MMR Blog

Sandy On Assignment: A New Tradition begins

Posted on December 23, 2014 Comments (1)

... for the Winter Park Concours d’Elegance

Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

1939 Mercedes 540K Special Roadster, Best of Show, First Place

The 1939 Mercedes 540K Special Roadster takes Best of Show as First Place in the Trophy Division

If it’s November in Florida, the winter motorsports season is about to begin! Already steeped in tradition, with spectators soaring to 80,000, I could not imagine how this jewel within the motorsports world could get any better. Now in its 13th year, the Winter Park Concours d’Elegance has matured from its early days when it was known as “the Best Street Show in the country”, as shared with me by founder, Bob Tallgren.

356 Porsche display

The 356 Porsche contingent was well represented this year. Photo courtesy Alex Dearborn

I was rather intrigued by the history surrounding this particular Concours. The inaugural Winter Park show came about as a request from city officials who wanted to re-energize the downtown Park Avenue shopping area. Ferrari was the Honored Marque that first year with 30 or so Ferraris turning out – including a 1957 250 GT Tour de France. The scene on Winter Park’s downtown Park Avenue was virtually “wall to wall” people from the very beginning. With over 25,000 spectators that first year, there were lines outside every restaurant. City officials were ecstatic!

The success formula for the show’s first year has remained constant, as Bob Tallgren shared with me during this year’s concours. The show’s hallmark became the high quality of its cars – both restored and unrestored. The original intent to invite 150 cars, judged by highly respected judges, remains today.

1968 Bizzarrini Spyder S.I. Targa

The 1968 Bizzarrini Spyder S.I. Targa took both Best of Show as First Place in the Open Division and First Place in the Special Interest Class

1957 Bentley S-1 Saloon

Taking both First Place in the European Classics division and the Judges Award is this 1957 Bentley S-1 Saloon by Hooper

The show continued to build momentum for the next few years. The overall genre of the show evolved from a collection of exotic road cars to a more “all inclusive” Concours d’Elegance, bringing more of the elegant classic American cars into the mix along with some of the distinguished European marques.

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan

Collector of the Year, Steve Wolf’s 1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan. Photo courtesy Bill Rothermel

This year’s Concours honored three distinct marques: Mercedes Benz as the Honored Marque; Maserati for its 100th anniversary; and, Mustang for celebrating 50 years. The Collector of the Year honoree, Steve Wolf started his collection over 50 years ago and continues his dedication to the car hobby and vehicle preservation.

Today’s Concours is a true Weekend of Motoring Events, beginning with the highly touted Friday evening duPont Registry Live aeroport reception for charity. I can honestly say that this ‘hangar party’ is one of the best, if not the best I’ve attended. As part of the reception, the Battle of the Heavyweights allows guests to take a high-speed ride for charity on the Sanford airport runway with a professional driver. Guests also mingle amongst cars, motorcycles and jets in uniquely themed private hangars with just as unique entertainment.

Tour owners mingle at Winter Park

Owners mingle before leaving on the Tour d’Elegance

The Saturday morning Tour d’Elegance is considered by many to be the heart and soul of the weekend. It is an event where participants can exercise their cars and see some of the back roads of Central Florida. The day starts in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square for a gourmet breakfast. Like the aeroport reception the night before, this is also a ticketed event. It is my weekend favorite. Publicized as a relaxed driving event, I always find myself turning it into a mini-rally, pedal to the metal ... after the police escort falls back!

The 1967 Maserati Quattroporte Sedan, a local favorite, was awarded the Historical Vehicle Association award

Each year, a respected and distinguished automotive expert joins Head Judge, Pete Bartelli and the 50-member judging cadre, as the Concours Grand Marshal. Ed Gilbertson, this year’s Grand Marshal lead the judging team to select the 2014 Winter Park Preservation Award and the HVA/FIVA Award.

If you have been to Carmel during Monterey Week and Thursday’s Display on the Avenue, you know how crowded a street show can get, not to mention nerve wracking for the car owners. By it’s tenth year, the streets in Winter Park were overflowing with cars and crowds working their way onto the curbs. The city’s Parks and Recreation Board had approved the use of a grassy area in Central Park for the awards ceremony and special display area, but the Concours still needed more space.

1960 Porsche 356B

First Place in the Porsche 356 Division went to Lee Payne and his 1960 356B Roadster. Photo courtesy Alex Dearborn

1963 AC V-8 Prototype Roadster

In the British Class, the 1963 AC V-8 Prototype Roadster took First Place in the Rest of Britain category

1954 Cisitalia 33 DF Voloradente Coupe

One of my favorites, this 1954 Cisitalia 33 DF Voloradente Coupe

Early on in the show’s beginnings, organizers had their eye on the Winter Park Country Club Golf Course, a venue which would allow cars to spread out, so to speak. The New Tradition began this year, with tremendous success, as the 2014 Concours moved to the Winter Park Country Club Golf Course, just down the street from Park Avenue. Celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year, the golf course is a wonderful venue where today’s Executive Director, Tim Webber is able to expand the event and make it quite special for participants and spectators.

1964 Alfa Romeo Guia Spider Veloce Convertible

The WPC Spirit Award went to this 1964 Alfa Romeo Guia Spider Veloce Convertible

This year, motorsports historian Bill Rothermel was featured during the awards ceremony to add a commentary on each one of the top award cars. Founder Bob Tallgren continues to share his vision for the Concours as judging classes expand and opportunities for car clubs develop.

Winter Park is unique in itself. Home to Rollins College just north of Orlando, this upscale community is a wonderful place to visit with the Concours as its backdrop. Besides Disney just minutes away, the area boasts some of Florida’s best cycling trails and shopping! Held the third weekend of November, the Winter Park Concours d’Elegance has an eye to the future.

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 18, 2014 Comments (0)

Merry Christmas from everyone at MMR

‘Tis the season to be gifting. In this, our last regular issue before the biggest gift day of the year we will suggest some affordable gifts that punch far above their weight in lasting value. The following are gifts that will be ecstatically received by any motorsports enthusiast. Uncertain that anyone close is knowledgeable enough to give you one or more of these fine gifts? Don’t take a chance, buy it yourself!

1961 Porsche 356 GTL Abarth, by Michael Furman

This week’s feature image is by  Michael Furman from his recent Porsche book entitled Porsche Unexpected. Editor Dom Miliano reviewed this book several weeks ago and you are invited read more about it here.

Ferrari Hypercars, Book by Winston GoodFellow

Ferrari Hypercars is Winston Goodfellow’s take on the very special cars Ferrari built to be the fastest, most beautiful, and most expensive cars of their period. And while this book accomplished the task of delineating those certain cars that qualify and more, it is what constitutes the “more” that you will find captivating

Lancia and De Virgilio: At the Center by Geoffrey Goldberg

Lancia and De Virgilio: at the Center by Geoffrey Goldberg. Published by David Bull Publishing. In the postwar era Lancia was the most innovative and design-driven automobile company in Italy, if not the world. Francesco De Virgilio was one of the company’s leading designer-engineers whose quiet drive for excellence reflected the company’s goals. De Virgilio worked with Gianni Lancia, founder’s son, and Vittorio Jano who had designed winning engines for Alfa Romeo. The book was reviewed in last week’s NY Times and we link you to that review.

Morgan Plus Four in Snow.

Our sixties lookback this week features the Morgan Plus 4, one of our favorite cars. Two weeks ago we featured the Sunbeam Tiger, another favorite. In conversation with Marshall Buck, MMR’s model maven, he suggested that readers might enjoy a brief review of the Tiger models available and his thoughts on them. Your comments are invited.

Porsche Speedster

Editor Dom Miliano has done yeoman work. This week’s eye candy is appropriately the color of the holidays and all the red cars are for sale, along with another 400 of the world’s most desirable and available cars in our online MMR Classifieds.

That’s it for this week. Please remember to support our advertisers and to invite friends to join our MMR Community by subscribing to our weekly Newsletter. Happy Holidays.

Peter Bourassa

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 11, 2014 Comments (0)

Racing Alternatives

Toyota Endurance

Fed up with F1 blather? Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at another series in 2015. The World Endurance Championship (WEC) the purview of Audi in recent years and before them Porsche, was won in 2014 by Toyota. While everyone was keen on watching the two German giants fight it out, the Japanese giant won. They won at Silverstone, Spa, Fuji, Shanghai and finished second at Le Mans behind the winning Audi. Not bad for the guys nobody looked at after Porsche announced they would compete. Audi was second and Porsche was a close third. Next year Nissan join the fray in LMP1. Former F1 drivers Anthony (Ant) Davidson and Sebastian Beuemi, were the winning drivers for Toyota.

GT Cup for Manufacturers

In the GT Cup for Manufacturers portion of the series, Ferrari won the series over Aston and Porsche. In WEC, the cars and drivers are good and the racing is fierce and close. What more could a fan want? TV coverage for more than just Le Mans and possibly COTA for America PLEASE!!! I know we have the Tudor Sports car series, but why should that preclude having coverage of WEC?

Market Shifts

Gooding & Company AuctionFor the past year the dealers we have contacted have complained bitterly about the difficulty they have finding cars to sell. Nevertheless, 2014 will go down as a very good year for people who are selling classic and vintage cars. Unbelievable! has been attached to the selling price on so many auction cars that it has become the new norm. The key word here is “auctions”. No one dealer or person can make a market. But, auctions by introducing the element of entertainment to the sale of vintage cars have virtually become 21st century’s dealers and by the power of their numbers and their marketing presence, they are definitely influencing market pricing.

Barrett Jackson Auction Company

In the final analysis, dealers and auctions have the same goal, satisfying buyers and sellers. Generally both are looking for a fair price or, hopefully, better. The difficulty for sellers is choosing the market channel that best suits their needs. High prices achieved for spectacular cars and the glitz of huge crowds and TV coverage might appear to give auctions an advantage. They have become a spectator sport. But auctions also have a downside for sellers. Not everyone is selling a rare Ferrari. If your car is a second level or lower car, chances are that it won’t be seen on TV. And likely it won’t be presented in prime time. When the majority of people remaining in the room are car dealers looking for a steal, the seller may be thinking that a respected dealer with a good rolodex has something better to offer. Then again many dealers also use auctions to move their slower moving inventory. So it is an interesting game and as we have mentioned before on these pages, it is not one for the inexperienced. If you are considering buying or selling at an auction, you might also consider using one of the seven auction advisers listed in our MMR Goods & Services Directory.

Bell Chapal HelmetIn the 1950s and ‘60s many famous drivers raced wearing an open faced helmet with a visor and face shield. Bell Helmets and Chapal have teamed up to offer vintage racers a redo. The Helmet below is being offered by Hugh Ruthven of The Finish Line. For those of you in the Chicago area, during December only, you can view The Finish Line products at the corner of Cook and Lake Streets in Barrington IL. Or give them a call at 847-382-3020.

Cars of the 1960s

Jaguar XKE, droptop

The sixties were arguably the golden age of sports and GT cars. Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes, Aston, Corvette all delivered models whose desirability may never be matched. When the new Jaguar XKE was introduced in 1961 the motorsports world swooned. I remember them being offered in Canada at around $6K. Ads featuring the coupe in profile became the model for simplicity, beauty, grace, perfection. Someone quoted Enzo Ferrari as saying that the XKE was the most beautiful car ever made. Even if he thought it, it is unlikely he said it. At some point a friend scored a well used press car from Jaguar Canada and we drove it from Montreal to the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport in Ontario.

Driving it there and back that weekend was about 800 mostly highway miles. It was a cold rainy weekend and by its end the gorgeous green coupe was no longer the object of my affections. The seats were stylish but quite uncomfortable. The wipers didn’t work particularly well but worse of all, the car leaked horribly. If memory serves it was at the top of the windshield. First gear didn’t have a syncro and the lights didn’t seem to work that well at night in the rain. The engine leaked oil.

Jaguar XKE in profile

Jaguar eventually addressed the comfort problems by changing the seats and dropping the floor pan to provide a more comfortable angle of access to the pedals. The newer 4.2 engines were also better. For years the pricing for XKEs languished but no more. That original flat floor design tops the chart in XKE pricing. The desirability of the early XKEs appears to be based on the fact that it is exactly that, an early model. Either way, early XKEs are tough to pin down on price but we have seen them recently offered at well north of $200K. Subsequent models equipped with the 4.2 L engine and a full syncromesh transmission are generally more affordable. Go figure.

This week’s Michael Furman image is of a 1938 Talbot-Lago T-150C SS from his book Curves of Steel.

1938 Talbot-Lago T-150C SS, by Michael Furman

Our Classifieds this week feature Maserati.

Speaking of buying, we encourage readers to support our advertisers. In the coming weeks we will be sharing advertising and buying suggestions from many of our MMR Community supporters.

Have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa

French Barn Find

Posted on December 11, 2014 Comments (1)

Artcurial Unearths A Treasure Trove of Collector Cars.
( And the internet justifies its existence)

Let me be clear. 99.9% of the blogs to which we are invited are at best vacuous.

Hemmings has proven to be a welcome difference.

French Barn find - Ferrari under magazines

With a timing that could only be described as serendipitous,  Artcurial, a French auction house, has unearthed a treasure of over 60 “abandoned” cars. It has also created an art video and a set of quite evocative images and unleashed the whole lot on a shocked car collector world. Room occupancy rates, usually dismal in Paris in February, are bound to rise for the days including and surrounding February 6th. This isn’t cynicism; it is homage to brilliant marketing.

Ferrari 250 GT California, French Barn FindOf the product itself, several are mere rusting shells, others look restorable and still others, like the most valuable Ferrari 250 California once owned by actor Alain Delon, appear relatively unscathed and ready to drive. “Curiouser and curiouser” as Alice once said.

Hemmings, with a history and style at least as old as the oldest of these vehicles, is hosting a lively and interesting “blog” related to this discovery. The comments contained encompass opinion that in many ways defines the multi-faceted world of vintage cars and the very interesting people who inhabit it.


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 4, 2014 Comments (3)

Racing is over in the countries where winter has sway but in the land down under, the V8 Supercars are getting ready to roll. We are looking into it and will post their events on the MMR Motorsports Calendar when we have the information.

Once the holidays are behind us January will launch the MMR Community into the concours and auctions season. January in Scottsdale will be busy with both and our MMR Calendar below will give you an overview. As we get closer we will give you some idea of our plans to attend events in the new year.

F1. The Season that Never Ends

While American F1 commentators waxed rhapsodically about how exciting the past season has been, close to a million of the 5.3 million Germans who watched it in 2013 tuned out. Their country produced the team that won the Manufacturers Championship and the only serious contender for Driver’s Championship other than the British winner! In the US meanwhile, F1 popularity is reportedly “exploding”. Most of us would prefer our excitement to come from closer racing on the track than the game of “Angry Teammates”.

Meanwhile, back in the back room, the big boys are trying to figure out how to (1) divvy the loot so that more than four teams can compete all the time and making certain that their crown jewel, Ferrari, doesn’t implode or (2) figure out how to get Bernie and CVC to kick back some more of what they take out.It ain’t gonna be easy folks! But it may be more entertaining than watching another season of Mercedes domination and Ferrari in the doldrums.

Luca de Montezemolo, former Ferrari Chairman, now heads Alitalia Airlines. His replacement at Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne, has replaced recent Team Principal Marco Mattiacci with Maurizio Arrivabene (pictured). He has F1 political experience which is something neither his boss has, nor his predecessor had. Which probably explains exactly why he is there. This is no longer a game of technology and small fast men and increasingly boys.

F1 Engines

The F1 engine issue has yet to be resolved and only concessions to the agreed upon existing formula by Mercedes can change the deal. It is their edge and, understandably, they have little interest in change. New entry Honda is not constrained by this agreement and comes in with a clean slate. Question is, can their engine be more competitive than those produced by others? Based on results of the original outing at Abu Dhabi, they have a ways to go. And one must keep in mind that Honda’s historical commitment to F1 could only charitably be viewed as consistent. They once fielded a team, then they supplied an engine, then they fielded a team again, which is now the Mercedes team, and now they want to field an engine, again. And BTW, Honda car sales, in an up market, are down.

2015 IndyCar Schedule Released

Progress is being made at IndyCar. Though having next season end in August remains incomprehensible, not having it end at the dreaded Fontana track is a bonus. Sadly it remains on the schedule. Someone of influence obviously has power over good sense and is also not a driver. Verizon remain the series sponsor and the Penske team will run four cars in 2015. Simon Pagenaud will drive for them. That will be interesting to watch as he and now teammate, and former close friend, IndyCar Champion Will Power, will share the same equipment. Power is also rumored to have less than warm relations with often affable and often surly but always competitive and quick-tempered teammate, Yuan Pablo Montoya.  Montoya is a modern AJ Foyt. That leaves the aging but still quick Helio Castroneves, who gets along with everyone, as Power’s likely lunch companion this year. This will be a tough team to beat and neither Ganassi nor Andretti Racing looks to be their match. On the positive side, unlike F1, there are a number of small teams that can give the big boys (read money) a run on any given day. More on Indy in future weeks.

This week’s Michael Furman Image is a Porsche America Roadster from the book Porsche Unexpected.

Our Eye Candy is from editor/photographer Dom Miliano’s collection.

Our feature story is the first in a series of stories about sports cars of the sixties and this week’s chosen favorite is the Sunbeam Tiger.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to encourage friends to subscribe to our Newsletter.

Peter Bourassa