17 June 2015

The Great Race: Father/son veterans’ love of old cars runs deep

(Editor’s Note: In honor of Father’s Day, and over the course of the 2015 Great Race beginning June 20, we’re profiling nine teams, each consisting of some variation of a father and daughter, father and son, or grandfather and son. Stay tuned for these stories and results from the race.)

Howard and Douglas Sharp (Fairport, N.Y.)

1916 HUDSON HILLCLIMBER (#1)

Besides sharing a last name, father/son team Howard and Douglas Sharp, of Fairport, N.Y., share something else important: an inherent love of old cars.

The duo has been racing together in the Great Race since 1998 and have completed local events such as the Pumpkin Run, Penn-York Rally and the Millville Rally weekend as part of the Northeast Rally Club. They also competed in the Coker Tire Challenge and the VCRA Rally for Autism. For this year’s race, they can be seen in their 1916 Hudson Hillclimber. And after three years of driving the Hudson in this event, the team has gained the knowledge needed to complete an exceptionally great race.

Howard has been interested in cars his whole life. “I remember driving down the road in a 1950s Oldsmobile 88 when I was about 8 years old, looking out the window and watching all the old cars driving by,” he said. Since then, he has always had a love for cars, and in turn has shared the experience with his son.

Douglas, like his dad, has always been drawn to old cars, and the spark that lit the flame was riding in Howard’s cars during his youth. His favorite was the old truck that was driven during the summer months, and that later inspired Douglas to purchase his first vehicle, a 1949 Chevrolet pickup, at 16 years old. Now he is 36 and shares the experience of owning an old pickup with his daughters, who will be flying in with their mom to see dad and grandpa cross the finish line. “It’s all about family,” said Douglas.

The team previously competed in the Great Race with their 1911 Velie in 1998 and 1999. In 2000, they drove their 1929 Dodge, and after taking a year off, they won the Expert Division with the Velie in 2002. For 2007, they competed in their 1932 Ford, then in 2011 they took first place overall with the Velie.

“We love it; it’s a great competition with great people and a great time,” said the Sharps. This event is called the Great Race for a reason.

Tomorrow: Dave Reeder and Sawyer Stone and their 1932 Ford 3-window coupe

For Stage 3 results, click here.

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