Tin-Tops to be Celebrated at Put-in-Bay

For the 10th anniversary of modern-day vintage racing at Put-in-Bay, the event's organizers are going back to the race's origins–back when they welcomed lowly sedans, at a time when they were not eligible for most competition events. “Put-in-Bay was pretty much a low-key event put on by unwashed Midwesterners, so sedans were permitted to fill in the classes,” explains Race Director Jack Woehrle. 

The event takes place from September 24th-27 in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

Tin-tops, like the Auto Union coupe driven by Win Reed back in 1959, are returning to Put-in-Bay. by John E. Atkinson.  

Read the press release below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Put-in-Bay, OH — The 10th anniversary of modern-day vintage racing at Ohio’s historic Put-in-Bay continues to grow with new “twists” in a fun-filled and relaxed atmosphere. Beginning with a small “reunion” in 2009, today’s racing and non-racing entrants at Put-in-Bay enjoy several days of sports-car enjoyment in one of the most relaxed and nostalgic settings in vintage racing where small-bore sports cars raced through the streets of this island enclave from ‘52 to ‘59 and once more in 1963. For this year’s event (September 24-27 with racing on the 25th & 26th) race organizers have reached out to invite drivers of vintage “tin top” sedans of nearly all stripes to come share the fun on the event’s challenging 1.2 mile hay-bale lined airport circuit.

The response has been excellent, says race director, Jack Woehrle. In the United States early on, when post-war sports car racing was in its infancy, lowly sedans were not considered “sports cars” so generally weren’t eligible to compete. “But Put-in-Bay was pretty much a low-key event put on by unwashed mid-westerners, so sedans were permitted to fill in the classes,” explains Woehrle. “So, if you look through the old entry lists and period photos on the www.pibroadrace.com website you will see all sorts of small-bore sedans competing at PIB at a time when they were rarely allowed to race anywhere else until SCCA finally initiated a sedan category in 1965.”

As of this writing, some 20 “tin tops” are signed up for the 2019 Put-in-Bay races with more expected. Race-entry sedans include Mini Cooper, Pinto, Corvair, Datsun, Alfa Romeo, Saab, VW, Fiat, Fiat-Abarth, Morris Minor, a Barracuda and even a couple of Dodge Darts. Plus there is the usual complement of entrants racing in multiple classes in four groups plus exhibition. In addition to the on-track race entries (and this is unique in vintage racing as far as the event organizers know) there are also non-racing participant categories for Heritage Street Cars (qualified pre-’64 cars) and Guest Street Cars (generally post-’63 to ’73).

The event is also the third leg of the 2019 “Great Lakes Vintage Challenge” whereby entrants in D thru H production and in Formula Vee accumulate race-finishing points at the Waterford Hills Vintage Races (July 27, 28), VSCDA Grattan (August 16-18) and at Put-in-Bay. In addition to two full days of racing, the Put-in-Bay Sports Car Races event includes: tours of the original island course, several social events, a car show, rocker cover races, guest stories, and more. Spectating at the races and many of the other activities is open and free to the public.

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Coventrywood None
8/2/19 11:43 a.m.

Jordan,  is that top color photo a Riley? Racing where?

Anyone with an interest or curiosity of what sports car racing was like "back inna day" should really, really make the effort to attend..

On second thought, if this becomes even half as popular as it should be, our little piece of retro racing paradise will be overrun and ruined. So everybody else continue with your packed, overcrowded, expensive big-time events & leave us alone...  Just kidding! (Not)

Are any 'Classic Motorsportsters' who'll be attending this PIB event interested in informaly meeting up somewhere? No matter your taste in cars or racing classes, everybody eats.

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
8/2/19 12:13 p.m.

In reply to Coventrywood :

It is a Riley from their 1959 race at Put-in-Bay. 

wspohn Dork
10/26/19 1:17 p.m.

We had a Riley 1.5 racing here in the Pacific Northwest back in the day. Interesting combination of B series driveline mated to an A series suspension and rear end.  Neat thing was that if you put a built MGB motor in them and replaced the rear end (I think the MG Magnette was a pretty diret swap, albiet with different bolt pattern) and using all the suspension tuning tricks learned from Sprites, including a disc brake conversion, they were darned quick (if illegal), as they weighed about the same as an MGB.

I owned a couple of them. Sadly, many succumbed to tin worm over the years.

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