October 26, 2008;
Five years ago,
Anthony and Valerie Lacaria, owners of "Pink Lady," met
up with Dirk and Gretel Bensinger of Germany, owners of
The couples became fast friends,
frequenting each other's home continents and
experiencing plenty of vintage auto activities. It was a predestined path of
friendship and mutual interest, Valerie Lacaria said.
meeting wasn't by chance," she said. "I knew it was our
love for antique
that drew us together."
It all started in
July of 2003 when the Bensingers were touring America in
a used RV they had purchased in the United States. When possible, they
traveled rural routes, because, that's where they met
real people, Dirk Bensinger said.
Along the way, they
found something else very appealing: A 1959 Chrysler
the RV," Lacaria said. "They named the
'Baby Blue' and continued traveling."
It was on old U.S.
50 that the Bensingers came to the end of their road, at
down at Monroe
Anthony Lacaria said. The people who worked there called
me to come up. "They said they
couldn't understand them but they had a car like mine,"
said Lacaria about his desert rose colored 1956
Lacarias lent some time, hospitality and vintage car
know-how, "Baby Blue" was back on the road. In the meantime, the couples formed a quick bond.
"They ended up
staying with us before they drove to Boston to catch a
plane and have the car shipped to Germany, " Anthony
Lacaria said. "We decided to keep in touch, and they
wanted us to come see Europe."
In May of 2005, the
Lacarias made their first trip abroad, visiting the
Bensingers in Bavaria, Germany.
"Gretel greeted us
in English, Valerie Lacaria said just so we could
While in Europe, the
Lacarias participated in Italy's Mille Miglia, a
historical open-road endurance race.
"We just did
part of the race, but went through several cities
including, Tuscany and
Valerie Lacaria said. "We also got to travel back to
Germany through Austria."
were pleasantly surprised to take the road trip in an
They later learned that their friend Dirk was a
worldwide sales chief for the European car manufacturer.
Other highlights of the venture
included a visit to the Adriatic Coast and an Alps
"We learned so much about their
land and culture Valerie Lacaria said, "We packed a lot
into 12 days. It was a great experience."
2006, the Lacarias made a second trip across the ocean
this time touring the historic; Daimler Chrysler Museum
facility in Stuttgart.
In September 2008, the Lacarias
completed a third European journey.
and Motorcycle Land Rally proved to be another memorable
"It's a timed rally, about 10
hours long," Anthony Lacaria; said. "It about wore me
The Lacarias and their Hungarian
navigator Lazlo Varga captured a second-place finish.
They, of course, drove 'Baby
Blue' in the event.
Soaking up European influence
and capturing a perspective on vintage automobiles have
revved up the Lacarias, they said.
But they've gained so much more.
"Dirk always travels the
back roads so we've learned so much socially from
meeting people and hearing about their backgrounds,"
Anthony Lacaria said.
The international relationship
may have come full circle, but there is still more
adventure in the works. After making a handful of trip
to the U.S, the Bensginers are planning a trip in 2009,
Valerie Lacaria said.
Its Dirk's 66th Birthday and he
wants to travel Route 66.
For More Information of the
International road trips, visit the Lacaria's website at