Smith Heritage Invitational: An outstanding field of noteworthy cars

Photography by J.A. Ackley

If you wanted a highly concentrated taste of some of the finest, concours-quality cars, the Smith Heritage Invitational hit the spot. The inaugural event at Charlotte Motor Speedway featured Le Mans winners, Cobra inspirations, movie vehicles and other noteworthy cars. Here are 10 of our favorites.

1937 Delage D8-120
Owned by Paul Gould

This car exemplifies the essence of 1930s automotive design, with the invitational noting the “massive swooping front fenders leading straight into the running boards, and a bubble butt rear end.” Famed French coachbuilder Henri Chapron crafted the bodywork on this particular example. The D8-120 of Paul Gould was one of two entries that earned the Chairman’s Choice D’Elegance award at the Smith Heritage Invitational.

1938 Lincoln Model K LeBaron
Owned by Wayne Carini

They didn’t make many LeBaron coupes–only 18–but not many people can call themselves kings, either. The late King Hussein of Jordan, a fervent car collector, once owned this vehicle. Eventually, noted car restorer and TV personality Wayne Carini would acquire the Lincoln. The Model K LeBaron was honored at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with a Lincoln award.

1905 Columbia Mark XXXV Electric
Owned by Mary & Ted Stahl

What’s old is new again, right? No, we’re not talking about the carriage look, but instead the electric that propels this vehicle. The Hartford, Connecticut, automaker put out its first EV wagonette back in 1900. Columbia was purchased by United States Motor Company in 1910. The assets of USMC would eventually be organized into the Maxwell Motor Company, the predecessor to Chrysler.

1949 Buick Roadmaster
Owned by Barry Levinson

If you love the Oscar-winning film Rain Man, then you should immediately recognize this car. When filming concluded, the director, Barry Levinson, acquired one of two Roadmasters used for the movie. Later on, he would tab Wayne Carini to restore the car. The movie holds a special place in Carini’s heart as his daughter was diagnosed with autism at an early age.

1932 Rolls-Royce 20/25
Owned by Forrest McClain

Three-time Le Mans winner Woolf Barnato first owned this Rolls-Royce. A colorful character, Barnato’s also known as one of the "Bentley Boys," a group of wealthy British motorists who won races against cars as well as competing against trains The Blue Train Races. This Rolls-Royce features styling cues from Barnato’s Blue Train Bentley. The father of this car’s current owner acquired the Rolls-Royce in 1975 and has remained in the family ever since.

1958 Allard Palm Beach Mark II
Owned by Mark Moskowitz

This is the last car to leave the Allard factory. Carroll Shelby competed in Cadillac-powered Allards back in the day. When asked about their influence on the Cobra, Shelby said, “Where do you think the idea came from?” This example raced hillclimbs and on the drag strip. Four years ago, the car was rescued from 50 years of storage. Allard produced only eight examples of the Palm Beach Mark II.

1957 Maserati 450S
Owned by Nick Soprano

Speaking of Carroll Shelby, he raced this Maserati six times in back in the day. It, too, would become one of the inspirations for Shelby’s Cobra–and with good reason. It was considered the fastest sports car of its time, capable of 190 mph. They only made 10 of these Maseratis, and this one, one of two, is powered by a 490-horsepower, 5.7-liter engine. This was the second car to win the Chairman’s Choice D’Elegance award.

1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300
Owned by Rob Kauffman

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass … and I’m all out of bubblegum,” Roddy Piper once said in the movie They Live. However, in order for this Alfa Romeo to continue living, the crew had to hold on to that gum. They used chewing gum to plug a puncture that developed in the fuel tank. That allowed the team of Luigi Chinetti and Phillipe Étancelin to win the 1934 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1965 Ferrari 250 LM
Owned by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

This privateer entry shocked the world when it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1965. Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team had American Masten Gregory and German-born Jochen Rindt wheel the Ferrari to victory. It would mark the last time Ferrari won the iconic race.

1966 Ford GT40 Mk II
Owned by Rob Kauffman

This is the star car that inspired the movie Ford v Ferrari. It dethroned Ferrari to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. When the current owner of the vehicle found out it might go up for sale, he purchased it and then the car underwent more than 5000 hours of work to restore the Ford to its former glory.

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