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Simeone Automotive Museum: Alfa Romeo Takes Center Stage.

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By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

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From the late 1920s through the 1930s, Alfa Romeo was the preeminent sports car in the world. Alfas won Le Mans four consecutive years from 1931-34 and the Mille Miglia an astounding ten times in eleven years from 1928-38!

(DSC_2606) The Simeone Automotive Museum’s just-held Alfa Romeo Demo Day provided an insight into why Alfa was so dominant and what happened after their glory years in the 1930s. The Alfa Romeos featured on display and driven were a 1925 RLSS, a 1929 1750 SS, a 1933 2300 and a 1938 2900B…the winner of the 1939 Mille Miglia.

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The Alfa-day was the kick-off to the 2013 Best of Italy at the Simeone Museum featuring a diverse display of sports cars, race cars and grand touring cars from Italy. The show runs from May 25th to June 9th. This year’s Best of Italy is sponsored by Maserati of the Main Line. On display are two examples of this famous marque: a 2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC and a 2011 Maserati Quattroporte GTS.

The Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia is one of the greatest collections of racing sports cars in the world. Assembled over a span of 50 years by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Frederick Simeone, the Museum contains over 60 of the rarest racing cars ever built.

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Dr. Simeone himself presided over the Alfa-day presentation and spoke of the renowned success of Alfa in the mid-1930s. The Simeone Museum is one of the few museums in the world where visitors can see and hear famous race cars being driven. Their “Demonstration Days” are held on the three-acre lot in back of the museum on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Also present at the Alfa-day was Bill Lightfoot who holds the Land Speed Record for an Alfa at 232mph. Driving a highly modified ’92 Alfa Spider the record was set at Bonneville Salt Flats in 2010.

It’s also noteworthy that these vintage racers don’t run on today’s low-octane unleaded fuel. Sunoco is the fuel sponsor for the museum and provides high-octane aviation fuel to allow operation of the racers.

Upon entering an inscription over the entrance reads: “The first race was conceived when the second car as built.”

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The more than 60 race cars are displayed in dioramas that represent the famous venues where these cars actually competed and illustrate the development of sports car road racing, here in the US and internationally. Displays include racing in the early 1900, pre-World War I era, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Bonneville Salt Flats, Mille Miglia, Targo Florio, Brooklands, Nurburgring, NASCAR, and more.

The Simeone Automotive Museum was selected as the Museum of the Year by the International Historic Motoring Awards.

So plan your road trip to Philadelphia and take a look at:

© Larry Nutson