Dick Cupp says it didn’t take a hard sell to convince his fellow vintage racing veterans Steve Schmidt and Max Jamiesson to join him in filing entries for the inaugural Drive Toward a Cure, a lifestyle/road rally event scheduled for April 28-30 in California.
Funds raised through the event will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation and The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center.
Cupp, who is in his late 70s, has Parkinson’s.
“You can’t do everything you used to do,” Cupp said of how his life has changed, “but what you can do, you do as much and as often and as smartly as you can.”
Cupp entered his first race in 1972, the Mexican 1,000, driving a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle in the Baja Bug Class 11. He started 301st, suffered through four flat tires and the loss of third gear, but persevered to finish around 80th place, he recalled. He competed in such off-road events for a few years, he said, but then “didn’t do much racing until the kids were grown.”
When he returned to racing, it was on paved tracks and in sports cars. For several years, he raced in vintage events, including the Monterey Historics, in a 1936 Austin 7 Supercharged Special and in a Porsche 356 roadster fabricated by Schmidt, whose Costa Mesa, California-based Honest Engine shop specializes in building Porsche engines and providing competitive services for vintage racers.
Since he no longer can drive in competition, Cupp has sold the cars and others now have them on the track on a regular basis.
“If you can’t race a race car, why do you own a race car?” Cupp wonders.
“I’m a former vintage racer and several of my pals are still enjoying themselves on track today, but I’ve challenged them to share in this rally and take another type of journey with me.”
Schmidt and Cupp will start the Drive Toward a Cure at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. They’ll be in the 1960 Porsche 356 Super 90 coupe that Cupp first bought in 1972.
“It’s a car that back then you just drove. They weren’t that expensive,” Cupp said. In fact, he said, “you often traded them back and forth.”
For example, at one point he sold the Porsche to Schmidt, but later bought it back and has had it ever since.
“It’s gone through three or four engines,” Cupp said, a commentary more likely about driving style than engine build quality.
Meanwhile, Jamiesson will start his Drive Toward a Cure in a nearly identical 356 Super 90, though from the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, across the bay from San Francisco. Under the setup for this inaugural event, routes have been established for participants from the northern and southern part of the state with a meeting in the middle, at Paso Robles.
For Cupp, Schmidt and Jamiesson, that meeting will be a friends’ and vintage racers’ reunion.
(Editor’s note: Entries are still being accepted for the inaugural Drive Toward a Cure and event organizers have offered ClassicCars.com visitors an opportunity to take advantage of an “early-bird” pricing discount by using the CLASSIC code.)