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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 5, 2015 Comments (0)

Betwixt & Between

Early February is a little like being a teenager between girl friends. Nothing much goin’ on.

And then again ... On Design Courage

Cadillac CTS exterior grill

The Ford GT has prompted much discussion about design and the historical significance of design cues. As part of the Elegance by Design forum at the recent Arizona Concours d’Elegance, former Cadillac Chief Designer Kip Wasenko spoke of the difficulty he encountered trying to get acceptance for a design change involving the Cadillac grille. Despite the fact that his proposed “mesh” design performed significantly better and, even though it had roots in Cadillac’s historic 1931 V-16, he was still met with resistance. Yet like all good designers, he recognizes the value of history if it can be retained without sacrificing efficiency and performance. In a subsequent discussion about the Ford GT, he applauded Ford designers for maintaining the iconic design features of the classic GT40 in the front portion of the new Ford GT.

Acura NSX

Designers need the courage of their convictions and when the word “bold” is attached to a new car design, translate that into “courage” because someone risked to bring it past the expected, or, the status quo. The second big hit of the Detroit auto show was the new Acura NSX. Any thoughts?

And at F1

Honda Formula 1

First tests of the year for F1 cars at Jerez, Spain yielded surprising results. Usually an opportunity to run cars in and determine if everything works as designed these tests are also a clue as to where everyone is in their development program. From that point of view alone, Ferrari appear to have a car that is quick, reliable and satisfying to its drivers. Ferrari powered Sauber was quickest. The general consensus is that everyone must catch the Mercedes engine. Thus far both Honda and Renault have had troubled introductions. Ferrari has not. Early times but a sigh of relief from the tifosi.


1965 Ferrari P206 SP Dino, Suixtil-USA

Suixtil-USA have been appointed US distributors for Suixtil vintage clothing for modern enthusiasts. Their handsome products were on display at Cavallino and Managing Partner Lisa Smith shot the eye candy we are using this week.

Somewhere in MMR History

Shelby GT350

We have always unabashedly supported those among us who use their toys, be they cars or motorcycles. Beyond that we encourage the use of newer technology and parts to improve the performance and reliability of older cars. Authentic, no. Better, probably. Our story this week is about a Shelby GT350 that has had an interesting life and as a result of it may be a better car than originally delivered. You judge.

BMW M5 Lives

Rahal, Gordon, Hendricks, BMW President

The BMW Car Club of America (CCA) Foundation announced today that the last unsold example of BMW’s most powerful production model ever – the 30th Anniversary Edition 2015 BMW M5 “30 JahreM5” - was auctioned at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 15, 2015 (Lot #3002) for a record setting $700,000. Famed NASCAR team owner and BMW dealer Rick Hendrick was the lucky bidder.

This Week

1958 BMW 507, by Michael Furman

Michael Furman’s image is a 1958 BMW 507, shot for a private collector.

1957 Maserati 3500 GT Frua Spider

Our featured Classifieds are interesting Maserati 3500 GTs. When introduced, this car was more expensive than its Ferrari rival, the 275 GTB. It was considered a luxury touring car and was the first in its class to have power windows. It has a wonderful engine and is a joy to drive.

Have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 29, 2015 Comments (0)

Daytona Doesn’t Disappoint

Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the lead lap

The first international race of the year was far better than expected. Kudos to the organizers of the Tudor United Sports Car series. Their constant tweaking of the participating cars to produce an even playing field for all has been brilliant. Unlike their Francophone counterparts the ACO, who always appear to run Le Mans in a manner which benefits French entrants, the IMSA crew have worked their dark magic with nary a peep of complaint from competitors. And, they have devised a new rule regarding competitors who lose laps while performing repairs in the pits. A new formula allows such competitors, should their repairs happen early enough in the race, to regain laps and once again be competing for a win by the end of it. A welcome and long overdue change to long distance racing regulations that benefits everyone. Read our TV armchair report from Daytona.

Letter to Mr. Ford

The new Ford GTSir, please be aware that our story last week about the Ford GT elicited high praise for the design. There was some disappointment that it isn’t powered by a V8. Given that a variation of the engine with which it is equipped won Daytona last weekend, that antipathy may have softened. Then again, the sound of a pure V8, preferably carbureted, and, while we are at it, let’s make a five speed available and call the package The Deuce. A fitting tribute, don’t you think?

This Week in the MMR Newsletter:

1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 LeMans by Michael Furman

Michael Furman’s image is from a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 LeMans from his book Automotive Jewelry.

2015 Arizona Concours

Our feature story and images are from the Arizona Concours d’Elegance.

Chrome plating model wheels, by Marshall Buck

Model Maven Marshall Buck brings us a progress report, Chapter 3, on the Ferrari SWB model he is creating. Like the original, art takes time.

Among our Classifieds this week is featured the first iteration of 328 BMW’s.

The February Calendar is available on our website.

Have a great weekend, and please forward this to a friend and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletter at this link.

Peter Bourassa

Models, Chapter 3: Wheels & Tires, Chrome Plated Parts

Posted on January 29, 2015 Comments (0)

by Marshall Buck

One of the first areas I like to have final parts for when starting a scratch built are the wheels and tires. For me these are very important since the rest of the car, body mainly, has to work in unison with them—all for the model to have the correct look. The only way to judge a “correct look” is to have and work with the important parts that influence the entire look and stance of the model. With a car it is the wheels and tires.

Closeup of Model Car tires for a Ferrari 250 SWB, by Marshall Buck

This particular SWB had highly polished Borrani’s shod with Avon Turbosteel tires. I knew that aside from needing to have wheels made specifically for it, there were also no Avons available anywhere, as in… never made! So… after much time spent laying out all the specs: dimensions; sidewall details; and tread pattern for one very accurate master to be made, I had to decide on the making of said master. Was I going to spend my time doing this or sub contract it out? I had a few choices, and well… I chose poorly. A fellow model builder whom I have worked with over the years, asked me to give him this job. I had seen a lot of his work, and knew he could do the job, and I also knew he needed the work/money… so I gave him the job. Seemed like a good idea at the time. He was going to make the master, and also make a mold of it, and produce tire castings for me. One stop shopping, yippee! Unfortunately it ended up being one big ‘oops.’ Once again, the best laid plans went out the window. Murphy’s law. Murphy must be a close relative of mine. Not only were there a number of delays, but the method he chose was overly complicated and, in the end, the results were in a word, unacceptable. Each tire casting had mold slippage, the color of each was too light, and the treads and sidewall lettering had many imperfections, which were on his master. This of course caused more work for me as I had to then clean and improve those areas, and then have the tire molded and cast again, of course by a different vendor.

Closeup of Model Car tires for a Ferrari 250 SWB, by Marshall Buck

The wire wheels were made ahead of time, before the tires, and they came out very well, some would say spectacular … as for me, well I was very pleased with them, but not entirely happy with the hue of their finish.

Closeup of Model Car wheels for a Ferrari 250 SWB, by Marshall Buck

The wheels were made for me by my friend Sean McKenna, whose work I am also his sales agent for. I spec out various miniature wheels and steering wheels, and Sean makes them to order for me. We had these mini Borrani’s made in his usual way, out of bronze, and also plated by him. The results on the first set as I said came out very well, but the hue of the plating was just not as close to the real 1:1 wheels as I wanted. I also knew that it would not match the bumpers (later) or other plated parts closely enough. After discussion, we determined that the results I wanted could be achieved by mimicking the real ones. A new set was made of aluminum, highly polished, and voilà. The wheels were painstakingly made. Rims were machined with the correct step edges and shapes; same for the center hub. Holes were drilled in at angles, spokes then made and cut, and fitted in one at a time, as were the individual truing nuts placed at the base of each spoke. I have also made the small Borrani labels to affix to the center hubs, which I will attach later. Oh, and I also made left and right 3-ear knock-off spinners with the Borrani hand logo engraved in their centers. Those were plated along with other small detail parts. And that my friends, leads into the next bit.

The mystifying art of chrome plating.

Closeup of Model Car wheels for a Ferrari 250 SWB, by Marshall Buck

The mention of ‘chrome plating’ to any top flight restorer will often illicit a reaction, and it’s often negative, ranging from just a sour look, to foaming at the mouth along with language colorful enough to make a prison inmate blush. I sit very close to the colorful camp. This is a process by which it is difficult to achieve “very good”, let alone “great” results. Not impossible, but, difficult. I have looked into plating systems for my work shop, but with the exception of a simple system for some metal parts, there is nothing easy, good, or reasonably priced. (I just returned a chroming kit from ALSA—horrible experience.) Therefore I use outside services, as do most professionals. Many of the chrome plating services talk a great game, but are incapable of delivering good results. I have worked with a number of services over the years, some yielding superb results, while others have made me consider having a truckload of fresh manure dumped on their doorstep.

Closeup of small parts for a model car Ferrari 250 SWB, by Marshall Buck

For this project I knew that I would be sending all the little parts out to a vacuum plater whom I have used numerous times over the years; he specializes in plating little parts for model makers, and gives me very good results. He doesn’t advertise at all, and is very busy. Makes you wonder a bit. By the way, all the parts came back from him with a great finish, just as expected, yay! One of my little victories. That said, I was more than concerned that he could not give me the finish I needed on much larger parts such as the bumpers where their finish would be very noticeable. For obvious reasons, dust, drips, runs, any roughness in the finish would simply not do. His work is very good, but potential problems on these bigger pieces do exist when vacuum plating. (A very basic explanation of vacuum plating: the parts are first sprayed with a conductive coating, and then put in a chamber with the metal, which adheres to the parts, and then they are spray coated with a clear finish.)

Closeup of Model Car bumpers for a Ferrari 250 SWB, by Marshall Buck

The bumpers: I made masters for each, shaped all by hand, not easy - especially the front bumpers, making left and right that had to be mirror images of each other. Then I had all three molded and cast in resin; I needed to have extra castings as safety backups. Then my search began once again for platers who could plate plastic (resin is a high tech plastic) for which some of the process is different than for metals. I’ve had this done before, but with mixed results. My quest started mainly with automotive platers. Naturally I crossed off the platers I had terrible experiences with … those idiots are all better suited to cleaning toilets than plating.

Closeup of Model Car bumpers for a Ferrari 250 SWB, by Marshall Buck

Eureka! Paul’s Chrome Plating comes to the rescue… sort of. The SWB bumpers are different than others I have made in the past, and hefty enough to withstand the process specifically used by Paul’s for plastics; theirs is actually similar to metal plating. After many conversations and questions of what and how to set parts up for them, and a little experimentation with a test set of parts, I later received my mini Ferrari bumpers with the most superb plating I have seen in years. Expensive? Yes, and well worth it!

Closeup of Model Car bumpers for a Ferrari 250 SWB, by Marshall Buck

Previous Installments: Intro, Chapter 1, Chapter 2.

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 22, 2015 Comments (0)

America’s First Production Supercar!

The new Ford GT

The surprise surprise of the Detroit Auto Show is the new Ford GT. Arguably, the first supercar made in America and Ford’s third effort at marketing a “halo” car. Their first, the street version GT40 was built in England and really was one of the first almost affordable supercars. However, it was not particularly comfortable or quiet, or easy to drive, but it was and still is a viscerally stunning car and remains a reminder of the great car that won Le Mans. The recent Ford GT was an excellent tribute car. It solved all the creature comfort and drivability issues, reminded us again of the GT40 but broke no new ground in terms of design. The NEW Ford GT is the best looking American mid-engine car ever and a worthy adversary for any supercar since being offered anywhere. Way To Go Ford! Now take it to Le Mans. Again! So what do you think about the new Ford GT?

The New Ford GT, two views

Daytona – Famous for Being Well Known

America’s long distance racing Mecca is Daytona. A 2½ mile oval with an afterthought road course set in the middle of a drainage area that extends the track to 3.5 miles. The oval is fast and banked and the infield course is slow and at times muddy. But Daytona has history. Despite the mediocre course, some historic battles have taken place here and the greatest drivers in our sport have driven in them. Winning puts a driver in that very select company.

LMP Car #16, Daytona

This weekend the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona takes place. Our two favorite announcers Tommy Kendall and Justin Bell will, among others, be covering the race. Listen for them, they are good. MMR supporter, Autosport Designs of Huntington Station on Long Island NY, is sponsoring LMP car #16. Tom Popadopoulos, A-D principal and former Ferrari Challenge Champion, is driving and he is very good. So we MMR Supporters have someone to root for.

Denise Has a Birthday

Happy 88th Birthday, Denise McCluggage!

Denise McCluggage has achieved as many years as a piano has keys. And she is always in tune.

Book Review: The Ferrari Companion Reader

The Ferrari Companion Reader, by Gerald Roush

MMR Editor, Dom Miliano, reviews a compendium of Ferrari Market Letter articles penned by the late Gerald Roush. This is a must have book for every Ferrari owner or would be owner.

Masha Paints!

Masha Pasichnyk, painter of automotive art

On our recent visit to Phoenix we met an exciting new artist. Today we share some of the images we saw there.

MMR Weekly Regulars

The MMR Classifieds this week features Porsche 356 cars.

1928 Mercedes Benz 680S Torpedo, by Michael Furman

Michael Furman’s Image is of a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo badge from his book Automotive Jewelry.

MMR Needs Your Help!

We know, because you told us, that you share this Newsletter with friends. Please encourage them to subscribe to our newsletter. It’s good for us and it insures that they will receive the Newsletter on the day you are away or busy.

Have a great weekend. Take your sleeping bag down to the basement and watch TK and Justin tell us what is happening at Daytona. Go Tommy!

Peter Bourassa

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 15, 2015 Comments (0)

2015 Begins

Winner of the Arizona Concours, the 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Sport Cabriolet.

The 2015 Motorsports Season has begun! Off to a good beginning with the Arizona Concours d’Elegance last weekend (see below) and the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona next weekend. Fox Sports will once again carry coverage. Though they aren’t recognized for caring much about anything but NASCAR events, the Rolex, possibly due to the France family involvement with the track and the series, generally gets a first class broadcast crew. We are pleased to advise that MMR favorites Tommy Kendall and Justin Bell will be among them. Complete coverage will require viewers have access to live streaming from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Saturday night., the governing body will also supply high-def streaming coverage of the overnight hours and in-car camera footage.

Weekly Features

This week’s featured  MMR Classifieds are Alfa Romeos. As the collector car market continues to move upward we feature some interesting and overlooked vintage models that are quietly climbing the collector value ladder. Check out the Italian Alfa police car being offered by RM Auctions.

Alfa-Romeo police vehicle

This week’s  Michael Furman image is the 1961 Porsche 356 GTL Abarth from his book Porsche Unexpected.

Michael Furman's image of a 1961 Porsche 356 Abarth, with rear lid open

From the  MMR Goods & Services Directory, we feature a page about artist Bill Patterson that is in our recent printed Directory #2. Bill also sent us an image of his recent painting of the 2014 Mercedes F1 cars which we also share.

This week’s  MMR Video commemorates Gilles Villeneuve’s epic battle with Rene Arnoux at the 1979 French GP. One of the greatest F1 battles ever.

Sandy Cotterman rejoins us this week  to share her thoughts on building an attainable bucket list.

2015 Arizona Concours d’Elegance

Arizona Concours coupe

If good orchestration is the key to a successful performance, everyone involved can be proud and pleased that the second edition of the Arizona Concours d’Elegance hit all the right notes!

It is obvious that the organizers studied their market and their competition and then found the necessary human and financial resources to put together a well thought out Motorsports weekend. Most Sunday car shows have seminars or auctions on the previous day, some have both. The day prior to this Concours, the AZ kicked off two weeks of auctions by hosting a timely seminar on the current state of collector cars. This was moderated by Larry Edsall of  Classic and was followed by a lively discussion on car design moderated by former Indy driver Lyn St. James. Our lead image this week is the winning 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Sport Cabriolet.

Overview of Arizona Conours

Next week we will share details of the weekend and an image gallery. In the meantime, well done Arizona Concours d’Elegance!

Have a great weekend and please share this newsletter with all your friends.

Peter Bourassa