Colorado Grand is truly grand |

Colorado Grand is truly grand

Daily file photoThe Colorado Grand is suitable for framing, and the drivers of this Austin Healy are looking good driving down the road and taking pictures of how good Colorado looks as they drive through it.

VAIL, Colorado – The Colorado Grand may be the world’s only sports car rally with a police escort.

On a bright, beautiful Monday morning 85 vintage sports cars left Vail for a 1,000-mile sojourn around Western Colorado, rolling through some of the most stunning scenery on God’s green earth. They returned to Vail Thursday night and are on display even as we speak.

On their scenic sojourn they were accompanied by the occasional member of the Colorado State Patrol’s motorcycle crew, because public safety is of the utmost importance. And besides, it’s fun.

The annual sports car rally/fundraiser generates more smiles per gallon and celebrates more exotic automotive-related body lines than anything this side of a Miss Hurst Golden Shifter Convention.

Just watching and listening to those 85 vintage sports cars roll past is enough to made a red-blooded American break out in a patriotic fervor, even with the clear knowledge that these cars were built in Europe. But, these delightful people are in Colorado in September, driving around with the top down for five days.

Admit it, deep down we want to be them, at least this week.

About 60 percent of the oil used in the United States each day is burned for transportation. It’s never been sacrificed for a finer purpose than to power these cars.

Environmentalists have very conflicted relationships with their cars. We do not. We love cool cars, and these cars are cool.

This is the 22nd Colorado Grand and this year’s field is 85 sports cars built before 1961, accompanied by crews and co-drivers.

“Besides having fun with old cars, we wish to repay the generosity of the people of Colorado who so kindly host us,” said Tom Horan, chairman of the Colorado Grand’s board of directors.

The Grand helps support Colorado charities. Participants makes donations to towns where they stop for lunch and award a college scholarship to a graduating high school senior in each of these communities.

This year, for example, they stopped in Paonia long enough Monday to have lunch and donate $5,000 to the local Chamber of Commerce and a $3,500 scholarship to high school seniors. They do the same thing in Hotchkiss, Salida and Ridgway. While they’re there, they spread some money around to some other local non-profits.

In its 22 years, the Colorado Grand has left almost $3 million in donations in its wake, along with solemn pronouncements that those are the coolest cars ever built.

Wherever they go, people stop and gawk, as they should because it’s not often in your passage from the cradle to the grave that you pass by a procession like this. They take pictures while the cars are sitting still and while they’re moving.

“People will often grab cameras or phones and take pictures while we’re rolling down the road,” said Trina Farland, smiling as she climbed back into her Ferrari.

The Farlands fired up their Ferrari, pointed it west with the vintage BMWs, Mercedes, Ferraris, a Bugati or two and and hit the gas, their perfectly tuned engine leaving behind the sweet smell of high octane exhaust and smiles all around.

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