MMR Blog

Day Dreaming

Posted on June 15, 2012 Comments (3)

We received another interesting e-mail the other day from Michael Keyser of Autosport Marketing Associates, Ltd. He wrote us saying:

Le Mans 1974

Here's a shot of me and Milt Minter with the car at Le Mans in 1974… and after I smacked a guardrail in the Porsche Curves on Sunday morning… day dreaming again.

The car in the picture is a 1974 Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 running in the “Toad Hall” livery.

VIN: 911 460 9049
Production No. 104 0078
Engine No. 684 3215
Gearbox No. 0534

It was first delivered to Michael Keyser at Toad Hall Racing but it has lived an interesting life with extensive IMSA and European racing history. As seen in the picture, it competed at Le Mans but it also ran at Daytona and Sebring.

Le Mans 1974

It was the third '74 RSR 3.0 built and it would become one of the most successful and visible '74 RSRs to be raced in the US. With it's bright yellow paint with distinctive black trim, Keyser and Milt Minter raced it throughout the 1974 IMSA series, achieving several top three finishes (including 2nd at Road Atlanta, 3rd at Ontario, 3rd at Mid-Ohio, 2nd at Talladega, and a heat win at Lime Rock). It also ran at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1974, where it finished 20th overall.

In 1975, co-driving with Billy Sprowls, 9040 was 2nd overall at the Daytona 24 Hours and 13th overall at the Sebring 12 Hours. It would also continue to be very successful in the IMSA series, with high finishes at Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, and Riverside.

Subsequent owners continued to race the car successfully from 1977 to 1979 in Trans Am and IMSA races, along with additional entries at the Daytona 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 Hours.

More recently, Canepa Design comprehensively restored 9049 and it is ready to race or show. It is certainly one of the RSRs with the best US racing history, with several entries at Daytona and Sebring. It is also among only a handful of RSRs to have completed the Le Mans 24 Hours.

1974 Porsche 911

It remains as one of the best-restored 1974 3.0 RSRs and has its correct, highly recognizable, and distinctive Toad Hall livery.

I suppose, every June, it's only natural to day dream about your LeMans exploits. I know I would.

Michael did add one more comment: Not much to say. It was a wonderful car. Handled great. Reliable. I wish I still owned it.

Stance and Speed Monograph Series: Cunningham C-4RK

Posted on April 16, 2012 Comments (0)

We've posted a new book review…

Cunningham C-4RK

“The Stance and Speed Monograph Series, has introduced the first in a series of books about important race cars. This one is a collaboration between photographer Peter Harholdt, writer Peter Bodensteiner and noted designer Peter Brock. Together they have written a valuable and affordable book about the Cunningham C-4RK. What a winning combination of talent and subject!” (read the rest of the review...)

Watch Jay Leno's Book Club interview with Peter Harholdt and Peter Bodensteiner
And here's Jay on the Cunningham C-4R that won the 1953 Sebring

Bill Jenkins

Posted on March 31, 2012 Comments (0)

Beating Dodge and Plymouth big block hemi factory teams with his lone small block Chevys made him a “giant killer” and a drag racing legend to Chevy owners.

In the sixties I was covering all kinds of races as part of my job for the Champion Spark Plug Co. My job was to help amateur racers determine the best spark plug for their engine set up. Most pros, like Grumpy Jenkins, knew what they needed and got it directly from the factory. My sole function relating to them was to be certain our decal was on the car, and if they won contingency money, I was to ascertain that they were using our product and ask them to sign a release allowing us to advertise their achievement.

At some point during one weekend I saw Grumpy in the pits working on Chevy II and I stopped by just to introduce myself and offer my services. He had a Champion decal on the car, and while he was using some Champion plugs, he was also running Bosch and Autolite plugs in several spark plug holes.

I asked him what that was about and he took the time to tell me. In the next 15 minutes I learned more about a performance engine than I had learned from our race engineers in three years.

Essentially, he said, he realized that since each cylinder, due to its location in an engine, different intake and exhaust characteristics operated at a different temperature. He also figured out how the different cylinder temperatures affected the “burn” of the intake fuel charge. The more complete the burn, the more the power. Every spark plug is designed to operate in a predetermined temperature range and at the margins of those ranges, it does not performing optimally. While Champion offered many different types and heat ranges of plugs, Grumpy’s experience had taught him that no one company made a single plug that was perfect for every cylinders of a racing engine. He also knew that different plug configurations (retracted gap vs, projected tip) placed the spark at different physical locations in each combustion chamber. That physically affected the timing of the spark which also affected the burn. Through trial and error and intuition, he discovered exactly the right plug configuration and heat range for each hole in that engine and used it, regardless of who made it.

Today’s racers all benefit from innovations which Grumpy Jenkins pioneered.

He was brilliant and I am thrilled that I our paths crossed ever so briefly. RIP Mr. Jenkins.

Time Flies

Posted on August 23, 2011 Comments (0)

I was checking out the cars for the feature F1 race with another guy in his early twenties who wrote for the Canadian motorsports magazine, Track & Traffic. His name was Lance Hill. There were no drivers in the pits and we got reasonably close to the cars. We were just two young guys talking about yesterday's practice times and somewhat mystified by what we were looking at. These cars were only familiar to us from magazine pages. I remember him now as a very nice guy, very approachable, and with a good sense of humor.

Time moved on. At some point I was in an airport and picked up a soft cover edition of "King of White Lady" by Lance Hill. The author's description left no doubt that this was the same person I once met. It was a good read and I had it around for years before it somehow disappeared.

Several decades went by and my wife and I drove our newly acquired Ferrari 308 to Florida in winter to attend the Cavallino Classic at the Breakers in W. Palm Beach. Crews were unloading Ferraris on the closely cut lawn. Here and there a V-12 engine was being blipped. I looked up and into the Passport van and watched it disgorge a stunning red 250LM with California plates. To my mind, this is the most beautiful road car Ferrari ever made. Two men were gently handling it. The owner was close by and was an attentive observer. At some point, as the car was being moved away, I approached him. I told him that he seemed familiar to me and I told him my name. It didn't mean anything to him and he said he was Lance Hill. It clicked for me and I asked him about Track & Traffic and whether he was still writing about cars. He said he was, but that his professional name was now R. Lance Hill. I pointed to the car and he said that, yes, it was his. He told me that after his stint at T & T, he moved to California and wrote the book I once had. It was optioned several times for a movie, but the topic fell out of fashion, and the movie was never made. He subsequently wrote another book that was made into a movie with Charles Bronson. He now made a living as a "script doctor" for movies that were stopped in production because their scripts needed help. He said the pressure was hell but the money was steady and he had done very well.

Tony Singer's image of Ralph Lauren's Ferrari 250LM in our gallery and Chris Szwedo's story and sound track reminded me of those encounters.

Motorheads Prove an Eclectic Bunch

Posted on August 17, 2011 Comments (0)

Proud owners of 43 cars drove their garage toys to European Auto Solutions at 1486 Main Street in Waltham to share their passion with fellow Motorheads.