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Lucky Eleven
Airdate: Thursday - August 10, 1967

Last Update: 01-18-2012

Show Description
I have just finished reviewing what I had written last year on The Village Voice's annual Automobile Rallye and the gist of it seemed to indicate that there just might not have been an 11th Annual Rallye and Show in 1967. Traditions, however, die hard and when I was Informed by the management that they didn't see any reason why we shouldn't run this activity again, I took up the challenge with my usual great energy. By Sunday morning of the great day, more than 40 entrants were already pre-registered, a larger group than had run previously. We arrived out on Washington Square East to be greeted by an eager throng of rallyists all eager to tackle the torture-track that we had designed for their driving skills. To accommodate all the stewards, they were delivered to the grid in a 1939 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine and a spunky little orange 1928 Buick taxicab. In the van were stewards Peter Keresztury who doubles in brass for the Obsolete Fleet, Sam Overton from the paper, and Mod Mod Nancy Wright; an agency girl, five feet nine inches of pants-suited flagman. Cars lined the streets in all dlrections and when the final tally was made. we had 53 entries and four show cars for the delectation of the large audience who had arrived to hear Jean Shepherd of WOR and points west digress on the cars, the weather, the antecedents of the delvers, and the world at large. It wouldn't be The Village Voice rallye without Jean. He keeps the throng from turning surly while we go through the interminable paperwork of registration. The pace was set at 12.40 by the first car off, a Porsche driven by Jamie Schmitt of Manhattan, who barrel-assed around the park and launched Into the course with great serve. He was closely followed by the next runner, driving a Dodge pick-up truck which in its turn was tailed by a 1962 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. The field alternated between domestic and foreign, the banal and the exotic, antique and modern, enclosed and open, and small field of motorcycles whose riders hoped to repeat a cyclist triumph of several years ago. There were Triumphs, Sunbeams, Lotii (sic), Morgans, Volvos, Fiats, Corvairs, Corvettes, MGs, Studebakers, (STUDEBAKERS? ? ? ?), English Fords, Austin Healys, Mustangs, SAABs, VWs, Pontiacs, and - o yes - one Alpha-Romeo, a gorgeous flame red 2600 convertible. He was creamed by a taxi cab a few blocks from the start, or so I'm told. He evidently got going again and in catching up dropped his rear suspension et al in Wall Street. Brave boy. In past runnings we have always had a few of New Yorks finest about, but this year a solitary vagrant be-scootered patrol man wandered into the grid, looked about, mumbled something about "permit" and putted away before we could show him our bonifides. We later heard that police in the East Village shepherded the rallyists through a water hazard (an open hydrant on East 10th Street) and that the fuzz of the First in lower Manhattan kept an eye cocked which , prevented speeding and dicing. We had added some new bends to the route this year which made its length some 14 miles, but added only one minute to the prescribed time which became 70 minutes overall, one minute over last years 69. We had also found Cuylers Alley, six feet, four inches of terror for the larger cars, and Legion Memorial Street which no one absolutely no one had ever heard of. It leads to John Street. Thence we took them into Beekman and to such places as Kimlau Square, Coenties Slip, Whitehall, Thames, Edgar... familiar? The hell you say. This year there were no protests due to an improved method of calculating. The winner, Mike Delia, the absolutely dead last starter, finished with a perfect score of 70 and thus became first. He was driving a scruffy 1964 Triumph Spitfire roadster and hung about for ages before we put him on the road. He left before the results were published and I suspect he will be amazed. The stewards drank up the leftover cash after expenses in the Limelight Cafe which has been our final wet checkpoint for a number of years. We began immediately, with shining faces, to plan for 1968. What a marvelous Day. -- Daniel List, IMPS
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