Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Fuelfed Coffee & Classics Thiensville This Sunday Morning

September 19, 2018

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Counting down the days until we continue our Fuelfed Coffee & Classics extension to Thiensville, WI. We chose Thiensville for its rich history with European cars. Local racing historian and author Bob Birmingham gave us a little insight to what really happened in the day. How? He was there.

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Young Dick Vogel started racing in 1954 just as Road America was in its gestation. He soon opened a small foreign car dealership called Milrace Motors on Cedarburg Rd. (Highway 57) just north of old Green Bay Rd. That operation was in a small wood frame building not much larger than a two-car garage. In 1959 he purchased a building right on the river where we had our Coffee & Classics Thiensville in July.  He handled Triumph, Berkeley, Borgward and Moretti autos. He then expanded to Morgan, Bentley and Jaguar.

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For the release of the new Jaguar E-Type, Milrace had a big gala for area high-rollers. The young Augie Pabst, Bob Birmingham, and a few salesmen from the Pabst Motors in Milwaukee drove a bunch of new Mercedes Benz up and parked along Green Bay Rd. so those attending the gala would have to walk past them.

Ultimately, Augie co-drove a Morgan with Dick in Production Class in the early years of Road America. They were good friends, but business competitors.

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Milrace Motors became a destination stop for those heading north from Milwaukee and Chicago for the races in Elkhart Lake. The likes of Fred Wacker II, Sterling Moss, Phil Hill and other racing legends all visited Milrace every time they were in the area.

Milrace Motors moved on by the early 1970s as Dick and his wife Judy opened Kathy’s house (akin to Ronald McDonald House) to honor the daughter they lost to cancer.

Milrace Motors played a strong role in Midwest racing and we honor the parallels it has to the pure Fuelfed Spirit.

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On September 23rd, from 9:00am to 11:00am we are gathering on the very street, in front of the very same Milrace building to honor those who believe that racing improves the breed. Green Bay Rd. and Elm in Thiensville will once again feel the glory of classic European vehicles.

Shully’s Catering (next to the old Milrace building) and Fiddleheads Coffee (across the footbridge) will both have coffee and pastries available for us.

Chicago Fuelfed members will gather at the Lake Forest Oasis on I94 and will leave at 7:15am sharp to caravan north to Thiensville. After the event, several of us will be getting brunch and driving a Fuelfed Kettle Tour south to Illinois afterwards.

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The Undeniable Lightness of Driving

June 27, 2018

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A Fuelfed MotorGearo First-Timer Reflects on the Drive

By Joe Rosenthal

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We’re excited to have member Joe Rosenthal share his perspective on what it’s like to drive in the Fuelfed MotorGearo Vintage Rally for the first time.

 

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Back when I was in high school and felt like getting away from it all, I used to hop in my beloved ’84 Scirocco (metallic bronze, sunroof, tinted glass) and just drive. Sometimes it was plowing through snowdrifts in blizzard conditions to watch the tufts of powder explode around me in whorls of snow. At others it was flying up the dirt roads that traversed Cheyenne Mountain at the time, gravel chattering on the undercarriage in the turns. I would always go alone, and the experience was wonderful.

Flash forward 30 years and everything has changed. I’m married with two kids who have more energy than a Pikes Peak Hill Climber. I have responsibilities. Bills to pay. A mortgage. All the stuff your parents warned you about. But perhaps more astonishingly, the world around me has changed even more. Constantly buzzing and dinging cell phones. Thousands of hours of Peak TV on our smart televisions. Endless drop-down menus at our fingertips. Constant but fleeting contact with every single person we’ve ever known. It’s liberating, but also confining. Which brings me to the MotorGearo 250.

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When I signed up for the rally I was intrigued by a few things. One was the camaraderie of Fuelfed friends new and old. I knew the impeccable planning of Fuelfed would ensure an inspired and seamless weekend. I had heard about the Driftless area and was excited to see it up close. And I was curious if my 1976 TR6, which had not been on a drive longer than an hour and a half since I’d purchased it three years ago, would actually make it 500-plus miles in two days. Finally, I was not-so-secretly hoping that the Motorgearo would provide the same kind of diversion my favorite drives did back in the days when John Hughes dominated the mall theaters and my biggest worries didn’t even come close to rating on the Richter scale of adulthood.

I was planning to drive alone. And that fact itself was interesting. When I mentioned it to my friends many of them did a double take. They raised their eyebrows: “Alone?” As if to say, “Why would you ever want to do that?” But I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Those high school drives were about becoming one with road and banishing the complexity of thought. And that wasn’t going to happen with a passenger. It’s not that I don’t appreciate driving with others – there’s a place for it and it can be a blast. But this was something different.

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In New Glarus we broke into our driving groups. I’d be running in Group Four, a friendly bunch of drivers who’d be piloting a ’72 Mercedes 280sel 4.5, ’58 Lancia Aurelia, ’67 Volvo 1800, ’77 TVR, ’79 Fiat 124 and an Intermeccanica 356. A veritable rolling sculpture garden. The TR6 hesitated a little and then sparked to life with a low rumble and some smoke for punctuation. We’d been warned a few times that our cell phones would not work where we were going. I rifled off a couple last text messages and stowed the phone in a side pocket. It would only be off for a few hours, but the thought of replacing it’s pestering vibrations with the constant rumble of the straight six seemed a great bargain.

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I have to admit, for the first segment (there were four a day, of about an hour to and hour-and-a-half each) I was enjoying myself, but I was still tethered to reality. It was similar to that feeling of the first day of vacation, where your mind is still occupied with lingering thoughts of work and deadlines and next steps and action items. But with each curve of the road, that feeling was more and more distant. The thought crossed my mind that while our thumb scrolls have gotten faster, our power of focus had been slowly eroded like aging British steel. And this kind of driving requires nothing if not focus.

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By the time we’d stopped for our BBQ lunch I was fully in the zone. There is a rhythm to the road and the sequence of turns and inclines that is almost musical. It may just have been my imagination but it seemed like the car ran better the higher I revved and the more pushed it. I started to shift less, allowing the car a higher range of revs. Earlier in the day I’d been toggling between third and fourth, but by the end I was committed to third, letting the engine spin and growl through valleys and sweeping turns. I kept waiting for the protestation of a sputter or miss from the engine, but it never arrived. As the hours went by I trusted the car more, and found myself thinking less. By the time we were charging through the woods on the final stretch to Prairie du Chien any thought of the mundanity of work or potential breakdown had long since passed.

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It would be hyperbolic to say I’d become one with the car, but there’s no doubt the relationship had changed. It seemed like time was flying by as fast as the scenery, but at the same time it was becoming easier to perceive the beautiful view all around me. I suppose that as trust in the vehicle increased and mental analysis began to fade, there was more room for perception in the moment. The landscape was stunning. The prettiest I have seen in the Midwest. It was emerald green and hilly like Ireland, but dotted with quintessentially American-looking barns and tractors. Cows grazed on steep inclines dramatized by jutting rock formations. At times the hillsides looked like oil paintings, so perfect were the lines and gradations of color. People were few and far between. Aside from a few Amish families farming and the random resident mowing an improbably massive lawn on a riding tractor, the land-to-human ratio was squarely on the side of the land. It was the kind of scenery that makes you wonder if all the progress we’ve attained has actually been a matter of regress. Cities are exciting and suburbs are quiet and lovely in contrast, but the countryside has an eternal and calming presence. Some may argue it’s the sort of thing best experienced on a hike or wilderness walk, but it has its own perfect impact when seen from a car window with the top down as it unfurls in Technicolor parallax.

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Rounding the final turn of Day One on the stretch to the hotel, the Aurelia in front of me had a minor breakdown. I think it was a Weber getting finicky. But in true Fuelfed fashion, we quickly surrounded the car and pushed it to a safe spot. Of course, a specialist was on hand within moments, the carb disassembled, and the ride preserved. That’s the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from Fuelfed. It was also the sort of inevitable occurrence that breaks a reverie. The drive can’t go on forever. And the fact that we’re challenging fifty-year-old parts to keep on spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute is part of what makes it special. It’s all highly improbable.

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The farm fields and undulating shallow canyons had finally given way to a little bit of traffic and commercial activity. The engine revs dropped and you could see the Fuelfed flags up ahead. My first thought was “Shoot! Let’s keep going all night.” But in actuality I was tired and running on adrenaline. Plus my headlights are poor and there was a Supper Club with Wisconsin-sized Manhattans just around the corner. My second thought was, “ How was that an entire day?” Although I was hot and my arms were tired and I was smelling of exhaust and suntan lotion, I was deeply refreshed. Tired but renewed. And it was the third thought that really struck me: “My cell phone has been dead for hours!” And I didn’t miss it a bit.

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We pulled into spots in the hotel parking lot and finally let the engines rest. The sunlight was falling in an intense afternoon angle in a way that portended rain. We shared congratulations, swapped stories from the road, and struggled to raise our non-compliant convertible tops to protect against the oncoming showers. It was the perfect way to end, fueled by the excitement that we were only halfway to the finish. And that although we were just halfway there, we’d already had the full measure of experience.

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Next Week: The MotorGearo 250 Day Two

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Joe Rosenthal, Fuelfed member 414, is a Creative Technology Director at the ad agency Ogilvy. To prove he has no badge loyalty whatsoever, he’s been the proud owner (in order) of a Sears minibike, 1973 Kawasaki KE100 Enduro, 1964 Alfa Guilia Spider, 1984 Scirocco, 1959 Chevy Apache, two Saab 9-3’s, a Passat, a Tiguan, a 1976 Triumph TR6, and a Hyundai 3-Row Santa Fe.

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The 2018 MotorGearo Starts Tomorrow…

May 30, 2018

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Thirty classics and a savory crew of characters converge in remote Wisconsin for a weekend of serious driving and hearty camaraderie in what is establishing itself as one of the premier vintage rallies in the US.

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2017 Fuelfed MotorGearo Video

April 21, 2018
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The Fuelfed MotorGearo 250 is a vintage European road rally run on June 1-2, 2018. This is our curated driving event for vintage European vehicles running two days over eight well-sorted stages through rural Wisconsin. We’ve worked hard to give a unique and varied driving experience that accentuates classic car ownership. Having run dozens of rallies in rural Wisconsin, we know all the best roads and how to sequence them better than anyone else. The format is structured, yet casual in the famous Fuelfed tradition.

Speaking of tradition, what Fuelfed event would be complete without a unique culinary experience? We’ve put the details into availing only the best local establishments that our selected routes provide.

The MG250 is limited to 35 European cars manufactured prior to 1990. We will curate
the entrant vehicles based on varied criteria, but overall, on unique diversity. We want everyone to be excited about driving with other classics that they would not otherwise have an opportunity to experience on the open road.

We want to thank Nikko Salgado and Robert for doing a great job of capturing some of spirit of the Fuelfed MotorGearo 250 from 2017. Make sure have your volume up as Nikko puts details into the music as much as he does his editing. More amazing, is that despite having car troubles (read: blown engine) on day two of the rally, they were able get what they needed with the help of Mike from Hagerty, who went out of his way to accommodate their needs.

Check www.motorgearo.com for the 2018 event details.

Fuelfed and Giving Back

March 27, 2018

Fuelfed is proud to have raised several thousand dollars at our events and donated all of it to the American Red Cross in 2017. These funds have gone to help those US residents devastated by hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

The Fuelfed Spirit and Bo Danenberger

March 1, 2018

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Member Bo Danenberger has long embodied the Fuelfed spirit that so many members share. Always one to follow his heart, Bo has led an adventurous life of hunting, collecting and restoring European classics, long before they were on the enthusiasts radar. Always the entertainer, Bo is a frequent character at Fuelfed Coffee & Classics and VSCDA events around the midwest.

We sat down with Bo back in early 2013 and did an interview at his Livery. It’s a moving story and in the above out-take clip he talks about Fuelfed Coffee & Classics. You can hear and see the genuine passion in his eyes.

Special thanks to ShiftFocus Productions on their video prowess.

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Coffee & Classics FTL Scores with Large Mercedes Turnout

February 26, 2018

Fuelfed Coffee & Classics FTL pulled in a large number of Euro classics this morning, despite the national concours happening a few miles away. This Peking to Paris Mercedes set the tone. Dig the Safari front bumper.

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Fuelfed Parts Swap Meet 2.3.2018

December 27, 2017

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Fuelfed, Inc. together with The Last Detail will again be hosting our 5th annual Classic European Parts & Memorabilia Swap Meet on Saturday, February 3, 2018.

Now you can sell all those rare items you collected for that classic you sold back in 2015. From SU carbs, Recaros & Protipos to vintage Road & Tracks, oil signage & tools, our Fuelfed community is vast and eclectic and what better audience to sell to than those who appreciate what you do.

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The swap meet will be indoors at The Last Detail’s North Chicago location. You’ll be able to see some of the classic restorations they have in progress as well as finished concours vehicles on display.

We will also have a table for 2018 Fuelfed membership info/renewal.

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SPECIFICS:

We will have forty (40) 10’x6′ floor slots  to sell items. You must pay & reserve your slot in advance. No tables or chairs will be provided. We ask that all items for sale be automotive related and relevant. Please no duct-tape rolls, tube socks or Barbie dolls (unless breathing).

Costs
Admission: Members $3 (bring your card), non-members $5. Cash or check at the door please.
Floor slots: Open to members only $25 (includes 1 admission). Please purchase & reserve your slot before January 30, 2018 by going to our secure PayPal link.

Date & Time
Saturday, February 3, 2018
8:30am to 10:00am: Floor slot set-up.
10:00am to 1:00pm: Swap Meet Open to public.
1:00pm to 2:00pm: Clean up.

Location
The Last Detail
2900 North US Route 41
North Chicago, Illinois 60064
847.689.8822

Cancellation
The swap meet will only be cancelled if  there is a polar vortex punishing us again. Slot buyers will be notified by email. Event cancellation will also be posted on the Fuelfed home page.

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Happy Holidays

December 22, 2017

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He who has not Spirit in his heart will never find it under a tree.

 

The Enthusiasts Shop

December 8, 2017

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Friend and Fuelfed member Hugh R. has been the curator of Barrington’s classic car enthusiast’s boutique The Finish Line for years. This holiday season Hugh has again opened a seasonal shop in downtown Barrington at 220 S. Cook. We thought we’d pay a visit to The Finish Line to see what he’s up to this year.

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The quint downtown area of Barrington was alive with Christmas activities as we made our way to the boutique. As we walked in, Hugh was there to greet us and shed the unique history for every item in his shop.

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From vintage driving caps to Cuban Gran Prix posters signed by Fangio, from C-Type gear shift knobs to an F1 nose cone, The Finish Line has quite the spread of automobilia and clothing sure to make the quality short list of any Fuelfed enthusiast. All items are authentic and hand picked by Hugh to present the highest quality, so don’t expect to find a $5 fake Ferrari hat from China. Fuelfed always supports our local merchants and we highly recommend that you drop that mouse and use your right foot to get to Barrington, it’s well worth the drive and make sure to bring your beautiful co-pilot.

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The Finish Line, Inc. Boutique
220 S. Cook Street
Barrington, IL
847-382-3020
youareawinner@earthlink.net

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