The Hamptons in summer is New York City’s destination for fun. Parties, friends, family, incredible homes, and all sorts of sports, from polo at the Southampton Hunt and Polo Club to kite-surfing in Montauk – the Hamptons has something for everyone. My favourite month “out east,” as New Yorkers refer to the Hamptons, is September. The ocean is at its warmest, the crowds are slightly dispersed and the weekends are filled with interesting cultural events.
In this environment, it is hard to stand out, but somehow THE BRIDGE managed to be one of the top events of the summer, which is an impressive feat in only its sophomore year.
Located on the modern golf club in Bridgehampton, which was once the Bridgehampton racecourse, more than 100 post-war sports vehicles, classics and modern supercars from around the world were on display. The immense beauty of all these colorful cars, against the open golf course and the blue skies made it easy to imagine what a race day must have been like on that very spot. A number of classic and exotic cars set the tone for the day, creating excitement and buzz: the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88, the 1957 Jaguar XKSS, a favorite of Steve McQueen, the 1973 signal yellow Porsche 911E, in its original splendor, the 1980 BMW M1, designed by the renowned Giorgetto Guigiaro, and the 1977 Lamborghini Countach LP400 with a periscope as a rear view mirror.
The event also featured prominent art galleries, such as the Marlborough Contemporary Gallery and the David Kordansky Gallery. Burgess Yachts had a stand and Richard Mille watches were prominently on display. The yachts, watches and art were for sale. The cars, sadly, were not.
The first series of cars on display on arrival, past the helicopter parked on the front lawn, was the most impressive and colorful line up of Porsches I have ever seen. There were so many magnificent vehicles that it was hard to decide where to begin. The cars were presented across all 18 holes of the golf course, a stunning backdrop for these exquisite feats of engineering and beauty. Two of my personal favourites came courtesy of the Classic Car Club in NYC – the 1964 Lincoln Continental and the 2017 McLaren 570s.
As we walked the course, admiring the multitude of cars, a mixture of old and new, right and left-handed drives, and every color under the sun, there was also no shortage of food and drink – and even cigars – o keep us energized for our stroll through car heaven. Food stations from some of the finest restaurants throughout New York provided delicacies so we could walk and nibble. Also on offer was the simplicity of popsicles and various sweets. My favourite stand had a Peruvian-meets-Asian twist, spicy and delicious. The fish and chips and the oyster bar were a close second and third respectively.
The original racetrack was built in 1957, and Bob Rubin (an avid car collector who bought the property in 1992) turned it into a golf course, keeping the most important part of the circuit intact. He added checkerboard flags to mark each of the 18 holes as a constant reminder of the heritage of this incredible property and perfect setting to showcase these immaculate vehicles. The main focus was on cars built between 1957 and 1974 that would have qualified to race on the Bridgehampton circuit in its heyday.
Some of the cars met the original track’s racing standards, such as the uber-rare 1990 Porsche 964 lightweight, the 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster, and my personal favourite, the 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider. Many of the cars – although ineligible to race – were included simply because they were incredibly cool. There was even a baby blue Ford GT with white polka dots which exactly matched my dress. And at certain set times throughout the day, some of the most powerful engines in history were started up so we could all hear them purr.
The whole day was worth it when I saw the look of pride and admiration on my father’s face when he saw the exact MG-MGA in racing green with tan interior (albeit with different rims, as he was fast to point out), that he bought as his first car, then later sold to buy his first property.
Each and every guest I met were happy to share a story, memory or dream about one or many of the cars. Listening to my father and others talk to strangers and friends alike about what the different cars meant to them was enlightening, often amusing, and mostly just fun.
There are very few universal loves in our divided world. A love of beautiful cars is one that unifies people of all ages and backgrounds. I saw people from all ends of the earth sharing their love and admiration for these amazing vehicles. There were super sexy ladies taking selfies with the cars; there were petrol-heads looking under hoods; there were knowledgeable car collectors educating the rest of us; and there were simple admirers like myself imagining how it would feel to race one of these beauties.
It was a perfect day to spend with my father and our friends, an excuse to wear a pretty 1950s-style dress, meet new interesting people and share in the joy of all that beauty and power combined, as fast cars are tied up in the best elements of the American Dream. It was an event filled with wonder and simple pleasures. As the sun was setting, and the band was playing, and we were finally sure we had seen every car on the course, I thought to myself that we must certainly return next year. I am already planning my wardrobe – possibly something in Ferrari red.
This event would not have been possible without all the hard work and dedication of the founders, Robert Rudin, Shamin Abas and Jeffrey Einhorn, whose combined passion for collecting cars convinced all the owners to allow the rest of us to revel in their prized possessions. They put together the finest collection of antique and modern race cars that I have ever seen – and I have seen a lot.