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2019 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix to honor Shelby and Alfa Romeo

Published in blog.hemmings.com

James Dolan’s 1967 Ford GT40 MKIV leads the number 98 1966 Shelby G.T. 350 of Gary Moore and the number 76 1966 Shelby G.T. 350 of Charlie Dolan at PIRC. Photo by Matthew Little.

Now in its 37th year, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) is a 10-day extravaganza of motorsports and classic cars, offering something of interest for nearly all enthusiasts. In 2019, the PVGP, which runs from July 11 to 21, will honor Shelby as its featured marque and Alfa Romeo as its spotlight car, playing host to national conventions for the Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC), Team Shelby, and the Alfa Romeo Owners Club (AROC).

Brian Dolan racing his ’65 Shelby 427 Cobra at PIRC.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a fitting location to host a gathering of Shelby automobiles. Though most associate the Cobra with Carroll Shelby’s Venice, California headquarters, several early examples were assembled in Pittsburgh by Ed Hugus at his European Cars dealership. Hugus and his team completed the assembly of CSX2001 — the first production Shelby Cobra — as well as CSX2003, CSX2004, and CSX2005, installing 260-cu.in. Ford V-8s and transmissions into the rolling chassis supplied by AC Cars. In the early days of Cobra production, Shelby reportedly offered him a partnership in the project, but was rebuffed. Hugus was content with selling sports cars and racing them in his spare time, so the role of automaker held little appeal for him.

Image courtesy PVGP.

The SAAC-44 National Convention and the Team Shelby East Coast Grand Nationals will take place from July 11 to 14 at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex (PIRC), located in nearby Wampum, Pennsylvania. The concurrent events will feature track days, test and tunes, vintage racing, dinners and other social events. Following the first weekend’s activities, Shelby will be honored as Marque of the Year at a special exhibit in Schenley Park, home to the street course vintage racing, on July 20-21.

The Alfa Romeo Volpi Special. Photo courtesy PVGP.

The 2019 AROC National Convention, hosted by local chapter Three Rivers Alfisti, will begin with a parade, downtown car show and “Tune-Up Party” on Wednesday, July 17, followed by autocross, track day, and time trial events at PIRC on Thursday, July 18. Friday’s activities include a rally and dinner at the Pittsburgh Golf Club, while racing and car shows continue on Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21, at Schenley Park. The theme of this year’s AROC National Convention is Cortile della corsa, (Courtyard of Racing), marking the first time that Alfa Romeo’s racing heritage will be honored at the gathering.

Alfa Romeo poster, painted by artist Kelly Telfer. Image courtesy PVGP.

The activities tied to the PVGP begin with a Kick-Off Rallye on Sunday, July 7, described as a combination country tour and scavenger hunt, open to vehicles of any year and drivers and navigators of all skill levels. Vintage racing at PIRC begins on Friday, July 12, and runs through Sunday, July 14, and on July 13 the Black Tie & Tailpipes Gala gives attendees a reason to don formal finery for a good cause.

One of the many car shows held throughout the week. Image courtesy PVGP.

Car shows, parades, tours, rallyes (restricted to vintage cars), and parties take place at various Pittsburgh locations from Monday, July 15, though Friday, July 19, and on Saturday, July 20, the vintage racing and car show events move to Schenley Park, located east of downtown near the Oakland Square Historic District. Between heats, there are car shows honoring Italian cars (the Italian Cortile Car Show on July 20) and British cars (British Car Day, also July 20), and — as if all this weren’t enough — the 2019 PVGP will also pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of Formula Fords, with races scheduled at PIRC on July 13-14 and at Schenley Park on July 20-21.

For more information on any of the individual events, or to begin planning a week of vintage-car-bliss, visit PVGP.org.