Classic Cars Spin through Whitefish

By Beacon Staff

Twice in one week, Whitefish will play home to 40 vintage automobiles. Slicked up rare cars like Corvettes, Ferraris, Porsches, and Jaguars will cruise into town on the third annual Going-to-the-Sun Road Rally.

For its 1,300-mile tour, the rally starts in Helena on Sunday, September 2. The five-day drive crosses Going-to-the-Sun Road, passes through Whitefish en route to Banff, and returns via the same route. “It’s not a race, but rather a drive to enjoy Montana,” says organizer Farnum Alston.

All vintage automobiles entered in the rally must be from 1971 or earlier and road worthy. This year’s lineup includes a 427 Cobra and a Shelby GT-350. Alston notes that ten of this year’s cars are valued over $1 million, and one rare 1957 Jaguar XKSS is easily three times that.

Drivers hail from across the country and further. Alston notes that one driver is a British lord who collects vintage tractors. He even purchased one he found along the rally route last year. Other drivers include car racer George Fulmer and western artist Larry Zabel.

During Sunday afternoon, September 2, the rally will roll into Whitefish and head to Banff the next morning. Alston invites the public to view the vintage cars in the parking lots at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake during their stay. “Drivers are willing to answer questions about their cars,” notes Alston. If you miss them on their first trip through, you can catch them on September 5 at Grouse Mountain Lodge.

The rally—ranked by Classic Motorsports Magazine’s January 2007 issue as one of the nation’s top ten rallies—is also a charity event. Participants pay $4,200 to enter, and an auction—open to the public–caps the event on its final night at Grouse Mountain Lodge. Over the past two years, the event has contributed $45,000 to Montana causes, such as the Montana Highway Patrol Fallen Officers Fund.