Whether you're a Pittsburgher or a car buff, you know what July in the city means: the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) held at Schenley Park.
For the 34th consecutive summer, car enthusiasts from all over the world will unite in Pittsburgh for this legendary, one-of-a-kind event. The iconic PVGP is the nation's largest vintage sports car racing event and only one staged on city streets.
The race started in 1983 when a local Pittsburgher and vintage race driver named Alan Patterson held a meeting in his Shady Side garage. Patterson alongside some of his colleagues quickly formed a group consisting of racers, sports car clubs, volunteers and even local celebrity Myron Cope, "the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers," to help put on the race. Five months later, this group watched their efforts unravel as 75 drivers raced down Schenley Park, on what is now known as one of the most difficult vintage courses in the country.
Since 1983, the PVGP has grown into a 10-day celebration featuring 16 motorsport events and attracting more than 250,000 spectators. But the real excitement comes during Race Weekend as some 175 vintage racers face a challenging yet scenic course on the 2.33-mile circuit composed of 23 turns, the Serpentine Curve, and the Panther Hollow Bridge.
This year the PVGP is hosting the Yenko Sportscar 50th Reunion. Yenko Chevrolet was one of the largest custom muscle car shops of the late 60s and early 70s located in Canonsburg, PA (about 30 minutes outside of Pittsburgh). Don Yenko, son of the dealership founder, created the Yenko Camaro and helped to spread the car's popularity in Western Pennsylvania. A special display of 25 Yenko Camaro's, Chevelle', Nova's Corvair Stingers and more will be located at Schenley Park. Other highlights for this year include the Jaguar Marque of the Year, the Italian Cortile, British Car Day and the PVGP Historics at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
One of the most unique aspects of the PVGP is that it's fueled by passion. The passion of the vintage car drivers, the spectators, and the nearly 1,200 dedicated volunteers who annually participate in the event.
If you're headed out on Race Weekend, here are some of the best places to spectate:
- Bob O'Connor Golf Course
- George Westinghouse Pond
- Flagstaff Hill
- Start/ Finish line (the grassy area between Bartlett and Beacon Streets)
To learn more about the PVGP or to volunteer, check out their website.