MMR Blog

Sandy On Assignment: The Bucket List

Posted on January 15, 2015 Comments (10)

Sandy Cotterman
Motorsports Enthusiast

Sandy on Assignment

Yes, a glamour shot, but the suit (not the shoes) gets me into the hot pits!

No matter what your age, I bet you have a list of things you want to do ... someday. Since setting myself loose in this amazing world of motorsports, I realize my someday is now. A bit late to the motorsports party, I have come to peace with the fact that I am neither going to become a race car driver, nor am I going to trip upon a million dollar barn find. So instead, I have been knocking out my very own bucket list ... to get as close to everything motorsports as I possibly can.

Looking at my list got me thinking. Does every car guy have a bucket list? What’s on it? What are their plans? I started asking around and this is what I discovered. Generally speaking, there is no limit to what a car guy wants to do with cars, events they want to attend, and cars they lust over owning or re-owning. What did surprise me was the final hesitation ... someday.

My hope in sharing my adventures under Sandy on Assignment is to get you excited about building and actually tackling your own motorsports bucket list.

You are never too young to appreciate motorsports

It is never too soon to introduce children to motorsports.

I appreciate that this sport or hobby, depending upon your level of participation, requires resources. Although some are financial, many just need some time and planning. This may not be the year to hit Pebble Beach, but it may be the time to take your children or grandchildren to the races or a local car show. It may be the year to hop in your car and do a Club autocross or a road tour.

As for my motorsports adventures, here are my top ten recommendations. See where your dreams fit. Write them down.

Sandy’s Top Ten Favorites

1. Take a high performance sports driving course. My favorites are the 2-day Porsche Sports Driving School outside Birmingham, Alabama and Monticello Motor Club’s high performance courses, just 90 minutes north of New York City. Interestingly, most participants attend as a birthday present from their spouse! What I learned in both courses stays with me every second I am driving on the road.

Bruce Ledoux and Sandy Cotterman

Meeting driver Bruce Ledoux, founder of the  Guardian Angels of Motorsports, opened my eyes to the world of racing.

St. Petersburg Grand Prix

Smaller races, like the St. Pete Grand Prix let you get close to the cars and the drivers.

2. Go to the races. The Rolex 24 hours of Daytona was my first and got me hooked. Whether it’s local stock car racing or Formula 1, the electricity is always there. Splurge on a paddock pass. Meet the drivers. Le Mans can’t be beat. Formula 1 in Monaco is breathtaking. Vintage racing during the Lime Rock Historics and Monterey week at Laguna Seca are favorites. Watching the Elegance at Hershey hillclimb is a blast.

3. Get out and drive. Whether it’s a Club track day, family drive, or week-long rally, just get out and drive. Enjoy yourself in your car. After taking my performance courses, I realized you don’t need a Ferrari or a Porsche to get out and have fun!

Sandy Cotterman, judging a concours

Judging has gotten me closer to the pulse of a concours.

Sandy Cotterman and Norman Dewis, OBE

It is one thing to go to a concours like Villa d’Este, it’s another to meet a legend like Norman Dewis, OBE and the car that made history.

4. Attend a Concours d’Elegance or local car show. A concours can be a step back in history or a waltz down memory lane. It’s like a living history and a chance to meet the owners. The atmosphere is always fun, often lasting a weekend. You would be amazed at the classic cars entered in local car shows! There is nothing that beats the fun during the British Invasion in Stowe, Vermont. Sandy on Assignment has taken MMR readers from Pebble Beach to Amelia Island and across the pond to Villa d’Este and Hampton Court.

Max Girardo, RM Auctioneer and Managing Director

Max Girardo, RM’s auctioneer and Managing Director captivates his audiences.

5. Feel the excitement of an Auction. Whether you experience it live in person or on television, watching a car auction is a blast. I love to hear guys talk about prices as cars roll onto the auction block. What looks like their high school car or the car they almost bought, is now priced out of sight! You can get caught up in the bidding frenzy without even opening your wallet! Preview days are often free, and a great time to walk around and check out the cars. My favorite is RM with auctioneer Max Girardo. Also at the top of my list are Gooding, Bonham’s, and Artcurial auctions.

First Porsche sports car

The first sports car bearing the Porsche name. The 1948 Porsche Type 356, “No. 1” Roadster.

6. Check out your dream car. There is no harm in test driving your dream car. There is no harm in surfing the internet for your dream car. There is no harm in tracking down the car you once owned. Dream it and someday you may own it. I want a Porsche 911 in the worst way.

Goodwood is fun for everyone

The Goodwood Revival is magical and fun for everyone.

7. Head to the Goodwood Revival, Retromobile, or the Mille Miglia. These events are for everyone, from the vintage racing buff to the reluctant spouse. If looking through memorabilia at Retromobile gets boring, there is always shopping in Paris. There are enough trade-offs in Italy to spare a couple of hours watching the cars take off at the Mille Miglia. As for the Goodwood Revival, the entire family cannot help but have a fabulous time.

1902, the oldest Mercedes still in existence

The oldest Mercedes still in existence, the 1902 Mercedes-Simplex 40PS.

8. Tie an automotive museum into your vacation. Automobile museums are everywhere. Admission is often nominal. In the States, favorites on the west coast, besides Jay Leno’s Garage, include the Blackhawk Museum, Mullen and Nethercutt Collections, Peterson and LeMay Museums. Heading east, the Seal Cove Museum in Maine and Simeon and AACA Museums in Pennsylvania are fantastic. Heading to Europe? Take the train from Paris to Mulhouse for a treat — the Schlumph Collection in the Cité de l’Automobile National Museum. If you are flying into Milan, the Museo dell’Automobile in Torino and Museo Mille Miglia in Brescia are unique. Once in Stuttgart, Germany, the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz museums were phenomenal. The crème de la crème was The Collier Collection in Naples, Florida.

Katies, on a Saturday Morning

With over 300 cars on a Saturday morning, at Katie’s, you can always find something to talk about.

9. Get to a Cars and Coffee. If it’s 7am, Saturday morning, you will find me sipping coffee with hundreds of car guys and gals, at the local cars and coffee. I love being around other like-minded motorsports enthusiasts. Classics to exotics, you’ll see everything and just talk cars. My favorites — Katie’s in Great Falls, Virginia and the duPont Registry in Clearwater, Florida.

Sandy's dream come true

My dream come true.

10. Don’t stop at 10 ... keep dreaming. On my bucket list for decades was to own a convertible, something sporty. I never let up on that dream and I’m glad I didn’t. Who would have guessed that dream would change my life.

Rallies enough to last a lifetime

There are enough rallies on my list to last a lifetime.

So what is still on my bucket list? My dreams span the gamut, from tinkering under the hood of an E-Type to navigating in the Peking to Paris Rally. And, of course, there’s the 911.

Donald Osborne at the Mille Miglia

It is just as much about the people as it is about the cars. Donald Osborne at the start of the Mille Miglia.

I hope I have sparked your interest. Get out and have fun with your own bucket list. Sandy on Assignment, under the MMR Blog, gives you a glimpse into many adventures, with specific suggestions on how to go about planning. When it comes to motorsports adventures, it’s all about the cars, the people, and having fun.

Please keep me posted on your bucket list ... and I promise to write about mine.


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 8, 2015 Comments (0)

An Auspicious Beginning

Norman Dewis, OBE, and Jaguar Type C

Last week we joyfully announced that popular Jaguar representative Norman Dewis has received an OBE from the Queen and was to be knighted. We thank Alain de Cadenet for kindly pointing out that there are four basic grades leading to Knighthood and that Norman is on the second. He is an Officer and can now attach the letters OBE to the end of his name. Alain closed his message with a fitting and generous comment about Norman Dewis OBE that we will happily share: “Norman made a tremendous contribution to Jaguar and helped bring it onwards and upwards after WWII. Remember how broke poor old Britain was in 1945 … Norman is an object lesson to everyone with his tenacity, love of his work, and the simple fact that he is still breathing easily. A lovely man all round.”

My Motorsports Resources (MMR)

A number of you wrote to comment positively on our change of nomenclature. My Motorsports Resources appears to have struck a positive chord. Thank you.

A Less than Pleasant Beginning

james Allison, Ferrari

In the past three weeks, Ferrari has, as the expression goes, “cleaned house”. As Motor Sport’s Mark Hughes reports in its February issue, “As things stand, in one season the team has lost one president, two team principals, the engine chief, engineering chief, chief designer, chief strategist and chief tyre engineer.” That leaves technical boss James Allison to put together a team that can supply a car that can win for drivers Raikkonen and Vettel. It begs the question: What was Vettel thinking? And what is he thinking NOW?


Passing Notes

Actor and Master of Ceremonies at Pebble Beach, Edward Hermann

Edward Hermann, TV actor, car enthusiast, the Master of Ceremonies of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and who hosted the show Automobiles on The History Channel, has passed.

Jean-Pierre Beltoise

Frenchman Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Formula 1 race driver for Matra and BRM died at the age of seventy-seven. He was a teammate to Sir Jackie Stewart for Ken Tyrrell and later had his only GP win at Monaco in a BRM in 1972. He was married to Francois Cevert’s sister. Cevert was also a teammate of Jackie Stewart and was killed at Watkins Glen in 1973.

Image by Gene Ritvo

This week’s eye candy is from the  Gene Ritvo Portfolio in our MMR Photo Galleries. Gene was an excellent photographer and passionate car and motorcycle enthusiast. He helped us launch MMR and we display his work not in sadness, because he also has passed, but in celebration of the beauty he was capable of capturing with a camera.


Monthly Features

Hatch and Sons Mercedes W113 Pagoda SL

This week’s  MMR Classy Classifieds feature four different Mercedes W113 Pagoda SLs. These cars have a devoted following and despite the fact that they were built between 1963 and 1971 are still quite modern and usable cars. The 230SL is available from Fantasy Junction, in California, the 250SL from Cooper cars in NYC, the 280SL from Copley Motorcars, and 280SLR is a V8 powered special prepared by noted restorer Hatch & Sons.

Michael Furman image of 1937 Delage Coupe

Michael Furman’s image this week is the 1937 Delage Coupe from his book Curves of Steel.

Our Home page MMR Video this week is back by popular request, it is film maker Wes Anderson’s (Grand Budapest Hotel) short comedy entitled  Castello Cavalcanti.

Paul Newman Print by Chris Osborne

From the  MMR Goods and Services Directory, we display a page from our most recent publication. It features original artwork by Chris Osborne, depicting Paul Newman at his favorite track, Lime Rock, with his favorite car.

Vintage MGA photo and TR3 image

Our Sixties Retrospective continues. We feature our short personal reminiscence of the sixties British competitors, the MGA and the Triumph TR3.

That’s it for this week. We are in Phoenix for the Arizona Concours d’Elegance and we hope to see you there. If not, we’ll send pictures. Suixtil-USA’s Lisa Smith has scouted out the Phoenix-Scottsdale area for suitable restaurants and her guide follows.

Peter Bourassa