The DeLorean Mid-Atlantic Club's 3rd annual Fall Foliage Tour was a HUGE success this year! With a two day agenda planned out, and TONS of events and activities, it was hard to take it all in with the short timeframe we had! We had a total of 22 cars in attendance with owners from all over the eastern seaboard and beyond. Owners from as far north as Connecticut all the way down to Maryland were in attendance. We even had owners and cars from Minnesota and Arizona attend!
Many owners had driven from far away to attend the event for one very special reason. Our tour this year was going to be starting off from none other than the former John Z. DeLorean estate in Lamington, NJ! The estate was recently purchased by Donald Trump, with plans to re-develop the 450+ acre land into a golf club, equestrian center, and private estates. This meant that it would be the last time we would ever be able to have this opportunity for such an historic gathering. This was most likely going to be the first and last time that this many DeLoreans would be on the estate grounds.
Since the grounds on the estate would not be available until after noon on Saturday, we chose to meet at a small church down the road. One by one, our group grew to a larger size. It was in the parking lot as we waited to caravan to the estate that something interesting AND highly unexpected happened. A car of "passers by" stopped to look at the site of all our cars lined up in preparation for the start of our event. A woman by the name of Day Hellwig approached me and was ecstatic to see us! As it turns out, Day's family was the original owners of the former DeLorean Estate and later sold the property to John DeLorean.
Day was walking around in awe of the cars. She started to reminisce about living on the estate when her family owned it, and for a short time after John DeLorean had purchased it. "I remember riding up and down the front driveway in his car. He used to drop me off at school sometimes". I was only able to speak with Day for a short time before I had to leave with the caravan to the estate, but I managed to get her e-mail address to obtain more details later from her.
Finally... the moment we had all been waiting for! We arrived at the estate just a little bit after noon. It was not an easy task to park 22 cars in the driveway in front of the house, but somehow we managed to do it! We all walked around happy to be part of such an historic event, and EVERYONE was taking pictures! During the commotion, it was rumored that Donald Trump was scheduled to show up that day at the estate. Since we did not want to get in his way (hey... he's a busy guy! lots of $$$ to count), we decided to cut our stay at the estate short, and have our seminars and tech session at the hotel in Princeton.
Another nice surprise for the day was that Fred Dellis, the creator of the Legend Turbo engine met with Ken Koncelik and Marc Levy for breakfast before the event. Marc and Ken were able to sweet talk Fred into joining us for a while at the estate for the first part of the festivities. It was a great honor for many of us to get the opportunity to meet Fred, and Marc was even able to get him to sign the engine on his legend turbo car!
With our time at the estate drawing to an end, all 46 people who attended lined up at the far end of the driveway to take a group photo. Around this time the weather started to play some games on us and sprinkle us with rain, but it wasn't anything we couldn't handle! Next it was time start our way back down the long narrow driveway to line up into our caravan and start off the trip to Princeton.
Our event coordinator Mike Deluca lined up all the cars in the order we were to caravan to Princeton. He also distributed and coordinated two-way FM radios to make the caravan easier for us to keep together. Once we were all lined up in the long driveway, pictures started all over again, and people mingled again to chat some more.
Soon, we were off on our way! We had a lovely scenic route planned out through central NJ's back roads. Keeping the group together over a such a long drive with lots of turns, and stoplights was not easy, but Mike Deluca, Kevin Abato, and Ken Koncelik managed to keep everything running smooth. By the way, when was the last time you saw 20+ DeLoreans all pull into the same gas station for fuel and "Bio Break"!!? The gas station attendants as well as passers by were a little overwhelmed!
The drive was long and slow, but the scenery and the funny chatter on the FM radios more than made up for it! Being in the front of the pack, it was interesting to turn a corner and see people point in amazement as they saw 3-4 DeLoreans come around the way (I just wonder what their faces looked like as the back of the pack kept coming!)
The weather started to change in our favor, and as we drew close to Princeton, everyone was getting excited to line up our cars and stretch our legs. On the final stretch of road just before we arrived, we passed a rock quarry where the road it wide open, and has an "S" type curve kind of like a race track. I made sure that my wife Cheryl get the picture, I think it looked REALLY good! By the way: I had everyone turn on their lights so that people would know that we were all together ;)
At last, the arrival! The Westin hotel in Princeton's Forrestal Village had a HUGE parking lot, so we decided to take a corner for our use. We lined up all the cars, and took a short one hour break so that people could check in to their rooms, get some food, and stretch their legs out. Again (as always) we had many people come by and ask us questions and check out our cars.
OK... OK... ENOUGH REST! Everyone had a full belly. Lets do what we came to do... TALK DELOREAN!
The tech sessions began around 4:00pm in the parking lot of the Westin Hotel. Rob Grady checked out some of the cars that belonged to new owners, and helped to iron out some simple problems, and make some recommendations for others. P.J. Grady sponsors our club and attends all of our events. Rob Grady's insight on the car, and expertise are ALWAYS a pleasure to have around at our events!
One of the other tech sessions for the day was when David Teitelbaum gave us a lesson on how to properly clean your DeLorean and getting looking its best! David normally runs around as much as Rob Grady at our events, eager to help out as many people as he can. During our Spring Social event, you can usually find David adjusting torsion bars and checking tire pressure on everyone's car!
We all had a blast learning from each other as well! It is always interesting to see what bits of information you can pick up from a fellow DeLorean owner. We traded secrets on cleaning the interior, engine repair and maintenance, and I even got Shane Brannan to clean mine and Jim Reeve's louvers! (Thanks Shane! This still look awesome!)
6:00pm - Ughh oh! Time for some more food! We all got washed up and ready to head out to Goodtime Charlie's in nearby Kingston, NJ
WOW!! What a day so far! Now time to stuff our faces again! This time, we were eating at Good Time Charley's. Talk about good food and great atmosphere! The Manager Ray was nice enough to let us have our own dining room just for our group, and we had three great food choices to pick from for dinner. With all this food, and dessert, it is a wonder we will fit into our cars later for the ride back to the hotel.
During our dinner, Mike Deluca was kind enough to break out a video camera, and make us feel like we were at a wedding. Mike insisted that we go around the room, one at a time and say our name and a little about ourselves. Suddenly... everyone had to go to the restroom. :)
I think this was a wonderful idea, due to the fact that I was not able (as were many others in attendance) to go around and meet everyone and "put a face to the name"
With our appetites finally satisfied, we drove back to the hotel to settle in for some sleep... BUT NOT BEFORE WE HIT THE HOTEL BAR!
As the evening went on, those of us staying at the hotel overnight sat in the lounge of the lobby enjoying some drinks, and swapping stories. This was such a great time that at 11:00pm, my wife was begging me to book a room because she did not want to go home!
The second day of our event began with members having breakfast at the hotel, and then caravanning into New Hope P.A. to do a little shopping. Sadly, I had other plans for that day and could not attend, but I was lucky enough to get some pictures from other club members.
In all, the Fall Foliage Tour III was nothing short of an AWESOME event! Hats off to Mike Deluca and Marc Levy for coordinating it all for us! Hope to see everyone at the next club event!