Being at RPM was like being a drug fiend in Amsterdam… it was an assault of pure car porn. I loved it. RPM is a family business: Peter Markowski and his two sons, Stephan and Eben Markowski. RPM is best known as a Ferrari shop, and the first time I went there it seemed to be 90+% Ferraris. It seems they’ve branched out a bit now … a little bit of everything. Even Jaguars! From the outside you would never know what lies within. It appears to be a typical Vermont farm, with a house and two barns. Inside the barns however is all manner of magic and delight. Here, lets have a look….
Above: A Ferrari 166 coupe body being restored.
Above: The foreground contains mid-20th Century Northern Italian Modern Sculpture, the background contains Early 21st Century Northern Vermont Sculpture.
Above: A couple of Eben Markowski’s artworks.
While I was wandering about the bulk of the rallyists arrived and completed the stage, with a checkpoint and crowded stand-off happening right in the RPM driveway. The above shot shows a pair of Ferraris, one at RPM, the other a rally car at the “moose flag” stand-off.
In the main barn was the main attractions…
Above: Heads & Tails!
Above: A 4-cam V-12 sits awaiting work while we enjoy lunch.
Above: Wigton-repulsor Intake System on a Mk.2 Jaguar.
Above: High up on a wall is this crumpled bit of car. I imagine there is a story behind it.
Above: Rusty old Ford pickup truck out in back.
Out in front was parked a gorgeous old Duesenberg. Steve Markowski told me it was recently purchased by a client of theirs. It was a single-family car since new, somewhere in rural Texas. It has been maintained and painted, but the interior is completely original. Really nice car!
It was wonderful to hang out among all the car porn, and the lunch, prepared by Eben Markowski’s wife was wonderful, but we couldn’t spend the rest of the day there, we had a rally to finish! Traditionally the last segment of a Rich Taylor planned rally is a real bear. All week the segments have slightly higher and higher average speeds, and the final day’s last segment is usually the breaker. It is as if Rich arranges for the route to be littered with School Busses, Farm Equipment, Construction, Traffic Jams… everything possible to make a rally participant cry.
We’ve anticipated this before, and won a rally by being ready for it and driving to deal with this eventuality.
Above: Dad guides the 450sl around a corner.
This year however, the final segment was … well… just another like all the rest. We drove empty rural Vermont roads from RPM to a little tiny hamlet that was the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge. We arrived at the checkpoint in time, with no drama whatsoever. Zeroed like it was routine, and drove the transit stage to Woodstock. In some ways it was sort of anti-climatic.
We knew we had placed well, since our only penalty all week was that one-second error at the Car Museum in Saratoga, NY. The question remained, how many errors did the rest of the field make? It turned out that two teams made one less error and managed to rack up a perfect game for the week. That night we put on our jackets and ties for the awards banquet. We collected our Second Prize trophies: A Pewter plate and a bottle of “Northern Comfort” Vermont maple syrup. (The latter is being consumed by my son Nicholas on his morning waffles as we speak.)
As always with Rich & Jean Taylor’s Vintage Rallies we had a GREAT time. The cars and more importantly the PEOPLE are great fun. Every minute of the event was enjoyable.
Big thanks again to my father for bringing me along.