MMR Blog

He’s Fast, He’s Funny & He’s Almost Fifty!

Posted on May 23, 2013 Comments (4)
SRT Car

#93 in the program, #1 in our hearts.

On May 8th we wrote the following to Tommy (TK) Kendall, the 46 year old American driver who will be part of the SRT Viper Team at Le Mans:

Hi Tommy, 

MMRsite.com is a Goods and Services Directory and a weekly MMR Newsletter which has 4000 subscribers. We are mostly men and women of a certain age and we follow current sports car, F1, and Moto GP racing. 

Your participation at Le Mans this year, with your permission, will provide us with someone for whom to cheer. We chose you because you are accomplished, articulate, funny and just slightly closer in age to us than many of the other serious drivers both on your team and in the race. We want to root for you! 

While we don’t view this, or much else, with reverence; we are respectful… generally.

I hope you will take this in the fun spirit in which it is intended.

Peter
MMR

TK replied!

Hi Peter!

I meant to respond quickly with a quick, "#*@& off" in keeping with the spirit of your introduction, but with my tardy reply the chances of that being taken wrong have multiplied!!!

Thanks for bestowing the honor of your support upon me! I am most grateful!!

Enjoying the newsletter too!

Now, leave me alone!!

Best,
TK

Great! So now we have someone to root for at Le Mans. Someone who is fast, funny and #*@&ing cranky! Maybe Milk of Magnesia would help. He can’t be out there racing against those Froggies for hours with an upset tummy and an attitude. What do you think? How can we help our pal and the SRT team?

From Beth Paretta – SRT Director of Marketing and Operations:

Please keep the disruptions to our thoroughbred to a minimum. We have someone brushing his mane as we speak.

:-)
Beth

TK:

Gotta run brushing session is complete, but I have a Grey Poupon facial followed by a Perrier bath to get acclimated.

MMR:

We used to brush… hair and teeth… Don’t forget to bring your own American Depends. You can’t get the same sizes in France.

TK:

Duly noted! :-)
TK

 Tommy Kendall

Tommy "TK" Kendall


308 Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale

Posted on May 16, 2013 Comments (3)

This week’s story is not so much about an upgrade, as it is a cautionary tale.

Early in the very late stages of the past century, my wife and I drove the WASRED 308 to Cavallino, an annual Ferrari fest held every January in West Palm Beach, Florida. We used the front tire well and rear trunk for luggage and even took along a set of golf clubs.

We stayed at the Colony Hotel in downtown West Palm Beach. “West Palm” is what we habitués call it. The Colony was, and probably still is, a well kept monument to the glory days of West Palm and nearby, still swishy, Worth Avenue. A number of its occupants are permanent residents whose presence reminds other patrons, and possibly themselves, of grander days.

Other than an ice storm in northern Virginia that forced us off Interstate 95 for a few hours, the trip was uneventful. Getting back on the highway in downtown Richmond we quickly discovered that while the sun had melted the roadway, the underpasses, where the water had been carried, remained glare ice. So the trick was to settle the car upon entry, pray the road didn’t bend and try to keep the front wheels pointed to where you wanted to go if you once again gained traction. Though slightly harrowing at first, it did add a measure of excitement to what is otherwise a thoroughly boring drive. It didn’t last forever but it was quite exciting while it did. At least for me.

Upon arrival at our hotel, I opened the rear boot (trunk) for the bellman to remove the luggage and when I came back it was closed and I parked the car. The next morning I opened the rear hatch to find that the mechanism which allows the lid to remain open had been disconnected and was broken. The doorman, not understanding the proper procedure had simply taken it apart and in the process broken it. The hotel was, as you might expect, mortified, but was immediately forthcoming and offered to pay all repair costs. This was, after all, a Ferrari. I don’t recall the exact costs but it will surprise no one that it was well north of $1,000. I learned a valuable lesson about leaving rear hatch operations to strangers.

Fast Forward fifteen years and some of you may have noticed in earlier pictures that the hatch lid is being supported by a yellow broom handle and may be wondering why. The rear hatch on a 1978 308 is steel. Later models appear to be much lighter and are probably made of aluminum. Later models are also supported by hydraulic struts on either side. My model has a rather ingenious mechanism that supports the hatch in a fixed upright position, the opening height is limited by the length of the supporting rod. The top of the rod is affixed to the hatch by a tough plastic knuckle, or universal joint, which allows the top of the rod to bend and fold down lengthways when the hatch is being closed. Ingenious but unnecessarily complex. The positive side is that it is strong and, being mechanical, not hydraulic, it should never need replacement. Uninformed hotel doormen aside, the only problem with the design is that upon reaching the top of its arc, the momentum of this heavy hatch being lifted is stopped, often suddenly, by it having reached the end of its travel. This sudden stop puts a shock on that little knuckle and it sometimes breaks. This is not uncommon.

Not surprising, Ferrari’s solution is to replace the whole unit.

Enter the MMR Goods and Services Directory and under the heading of Ferrari Parts is listed a small company called Unobtainium Supply Co. Verell Boaen is a retired electronic engineer who has a passion for Ferraris and has dedicated his talents to providing the no longer available (NLA) parts that classic and vintage Ferrari owners might require at reasonable prices.

The plastic cover for one of my seat belt housings is broken; Unobtainium Supply Co. has them. Unscratchable switch plate sets? Unobtainium Supply Co. has them. The part I want is the “latch housing” for the “boot.” Considering the fact that someone had to cast the part and the cost of its original alternative, $97 is a fair price and I have ordered one. It is companies such as Unobtainium Supply Co. that keep the ownership of vintage cars like the 308 fun and affordable and MMR urges you to visit their site and others in the MMR Goods and Services Directory, to purchase their products and to support their efforts. That is what MMR is all about!

Unobtainium Supply Co. created custom molds for, and supplied, these tail light lenses for the 1952 Ferrari 212 Pininfarina Cabriolet—one of the first two Ferraris built by Pininfarina. It is now being restored by Ferrari Classiche. If you watch closely you can see it at the back of the shop in this video.

You can download a catalog with contact information from the Unobtainium Supply web site.


Sandy on Assignment: Concours for a Cause

Posted on May 15, 2013 Comments (2)

By Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

I feel like I’ve come to a screeching halt! The Florida Concours season has basically ended, and the next onslaught of motorsports events hasn’t quite kicked into gear.

Before jumping into this summer’s adventures, I wanted to reflect on an event that has evolved into a top notch Concours and also raises a ton of money for charity. In only its seventh year, the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance is a shining example of how to do it right. Many, if not all, Concours and even smaller car shows these days have a charity they support. The Boca event is the crown jewel of Concours for a Cause.

What makes this Concours stand out? Six million dollars and over 12,000 at-risk boys and girls. All-volunteer-driven, monies raised during this spectacular three-day weekend go directly to support the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County. When Rick Case, the inspiration and producer of the event, threw out the $6M figure, I had no clue if this was a lot of money in the world of motorsporting events. If a car can auction off for $13M, how do we put everything else in perspective? Look and listen next time you’re at a car event as to the amount raised for charity. Noteworthy, cumulative charitable giving by the Amelia Island Concours Foundation, entering its 18th year, was $2M, and Pebble Beach eased into its 62nd year with $15M in total giving. So $6M in seven years is astonishing, and part of the distinction for this “fastest growing and most charitable Concours in the world,” as it rightfully boasts.

The timeless 1960 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster.

The timeless 1960 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster.

Chairman’s Choice Award winner, Corrado Loprestos’ 1931 Alfa Romeo GS 6C 1750 Zagato/Aprile, was a 2012 Pebble Beach winner.

Chairman’s Choice Award winner, Corrado Loprestos’ 1931 Alfa Romeo GS 6C 1750 Zagato/Aprile, was a 2012 Pebble Beach winner.

The fun thing for us mere mortal enthusiasts is that Boca’s Concours is actually something we all can afford. The weekend-long event kicked off Friday with an inaugural first, the complimentary collector car seminar, which could net you a tremendous gain if you are in the market for a classic car! The Collector Car Market – the Past Five Years and the Five Years to Come was moderated by the Grand Marshal for the Concours, Keith Martin, with panelists Wayne Carini, Tom duPont, Dave Kinney, Bill Rothermel and Dr. Paul Sable. I felt like I was getting insider tips! Explosive was how they described the last five years. Television has brought more people into the automobile investment market, noted Wayne Carini. Barrett Jackson and Mecum have become household names!

So, why are classic car prices running up? The general consensus was that the wealthy have cash parked and are now unleashing it and truly enjoying the cars they buy. Getting into the classic car hobby? A word of advice from Tom duPont, “You should well vet your purchases.” Auctions are emotional, so do your homework ahead of time and hire consultants to help you evaluate a car before buying. Along with vetting your purchases, well-thought-out financial and estate planning will net you and your heirs higher returns in the long run.

Rupert Banner, Bonhams auctioneer, joins the panel to share trends in the collector car market.

Rupert Banner, Bonhams auctioneer, joins the panel to share trends in the collector car market.

Quirky and unique, Saharas are exceedingly rare with only about two dozen surviving.

Quirky and unique, Saharas are exceedingly rare with only about two dozen surviving.

A show stopper, the fully restored 1962 Jaguar XKE, Series 1 3.8 Liter fixed head coupe in opalescent bronze sold for $165,000.

A show stopper, the fully restored 1962 Jaguar XKE, Series 1 3.8 Liter fixed head coupe in opalescent bronze sold for $165,000.

Also making its debut at Boca, Bonhams inaugural auction on Saturday was a chance for spectators to roam freely among the auction cars lining the entrance to the luxurious Boca Raton Resort and Club. Entry into the auction was a bargain—and great entertainment! Do I know how to pick them, or what? I must, because the photo snapped, the day before, was next to the 1962 Citroen 2CV Sahara 4X, which unleashed an uproar in bidding, between the audience and phone bidders.    

This Concours weekend also boasted high-end lifestyle events, including the duPont Registry Live! Hanger Party. And, yes, a pricey Gala drew in many East Coast high rollers. At the end of the day, what mattered most was that everyone attending had a blast and made a difference in a child’s life. By keeping the children in the forefront, even before the cars, guests were engaged in the Cause throughout the entire weekend. Gracious and constant appreciation for everyone’s support abounded.

I winked back at the stunning 1969 Lamborghini Miura S!

I winked back at the stunning 1969 Lamborghini Miura S!

Thanks to Dr. Paul Sable and his team of judges!

Thanks to Dr. Paul Sable and his team of judges!

20s Flappers pose with the 1929 Willys Knight 66B.

‘20s Flappers pose with the 1929 Willys Knight 66B.

So on to the Concours! This isn’t “just” a car show. I recognized cars from the Cavallino Sports Sunday at Mar-A-Lago which, by the way, has a $250 gate entry fee verses the Boca $50 general admission. Several cars were even on the fairway at Amelia two weeks later, so Boca is evolving as a great layover for top Florida Concours cars. There were upward of 200 cars and motorcycles representing over 24 classes ranging from 1924 Brass, Antique, and Vintage cars through every era of American and European classic and production cars, as well as foreign sports cars and special marque features: Bentley, Rolls Royce, and Lamborghini. Motorcycles had ten classes of their own.

The field was clearly laid out by a team of volunteers headed by the Director of Show Operations, Russell Glace, in the wee hours of the morning. You may not have given it much thought, but two strong factors in the success of a Concours are the judges and the Master of Ceremonies, both of whom are top notch at Boca. Dr. Paul Sable serves as Chief Judge, with a compliment of 21 lead judges, supported by an additional 24 show car judges. Bill Rothermel, another gem in the world of Concours Master of Ceremonies, joined Tom duPont in keeping the show moving, while offering an entertaining history lesson on each awardee. Besides seeing beautiful cars, you actually got to learn something!

Emerson Fittipaldi, F1 1972 Champion and Indianapolis 500 two time winner.

Emerson Fittipaldi, 1972 and 1974 F1 Champion and two time Indianapolis 500 winner.

My ears perked up when the Concours’ 2013 Automotive Lifetime Achievement Awardee and motorsports racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi stepped onto the awards stage on Sunday. His praise for the fundraising efforts of the Concours was quite touching.

Hagerty Youth Judges hover over the 1946 MG TC S-Type.

Hagerty Youth Judges hover over the 1946 MG TC S-Type.

Another aspect of this Concours, which I think was pretty special, was the cadre of Hagerty Youth Judges. Now in its seventh year, Operation Ignite, the Hagerty Insurance Youth Judging Program, brought its program to the Boca Concours for a second year. While nurturing future generations of classic car enthusiasts, the judging program actually gives these boys and girls a chance to learn how to judge a car based on design, interior, electrical, paint, and engine. Owners were only too happy to share the history and uniqueness of their cars. The Hagerty Youth Judges’ winning choice was a 1985 Lamborghini Countach 5000S, a classic for their generation!

Entertainment added to the festive Concours!

Entertainment added to the festive Concours!

Sandy’s favorite, the 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster.

Sandy’s favorite, the 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster.

If it’s February in Florida, Concours for a Cause, the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance, is a great choice for your next year’s winter vacation.


24 Hours of Le Mans: June 22-23, 2013

Posted on May 9, 2013 Comments (0)

Test Day: June 9, 2013
Qualifying: June 13 & 14, 2013

The second round of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) took place on the extremely fast Spa-Francorchamp circuit in Belgium on May 4th. This six hour race was a warm-up for Le Mans and although Audi won Prototype and Ferrari won GT Pro, the races were hotly contested by the Toyota Prototype and the Aston Martins in GT. Aston Martin had actually beaten Ferrari in the first race of the season at Silverstone. At Spa, Ferrari won in both the Pro and the Am (see below) race groupings.

Le Mans is arguably the single most important race in the world. Indy 500 may have a bigger gate and possibly even a larger viewing audience but winning or losing Le Mans impacts the sales of more car, tire, oil, and all the other accessory manufacturers than any other race. Ford knew how important it was in the sixties and it hasn’t changed. For the teams, Le Mans pays twice as many points as any other race in their WEC series. Winning is huge.

This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans promises to be fascinatingly competitive in all classes. Half the field will be made up of LMP (Le Mans Prototype) cars in two classes. In LMP1, Audi and Toyota will contest for overall. One Swiss developed Green GT using a hydrogen fuel cell to run electric motors in Prototype body styles is the designated “experimental” car. Audi have won six of the last seven races but Toyota are touted to make them earn it this year. In LMP2, the battle will be equally fierce with the Oreca-Nissans currently leading the Oak Racing Morgan-Nissans.

The cars that capture our interest are contesting the Le Mans GTE Pro class. There the factory teams of Corvette Racing, Aston Martin Racing and SRT (Viper) Motorsports will compete against semi-factory teams from Porsche and Ferrari. All with drivers rated as professionals. An equally large group classified as “Amateurs” will compete in similar cars.

Within the Pro group of GT Cars, based on past performance and the amount of time they have had to develop their teams and their cars, the Ferraris and Corvettes are battling the returned and refreshed Aston Martin Vantage GTEs. And the AMs appear to have the measure of the Ferraris. But Le Mans is always different. This year the Chrysler SRT Vipers are contesting the American Le Mans Series and they have been invited to play with the big boys at the Sarthe.

Because of their development time, they are unquestionably the underdogs but the Viper name is not new to the Le Mans podium and many people will be watching to see how they do.

Tommy Kendall

One of the major reasons we want to see them do well is because they have invited Tommy Kendall to drive for them. Long one of my favorite motorsports personalities and drivers I was pleased when they asked him to test and was somehow not that surprised that he was the quickest of his group.

Tommy Kendall is 46 years old. That alone should make him our hero.

You can follow SRT online.

Join SRT® at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; two exclusive packages available.


Upgrading a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS: Cooling System Part 5

Posted on May 9, 2013 Comments (4)

Improved Cooling –Aesthetics

In 1995 I bought a 1978 308 GTS Euro spec Ferrari with a rebuilt engine and 13K miles on the long non-functioning odometer. It had had a serious accident on the right front corner. This is the twelfth in a series of short articles about how we repaired and updated it.

What Meets the Eye

We have pretty much completed the Cooling System Upgrade from a hardware point of view and we are satisfied with the outcome. There remain only two things to do. One is cosmetic and the other requires a little more research on our part before we share it. Stay tuned.

Let’s talk about “The Look” of what we have done. Beginning at the front, we changed the black radiator, the black AC condenser and the two black fans for a shiny aluminum radiator, a shiny aluminum AC condenser and a skinny black “spider web” style fan. Before we made the changes, looking at the front of our Black 308 we saw the aluminum vertical and horizontal bar grill against a dark background. Now, the new AC condenser and radiator are visible through the grill. Doing this again, I would find a way to make them invisible. Probably with high heat spray paint on the front surfaces. Neatly done, of course.

308 cooling system aesthetics

The bigger clamps are neither original nor as elegant, in some people’s opinions, as the originals. I like them better but that is a subjective call. The hoses themselves, in bright blue, don’t really go with anything unless Paul Newman (RIP) were driving the car. Doing it again, I would probably go with black hoses. I am not necessarily a traditionalist, but I think it looks neater against all the aluminum in the engine and the radiator. And I did find silicone far easier to work with.

308 cooling system aesthetics

308 cooling system aesthetics

We removed the Radiator overflow tank, sanded off the rust and spray painted the unit with a black semi-gloss. That now looks much better. And we changed the radiator cap which was looking pretty tired. We bought it from Geoff Ohland at Partsource.

More next week…