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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 11, 2014 Comments (0)

Racing Alternatives

Toyota Endurance

Fed up with F1 blather? Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at another series in 2015. The World Endurance Championship (WEC) the purview of Audi in recent years and before them Porsche, was won in 2014 by Toyota. While everyone was keen on watching the two German giants fight it out, the Japanese giant won. They won at Silverstone, Spa, Fuji, Shanghai and finished second at Le Mans behind the winning Audi. Not bad for the guys nobody looked at after Porsche announced they would compete. Audi was second and Porsche was a close third. Next year Nissan join the fray in LMP1. Former F1 drivers Anthony (Ant) Davidson and Sebastian Beuemi, were the winning drivers for Toyota.

GT Cup for Manufacturers

In the GT Cup for Manufacturers portion of the series, Ferrari won the series over Aston and Porsche. In WEC, the cars and drivers are good and the racing is fierce and close. What more could a fan want? TV coverage for more than just Le Mans and possibly COTA for America PLEASE!!! I know we have the Tudor Sports car series, but why should that preclude having coverage of WEC?

Market Shifts

Gooding & Company AuctionFor the past year the dealers we have contacted have complained bitterly about the difficulty they have finding cars to sell. Nevertheless, 2014 will go down as a very good year for people who are selling classic and vintage cars. Unbelievable! has been attached to the selling price on so many auction cars that it has become the new norm. The key word here is “auctions”. No one dealer or person can make a market. But, auctions by introducing the element of entertainment to the sale of vintage cars have virtually become 21st century’s dealers and by the power of their numbers and their marketing presence, they are definitely influencing market pricing.

Barrett Jackson Auction Company

In the final analysis, dealers and auctions have the same goal, satisfying buyers and sellers. Generally both are looking for a fair price or, hopefully, better. The difficulty for sellers is choosing the market channel that best suits their needs. High prices achieved for spectacular cars and the glitz of huge crowds and TV coverage might appear to give auctions an advantage. They have become a spectator sport. But auctions also have a downside for sellers. Not everyone is selling a rare Ferrari. If your car is a second level or lower car, chances are that it won’t be seen on TV. And likely it won’t be presented in prime time. When the majority of people remaining in the room are car dealers looking for a steal, the seller may be thinking that a respected dealer with a good rolodex has something better to offer. Then again many dealers also use auctions to move their slower moving inventory. So it is an interesting game and as we have mentioned before on these pages, it is not one for the inexperienced. If you are considering buying or selling at an auction, you might also consider using one of the seven auction advisers listed in our MMR Goods & Services Directory.

Bell Chapal HelmetIn the 1950s and ‘60s many famous drivers raced wearing an open faced helmet with a visor and face shield. Bell Helmets and Chapal have teamed up to offer vintage racers a redo. The Helmet below is being offered by Hugh Ruthven of The Finish Line. For those of you in the Chicago area, during December only, you can view The Finish Line products at the corner of Cook and Lake Streets in Barrington IL. Or give them a call at 847-382-3020.

Cars of the 1960s

Jaguar XKE, droptop

The sixties were arguably the golden age of sports and GT cars. Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes, Aston, Corvette all delivered models whose desirability may never be matched. When the new Jaguar XKE was introduced in 1961 the motorsports world swooned. I remember them being offered in Canada at around $6K. Ads featuring the coupe in profile became the model for simplicity, beauty, grace, perfection. Someone quoted Enzo Ferrari as saying that the XKE was the most beautiful car ever made. Even if he thought it, it is unlikely he said it. At some point a friend scored a well used press car from Jaguar Canada and we drove it from Montreal to the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport in Ontario.

Driving it there and back that weekend was about 800 mostly highway miles. It was a cold rainy weekend and by its end the gorgeous green coupe was no longer the object of my affections. The seats were stylish but quite uncomfortable. The wipers didn’t work particularly well but worse of all, the car leaked horribly. If memory serves it was at the top of the windshield. First gear didn’t have a syncro and the lights didn’t seem to work that well at night in the rain. The engine leaked oil.

Jaguar XKE in profile

Jaguar eventually addressed the comfort problems by changing the seats and dropping the floor pan to provide a more comfortable angle of access to the pedals. The newer 4.2 engines were also better. For years the pricing for XKEs languished but no more. That original flat floor design tops the chart in XKE pricing. The desirability of the early XKEs appears to be based on the fact that it is exactly that, an early model. Either way, early XKEs are tough to pin down on price but we have seen them recently offered at well north of $200K. Subsequent models equipped with the 4.2 L engine and a full syncromesh transmission are generally more affordable. Go figure.

This week’s Michael Furman image is of a 1938 Talbot-Lago T-150C SS from his book Curves of Steel.

1938 Talbot-Lago T-150C SS, by Michael Furman

Our Classifieds this week feature Maserati.

Speaking of buying, we encourage readers to support our advertisers. In the coming weeks we will be sharing advertising and buying suggestions from many of our MMR Community supporters.

Have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa


French Barn Find

Posted on December 11, 2014 Comments (1)

Artcurial Unearths A Treasure Trove of Collector Cars.
( And the internet justifies its existence)

Let me be clear. 99.9% of the blogs to which we are invited are at best vacuous.

Hemmings has proven to be a welcome difference.

French Barn find - Ferrari under magazines

With a timing that could only be described as serendipitous,  Artcurial, a French auction house, has unearthed a treasure of over 60 “abandoned” cars. It has also created an art video and a set of quite evocative images and unleashed the whole lot on a shocked car collector world. Room occupancy rates, usually dismal in Paris in February, are bound to rise for the days including and surrounding February 6th. This isn’t cynicism; it is homage to brilliant marketing.

Ferrari 250 GT California, French Barn FindOf the product itself, several are mere rusting shells, others look restorable and still others, like the most valuable Ferrari 250 California once owned by actor Alain Delon, appear relatively unscathed and ready to drive. “Curiouser and curiouser” as Alice once said.

Hemmings, with a history and style at least as old as the oldest of these vehicles, is hosting a lively and interesting “blog” related to this discovery. The comments contained encompass opinion that in many ways defines the multi-faceted world of vintage cars and the very interesting people who inhabit it.

pb


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 4, 2014 Comments (3)

Racing is over in the countries where winter has sway but in the land down under, the V8 Supercars are getting ready to roll. We are looking into it and will post their events on the MMR Motorsports Calendar when we have the information.

Once the holidays are behind us January will launch the MMR Community into the concours and auctions season. January in Scottsdale will be busy with both and our MMR Calendar below will give you an overview. As we get closer we will give you some idea of our plans to attend events in the new year.

F1. The Season that Never Ends

While American F1 commentators waxed rhapsodically about how exciting the past season has been, close to a million of the 5.3 million Germans who watched it in 2013 tuned out. Their country produced the team that won the Manufacturers Championship and the only serious contender for Driver’s Championship other than the British winner! In the US meanwhile, F1 popularity is reportedly “exploding”. Most of us would prefer our excitement to come from closer racing on the track than the game of “Angry Teammates”.

Meanwhile, back in the back room, the big boys are trying to figure out how to (1) divvy the loot so that more than four teams can compete all the time and making certain that their crown jewel, Ferrari, doesn’t implode or (2) figure out how to get Bernie and CVC to kick back some more of what they take out.It ain’t gonna be easy folks! But it may be more entertaining than watching another season of Mercedes domination and Ferrari in the doldrums.

Luca de Montezemolo, former Ferrari Chairman, now heads Alitalia Airlines. His replacement at Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne, has replaced recent Team Principal Marco Mattiacci with Maurizio Arrivabene (pictured). He has F1 political experience which is something neither his boss has, nor his predecessor had. Which probably explains exactly why he is there. This is no longer a game of technology and small fast men and increasingly boys.

F1 Engines

The F1 engine issue has yet to be resolved and only concessions to the agreed upon existing formula by Mercedes can change the deal. It is their edge and, understandably, they have little interest in change. New entry Honda is not constrained by this agreement and comes in with a clean slate. Question is, can their engine be more competitive than those produced by others? Based on results of the original outing at Abu Dhabi, they have a ways to go. And one must keep in mind that Honda’s historical commitment to F1 could only charitably be viewed as consistent. They once fielded a team, then they supplied an engine, then they fielded a team again, which is now the Mercedes team, and now they want to field an engine, again. And BTW, Honda car sales, in an up market, are down.

2015 IndyCar Schedule Released

Progress is being made at IndyCar. Though having next season end in August remains incomprehensible, not having it end at the dreaded Fontana track is a bonus. Sadly it remains on the schedule. Someone of influence obviously has power over good sense and is also not a driver. Verizon remain the series sponsor and the Penske team will run four cars in 2015. Simon Pagenaud will drive for them. That will be interesting to watch as he and now teammate, and former close friend, IndyCar Champion Will Power, will share the same equipment. Power is also rumored to have less than warm relations with often affable and often surly but always competitive and quick-tempered teammate, Yuan Pablo Montoya.  Montoya is a modern AJ Foyt. That leaves the aging but still quick Helio Castroneves, who gets along with everyone, as Power’s likely lunch companion this year. This will be a tough team to beat and neither Ganassi nor Andretti Racing looks to be their match. On the positive side, unlike F1, there are a number of small teams that can give the big boys (read money) a run on any given day. More on Indy in future weeks.

This week’s Michael Furman Image is a Porsche America Roadster from the book Porsche Unexpected.

Our Eye Candy is from editor/photographer Dom Miliano’s collection.

Our feature story is the first in a series of stories about sports cars of the sixties and this week’s chosen favorite is the Sunbeam Tiger.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to encourage friends to subscribe to our Newsletter.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on November 29, 2014 Comments (4)

The entire MMR team, Dom, Lucy, Ashley, Dianne, Sandy, Denise, and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day yesterday and welcome you to Black Friday. MMR is but words and pictures and we work hard to bring you the best of both. Our Black Friday edition reflects this as we present a number of interesting classified cars and some new books we know you will want in your collection! Buy Something!

The 2014 F1 Season Ends with a Whimper

Nico Rosberg’s race and season ended when the red lights went out. His otherwise moderately reliable Mercedes had an issue with its electronic launch control system. Do you remember when launch control was a left foot and a pedal? It is somehow fitting that a race series that generates so much money and is discussing how that money could be more equally shared should end in Abu Dhabi at a marina in a desert country where the best seats are on multi-million dollar yachts. No disconnect here. The best car won. It was the combination of two excellent drivers with different strengths. The constant reliability concerns supplied the tension and entertainment for the season.

The following is our 2015 winners & losers list.

Sam Posey

#1 Winner: NBCSN

Thanks for making the Fox “bargain basement” coverage a thing of the past. Pre and Post race programs are appreciated. Thanks especially for keeping Sam Posey in the transition. His insights do make a difference. A class act all around.


Williams Racing

#2 Winner: Williams Racing

Not the most money but they kicked ass. Thank You Martini for believing. Next time we are shopping we will buy a bottle of your product.


Massa and Bottas

#3 Winners: Bottas...

Finished fourth in the Championship. Fast, a good racer, self-deprecating, and a future World Champion. 

and Massa

Kicked out by Ferrari, did better than Raikkonen by far.


Vettel and Ricciardo

#1 Loser: Vettel

Four times World Champion and wonder boy, to a distant second to Ricciardo, and now on to Ferrari.


Ferrari off-track

#2 Loser: Ferrari

No engine, chassis, or aero package. Moving forward with new management and the possibility of uncertain funding.


McLaren F1

#3 Loser: McLaren

Under new management they had the same engine as Mercedes and Williams and did nothing about their chassis. Next year they have a new Honda engine. And Alonso?


Alonso

Who were your winners and losers? Tell us in the comments below.

Have a great weekend and please remember to encourage friends to subscribe.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on November 21, 2014 Comments (0)

NASCAR: Harvick is Worthy Champion

Harvick and Tony Stewart

Let’s get something straight from the beginning. These guys are good. It is too easy to overlook their talent and skills in what week after week looks like a high speed crash fest. But those cars are fast and finicky. They are always skating on the edge of control and the winning drivers are those who can best balance the changes to track and tire conditions and pick their spots to pass and avoid wrecks. Their two road races at Watkins Glen and Sears Point are easily among the best races on TV every year. These guys are very good.

Harvick is a worthy Champion! He has paid his dues. And he won the championship by winning the race. He came into the sport with Childress Racing as a replacement for Earnhardt senior in 2001. He was expected to become the “new” intimidator. But the sport was changing and the days of the brawny brawlers were over. Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson were the new style of champion and, though Harvick was edgy, he wasn’t winning championships. This year he joined Stewart–Haas Racing and with a new team and a new crew chief things came together.

Nascar Harvick Edwards fight

NASCAR ratings are up! NASCAR brass is taking a bow! Yes, it was their genius new format that did it, and the drivers agree. It must be so. Mainstream TV news which seemingly ignores anything but stick and ball games all year, but never misses a fire, a car crash or a baby falling out of a window, actually showed the pushing and shoving in two of the final four races and called it a “brawl”. THAT boosted ratings. As for the contenders appearing more motivated, eh, it’s possible that was merely frustration at having to contend for a title in a format that favors luck as much as skill.

F1: Finale will only be mildly interesting, then again…

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

After a long season of drama based as much on personality clashes as good racing, it boils down to this: If Hamilton’s car doesn’t fail or crash, he will be World Champion. And Rosberg will be second and Ricciardo will be third. But who will be fourth? Only four points separate Vettel, Alonso and Bottas and while everyone will be cheering on their favorite driver, the pressure from the teams will be enormous as each point earned represents huge dollars at year end.


MMR Classifieds

Jaguar XK150

We only list the top 500 Classified cars for sale by dealers around the world. This week's featured marque is Jaguar.


MMR Goods & Services Directory

Pete Lyons Photographs of Can-Am

Every week we feature one company from the MMR Goods and Services Directory. This week’s featured supplier is Pete Lyons – Photographer. MMR is lucky to have this Can-Am image and this one too in our World Headquarters and they are a source of endless pleasure.


Michael Furman Photography

Michael Furman's image this week is from his book, The Art and Colour of General Motors and shows the detailed beauty of a 1934 LaSalle.

Michael Furman's image this week is from his book, The Art and Colour of General Motors and shows the detailed beauty of a 1934 LaSalle.


Sandy on Assignment

Sandy Cotterman, London Concours de Elegance 2014

This week’s story and images are by Sandy Cotterman and are from the London Concours of Elegance. Held on the grounds of the Hampton Court Palace on the September 5-7 weekend, the setting is in many ways reminiscent of Villa d’Este in Italy.

Peter Bourassa