MMR Blog

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 24, 2014 Comments (0)

On behalf of all the people who put the MMR Community Newsletter together, Editor Dom Miliano, IT folks Lucy Iannotti and Garret Vreeland, Correctness Advisor Dianne Isaacson, Social Media editor Ashley Novack, our wonderful writers Denise McCluggage and Sandy Cotterman, and all the sponsors who make this possible and who we pray you support, Merry Christmas! For those among us who celebrate Christmas, we hope you have a day filled with good feelings towards family, friends and life. And to everyone else, this may be the only gift you will receive today, but comfort yourself, it is a labor of love and it ain’t shabby.

THE MMR Christmas Letter

Peter Bourassa, at his desk

The other day John Gallagher, good friend and MMR subscriber, sent me a joke about a man who asks the police to find his missing wife. As the police question him about her age, what she looks like and what she is wearing, he exhibits little knowledge. When asked about the car she might be driving, he describes his Corvette in infinite detail. Don’t worry, says the cop, we’ll find your car. Guys find that funny and women, often with good reason, do not.  The MMR Christmas Letter is about a similar person. I will only say that men generally find it funny.

Sandy on Assignment

In this issue we wind up the year with  the Sandy on Assignment review of the recent Winter Park Concours d’Elegance in Florida. Our images this week are all from that event. While Sandy took most of them, we thank longtime MMR subscriber Alex Dearborn and motorsports historian Bill Rothermel for helping us with additional images.

More Good Books

Troy Spencer, MotorBinder, and Harry Hurst, 12 Hours of Sebring

In last week’s issue we recommended some recently released books that would be at ease on your shelves. This week, I want to mention two books, one, Troy Spencer’s MotorBinder is an excellent book about SoCal’s racing scene in the fifties and sixties and the cars which his father owned and sponsored in the day, and Harry Hurst’s book 12 Hours of Sebring 1965 with pictures by Dave Friedman. Both great reads. So take a minute and tell us what great book you read this year and that we may have missed.

A Word about Words

If you are one of those people who is constantly pummeling your friends about the correct pronunciation of words belonging to foreign languages, you might enjoy this week’s short treatise on words.

Michael Furman, Photographer

Michael Furman, 1937 Dubonnet Hispano

Michael’s image this week is a 1937 Dubonnet Hispano from his book Curves of Steel.

Ad Wars

Fiat Environmentally Sexy video still

Nobody can be certain if Fiat or Chrysler will actually survive the next five years. But, and this is coming from a former GM and now Ford guy, if it comes down to who is making the best ads, Chrysler/Fiat wins. If I have to listen to one more deep voice intone the torque stats of a highly polished pickup truck that dominates a scene of scrub land, plaid shirts worn by the same middle-aged women who are waiting for “the right moment” and populate Cialis ads, baby lambs and distant mountains, I will be ill. Serve me information on a clever plate and I am your man. Check out this week’s video.

Help Us Have a Great Holiday

Support our  sponsors, Like us on Facebook and pass this on to a friend. Thanks and have a great holiday.

Peter Bourassa

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 November 14, 2014 Comments (1)

Art Direction and Photography by Royce Rumsey, Auto-Focused copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved. Arizona Concours d'Elegance.

Arizona Concours d'Elegance. Photography by Royce Rumsey, Auto-Focused © 2014.

Racing: Chess & Crisis in Brazil & Phoenix


Kimi and Fernando


“Brazil was an interesting race”, that was Ferrari driver Fernando Alonzo’s take on the Brazil GP. And for him it was. For the remainder of us, other than the scrap Fernando had with his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen there was little to watch. This was a cerebral race. Like chess, the battle went on in the minds of Rosberg and Hamilton and Hamilton was the only one with something to lose. The highly touted Abu Dhabi will be no different. Another no-conflict second will bring him the Championship.

German stands


F1 has two issues but both boil down to the same thing. Money. The cost of running a team in F1 is too high for but a few and they are becoming fewer. Initially supported by race car manufacturers and wealthy businessmen and sportsmen, the advent of tobacco money and big advertising, changed all that. Today there remain two self-funding car company teams, one is rich and the other is struggling. The remainder of the teams are dependent on outside sponsorship to survive. That brings us to the second issue. The price of staging a race is prohibitive and the organizers make money primarily on ticket sales. It is judged that attendance was down 50% in Brazil last weekend, the numbers for Russia were not available, and these are not the only places where the gate is down. All is not well in paradise. Incidentally this isn’t the only series where attendance is down.

Art Direction and Photography by Royce Rumsey, Auto-Focused copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved. Arizona Concours d'Elegance.

Arizona Concours d'Elegance. Photography by Royce Rumsey, Auto-Focused © 2014.


nascar chase grid final 2014

No fisticuffs this week but a war of quotes and the series winds down to its finale at Homestead, a typically dismal Florida track of cinderblock and former ocean bottom. The Chase has been whittled down to four potential winners. The irony is that none has to win the championship by winning the race. They simply must finish ahead of the other three. And one of them, Ryan Newman, hasn’t won a race this year. He got into the “final four” by intentionally pushing a competitor out of the way last weekend, something even he abhorred and for which he semi-apologized. This would all make for a hollow Championship indeed.

The racing season is in its dying moments. For those of us looking forward to the next one, January 11th in Scottsdale looks good. It may be hell in the summer, but it is definitely heaven in January.

Royce Rumsey photography, copyright 2014

Arizona Concours d'Elegance. Photography by Royce Rumsey, Auto-Focused © 2014.

Our Resource Directory feature this week is the Arizona Concours d’Elegance at The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. The images are by Royce Rumsey of Auto-Focus and were taken at the Concours last year. They are a clue to the quality and diversity you can expect to see in January.

This week’s Michael Furman image is from his book Curves of Steel.

This week’s Michael Furman image is from his book Curves of Steel.

Please share this MMR Community Newsletter with a friend. See you all here next week.

Peter Bourassa

Art Direction and Photography by Royce Rumsey, Auto-Focused copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved. Arizona Concours d'Elegance.

Arizona Concours d'Elegance. Photography by Royce Rumsey, Auto-Focused © 2014.

Car Shows – An Evolution

Posted on September 18, 2014 Comments (0)

Automobile shows officially began in America in Boston and New York in 1900. Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit followed in 1901. Today, most small towns and all the large ones have at least one car show and several billed as concours feature specific categories, makes, or countries of origin.

The words concours or concorso are French and Italian for contest. The often-added addendum d’Elegance or d’Eleganza are self-evident in meaning and often not a standard for entry.

By far the greatest number of car shows in America feature local cars on display for local enthusiasts. Most allow fellow competitors or the public to choose their winners. Some larger events are judged. Here winners are chosen based on the opinions of local enthusiasts possessed of varying degrees of competence for the tasks. The latter system can be more controversial than the first but since the stakes are but bragging rights and trophies, no one is harmed.

National level contests have burgeoned in the past ten years. Once the purview of Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and the now renamed Concours d’Elegance of America (formerly Meadowbrook), winning these events had, and still has, meaning for car owners. Today, with the expansion of national events to the stately golf courses in America and the stately homes and country estates of Europe, many more vehicles are receiving national and international attention. Despite that, only Pebble Beach and Amelia in America and Villa d’Este in Europe have gravitas in the eyes of national and international competitors.

For Pebble Beach, Amelia and Villa d’Este, considerably more is at stake at every level. For collectors, winning can mean a significant and immediate difference in the value of the vehicle and the remainder of the collection. It is also a valuable feather in the cap of the restorer. The crucial difference between events at this level and all others is the quality of the judging. Top tier events invest in recruiting and developing world class judges. This investment assures participants that their vehicles will be judged by recognized experts. Some well known collectors will not show their cars at events where they could be beaten as a result of poor judging. Such losses devalue the car in the eyes of the public and prospective buyers.

There will always be a future for both the top tier and the local car shows. The battle for survival is at the middle level. Each event struggles every year to differentiate itself from others and its own previous presentation. They all have the added burden of finding and maintaining sponsorship from national brands that have a growing demand for their resources.

Then there is the enthusiast. Unlike before the internet and 24-hour-live coverage of events, enthusiasts have a plethora of motorsports activity options every weekend. Attending a car show is just one of them. To draw people from a distance, a car show must offer more than 150 seldom seen vehicles on a famous golf course. Monterey Week is probably the best example of stand-alone events combining with local communities, government, and business groups to present visitors with choices. They have realized that to entice people to travel to their area and spend money, they must first present a variety of attractive options.

Two quite different events that have grown in stature are the Santa Fe Concorso and The Boston Cup.

In the case of the Santa Fe Concorso, they have a small population base from which to draw spectators, no major metropolis within convenient driving distance and an equally small car population to supply materials. Yet they continue to grow by focusing on what they do have, a small but beautiful city with a strong arts scene, great weather, interesting roads nearby, serious local racing figures in the Unsers and Denise McCluggage and just as importantly, a hospitality industry is focused on insuring that people come back. Unlike Monterey and Amelia, rates are not inflated because the car guys are coming to town and the base rates are remarkably low. This and a growing program that features a great drive, a museum tour with for real Indy greats, a movie night featuring Bullitt at a refurbished historic cinema and, finally, an interesting concorso that will keep people coming back again and again.

The Boston Cup people have taken a different approach. In the middle of a busy metropolis sits the historic Boston Common. It is huge and because it is a public space, the public have free access. The Boston Cup Sunday event is a celebration of an eclectic mix of cars from the early days of the 20th century and the latest electric cars from major manufacturers. Cars are drawn from local collectors with national stature, race teams – vintage and modern, and coaxed out of garages from throughout New England. Informal gathering for a Cars and Coffee and Arrive and Drive meetings take place on the common on Saturday and a cocktail party for participants is held at the Ritz on Saturday night. The organizers have succeeded in convincing a City Hall with a historically anti-car bias that cars on green spaces are good for both the merchants and the public. The location is very visible from the surrounding streets and pedestrian traffic on the Common is very high. For these reasons, major manufacturers want to be involved and this year BMW is doing a ride and drive program on the day prior to the main event. The judging for the Boston Cup is done by both the public and the participants. The whole atmosphere is relaxed.

These two car events will survive and are models for others to emulate. In the 21st Century, cars may continue to be the feature draw at car shows, but a combination of auctions, movies, tours, vintage racing, knowledgeable judges, and major manufacturers and local merchants and government support will be crucial to survival. Not a short list but this is a tough neighborhood with growing expectations.

1000 Islands Concours d'Elegance

Posted on July 16, 2012 Comments (0)

Antique Boat Museum to host second annual classic car show July 21st.

1000 Islands Concours d'Elegance

The Antique Boat Museum, situated on the banks of the magnificent St. Lawrence River, will once again be the setting for a classic car show on Saturday, July 21st. The show will be unique combining up to 50 impressive classic cars dating from the 1950s with a dazzling collection of handcrafted, antique wooden boats from the glory days of American boat building.

The Concours d'Elegance will feature rare and distinctive motorcars including pristine Corvettes, Mercedes-­?Benzes, Ferraris, Bentleys, and a special 1963 Aston Martin DB4C. Considered a breakthrough automobile in the postwar period, the featured sports touring car was considered one of the sleekest and fastest of its time traveling at speeds of nearly 150 mph. The show will present model SN1083L, built in 1962 and one of only 28 left-­?hand drive convertibles manufactured.

All persons, including entrants, attending the show will be invited to vote in several categories including People's Choice, Women's Choice, and The Car I Would Love to Drive Home In. Official judges will be deciding Best of Show and two 1000 Islands Awards for special merit.

Download the Registration Form.