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Tune-Up gets attendees revved up for Grand Prix

Sunday, July 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Romance was alive and well on Seventh Avenue on July 17, but the love wasn't exactly being reserved for a monogamous relationship.

“Coming down here tonight, driving this thing, people stopped at stoplights to ask what kind of car it was and to say, ‘It's beautiful,' ” shared Jim Southwood, whose canary yellow 1972 Porsche 911 Carrera RS found no shortage of admirers.

“It just came out of restoration — one-and-a-half years,” he said. “It just got done two weeks ago.”

One of many beauties garnering a few swoons from onlookers, classic and contemporary rides lined up outside of Bossa Nova, Downtown, as part of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix's annual Tune-Up. The Tune-Up, a pre-cursor to the races that took place in Schenley Park over the weekend of July 20-21, drew the likes of honorary chairs John and Dotti Bechtol and Joe and Rosemary Mendel, as well as co-chairs Lynne Figgins, Michelle Polaski, and Helen Wylie. Packards, Jags, Benzies, Porsches, Ferraris, Mustangs (the 2013 Marque of the Year) and Lambos were the main draw.

The crowd of 500 included PVGP executive director Dan and Michelle DelBianco, Dan Taylor, Dr. Bill Swartz, Dan Torisky, Bob and Janine Fragasso, Jake Zoller, Andy Giambroni, Chris Zappa and Gigi Saladna.

As VIPs migrated indoors to cool off, passersby couldn't resist the opportunity to get up close with their car of choice. Some had an interest that was both business and personal.

“I only have four,” confessed David Campbell.

Only four?

“A '23 Model T, 1911 Cadillac, '58 Studebaker pickup truck and a '66 Porsche,” he said. “I could never understand how people get hooked on drugs and booze until I got into cars.”

Since 1983, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has donated more than $3.2 million to the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-380-8515.




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