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Green Wheels: Classic Stories

WESTON — I consider myself a friend of Alden Sherman, the 94-year-old Westonite and innovative engineer who owns three Bugattis, a Ferrari, a Jaguar and even an Amilcar. I wrote about him in this column last year, but unfortunately missed last year's Alden Sherman Classic, the first in a series of high-end car shows.

I made it this year, and had a great time. I took my stepfather, Lance, who's known Alden Sherman for something like 60 years, and we exhibited my 1963 Dodge Dart convertible. It was in some heady company. This isn't the Greenwich Concours, but it showcases some very high-end cars. I asked Alden what he liked best, and he pointed to a rack of rare Ferraris, plus a 1957 Maserati 300S racer, one of less than 20 built. How often do you see, together in one place, an Arnolt-Bristol, a 1958 Messerschmitt KR200, a 1974 DeTomaso Longchamps (long resident in Beirut, Lebanon) and a 1941 Buick Sedanette?

And don't forget Buck Owens' 1971 Pontiac Grand Ville convertible, customized in garish western style by the flamboyant Nudie Cohn. Some of these cars, including the Pontiac, were stopping by as part of the Nutmeg Tour for Autism organized by the Fairfield County Concours.

Behind every car there's a great story, and Dr. Arthur Ashman of Westport sure has one. A dental surgeon, in the mid-60s during military service he performed reconstruction work on a German accident victim, and later was summoned to lunch at a Danube castle.

There, Ashman learned that his patient was not only a nephew of the great Dr. Porsche but also a dealer for the cars in Bavaria. Ashman was presented with a series of cars to drive, and he kept (and paid for) the last one — a white 1964 356SC with an electric sunroof and disc brakes. Aside from a new fuel pump, it hasn't needed much work in over 100,000 miles of ownership.

Another great Porsche story: a 1965 912 was accompanied by a scrapbook showing the current owner, Steve Torkelsen, as a two-year-old in short pants with the car in Norway. The car has been in family ownership since new, and now it's a Connecticut resident.

Taxi lovers could enjoy a London cab, which is exotic enough, but definitely topped by a 1960 Fiat Multipla. I don't know how many of those became cabs in Italy, but despite being diminutive they're remarkably roomy inside.

The Alden Sherman Classic benefited senior activities in Weston. The next show of this type in Connecticut is Caffeine and Carburetors, October 6 (and again November 3) in New Canaan.

 

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