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Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix moves annual party to street in front of PNC Park |

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix moves annual party to street in front of PNC Park

Kate Benz
| Sunday, July 20, 2014 9:00 p.m

“It took 50 minutes to park these cars,” said Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix executive director Dan DelBianco as he surveyed a makeshift parking lot of 120 classics and contemporaries that lined Federal Street. “We didn’t have to use any chairs. Maybe we will next year.”

Native space-saving tactics aside, the evening of July 16 proved to be another brilliant move by the PVGP, which took a fresh approach to its annual Tune Up party by closing off the street in front of Atria’s at PNC Park. Designated parameters included the Sixth Street Bridge, much to the delight of a crowd that swelled by the minute.

Early on, John Bechtol, with Dotti, showed off the official club jacket of the newly formed Hartwood Association of Racing Drivers, whose fellow members weren’t shy about disclosing the nature of its origins.

“We founded it at the Hartwood Club during dinner,” Jim Southwood said.

“And a bottle of wine!” Jim Dolan chimed in.

Meanwhile, a chorus of “I want one!” was heard echoing through the crowd, followed by photo-op consolation prizes of sitting in the driver’s seat of dream cars. The opportunity came with an added bonus: bragging rights.

“I keep sending my grandson pictures,” said Michael Barbarita with his wife, Debbie. “It’s killing him!”

Well after the crowd had officially cleared, DelBianco caught some air as he floored the highly coveted, 2015 Jaguar F-Type with the Union Jack paint job back across the bridge.

Colby Schindel had to contend with some curious looks as a few good men pushed his 1975 BMW 2002 down the street. “There’s no motor in it,” he said, steering it toward an open trailer.

On the list were Joe and Rosemary Mendel (honorary co-chairs along with the Bechtols), co-chairs Lynne Figgins, Michelle Polaski, Bob Speer, and Helen Wylie, board prez George Jacoby, Jake Zoller, David and Janet Campbell, Mark Helgerman, Gigi Saladna, Dr. Bill Schwartz, Dan Taylor, Steve Bokor, Merrill andMiroya Stabile, Bernard Martin, and Stan Geier and Ruth Dennis.

The event raised a record $30K.

Kate Benz, the social columnist for Trib Total Media, can be reached at, 412-380-8515 or Twitter @KateBenzTRIB.

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