This past Saturday, September 18th, over 75 classic and unique vintage cars showed up to take part in the 2nd Annual Oxford Community Road Rally. The rally participants gathered early at the Oxford Community Center’s (OCC) and enjoyed a Continental breakfast sponsored by Fred Zell from Prestige Auto Vault and provided by OCC volunteers. The rally then left on a 70-mile scenic tour ending at the Suicide Bridge Restaurant in Secretary, MD, where they enjoyed a buffet lunch.
The route and the day were planned by a committee led by Byron “Brud” LaMotte, an OCC board member who said, “This year we’ve had some very generous sponsors and a nice goodie bag for the participants. We have a new route, awards, and special cars, such as a 1965 Porsche 356C, a 1952 Jaguar XK 120, and a Jaguar XK 140. A lot of interesting cars that we typically don’t get to see.”
The rally was an idea brought up last year at OCC’s monthly Cars and Coffee gathering after COVID canceled most of OCC’s events. It was discussed as a way to have fun while still complying with COVID regulations. The group working on the rally had expected a small turnout and was surprised when over 60 cars signed up. Many at the rally last year hoped it would be a yearly event.
This year we’ve had people from as far as Pennsylvania sign up,” says LaMotte. “I think people view this as a really fun opportunity to get to enjoy driving their cars while enjoying a little bit of a competition. They have a navigator who has to count a certain number of landmarks to get the correct score.”
We spoke to a couple of drivers before they left. Peter Stifel, who drove a 1910 Thomas Flyer last year, is back driving a 1923 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The car, he told us, has been in the family since around 1954. “I’m very happy to support the Oxford Community Center,” said Stifel, “and that’s really why I’m here. But the rally is also enjoyable, and it doesn’t do any good to have a fun car like this in the garage.”
This is the first rally for Jim Grundy (of Grundy Insurance), one of the event’s sponsors. Unlike Stifel’s family heirloom, Grundy is driving a 1968 Ferrari 275 GTB 4 Cam, a new acquisition for him. “I spent years chasing and researching this car,” he said. It might be one of the very best of the 275 Ferraris.” He’s here, he told us, to “support the community and the community center, and to be with ‘car guys.’”
Liza Ledford, Executive Director of OCC, is thrilled with the turnout. “This event gets better every year! We had 25% more cars, rare vehicles, and fantastic awards added this year. It’s truly amazing to see the collection of cars as they rally through the various villages en route. It’s a fabulous way to explore the natural beauty of our region and dine outdoors together safely. Thanks to Brud LaMotte and his committee, especially Alden Firth and Fred Zell, for their dedication to all the details. I love being part of this “pit crew!”
Winners of the expanded awards this year included:
- Lineage Award: Sam Dupont for driving his grandfather’s ’55 Rolls Royce (and keeping car enthusiasm in the family)
- Judge’s Choice Award: Jim Grundy for bringing the ’68 Ferrari 275 GTB 4
- Most Clever Score Card: Capt. John Bunch for adding extra credit points for sightings of birds & snakes
- Furthest Traveled Entrant: Byron LaMotte, Jr. from NYC, NY
- Chronologically Superior (Oldest Driver): Anne Kerstetter in her ’95 Porsche 911
- Youngest Driver: Dylan Nelson (24 years old) in a ’69 Chevy C-10 truck
- Oldest Car to Complete Course: ’52 MG driven by Steve Goldman
- Honorable Old Car Mention: ’53 Buick ‘Woody’ Super Estate wagon driven by Tom Nammack
- Runner Up Score & Jaguar Award: Joe Robillard ’52 Jag XK120 – 59 points
- Tom Schoenbeck 2006 Mercedes CLK500 – 60 points
- Klunker Award: Peter Stifel ’23 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (for finally arriving for lunch)
The event was sponsored by Grundy Insurance, Safe Harbor Marine, Benson & Mangold RE, Campbell’s Boat Yards, Doc’s Sunset Grille, Koon’s Toyota Easton, Prestige Auto Vault, Bay Vanguard Bank, FBB Capital Group, Operation Open Arms, Shore United Bank, Tred Avon Players, Nelson Auto Body Concepts, Kleppinger Electric Company, and Latitude 38. Proceeds from the rally will help to underwrite the many activities and services OCC provides the community.
Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.