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A Pittsburgh trifecta this weekend — Alleys, Axles and Ales

| Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 1:18 p.m.
A 1973 MGB 4-speed with an 1800cc engine owned by Mitchell Schwartz will be on display as part of the Alleys, Axles and Ales Tour on Sept. 29 in the Allegheny West neighborhood of North Side.
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A 1973 MGB 4-speed with an 1800cc engine owned by Mitchell Schwartz will be on display as part of the Alleys, Axles and Ales Tour on Sept. 29 in the Allegheny West neighborhood of North Side.
Doug Debalak’s 2007 Porsche Cayman will be on display as part of the Alleys, Axles and Ales Tour on Sept. 29 in the Allegheny West neighborhood of North Side.
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Doug Debalak’s 2007 Porsche Cayman will be on display as part of the Alleys, Axles and Ales Tour on Sept. 29 in the Allegheny West neighborhood of North Side.
Don Johnson (left), member of the Jaguar Club of Pittsburgh, displayed his 1970 Jaguar E-Type at the club’s Pittsburgh Concours d’Elegance in 2017 as part of the Alleys, Axles and Ales tour. This year’s tour is Sept. 29.
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Don Johnson (left), member of the Jaguar Club of Pittsburgh, displayed his 1970 Jaguar E-Type at the club’s Pittsburgh Concours d’Elegance in 2017 as part of the Alleys, Axles and Ales tour. This year’s tour is Sept. 29.
Mike Zappa and his 1962 MGB Race Car, which will be among the cars featured at the third annual Alleys, Axles and Ales tour on Sept. 29 in the Allegheny West neighborhood of North Side. Zappa raced at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in July.
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Mike Zappa and his 1962 MGB Race Car, which will be among the cars featured at the third annual Alleys, Axles and Ales tour on Sept. 29 in the Allegheny West neighborhood of North Side. Zappa raced at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in July.

Cool cars and cold brews are on tap for those attending the third annual Alleys, Axles and Ales tour Sept. 29 in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh’s North Side.

The fundraiser hosted by Allegheny West Civic Council is a different take on the traditional house tour. It’s a self-guided walking tour of the garages of the historic neighborhood that house classic cars — some in various stages of restoration — with six local craft beer tastings along the tour route in garages, private courtyards and Biers Pub courtyard.

Among the featured vehicles on display will be a 1957 VW Beetle and 1971 Yamaha DT1 motorcycle owned by Tom Armstrong, a 1953 Packard Caribbean owned by Dan Barbush, a 1959 Triumph Tr3A owned by Robert Johnson, a 1981 DMC Delorean owned by Michael Skellie, and a 2015 Corvette Z07 convertible owned by John DeSantis, president of Allegheny West Civic Council.

Classics and a barn find

Mike and Chris Zappa of Zappa Racing will show a 1962 MGB race car, 1963 Jaguar E-Type Open Two Seater, 1971 BMW 200tii and 1971 TVR 2500M.

Mike Zappa said the TVR was a “barn find” in 2008 that took two years to restore from the ground up, and “every nut, bolt and washer was replaced and everything is handmade. Nothing was sent to a specialist for restoration, including paintwork. Everything was done on the North Side.”

Doug Debalak’s red 2007 Porsche Cayman, other than being pretty, is “an amazingly practical car, for being an exotic car,” according to its owner. “It is reliable and has been my everyday car since I bought it in 2009 – although living in the city and working from home, there is very little need to drive. I can also take it to Costco and watch people’s amazement as a huge cart of groceries all fit, and neither my wife or I need to walk home.”

Debalak displayed his car at last year’s tour and said they had a great time.

“We enjoyed the people, the beer and the other cars. There were a lot of very special cars. I particularly enjoyed the reaction of one of the little girls in the neighborhood, who just kept walking around my car saying how much she liked it and how pretty it was.”

Besides meeting great people in a great neighborhood, he said the tour provides a few cars and restoration projects where even very knowledgeable car enthusiasts can learn a lot.

Cecile Canales, tour chair and president of the Jaguar Club of Pittsburgh, will have her garage as one of the tour stops, where her husband, Carl, will be displaying their 1969 Maserati Mistral Spyder and 1960 Jaguar Mark IX.

He acquired the Maserati more than 40 years ago and said he was attracted to the car by its beautiful lines, performance and unique sound. It is one of 120 hand-built, aluminum body cars and is undergoing a complete restoration.

Their 3.8 liter 220 horsepower Jaguar Mark IX features drop-down wood tables in the back seat and was first owned by the founder of small appliance manufacturer Rival Company, Henry J. Talge, who was born in Russia in 1892 and lived in Kansas City.

Carl said Talge was friends with former president Harry S. Truman, who supposedly rode in the car. From Kansas City, it made its way to a family in Sewickley, who sold it to Carl and Cecile in 1994.

Bikes, Jags and local brews

Along with classic cars, the tour will feature vintage bicycles from Bear Dog Bicycles, located at 901 Western Ave.

In addition to the garages tour, Alleys, Axles and Ales will feature a nationally sanctioned Concours d’Elegance by the Jaguar Club of Pittsburgh, and a display of cars by Pittsburgh Cars ‘n’ Coffee.

Participating local breweries and their beers include: Allegheny City Brewing, Allegheny City Double Black Diamond Double Cascadian Dark Ale; Penn Brewery, Penn Gold and Penn Oktoberfest; Threadbare Cider House and Meadery, Threadbare Dry Cider, and War Streets Brewery, War Streets Railroad Riot Rye Pale Ale and War Streets Brighton Road Black IPA.

Tour proceeds will benefit Allegheny YMCA summer camp program and the North Side’s Allegheny Commons Park restoration project of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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