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Posted on October 30, 2013 Comments (0)

Get Curves of Steel by Michael Furman FREE with your subscription!

In April 2007, The Phoenix Art Museum presented 22 landmark cars that illustrated the evolution of style and aerodynamics from the 1930s to the '90s. Curves of Steel, published by Coachbuilt Press, catalogues the exhibition.

Curves of Steel by Michael Furman

Edited and co-written by historian Jonathan A Stein, this lavish publication includes essays by Beverly Rae Kimes, Ken Gross, Phil Patton and Richard Adatto. Each car is presented with historic images and modern studio photographs by Michael Furman.

Curves of Steel by Michael Furman

Curves of Steel by Michael Furman

You can receive this book free when you subscribe to Classic & Sports Car - bringing you 12 months of the best European classic car magazine in the world with over 230 pages each month. Shipped directly to your door from England. Both for $79.

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Curves of Steel by Michael Furman

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on October 30, 2013 Comments (0)

Our opening image is from Michael Furman’s book Curves of Steel. Classic & Sports Car is making it possible for MMR subscribers to receive this book in an offer detailed here.

Curves of Steel by Michael Furman

Penske Wins Race and Loses Championship

Will Power, aptly named Penske driver, won the finale of the 2013 Izod IndyCar Series at Auto Club Speedway in California on Sunday. Fellow New Zealander Scott Dixon finished fifth and one place ahead of Helio Castroneves, the driver who led the series for most of the season. Dixon and his Ganassi team are the deserved champions. A race management mistake by Roger Penske, who called Castroneves in while the pits were closed, didn’t help but this was a very odd race at a very odd place. It was a race with 28 lead changes and 11 different leaders and, as with so many other IndyCar races this year, the poor quality of the track was a factor. The 2-mile D-Shaped Oval was so dirty that radiators were plugging and face shields were being sandblasted all day. It is a dull track and will make a dull housing development. Hopefully soon.

TK’s Take on Final Petit Le Mans

Our hero, the brilliant and perceptive Tommy Kendall, and his Viper SRT Team, at one point led the GT class of the Petit Le Mans at a real race track, Road Atlanta, and finished fifth in Class. Tommy writes:

While it was a good finish, after the strength we showed all week and clearly having the fastest two cars there, to leave with a 5th and a 7th was definitely a disappointment. But, as I am fond of saying, if it was easy everyone would do it! That said, to be disappointed with a fifth shows how far this team has come so quickly. The progress by all involved in SRT Motorsports is truly remarkable.

He adds:

I appreciate the MMR Community’s support, as you are an esteemed, knowledgeable, and passionate group clearly possessing extraordinary taste! :-)

We did mention his perceptiveness?

F1 Then and Now: 1955 Belgian Grand Prix – Spa Video

Nigel Roebuck’s Reflections in the November issue of Motor Sport magazine mentions this video and it is on our home page for you. If only to give you an appreciation of how far F1 has come, view this video and compare it with what you will see in this weekend’s F1 Indian GP. It is also a study in bravery and talent.

Peter Bourassa

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on October 18, 2013 Comments (3)

F1 - The Japanese GP

Webber out-qualified Vettel and started on pole. Vettel never passed Webber because he didn’t have to. The team changed Webber to a three stop strategy, one more than Vettel, and he finished second. It should be very clear to Ricciardo that he will be the new Webber. The deck gets reshuffled next year and based on past history it would be foolish to believe that Renault will not have a competitive engine for the Lotus and Red Bull chassis. Kimi is quick but he is also impatient. If Ferrari doesn’t supply a winning package for Kimi they may learn to dread his après race interviews.

IndyCar Fontana Finale Saturday @ 8:00PM ET

The Auto Club Speedway two-mile oval at Fontana will be the site of the final race of this year. It should be an interesting cap to a season that has seen exciting races and the emergence of a number of competitive teams and attractive drivers. The organization is still young and some of the tracks they use are less than ideal, but they do race and ten different drivers have won.

Petit Le Mans – ALMS Series Finale at Road Atlanta Saturday @ 11:00AM

The final race of the year and the final race in its history. Our man Tommy Kendall is 23 on the grid in the fastest Viper. Next year the ALMS and Grand-Am series will combine. The ungainly titled TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will hopefully bring together two organizations that have struggled for years to bring sports car racing to North America. Good luck.

Memories: Racing in the Sixties

With my meager savings and different sponsors every year, I managed to race little English sports cars for the first three years of my twenties. When I went for a loan to finance the fourth, my bank manager pointed out that, among other things, like collateral, I lacked talent. That was the end of a racing career full of promises. But I wasn’t through with racing.

From Monday morning thru Thursday at 5:00PM every week, I was a regular Champion Spark Plug Co. Sales Representative calling on service stations throughout the Province of Quebec and sticking Champion decals on doors and windows. On weekends, I put Champion decals on the cars, motorcycles, and boats of racers that carried our products. My task was to help the real Champion Spark Plug techs who, with their diagnostic tools and years of experience, were occupied with potential winners. If you were not a potential winner, (read: poor) I helped you. And god helped you too.

Fortunately we blew up very few engines. Please keep in mind that blowing up engines was not a rare occurrence in those days and melted plugs weren’t either.

At the time, I shared a ski house with a good bunch of people near the Mont Tremblant race track so I was in that area almost every weekend of the year. When the F1 teams came to Canada, because some of them spoke better French than English, I was their liaison with the Champion professional tech reps that were sent from the US to help them. In 1968 when they raced at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, I was translating with the teams and recommending fine restaurants and arranging fancy box lunches. I was a 24-year-old kid! What did I know?

The real techs went to dinner with the teams and I took visiting race reps to my favorite restaurants and bars. I introduced them to young women friends and Canadian high-alcohol beer. Because the roads in the Laurentian Mountains are neither straight nor smooth, the ride back in my Champion Spark Plug Co. supplied 318 V8 Plymouth 4-door also introduced them to a new level of anxiety. All vaguely memorable to me now.

But it all worked out and at the end of that F1 weekend at Mont Tremblant, Ferrari’s Team Manager, Mauro Forghieri, gave me a Ferrari pin for my efforts. That was very cool. The next day I went back to putting Champion decals on doors and windows. It was good to be young in the sixties.

This week’s great images were taken by Chuck Schwager who recently co-drove Jim Taylor’s C-Type on this year’s Colorado Grand. Brave soul, he shot several of these from the passenger seat at speed.

Peter Bourassa

RUSH Results

Posted on October 18, 2013 Comments (0)

We have refrained from comment about the movie RUSH until everyone has had an opportunity to see it. We haven’t seen the movie yet but the general consensus appears to be very favorable.


Specifically, it is considered a good story and entertaining. As one might expect, some of the more critical comments came from people who have either raced or are very familiar with the racing environment. They criticized the actual racing scenes as being less accurate than expected. It also bothered some that the only other racing name mentioned in the movie was Mario Andretti’s. Several mentioned that the best racing scenes were the final ones which used actual footage of Hunt and Lauda racing. But nobody felt the movie wasn’t worthwhile.


A reminder to all that for a refreshing take on this epic battle, we recommend Hunt vs. Lauda the David Bull Publishing book that dwells on the racing and the rivalry.


Regular readers will remember an article we published last September by vintage racer Kevin Fitzgerald. Kevin is the proprietor of the Jacob Wirth Tavern in Boston. He suffered horrific burns in a highway accident on the way home from work. He wrote an excellent cautionary piece about what happened to him and what we should do if ever we are faced with a similar situation. If you didn’t read it last year, we recommend you read it this time and copy it for family members who also drive.

This is Kevin’s take on the movie and how New England area enthusiasts can take part in a worthwhile event to help future burn victims:

Last night I saw the movie "RUSH" with a friend. I could not get any of my family to go. Now I am glad they did not. I didn't have a problem watching Niki Lauda burning in the Ferrari. I did not get squeamish at the hospital scenes. I did relate greatly to watching Niki's wife suffer through this, because I got to see what it was like for my own wife.

Having been burned, it is not relevant how you were burned or where and how much. The damage both hidden and apparent is huge. It is well portrayed.

I am thrilled to say the changes in technology for burn patients are huge. Which is in part why I am writing. I recommend "RUSH" it is an excellent film. I would also ask that anyone in the New England area that can make a fund raising event on November 7, 2013 for the Fraser Burn Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, attend the event being held at Jacob Wirth restaurant. Attached is the open invitation. Whether your burns happen on the track like Lauda's or driving home from work like mine, there is a great need for this facility to be there for you.
Thanks, Kevin

No. Thank you, Kevin.





MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on October 12, 2013 Comments (0)

Santa Fe Concorso Continues…

Until Thursday, we had a note at the bottom of the editorial suggesting readers advise us on whether a move to a Saturday launch instead of Friday would be acceptable. Fate intervened and made the Friday launch impossible so here we are in your mailbox on a Saturday. We would nonetheless greatly appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

In last week’s MMR Newsletter we mentioned, in error, that the Santa Fe Concorso’s winning NART Ferrari car was one of 17 made. Our thanks to diligent readers who pointed out that it is one of only ten built. This may have been the second potential heart stopper in recent days for owners of the other nine NART 275s who may read the MMR Newsletter. The first had to be waking up on the morning after the Monterey sale of another of that litter and learning that it had just sold for $27.5 million! That had to be a pleasant surprise. (Then again… think of the folks who had owned these cars and sold them over the years for considerably less.)

F1 in Korea

The Race of the Degrading Tires went again to Vettel. The ever exuberant Kimi finished second. Was it just my imagination or did the crowd not cheer him as lustily as it did before he announced he would be once again a Ferrari man? Fighting Ferrari and Red Bull with a Lotus is like being David against two Goliaths. Fighting against Red Bull with a Ferrari is hardly as heroic. But the pay is steady.

Tires in F1

I find the F1 tire issues both annoying and totally unnecessary. In the past you had two types of tires, wet and dry. You also had at least two tire manufacturers involved in each race. The competitor who was fastest and stopped least times would win. The winning tire was the best compromise of longevity and speed. That is what racing is about in every aspect. Fast, soft tires shed themselves into what are called marbles and eliminate safe passing areas. Passing is exciting. So how did we get here? Again, in the old days, manufacturers signed one or more of the top teams to use their tires. They paid the teams to develop cars and tire tested with them throughout the season. Tire wars were a part of the competition. At some point series organizers, or perhaps even a manufacturer, determined that all this money was going to the racers and that if the series mandated only one tire, a slice of that money could go to the series management. The tire manufacturer saved on the testing process, no longer negotiated with individual teams and at times even had the series named after itself. Even better, they always won and were never forced to develop a better tire than the competitor for the obvious reason… there wasn’t one. The fans hardly noticed or cared. Differing tire performance, fixed fuel consumption, and increasingly quick pit stops are all a part of manufactured drama for the F1 show. This is not as exciting as passing on the track. Some of us would rather just watch racing. On the track!

IndyCar in Houston has a Problem

We were wrong! Again! We mentioned last week that Castroneves had the series locked up with a 49 point lead and three races to go. Houston is another of those concrete canyon parking lot tracks and so bumpy that it was breaking cars. In the two races in Houston, held on consecutive days and both paying full points, Castroneves’s normally reliable Penske broke. His arch rival, Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon finished first and second and now leads his Penske rival by 25 points, going into the final race on October 19th at Fontana. A spectacular last lap accident injured Dario Franchitti and several spectators. None fatally, thank goodness. Viewing that accident makes you realize how far race safety has come. No one should ever be critically injured or die in a car race.

This week’s issue features more images and stories from the Santa Fe Concorso. Thank you to Royce Rumsey and Tim Considine for their wonderful images.

Have a great weekend!

Peter Bourassa