“You’ve Never Seen this Before”
Vintage Weekend 2019
By Holly Houser, Ocean Reef Press Editorial Assistant
“You’ve never seen this before.” If you were at the Concours d’Elegance, this is a quote you heard quite a bit from Vintage Weekend Committee member Ron Elenbaas, but it’s also a great tagline for the weekend as a whole. Most people can’t say they’ve experienced such a spectacular showing of rare automobiles, expertly restored yachts, and air shows featuring the best of the best aerobatic pilots all in one day! Another perfect example of “only at Ocean Reef.”
The 24th Annual Vintage Weekend featured one of the most amazing automobile collections to date, an illustrious showing of elegant yachts, and not one, but two spectacular air shows. The Vintage Weekend Committee, Vicki Goldstein, Lenny Sikora and Ron Elenbaas, felt this year boasted the strongest field ever, with numerous unique, special and one-of-a-kind showings of classic conveyances.
Each year, an overarching theme emerges by the conclusion of the weekend. Past years have revealed – great things come in threes, it’s a family affair, and of course, the year of singing in the rain. This year’s most prominent theme? Let’s hear it for the girls!
On the Concours
“Now you’re gonna have a real treat,” said Mr. Elenbaas as he introduced the 1937 Delage D-6 70 Cabriolet, driven and owned by Rhonda Stryker. This show-stopping car carries with it a unique history – it was designed by a woman, for a woman, and has had three owners, all women as the sole proprietress.
Mrs. Stryker detailed the story for the Vintage-goers in attendance… In 1937, two women racers finished seventh (out of 23) in a French rally. The car, nicknamed La Sauterelle (The Grasshopper), was paraded throughout France to celebrate the creditable victory.
Impressed by the racers’ feat, a fellow female driving enthusiast from Paris commissioned body manufacturer Letourneur et Marchand to build her a road car with the same features as the women’s original racing car. After owning it for many years, that original owner sold it to another woman, who treasured it until Rhonda purchased it from her earlier this year. After seeing it at Pebble Beach, Mrs. Stryker knew she had to own it. She ended her story with an enthusiastic, “Go women!”
In the Sky
Returning for a second year, the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team performed another magnificent twilight show, and the following day performed again at noon with four other aerobatic performers. One spectator professed, “All four of those Aeroshell pilots are better athletes than I am.”
The performance that stole the show was by world-famous aerobatic champion Patty Wagstaff. That Saturday afternoon, Patty took Buccaneer Island by storm. Once her performance began, not one face looked down from the sky.
Said best by Professional Air Show Announcer Herk Strumpf, Patty really is “all that.” In 1991, she was the first woman to ever win the title of US National Aerobatic champion, going on to win it three years in a row, and later became the World Aerobatic Champion. Additionally a six-time member of the US Aerobatic Team, she has won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Olympic-level and has performed at countless airshows. Her vast experience and skill is apparent. Strumpf himself marveled at her ability saying, “She’s a nonstop performer. When have you seen Patty fly upright?”
Her breathtaking performance had observers saying, “Insane,” “What?!” “Rock it!” and simply, “Wow.” For undeniable reasons, Patty was awarded the Spectator’s Choice award at the Farewell Breakfast and with a statement that produced much laughter and cheers, Lenny Sikora said, “Eh, she flies like a girl!”
At the Marina
Sally Atlass’ impact on the 1987 Hargrave she owns with husband Frank is transparent – she’s the boat’s namesake! The couple has attended previous Vintage Weekends with other boats and cars, but the 87-foot Sally Jo II earned them their first award– Best Restoration in Progress.
Eight months ago, Sally and Frank purchased their now award-winning boat and have performed a complete overhaul, with restorations still ongoing.
“We’ve only owned her for eight months and we’ve done a total re-fit,” said Sally. The Atlasses haven’t left a thing untouched. They even restored a 1930s Murano glass chandelier they found under their bed after purchasing the boat.
Sally played a significant role in the renovation decisions, “The only things I didn’t touch were the electrics and mechanics!” She chose furniture, interior decorations (of note, there is no brass on the entire boat – it is all gold plated) and more, saying, “We just crossed our fingers that it would work and it did.”
Sally Jo II has already been around the world. In 1987, the manufacturer built two identical versions – one was kept in the US and the other sent to Europe. Sally and Frank own the one from Europe and once their renovations are finalized, will travel with her to the Caribbean.
Until Next Time
Another successful Vintage Weekend has passed and we find ourselves asking once again, how will the Vintage Weekend Committee and Member Events department top it next year? With it being the 25th anniversary year, you can guarantee it will be something special.
A video highlighting the weekend of fun can be viewed at oceanreef.com/vintageweekend.