about the melee
What is it?
The Monongahela is Western PA/WV/OH’s very first, low-buck, enthusiast auto rallye. The goal is to explore the back roads, mountains and small towns that make up a rich history of our region, with like minded* enthusiasts of automobiles, adventure and fun. At its core, this is a vintage-auto rallye that also has loose-enough criteria to include certain collector/special interest vehicles from the 70’s and 80’s as well.
When is it?
What are we looking at here?
For a small entry fee, a driver and navigator will be treated to a well-planned series of roads to form a two-day route, with navigational cue sheet, stops, an overnight host hotel and party and then a wrap up party. A group dinner is included. Fun “gag” prizes in various categories will be awarded. The best part, is we are doing this for charity and all organizers are volunteering their time!
Profits after expenses are being donated to the Autism Center of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind
WHat kind of roads?
The driving will be spirited over roads suited to vehicles that can handle narrow farm lanes with sudden changes in direction and small ups/downs of hills and valleys. Other roads are wide, two-lane mountain roads offering 1,000+ foot elevation changes in a few miles or less. We will drive just less than 200 miles each day (Sat/Sun) and have a warm-up party on Fri night, a Saturday mid-point party deep in the hills of WV and a wrap/awards party Sunday back in Pittsburgh.
Will my vintage car make it?
Limited support is available to participants, but the route included many well marked service stations and repair shops and towing services. Cell phone service is available for most of the route, but can be intermittent in the most remote sections of WV. The Monongahela Melee is held rain, snow or shine. All roads are paved…for this year!
Well, we’re gonna’ stretch here to say there’s a certain kind of auto enthusiast, some might even say a “car geek.” This of course usually means someone who’s obsessed with just about anything with wheels and is self-propelled by an internal combustion engine. Eclectic clothing period to ones’ vehicle is not uncommon, excessive collecting of literature and trinkets from the hobby are the norm. Endless knowledge of factoids about personalities that shaped auto companies, competition and the like are typical conversation over a beer rather than last nights’ box scores. You make convoluted, long-distance, tiring and obtuse pilgrimages annually to places like Hershey, Bonneville, the ‘Glen, Goodguys and the like. We wrench on our own cars and have the greasy fingernails and scars to prove it. Even more than all this, we call ourselves DRIVERS; rain, snow, dirt, bar-hopping, cruising, racing, makeshift parades at 2am and general (good spirited) mischief behind the wheel is why we own and maintain our cars. It’s a lifestyle and we pursue it behind the wheel or on laying a bone creeper! If this describes you, then you might want to check out the Melee. Haters are not welcomed, player-haters even less so…
(OPTIONAL): starting at approximately 7:00pm at South of Pittsburgh
The founders and organizers of The Melee invite local and out-of-town participants to a casual meet-and-greet and provided all cars are in fine-tune, a makeshift carshow in the parking lot. This is a great opportunity to meet the other rallyists/teams and do some big-mouthin’ bench racing before things get frisky the next morning.
This is a great scouting opportunity as the rallye formally starts from this location the following morning
All drinks and apps are at the sole expense of participants.
(all times approximate and will be confirmed by May 1st and also formally noted in your pre-registration package to be sent to you after receipt of your entry)
MANDATORY: all cars arriving to by 7:00am sharp for an informal inspection, registration/sign release & waiver and receive your driver/navigator package including cue sheet and credentials to gain you access to all exclusive events throughout the weekend.
There will be a drivers meeting at 730am held at the same location as Friday night warm-up party)
First cars to leave at 8:00am SHARP in 30 second intervals until all 50 cars have left the start.
Rest Stops (mandatory): there will be timed rest stops at mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon for all participants to check-in before departing once again. Lunch and refreshments/snacks at rest stops are the sole responsibility of participants.
The finish location for Saturday is picturesque downtown Thomas, WV (approximate arrival between 430-630pm) – a turn of the century mining/logging boom town set deep in the mountains of WV. A short drive will take us into Thomas WV where the following accommodations have been prepared;
Saturday evening includes a “host hotel” (to be announced with your registration confirmation for purposes of room booking) along with a “parking lot party” featuring craft brews, farm-to-table food and other goodies (all included with your registration fee).
Saturday night Party (starting at 7:30pm): a “parking lot party/makeshift car-show” will take place including beer truck (with up to two complimentary beers per participant) and cash bar thereafter provided by a local micro-brewery. Your registration also includes one dinner per participant from a local farm-to-table food truck (menu, TBD).
(an approximate launch time of 8:00am, all cars leaving in order of start number in 30 second intervals)
Rest Stops (mandatory): there will be timed rest stops at morning, lunch and afternoon. Lunch and refreshments/snacks at rest stops are the sole responsibility of participants.
Rally launch from the host hotel to finish “South of Pittsburgh” near I-70 for a wrap-up party (food and drinks at your own expense) and awards ceremony (see our photos from last year!)
Again, two complimentary drinks per driver will be provided with your entry.
Awards will be given in a variety of categories to be announced by May 1st.
Qualifying Vehicles (subject to submission of entry form, payment and acceptance by organizers):
The organizers of the Monongahela Melee invite an eclectic mix of automobiles to participate in our event. Remember, this is a low-buck, fun event for all auto enthusiasts. Rust holes, cool! Mismatched paint, we like it! Ratty, yup! Trailer queen, sure – just plan to get dirty and (gasp!) stone chips happen in the real world!
· If your car was built prior to 1974 (when bumper and smog laws changed)
· If your car is air cooled
· If your car is chain driven (through present)
· If your car has three wheels and engine is “fore” of the front wheels (a must, no exceptions)
· If your car is named after a city/town in which a major FIA race is held annually
· If your car is named after a famous race car driver AND made prior to 1979.
· If your car is made in a bona fide Eastern Bloc or communist nation (through present day)
· If a famous person has died in same exact model of your car (including replicas through present day)
· If your car has a fiberglass body AND is a replica of a car of the past (through present day construction)
· If your car has a two stroke engine (through present day)
· Motorcycles through 1974
· Japanese trucks/vans through 1979
· Japanese sedans/coupes through 1977
· Any vehicle with a standard equipment 8-track tape deck
· Vehicles with “T-tops” through 1988
· If your car has legitimate/OEM “Indy Pace Car” sticker kit (through 1988)
· If your car has suicide doors (through present)
· If your car is a replica/reproduction AND has a flathead motor (through present day construction)
· Italian cars through 1988
· If your car is a replica of a “star” car featured in a TV series or movie (series and movies through 1999).
· If you car has a wood-ash frame (whole or partial) ( through present day)
· If your car won LeMans, Sebring or Daytona up to 1966 (including replicas through present day)
· If your car was/is a replica of a “movie car” featured in Gumball Rally, or either of the first two Cannonball Run movies· Emergency response vehicles through 1999
· If your car was initially offered to market/sale as a “farm implement” or features a factory/OEM PTO or original manufacturer also made farm vehicles under the same brand name (through 1999).
· If your car (truck) is a pick-up or 4WD (enclosed) and has won a “magazine shootout” against a Ferrari or a Porsche (through 1999)
· Vehicles with OEM gullwing (but not scissor) doors (through 1989)
· American mfr vans meeting ALL following specifications; production through 1992, panel van with custom cut side or roof windows AND metal-flake paint.
· Military vehicles through 1979
· Limousines through 1984
· If your car/truck has been featured on CNN AND played a major part in winning a war (exception; Toyota Hilux as used by ISIS)
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