50 Years of the Firebird – Behind the Scenes Story

Photo courtesy of Gary Kessler Photography

Pete & Betty Zink brought their 1973 Pontiac Firebird for our 2017 Concours advertising photo shoot. When asked about the story behind their car, Pete shared that his interest in Firebirds traced back to his high school years in the early 1970’s. Muscle cars were popular and my favorite was always the Firebird. He liked the twin scoops and clean lines of the Firebird Formula. A typical production year saw about 45,000 Firebirds – 10,000 of which were Formulas and 5,000 were Trans Ams.

About 15 years ago, Pete began his search for a Formula with the largest engine (the Pontiac 455) and a four speed transmission. He finally found what he was looking for in Las Vegas. With no salt on the roads, the body of the car was in good shape. The car did need everything else. The faded red paint was blasted off to reveal a history of red then black then cream and finally the original celery green metallic color. The factory combination of slate green and a black interior looked great.

Pete acted as the general contractor throughout the restoration process, parting out the various jobs to subcontractors near and far. His wife, Betty’s, only input was to leave off the rear spoiler. We went back and forth about it, but finally left it off. She was right. The car looked better without it and truer to the intent of the Formula’s designer.

During the project, Betty told Pete that the first car she ever bought new was a 1973 Firebird Formula! It was Florentine red with a white interior. Who knew! Pete thinks this fact points to a potential study for a PhD dissertation on the correlation between attraction to specific car models and attraction to potential mates!

Pete’s takeaway – “Cars are memories and worth preserving”.

The Ault Park Concours is now the Cincinnati Concours d’Elegance

We proudly announce the change of our event name to the Cincinnati Concours d’Elegance. Ault Park will continue to be our host location and Juvenile Arthritis will remain as our recipient charity. As we celebrate our 40th show in 2017, we wish to promote our city and the location of Ault Park for their long-running tradition of celebrating automotive excellence.

Hear the story of the 1928 Auburn Speedster, one of the stars in our 2017 Concours ads

Photo courtesy of Gary Kessler Photography

Helen & Dick Harding are the proud owners of this 1928 Auburn 8-88 Speedster which will be featured in some of our 2017 Concours print advertising. Dick had first learned about the Auburn speedster in 1992 when his dad called with the news he had pulled one “out of the weeds” in New Paris, Ohio. Having inherited the “build something” gene from his dad and spent years in the model-making industry, Dick became involved in the restoration of his dad’s field find.

Several years into the project, Dick received a call from a gentleman regarding another 1928 speedster with an 8-88 wheelbase that he wished to sell. It was one of only 173 ever produced. It could reach a speed of 85 mph when the speed limit was only 45 mph. With two Auburns to now restore, the plan was to give both a concours-quality restoration beginning in 2007. Not knowing how much time this would take, Dick worked continuously on his car until its completion in the fall of 2014.

New to the hobby, Dick and Helen first showed their Auburn at the Stan Hywet Concours d’Elegance where it won Best in Class and received the Dave Holls Award for Design Distinction. The car continued the Concours circuit including Amelia Island, St. John’s, MI, Boca Raton, Pinehurst, NC,Keeneland, KY, Ault Park and Dayton, winning awards at each event.

The car was also shown at the Auburn Cord Deusenburg Club’s annual “Labor Day” meet where it received a 1st place award. In CCCA judging it received 1st Primary and 1st Senior with a perfect 100 points. In AACA judging, it earned Senior status as well as a first Annual Grand National Meet award. It was also presented with the AACA Presidents Cup at the 2015 annual meeting in Philadelphia.

We thank Helen and Dick for sharing their story. The Ault Park Concours is so pleased to once again feature their outstanding automobile!

“GOLDIE” Re-visits Cincinnati

In July 1958 an Austin Healey 100-Six (BN6) was quietly sent from the BMC production line to the Donald Healey Motor Company, where it disappeared until October of that year.

During this three months time, all the chrome was removed from the car and Gold plated. The wheels were entirely disassembled and each spoke was gold plated. The black plastic knobs and steering wheel in the interior were replaced with Ivory.

The seats we’re reupholstered in mink and Chinese kid. The car was beautifully painted in an off-white to complement the ivory. The first showing of this unique and beautiful car was at the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show, in London England. The Daily Express newspaper had financed the modifications of this car, as a very special advertisement for their newspaper. All attendees to the Earls Court Motor Show received a coupon within their program which might enable them to “win” this beautiful car at the end of the show.


  1. In 1958 the winner sold “GOLDIE” almost immediately.
  2. The car went to San Moritz, Switzerland where it was used during ski season.
  3. The car was sold to a film star in England.
  4. The car was resold and used as a daily driver.
  5. In 1983 the car was offered for sale with 36,000 miles and had deteriorated but was still complete.
  6. Later in 1983 the car was imported to Maryland and very carefully restored to the quality it was in 1958 by “Healey Surgeons”.
  7. In 1986 “Goldie” was shown at the Cincinnati Austin Healey Conclave.
  8. In 2013 the car is carefully dismantled and all parts cleaned, polished or re-gold-plated.
  9. In 2014 “Goldie” won BEST OF SHOW at the Texas Concours.
  10. In 2015 “Goldie” won BEST RESTORED at the Kuwait Concours. This will be part of the 2016 Ault Park Concours d’Elegance Special Display of The Cars of Donald Healey which will also include a rare Healey Speedboat, Nash-Healey #1, Healey Silverstone and a WSW.

1967 Ferrari 330 GT/S Spider showing at the 2016 Concours 

This beautiful car in original condition was one time owned by Italian-born racecar driver, Luigi Chinetti. Luigi was a driver in 12 consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans races, winning 3 times. He also won the Spa 24 Hours race twice. He was a long-time American importer of Ferrari automobiles to the United States.

This car was specially ordered without a radio or air conditioning. This was done to reduce weight and add speed. It is equipped with Daytona Inlet Manifold with 6 carburetors and produces over 400 horsepower. Luigi also ordered a 3rd seat in the car for his granddaughter.

Car owner Scott Isquick shares an interesting story on how he came to buy this car. His wife, Pamela, was racing their 300SL Gullwing at Lime Rock in Connecticut and saw the 330 parked across the paddock. She remarked that it was a cute car. Scott approached Luigi about buying the car. Luigi was getting ready to send it back to Europe because he couldn’t sell it. He offered it to Scott for $10k. Scott balked because he had to pay OH sales tax. A few weeks later Luigi countered with a price that discounted for the OH sales tax. They flew to NJ to pick up the car and drove it back at 55 mph.