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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 27, 2013 Comments (0)

Christmas has passed, New Year’s Day is ahead; what to do in between? The past week has been hectic for everyone and this seems the perfect time to be catching up on our as yet unread magazines and books.

The Auctions Are Coming! The Auctions Are Coming!

But hold on! January is Auction Action Month. Bonhams kicks it off with a very interesting vintage motorcycle auction  in Las Vegas, Nevada on the 9th. The action then moves to Arizona the following Sunday for the Arizona Concours d’Elegance in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. And so begins a week of auctions dominated by The Eight Days of Barrett-Jackson featuring the Salon Collection sale on Saturday. B-J hope to reintroduce themselves to the buyers of classic and foreign cars they deserted for the American Muscle car market several years ago. RM, Bonhams, and Gooding & Co., who presently own that business, will also be running in the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday timeslots.

Classic Car Auction

There is an interesting dynamic here as RM, who is the Big Dog on the World Stage, is followed closely by Gooding & Co. and then Bonhams. All consider Monterey the prize American location. But they come to Phoenix-Scottsdale to play in the Barrett-Jackson sandbox and protect their turf. B-J, who virtually created TV coverage of auction events, have turned their sale into a marathon TV show. Fox Sports and Fox Business channels will give them over 50 hours of TV coverage for the Arizona event. That’s a lot of Chevys!

BJ Scotsdale auction

The Arizona Concours is new and designed to bring diversity to the week’s offerings and broaden the customer base for the remainder of the events. It has heavy backing, a good setting and it should be interesting.

Denise is Coming! Denise is Coming!

A month from now, January 28th, Denise McCluggage will be in New England to present her workshop, The Centered Driver, tickets remain but they are going fast, so join us for dinner and an instructive and entertaining evening.

Denise

MMR 2014 Motorsports Calendar is Here!

Here is our MMR Motorsports calendar for January. Time to begin making plans, or at the very least, to begin dreaming.

This week’s video is a view of the 1960 Ferrari 250GTE SWB Spyder at Pebble Beach. Do you have a favorite video you want to share with the MMR Community? See you next Friday with our motorsports predictions for the coming twelve months. If you have thoughts about what will happen in 2014, drop us a line.

Have a great weekend!

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 20, 2013 Comments (0)

Bronson

Then Came Bronson

The response to last week’s piece on Michael Parks and the Then Came Bronson TV show was far greater than expected. The series is fondly remembered by a significant number of our readers. Considering it only lasted one season of 26 episodes, it obviously had an impact. The character of Parks strongly influenced the character he portrayed and while he speaks fondly of the product, he readily admits that the producers constantly pressured him to make the stories more in tune with the Hopper-Fonda angry biker image of the time. He was unwilling. Refreshingly, he sees himself as an actor first and the stint on motorcycles as just an opportunity and a job. Parks was also a gifted athlete who ran the mile in 4:05 and tried out with a major league baseball team. To everyone’s amazement, he simply packed up and walked out of training camp to pursue a life in the arts. The Bronson character was probably pretty close to the Parks character.

What are you driving?

A loyal subscriber wrote in response to our comment about preferring older Euro vehicles to the new offerings and asks if we would consider owning a new Cadillac. The Derek Hill Cadillac commercial, featuring the ATS Turbo being driven in Monaco, prompted a switch from a BMW Five Series to a new Cadillac ATS Turbo.

The writer loves the car and states that the car “makes me feel young.”

Caddy

While I was not initially fond of the styling, one of us is changing. I now find myself warming to the newer models and it is hard to ignore that Cadillac has done a hell of a job making the thing work. A small and quick survey of our recent Dragone auction travel group resulted in two distinct considerations. First, a competitive American car is very appealing. Second, Cadillac has yet to overcome its previous cumbersome image. What do you think?

Castello Cavalcanti

This week’s Video, Wes Anderson’s Castello Cavalcanti is a true hoot. Starring Jason Schwartzman as race driver Jet Cavalcanti, it hits absolutely every cliché possible about Italian villages, relations, race drivers, mechanics, and the Molte Miglia. Enjoy!

MMR Goods & Services Directory

Stuck for something you want somebody to buy for you? A reminder that our MMR Goods & Services Directory has over 2800 top quality suppliers of all the stuff you need in 350 categories. The trick now is to get the second most significant person in your life to find exactly what you want. Good Luck!

Happy Holidays to you and your family from the MMR Team.

Peter Bourassa


Epic Track Battles

Posted on December 19, 2013 Comments (0)

At the highest levels, the nature of racing doesn’t allow competitors to physically war with each other. Psychologically, of course, it goes on at all times.

The recent film RUSH prompted thought about what attracted the producers to the story. Was the story simply about a man’s willingness to endure any amount of pain to win a race? Was it about two dissimilar but equally talented men, battling to win a race. Or was it about a handsome neurotic man and his clever but unattractive friend battling to win a race in the visually dramatic and brutal world of F1. Having been around at the time, I recall my incredulity at Lauda’s willingness to endure incredible pain to win a car race. I didn’t think it was normal or brave and if I had been a driver on that grid I would have been very upset about driving at high speed around a man in that condition. It seemed more self-indulgent than brave at the time.

Rush

Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt and Daniel Brühl as Niki Lauda in the movie RUSH.

The on-track driving battles and off track contempt between rivals rarely matched the animosity Prost and Senna exhibited towards each other. That was visible and palpable and dramatic. It was a good story. In American racing, A.J. Foyt and Parnelli Jones, both great drivers, appeared to have little time for each other but there were never fisticuffs in the pits.

The one exception was Villeneuve-Pironi. Teammates on the Ferrari Team in 1982, both were quick but Villeneuve was quicker. In equal cars at Imola they battled thru a diminished field to the last lap. Villeneuve believing that team orders were in place and that the leader was not to be passed by his teammate, saw the pit signal and eased off to save fuel. Pironi did not. He passed Villeneuve and stole his second Grand Prix victory. Villeneuve saw this as a betrayal of friendship and honor and swore he would never speak to Pironi again. Ferrari management did nothing. In the final moments of qualifying for the following race, with Pironi on pole, Villeneuve, on used tires, was doing a banzai lap when he came upon the car of Jochen Mass who was on a cool down lap. Mass saw him and moved off the racing line to let him by. But Villeneuve had already made his move to that space and went over Mass’s rear wheel. Villeneuve died. Later that year, at the then recently renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Pironi was on the pole. His car stalled, he raised his arm and was avoided by all behind him but one. Ricardo Paletti hit Pironi’s car and died. Pironi’s legs were badly crushed. Five years later he died in a boat race.

Pironi Enzo Gilles

Didier Pironi, Enzo Ferrari, Gilles Villeneuve

Gilles

A young Gilles Villeneuve

Now that is a story.


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 13, 2013 Comments (0)

Our images this week are paintings by the artist and enthusiast Roger Blanchard. These and other images and prints are available on his website; find them in the MMR Goods and Services Directory.

Fixing F1 – Step 6: Refereeing

The FIA spells out the rules which govern F1 racing. The rules relating to how the race is conducted and what the drivers must and mustn’t do are the responsibility of the FIA Race Director. A small group of racing experts, sometimes local, all part-time, often former drivers, supply input on individual racing incidents. They are called Race Stewards. A guest celebrity ex-driver is also part of the rules team for every race. In other words, well intentioned amateurs are making decisions that govern a billion dollar sport/business. Sir Jackie Stewart has been lobbying for professional stewards for this billion dollar industry. Good for him and for us! 

Jackie Stewart 2

Denise McCluggage

Denise McCluggage: The Centered Driver Workshop

January 28th, 2014

Two years ago Denise McCluggage visited New England and gave an enjoyable and informative series of talks to several local clubs and the MMR Community. This January 28th, Denise returns with an interactive driver’s workshop entitled The Centered Driver. The event is being offered first to the MMR Community. In January we will open it up to the public. Please read more about it and reserve your spot now. Our thanks to Michael Ricciardi and European Motorsports of Lawrence MA for making this event happen.

Ferrari Myth Calendar                                                        

Gunther Raupp’s annual Ferrari Myth Calendar is once again available from David Bull Publishing.

Ferrari Myth

An Uncommon Auction

Last Saturday, Dom Miliano and I, along with a number of MMR Community members, attended the Dragone Auctions in Westport Connecticut. The cars were stunning and many sold after the gavel had fallen. Highlights included the sale of a 1930 Packard Phaeton for $920K and an unrestored 1920 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost for $520K. As mentioned last week, this small auction is unique. It is focused on privately owned cars never before offered at auction.

Etre Bien Dans Ca Peau (To Be Well In One’s Skin)

Despite the less than positive aspects attributed to maturity, there are some things about aging that are totally positive. For instance, fashionable clothing gives way to wearing garments that serve a purpose other than style, like comfort and utility. The same goes for our cars. We once responded to questions about what we drive by first stating the year, then marque and model, as though the most recent date were the winner. At a recent gathering, I asked three friends what they were driving. One said an M-5, a second said a 5 Series, and the third mentioned a Mercedes 320. I drive an Allroad. We are all driving vehicles we like in which we are comfortable. All are fine and proven cars. None, like us, is new or in fashion. Then again, none of the newer models appear compelling enough to encourage a change. That might say something about both of us.

BMW

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 6, 2013 Comments (2)

Fixing F1 – Step 5: Shared Engineering

If you have been following this series you recognize that we have had two goals in mind. First, to make F1 more entertaining for spectators and TV viewers and, second, to level the playing field among the competitors. The disparity in resources available to each team makes that last goal most difficult. Just last week grumblings were heard that the FIA needs to cap previously unlimited spending because Red Bull now spends considerably more than Fiat/Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren. So let’s consider the model followed by horse racing. Assume a car is worth a million dollars; the winning car of every third race is offered to the last place team for $1M. If, for some reason they don’t want it, it goes to the next lowest team and so on. Just a thought.

Formula 1 Back Marker

On a Similar Note

Gordon Kirby, well known author and motorsports correspondent, sent along a link to an interview he did with designer Nigel Bennett which discusses how F1 and IndyCar might be made more exciting.

Denise McCluggage: The Centered Driver Workshop – January 28th, 2014

Two years ago Denise McCluggage visited New England and gave an enjoyable and informative series of talks to several local clubs and the MMR Community. This January 28th, Denise returns with an interactive driver’s workshop entitled The Centered Driver. The event is being offered first to the MMR Community. In January we will open it up to the public. Please read more about it at and reserve your spot now. Our thanks to Michael Ricciardi and European Motorsports of Lawrence, MA for making this event happen.

A Conundrum

What to call it? In Italy, the 1960’s, automobile manufacturers bought serial numbers from the government in advance of building the cars. A form of pre-paid tax. Our feature car this week is a recently completed ISO A3/C. While several components, notably the 327 CID Chevy engine have been updated, the basic car, including the stamped period frame is either NOS (new old stock) or, in the case of the interior and many body panels, totally new. So what is it?

Going Fast Smoothly

Several years ago Porsche produced incontrovertible data which indicated that faster shifting, some call it “hard” or “speed” shifting reduced lap times dramatically. Though unquestionably slower, what we know as normal shifting is based on often personal evidence that the gearbox could not withstand the abuse of speed shifting. Metallurgy and transmission design have both moved light years ahead since the ‘50s and ‘60s. New racing transmissions are designed to withstand electronic milli-second paddle shifting and the clumsy “rowing” of those among us who still prefer a foot clutch. But what about vintage racing or simply good fast driving? Our video this week is of Jackie Stewart on the secrets of going fast.

A final note

The Porsche Carrera GT is an exceptional performance car. Few among us are capable of driving it near its limits. While we are saddened by the unexpected death of actor Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas, focusing blame on the car as the cause is just plain wrong. Had an innocent third party been injured or killed the public would have been rightly outraged. There are closed courses around the country offering ample opportunities to exercise these and similar cars in relative safety. Industrial parks are obviously not one of them.

Porsche Carrera GT

Dom Miliano and I hope to see you tomorrow at Dragone Auctions in Westport, CT. The show starts at 1:00PM. See you there.