"Look, Chadwick, a tour for us."
Seriously, are you ready to go back to school?
The assignment is easy: have fun driving your vintage automobile 1,000 miles through scenic New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania visiting en route each of the 8 most prestigious and gorgeous universities on the planet: First day is Start in Newport, RI and then on to Brown, Harvard, and Dartmouth. Second day is Dartmouth to Cornell. Third day is Cornell to U. Penn. Fourth day is U.Penn, Princeton, Columbia, Yale, and then back around to Finish in Newport, RI–timed to coincide with the Audrain Concours and Motor Week.
You'll have a blast meeting up with classmates and fellow aficionados, talking shop, enjoying incredible amenities, savoring great foo… wait a sec, the point is not to have fun, it's to win the rally, of course. Not only win, but totally beat everyone else. And owning the rarest and most expensive machine wouldn't hurt either. All the while being fake self-deprecating and charming. Haven't you learned anything at all since the day you graduated?
The Fifth Biennial Old's Cool Tour is scheduled for September 28th - October 1st, 2022, and will be a GTA (Game-Tour-Adventure) event. There will also be at least one timed stage, a hillclimb, and an autocross, TBD. Participation is kind of by invitation only. The only specific Old's Cool Rule is that the automobile must be at least as old as your graduation year, or pre-1994 if you didn't finish before then.
Keep in mind this is not in any way, shape or form a "race" – obey speed limits and all local laws – and the whole point is just to have fun. No diploma required. Originality and creativity encouraged. Life's short.
What's actually on the menu?
Excellent, top-drawer fun. The OCT will be a 4-day event, starting this year at Old's Cool Tour Headquarters in Newport, RI. Each day will be divided into stages, roughly as follows, subject to change.
Tuesday, September 27th, 2022. Arrival and Welcome BBQ. We have reserved rooms at Castle Hill Inn, for anyone coming into town the night before (not included in the entry fee). Cars and support vehicles can be parked here for the duration of the rally. Welcome BBQ will be from 5-9 pm . We will have tech inspection for all cars and any last-minute adjustments made on the spot. We'll invite some of the local collectors to bring their vehicles for an impromptu car show, and we'll also have some branded gin from a local distillery, and drinks on the house.
Wednesday, September 28th, 2022. Pre-rally breakfast at OCT HQ. Driver's/safety meeting at 7 am. Start time is 7:22, in honor of Sir Stirling Moss's start time/famous Mille Miglia Mercedes number.
Day 1, Stage 1. Newport - Brown, approximately 1 hour. Stage 2. Brown - Harvard, approximately 1 hour. Checkpoint is Harvard Yard (of 'pahk the cah in' fame). Stage 3. Harvard - Canaan Racetrack, approximately 3 hours. Stage 4. Canaan – Dartmouth, approximately 20 minutes. Finish of Day 1 is on The Green at Dartmouth. We will have dinner and a gathering for area auto enthusiasts at The Hanover Inn.
Thursday, September 29th, 2022. Breakfast at The Hanover Inn. Day 2, Stage 1: Canaan Raceway (for 2-hours of track time) - Mt. Equinox (for a hillclimb and lunch with a view), approximately 3 hours. Stage 2: Mt. Equinox – Cornell, approximately 4 hours. Finish of Day 2 is at The Statler Hotel.
Friday, September 30, 2022. Breakfast, Statler Hotel. Day 3, Stage 1: Cornell – SCCA Autocross. Stage 2: SCCA to Lazy Brook Park for lunch, approximately 1 1/2 hours. Stage 3: Lazy Brook to U. Penn, approximately 2 1/2 hours. Dinner and third overnight stop at The Inn at Penn Hotel.
Saturday, October 1st, 2022 Breakfast at The Inn at Penn Hotel. Day 4, Stage 1: U. Penn – Princeton, approximately 2 hours. Lunch at The Cannon Club. Stage 2: Princeton – Columbia, approximately 2 1/2 hours. Checkpoint at Columbia is Daniel Chester French sculpture at The Low Library. Stage 3: Columbia - Yale, approximately 2 1/2 hours. Checkpoint is the Church on the Green. Stage 4: Yale -Newport, approximately 1 1/2 hours. Awards ceremony and farewell. Castle Hill Inn is available for anyone who is staying the night (not included in entry fee).
Welcome aboard. Kind of.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, ours is not a kumbaya world, where everyone gets invited to the party, or receives a participation trophy for losing. You don't have to be an Ivy League grad to enter, but they will get preference; then one-of-a-kind gorgeous cars, then celebrities. Not. Celebrities are first on the list: automatic yesses for Amanda Peet, Natalie Portman, Emma Watson, and Elizabeth Banks. No hot rod yahoos or Sunday drivers, please.
Seriously, dust off your own classic red Alfa Romeo Spider "Graduate" and call Johnny Mustard at (401) 572-7090 to reserve your spot as soon as possible.
How much does it cost?
Unforgettably charming and authentic road trip with a posse of interesting fellow enthusiasts on the most beautiful roads in this part of the world? Priceless. Poetry and Visa commercial satire aside, the entry fee is $4999 (per team, double occupancy), and the closing date for all entries is June 1, 2021. Payment must be made in full, either by credit card, PayPal, or by check at the time of submission.
N.B. There will be no refunds. If you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound. Let's rally, gents!
Since a 4-day, 1,000 mile voyage is a big commitment, we're offering an “Old’s Cool Tour One-Day Drive Along” – we’ll start at 7:22 am in Newport, with our first stop at Brown, and then lunch at The Harvard Club at Harvard around noon. You and your lunch mates can then head home, while we continue on our way up to Dartmouth for the night.
Special price for this introduction to our wicked smart adventure is $99, and includes the lunch. Limited to the first 10 sign ups.
Do you want to hear the boring backstory?
It's Friday night at Le Rouf, the fool dive bar just off the square in Cannes. Hard-boiled eggs on the counter and lean, gallic-nosed sailors drinking panaches. Tons of bloody Brits drinking warm Guinness. I'm already pleine de joie on the drive back home, when the brakes give out on a steep narrow alpine downhill somewhere outside of Vallauris. Bump and grind and screech and hump the whole right side of the bug against the stone wall of some guy's villa right next to the road to an awful stop simply to keep from being erased. I was looking for a romantic automobile adventure in a foreign country, and I found it: staying alive is as romantic as it gets. Seriously, did you ever wonder 'How the hell did I get here?' Not me – I can always see in my mind's eye every perfectly idiot mistake I made to get me where I am. Which is usually on the wrong side of nowhere.
Just a minor scrape, literally.
Fast forward thirty years: I love driving old cars, preferably without synchromesh, and I always wanted to experience the Mille Miglia in Italy at least once in my life. Sigh, it's just not possible, logistically, financially, or emotionally at this stage in the game. I researched road rallies in here in the States, and 1,000 miles in Texas just doesn't appeal to me. So I came up with my own quixotic idea, that I thought just might be crazy enough to fly: The Old's Cool Tour – Rally Around The Ivy League.
Fernando, his Land Rover "Olive", and Leonora were the first friends on board.
"You have to begin going nowhere, fast... somewhere."
The thunderbolt came to me all of a sudden: cars, college and fall foliage. Could anything be more fun than driving a vintage automobile 1,000 miles through scenic New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, visiting by the way each of the 8 most prestigious and gorgeous universities on the planet? How could you not have a blast meeting up with classmates and fellow aficionados, talking shop, enjoying incredible amenities, savoring great foo… wait a sec, the point isn't to have fun, it's to win the rally, of course. Not only win, but totally beat everyone else. And owning the rarest and most expensive machine wouldn't hurt either. All the while being fake self-deprecating and charming in a wild, expensive game of automobile oneupmanship. It'll probably be the most fun I've had since I almost graduated!
Everyone has dreams, and ideas, but almost nobody goes out and actually lives them. Execution is everything. So I called my car buddy Peter Trautmann in Germany, and he said "Oh, mein Gott, Johnny, we absolutely must have to do bingkle zarfft poonnoojer this!" So he flew over and we each bought a car: he found a 1982 380SL in some lady's backyard and offered her $1,500 for it. We dug the thing out of a snowbank and dragged the piece of scheisser home through the mud. We did a test run in the middle of a snowstorm in March. pictured above. Couldn't have been funner. I picked up an almost mint-condition 124 Fiat from a kid in Bayonne, and hadn't driven 2 blocks before some old Italian guy crossing the street in front of me at a red light offered to buy it from me. Bang for the buck, you can beat a Lampredi engine and Pininfarina flair.
Red is the new Black, especially at Brown.
All 8 Ivy League schools have loved the OCT idea, but none has embraced us more warmly than the folks up on The Hill in Providence. Special props to Rebecca and Andrea of Flashion Statement who wowed us with their light up OLD'S COOL t-shirts made especially for the tour! Also a special shout out to John Meldon, who at the last minute dusted off this gorgeous 3.0 and joined us at Yale, Harlan Hadley and Stephen Dupont at Radnor Hunt Club, and Peter, Tim and Charlotte at Dartmouth.
Mary Karl was first over the line in her Fiat 124 Spider and was awarded The Oneupmanship Cup.
"Live the dream."
We enjoyed such a cool, quixotic adventure together – a fantastic vroom with a view; a lifetime of top-drawer memories; awesome food and (plenty to) drink; tons of interested and interesting people along the way, and suffered some minor mechanical problems that added the right amount of authenticity and spice to the sauce. Who won the prize? We all did.
If you'd like to come along for the ride of your life, (or if you just want to say hello), don't hesitate to ring Johnny Mustard up on (401) 572-7090, email him at email@example.com or just stop by the studio anytime — 38 Charles Street, Newport, RI 02840.