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Identity & Community

Vintage Cars Rumble Through Downtown Pittsburgh

From a 1967 “Playboy Pink” Mustang to a 1957 red BMW Isetta so small that it doesn’t even have side doors, cars of all different shapes and sizes, years and make rumbled their way through the city Wednesday.

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix hosted a parade and a car show, one of the various activities leading to the largest vintage race event in the nation this weekend in Schenley Park.

During the parade, the cars started at Station Square and made four stops: the US Steel Plaza, PPG Place, Market Square and Point State Park.

There, vintage car owners parked their vehicles, set up chairs and sat next to their prized possessions while hundreds of Pittsburghers spent their lunch break admiring the classics.

Larry Love owns a Factory Five Cobra, which he says driving makes your feet hot and your arms shake, but is the most fun you can have.

“It’s got a 30240 engine in it, it’s turbo charged, got a 70 millimeter turbo. It’s got 590 horsepower to the wheels, it’s got a fiber-carbon dash and instrumentation,” Love said.

He said he has always wanted to own a Cobra and almost bought an original in 1970, but he couldn’t afford it.

“I’ve always had a dream and probably about 1975 I put a picture up on my desk, and then in 2011 I bought the car and took the picture off of the desk,” Love said. “So dreams come true, always keep your dreams in front of you because if you work hard, they’ll come true.”

He said owning his vintage car comes with some challenges.

“I put about five to six thousand miles on it every year, I’ve been caught in the rain storms many, many times,” Love said. “My daughter and I, it rained so bad we – we were leaving an hour east of here – my wallet was soaked, I vacuumed about a gallon and a half of water out of the car.”

Jeanne Berrington, the owner of a black 1931 Ford Model A two-door with red rims and whitewall tires agreed that maintaining these cars can be challenging.

“I don’t do the maintenance, I stand by for moral support, but my husband does all the work on the car himself,” she joked.

She and her husband, Charles Berrington, are members of the 3 Rivers Region Inc. Model A Restorers Club.

“We’ve got about 150 Model A’s in the club, we drive someplace about every other weekend,” Chuck said. “This spring we drove it to Winchester Virginia, a couple years ago we drove it to Chicago and every weekend we have a tour someplace, so we’re very active.”

According to Albert Senic, the owner of a 1967 Ford Mustang, the cars give owners an opportunity to make new acquaintances.

His Mustang is “Playboy Pink” and is a replica of the cars that were allegedly given to the Playboy Bunnies during that year.

“It has power steering, AM/FM radio, vinyl top, a six-cylinder engine, and it was made especially for the ladies being pink and with the power steering, is one of the main features,” Senic said.

Saturday and Sunday, about 150 vintage car drivers will race their way through the 2.33 mile track that includes 23 turns for the 32nd year.