When Fred Simeone decided to take his incredible racing sports car collection and house it inside the enormous Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, I’m willing to bet he never considered that the Elite Tuner Import Vs. Domestic car show would invade the grounds and bring some of the Philadelphia area’s hottest show cars into one place. You see, the Simeone Museum is home to over 65 of the world’s most significant racing cars, and has been named the most popular automobile museum in the United States by none other than a poll of USA Today readers.
In a future post, I plan to head back to the museum to show why it’s so special, but today, we’re talking about some of the cars that attended the Import Vs. Domestic event this past weekend. I’m not really a car show kinda guy – I much prefer to hit up Cars and Coffee when possible – but the buzz surrounding this show demanded my attention during the week prior, so I loaded up the camera gear and hit the road early Sunday morning.
What I found when I arrived was a massive lineup of cars waiting to enter the facility. Despite the fact that I had purchased my ticket a few days earlier, there were so many cars attending that it took a short wait before I was able to roll in. You may remember the Mustang to the right – it’s Ron Cody’s Beastly GT, which we featured in our American Muscle show coverage a few weeks back.
As the cars continued pouring in, I decided to stroll into the museum to see the cars on display, which only reinforced the idea that we need to get back down there for a full post soon. This is what you see when you enter the garage side of the museum – placards of marques long-departed mixed in with those who have weathered the storm and remain relevant today.
Amongst the museum’s cars, several show cars deemed worthy sat inside on the concrete pad. There was a wide range of vehicles here representing many facets of the show group. The museum’s collection lined the walls and many displays throughout the facility.
This 1921 Vauxhall 30/98E is representative of Britain’s first post-WWI 100 mph car, and boasts a 116-inch wheelbase, all-aluminum body, and 4.53-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 90 horsepower. These were used extensively in hill-climb action.
The 1975 Alfa Romeo 33 TT 12 won the Italian company the World’s championship that year, with a 550-horsepower flat 12-cylinder twin-turbo boxer-style engine. With only 2.9-liters of displacement, they needed to rev the car well north of the 11,000 rpm mark to make the power. With a 98-inch wheelbase and only 1,477 pounds of fiberglass body over top of a tubular chassis to cart around, the driver of this car must have felt like he was piloting a ground-going rocket. And he got to do it while rowing the gears of a five-speed manual transmission. Sign me up!
Edison Hwang’s Golddragon E92 M3 is one of the shop cars for Rolloface, and as such, wears one of the company’s big brake kits and a set of their sweet ZR-1 three-piece aluminum wheels wrapped in Toyo tires. It sports DTM side mirrors, a roll cage, and the rest of the gear you’d expect in a car that’s tracked regularly.
Matthew Ambrosino’s ’03 Nissan 350Z sports a wrap from Wrap Specialties and a sweet set of old-school powdercoated red Volk Racing GTS wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. While it’s not my personal preference, I can’t deny that this car is eye-catching. People were checking it out all day long.
The sport compact gang likes custom plates too – it’s interesting to see some of the choices they pick when compared to the plates I’ve seen at domestic-only shows.
And then there’s this old-school Viper GTS. Mellow is about the last word I’d use to describe one of these asphalt-pounding, hair-on-fire acceleration machines. This is one of my bucket list cars… someday.
John Forrester’s Mustang is a tribute to his brothers in this great country’s armed forces; Forrester is himself an Iraq veteran. I’ve seen his car at shows before; it previously wore a completely different wrap and a supercharger under the hood, but these days he has a sweet turbo system from CPR Turbo Kits feeding into the Boss 302 intake manifold. John (left) is about the friendliest guy you’d ever want to meet and spent a bit of time talking with me about his car. Thanks for your service!
Mustangs, Mustangs everywhere. There’s always a comedian in the bunch.
Man’s best friend! These two guys were super-friendly, despite appearances.
I love the classic, clean lines of the FR-S, and the front-engine, rear-drive layout. It’s such a shame that Scion didn’t put a real engine with more power in these things. If I were on the engineering staff, I would have pushed to add a turbo to the engine lineup, or maybe even a turbocharged V6 as a top-line engine. It could have been the poor man’s GTR and been a huge win for the company. EcoBoost Mustang fighter, anyone? But maybe that’s why Scion isn’t around anymore.
This beast Camaro sat underneath these trees all day long, and many of the sport compact owners were parking on either side of it and taking photos with the car. It was the perfect location for a shoot, under the trees with the falling leaves. I wish I could have put my own car there.
Photographers were everywhere. There were no shortage at this event of people shooting some of the more appealing cars.
My first impression of this Civic while walking through the line of cars waiting to come in was that the paint was super clean, and then I realized that it had a turbocharged S2000 conversion complete with Sheepey-built hot side, a Precision Turbo snail, and was really well-executed overall. This is how these cars should have been built from the factory.
Speaking of S2000s, this sweet piece was parked inside in the VIP area, and we can see why – it was super-clean and had winner’s hardware to showcase from the Import Face-Off from Atco Raceway earlier this year.
Over the top? Or.. INUREYE, as the tag says. This bagged IS300 was certainly different.
This first-gen Celica was in excellent shape, especially considering its vintage, somewhere between 1975 and 1977, designated by the square corner light in the fenders. It used the 20R 2.2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission.
All in all, it was an interesting day filled with all sorts of modified machines. The show was well-organized and offered the casual observer a wide range of cars to check out, and the scenery inside the museum made the day even more exceptional.
We’re already talking about when we’re going to go back and feature the museum specifically, so stay tuned to Front Street over the winter for a glimpse into its impressive collection