot of great material to choose from. We have shown over 140 cars to date. I sometimes do borrow cars and motorcycles from outside lenders – other collectors and enthusiasts, to help us tell a good story.
We want the museum gallery to be a hub, no pun intended, for car enthusiasts in Southern New England. I see the exhibitions becoming maybe 30% of what the Museum does. The Museumâs mission really has to embrace other ways to engage the public through education – getting the next generation interested in the classic car hobby presenting history and design participating in concours events, cars & coffee, vintage rallies, and car shows. Have fun, drive cars! Enjoy the visceral qualities of driving â the sights, sounds, smell, and feel of being behind the wheel.
Nor: What Are Your Favorite Porsches In The Collection
DdM: There are 35 Porsches here in car storageâ¦of the modern Porsches, my two favoritesâ¦ the Carrera GT – which scares me â itâs a widow maker – but, as you know, itâs a remarkable car. Itâs an analog car, which I really like. The exhaust note from the V10 is incredible! Another is the new 911R, sitting right outside this door. A 4-liter with manual transmission, lean, a driverâs driver. The â68 soft window targa is also a favorite. Essentially the first year of a cabriolet with an integrated roll bar. Sometimes I get to drive three or four Porsches in a day. So you really get to appreciate their differences. A great experience!
If I could make a pitch? – We have a great core of museum volunteers, all car enthusiasts, who help us in the museum and at our various events. Several of them are PCA Northeast Region members. We value these knowledgeable and passionate people who add immensely to our efforts and encourage any other of your interested members to contact us about volunteering.
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Upscale Welcoming And Fun
Is it possible to make a car event both classy and accessible for everyone? The folks over at Audrain seem to have figured it out.
This past Sunday, we were invited to participate in Audrain Motorsports Cars & Coffee AMS Tour, which comprised of a Cars & Coffee in the morning and followed shortly after by a car rally.
The Cars & Coffee, which took place at the beautiful Aquidneck Club in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, was packed with an eclectic mix of cars old and new. So many cars showed up, in fact, that organizers had to shut the gates as the event had reached capacity.
Shortly after the Cars & Coffee, we took off as part of the AMS Tour, a members-only rally that was led by David Donohuea Le Mans champ and also son of famed racing driver Mark Donohue. Close to a dozen cars made the trek from the Aquidneck Club to the Bayside Restaurant in Westport, Massachusetts, a drive that covered some 150 miles of stunning Southern Massachusetts back roads.
Overall, both the rally and Cars & Coffee were well-organized and even managed to feel very upscale without getting stuffy. Thanks again go out to Donald Osborne and everyone else at the Audrain Auto Museum and Audrain Motorsport for inviting us and even lending us a 997.2 Porsche 911 4S Cabriolet.
Interested in participating yourself? A Cars & Coffee event is held every two weeks, and you can learn more by visiting audrainmotorsport.com.
Nor: Has Curation Become Easier With Each Show Or Have The Shows Become More Ambitious
DdM: So far, we have been highlighting the collections in thematic exhibits, as I mentioned earlier. But, letâs face it, there are a lot of other great cars out there. We donât feel limited to our collections. In order to curate a great exhibition and tell a good story, you often have to borrow. Take the Petersen Museum for instance, how many of cars in the current exhibition belong to the Petersen? A handful? The rest are carefully considered outside loans to bring together the best of the best. My museum background is somewhat academic , so I like the idea of doing research and presenting new material. I think the exhibitions have to evolve and embrace new interpretation.
We will be doing a summer show thatâs light and fun to appeal to the masses. We are working on a mini and micro car show â woodies and vintage surfboards too. It might be only mildly interesting to car guys but itâs intended for broad appeal. I make no apologies about that. We want to interest the greatest number of people, especially when you consider the tourist demographic thatâs here in Newport in the summer.
In contrast, we are planning an all Porsche exhibit to open in late October! I see it as an opportunity to explore the history, design, and technology. The nuts & bolts side of Porsche. More in depth.
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Nor: What Is Your Favorite Car In The Collection To Drive On Track
DdM: A favorite is a 2014 Fiat Abarth thatâs chipped, and itâs set up for the track. Iâve had a blast driving it. Why? Because you can drive right to the limit. Itâs hard to get in trouble with it. I feel very comfortable in it and its fun. Thatâs where Iâm at. Obviously Iâm an amateur, and not really interested in racing. Iâve also done some hot laps in our Ferrari 360 Modena and â08 Porsche 911 GT3, both incredible.