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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on May 2, 2014 Comments (0)

Alfas

Alfa: A Glorious Past—An Unpredictable Future

Regular subscribers may have noticed that mention of Alfa Romeo occurs frequently in our weekly screeds. The history of this glorious brand provides excellent fodder for our constant railings against the plastic look-alike offerings of Maserati, Jaguar and Buick.

Alfa Romeo has had two lives; a full rich one in Europe where its successful racing and fine street cars engendered a passion which endures around the world today. And another in America where its European accomplishments were generally unknown but where Alfa race cars soared sporadically in the sixties and seventies. Truth be told, it is best remembered in America for being Dustin Hoffmann’s ride in The Graduate.

Alfa

This week it was announced that Fiat would be removing Alfa from under the Ferrari–Maserati umbrella and making it a stand-alone company. In fact, Ferrari is the premium performance brand, and a struggling Maserati is not a close second. Porsche has that. Glorious as its past unquestionably is, today there is no room for Alfa Romeo in the Fiat garage. This week’s announcement is not accompanied by a hopeful plan or an encouraging narrative. Rather it has fueled speculation that Alfa Romeo is being positioned for sale. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it found a loving home.

Alfa 3 wheel

Alfa: History Flash

In keeping with the Alfa theme, contributor S. Scott Callan has provided us a reminder of Alfa’s glorious past from his book, Alfa Romeo: View from The Mouth of the Dragon.

Ferrari 250 GTO in Motion

Ferrari 250 GTO 1964

University of Rhode Island Film Professor, one time actor, and MMR subscriber Hal Hamilton forwarded a great video of Derek Hill narrating the history of and driving the Ferrari 250 GTO that his father drove to victory in several major races. This is about as close as many of us will ever get to the view from the passenger seat of this most beautiful of the 36 GTOs ever made.

Senna and RUSH

Motorsports magazines are reminding Ayrton Senna fans that this month marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna at Imola. Autoweek carried Alain Prost’s fairly brief remembrance of their relationship in the most recent issue. As it happens, I saw RUSH last week and read the Prost piece shortly afterward. It occurred to me that the rivalry between Senna and Prost would have made a far better film.

Images

Our lead image and Alfa images this week are from Michael Keyser’s excellent book Racing Demons – Porsche and the Targa Florio.

And Michael Furman’s image this week is a great shot of the long tail 917 that lives at the Simeone in Philadelphia. Isn’t it stunning?

photo by Michael Furman, Porsche Long Tail 917

If you haven’t visited our Uncommon Classifieds recently, click here. There are a number of rare and interesting cars on offer at this time. Take a moment to dream, it’s good for you.

Have a great weekend and please share this with a friend.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on April 18, 2014 Comments (0)

Amelia Island 2014

100 years of Maserati was celebrated at Amelia this year and we captured this image of the unique 450S Coupe as it was moving to take its place on the field. 

Our eye candy this week is taken from the MMR Classifieds. Our goal with the MMR Classifieds is to save you the trouble of sifting through thousands of images of vehicles. We will list 400 cars that are of interest to us. The sampling below should give you some idea of what to expect. 

Next week we begin our series on modern day rally-touring. The Michael Furman image was taken from his gallery on our site.

Horch 853 Cabriolet

Horch 853 Cabriolet

Around the Track

Sometime in the 1960s, a Canadian bass-baritone was singing the role of bad-guy Scarpia in Tosca at L’Opera in Paris. It was one of those nights when two other leads, the good guys, were just slightly off. He was fine. At the end of the second act Tosca stabs Scarpia and he falls to the floor. In the moment of silence allowed for the audience to appreciate the drama of the scene, a voice from the audience was clearly heard to say “Quel domage, ils ont tue le meilleur.” What a shame, they killed the best one.

We were prescient; a head did roll. The noble Domenicalli, Director of Ferrari Racing, has accepted full responsibility for Ferrari’s poor performance and resigned. Quel Domage. Stefano, who appeared to be a warm and funny man, was certainly a refreshing change from the sphinx-like Jean Todt. For that matter, Sir Frank and Sir Ron could hardly be described as cheerful. The former Mercedes duo of Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug never threatened Laurel and Hardy either. Must come with the territory.

Aston Martin DB 2 MK III

Aston Martin DB 2 MK III

Penske vs. Ganassi Battle on Track and Off

It was inevitable. Two great teams go head to head in multiple series for years and sooner or later one is going to say something nasty about the other. Surprisingly, the first public utterances come from the polished Penske team. Before the Long Beach IndyCar weekend, which neither team won, Autoweek reports that Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing, “tried a baseball analogy, making those in Ganassi colors see red. He said Team Penske is the New York Yankees and Ganassi Racing the Miami Marlins.” Ganassi responded that “from time to time Tim probably cashes lots of different checks in different currency that Roger doesn’t like cashing.” The sphinx-like Roger said not a word. Comes with the territory.

Allard K1-544 Sport

Allard K1-544 Sport

Long Beach Weekend

Saturday: The Tudor Sports Car Series race was the main event and even though the classes are still confusing, the racing was great. The final laps were flat-out racing in both the prototype and the GTLM production car classes. Ford Eco-Boost powered Riley with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won for Ganassi in Prototype. In the GT Le Mans class Corvette won overall but the battle for second between another Corvette, the BMW, and the Viper was tremendous. It is amazing and a testament to the excellent work that IMSA has done to make cars as disparate as these so competitive with each other.

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Torpedo de Lux

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Torpedo de Lux

Sunday: The IndyCar feature race of the weekend was “wild”. Many harsh words exchanged but no fisticuffs and cars did collide; people who know better made dumb moves. And, while everyone talks about Ganassi and Penske teams as the powerhouses, it was the Andretti car driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay that led 51 laps and was followed by a second Andretti car driven by James Hinchcliff. Unfortunately they took each other out. Unkind words were spoken. So none of the big teams won. As for the race, it was excellent! Like most street tracks, Long Beach has issues but the pluses outweigh the shortcomings. The fact that the field is so deep, talented, and competitive makes for great racing. Amazingly, running a single car doesn’t appear to be a disadvantage. Single car teams made up the front row. Ed Carpenter Racing and driver Mike Conway won the race. It was fun to watch. The fuel and tire strategies, the quick young drivers and experienced veterans, a tight course with no run-offs, are the ingredients required for laughter and tears and there was plenty of the latter. If you are looking for an exciting change from F1, give this a try.

And, BTW, pass this on to a friend.

Peter Bourassa

1938 MG TA Tickford

1938 MG TA Tickford

 1932 Delage D8 SS Interior | Michael Furman, Photographer

1932 Delage D8 SS Interior | Michael Furman, Photographer


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on April 11, 2014 Comments (0)

F1

Just when we were expecting the worst, a fine race broke out. This was certainly one of the best races F1 has produced in recent memory. Bahrain is still a Mickey Mouse track but it would have been impossible to duplicate this kind of close racing at Spa. Why do TV racing producers feel compelled to keep the cars racing for the win off of our screens? This is not the first race this year where we are treated to the gripping battle for fifth while the battle for the win is ignored. Meanwhile, Ferrari and Renault need a new plan soon or heads will roll.

Denise McCluggage and Anne Hall in Ford Falcon -- Monte Carlo Rally

But Baby, It’s Cold Outside

It is the 50th Anniversary of Paddy Hopkirk’s Monte Carlo win and our lead image is of Denise McCluggage and co-driver Anne Hall blasting thru the Alps to win the Lady’s Cup and, more important, their class in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally! Denise also raced and won for Ford in The Shell 4000 Rally in Canada. Read on.

Winter Courting in Quebec

We never really took Summer rallying seriously. We just wanted to drive fast for an hour, find a secluded beach with a campfire and warm beer and neck. Ah necking! It was a far different time.

Winter rallies were different, we would bounce our little AH Sprites at breakneck speeds over snow packed and deeply rutted side roads in the Quebec countryside to finish in some warm little restaurant where we would learn that the winning team, generally driving a Volkswagen Beetle equipped with functional windshield wipers, a heater and a calculator, (The unfair advantage?) had finished an hour ahead of us and we had never even been on the same roads. Then we would fall back into our little cars, race all the way back to St. Jean with one eye glued to a five inch half circle of clear windshield. It is amazing that we lived. Girls wouldn’t come with us on these adventures because, one, they took place on Sunday mornings and they had to go to church, and two, the rallies were stupid and they weren’t. Besides they never necked on Sunday. It was their day off.

Uncommon Classifieds

This week’s classifieds are exceptional. Take a moment to buy one.

Alfas Everywhere!

S. Scott Callan shared images and a vignette about Enzo Ferrari and his days with Alfa—from his book Alfa Romeo: View From the Mouth of the Dragon. This week’s brilliant image of our favorite car (which resides at the Simeone Foundation Museum) is from Michael Furman’s book The Spirit of Competition.

Michael Furman photo

Have a great weekend. Don’t forget to share this with a friend.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on March 7, 2014 Comments (0)

Beautiful, and All Too Brief

Online newsletters are basically the same words and images as print media. The words, whether printed on the screen or on the page, are pretty much the same. Images, no matter how dramatically framed, cannot compare to the “pop” they deliver when back-lit by a screen. This week’s images are by Michael Furman, undisputed master of automotive studio photography. Enjoy!

1933 Rolls Royce PII Continental photo by Michael Furman

1933 Rolls Royce PII Continental – photo by Michael Furman

Amelia! Amelia! Wherefore art Thou!

It is early Friday morning as you read this and we are beginning our first day of events at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Since it is somewhat earlier in the week as I write this, I am trusting that the weather is warm and all is dry. The forecast was not positively negative. Either way, look for our detailed reports next week.

1955 Ghia Gilda photo by Michael Furman

1955 Ghia Gilda –photo by Michael Furman

The Collier

The Collier family name has been synonymous with motorsports for decades. Until now, access to the Naples Florida based Collier Collection archives and their historically important cars has been denied to all but serious collectors, restorers, scholars, and historians. We have recently learned from several sources that, in a partnership with Stanford University’s Revs Institute, the museum will soon be open to the public. This is exciting news and we will happily pass on details as they are confirmed.

1969 Shelby GT500 photo by Michael Furman

1969 Shelby GT500 – photo by Michael Furman

Gold Medal Ads

The Winter Olympics have nothing whatsoever to do with cars. Then again… without car ad revenue there wouldn’t be television coverage. We did a quick Picks & Pans on the auto ads. We look for your thoughts.

2014 Bugatti Vitesse photo by Michael Furman

2014 Bugatti Vitesse – photo by Michael Furman

Have a great weekend wherever you may be and if it is on the 18th fairway at Amelia on Sunday, say “Hi.” (I’m the one in the burgundy MMR logo cap.)

Peter Bourassa

2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 3.8 photo by Michael Furman

2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 3.8 – photo by Michael Furman

1975 Porsche 911 Turbo photo by Michael Furman

1975 Porsche 911 Turbo – photo by Michael Furman

1914 Flying Merkel photo by Michael Furman

1914 Flying Merkel – photo by Michael Furman

1959 Jaguar XK-150 Roadster photo by Michael Furman

1959 Jaguar XK-150 Roadster – photo by Michael Furman


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 21, 2014 Comments (1)

This week’s images are from our archives and celebrate British cars and the Best of Britain exhibit scheduled to open today at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. Read more below…

We are solidly into the Hype and Hope portion of the F1 racing season. Speaking of Hype, the NASCAR circus are into their annual muddle of shoot-outs, clashes, and apple-bobbing contests before their real race finally happens on the 23rd. But, credit where credit is due, it is generally an interesting race.

Elephants in the Garage

So until something better comes along we will entertain ourselves, and hopefully our readers, by joining all our friends, many as unqualified as we, in speculating about the Alice in Auctionland market. Please note that our choice of cars reflects what our readers tell us they appreciate; a car that drives well is more valuable than a car that appreciates well but does all else poorly.

Market Picks

While punters question when this spiraling market will crash, there are excellent cars that are quietly going nowhere. It has been ten years since the last of 5,703 Z8s rolled off the BMW assembly line. The market was slow to appreciate this excellent but understated modern sports car. As it has aged, appreciation has grown for its attention to detail and build quality. It has been referred to as a modern E-type. What are your thoughts?

Market Pans

One vintage sports car, whose price rise continues to astound, is the Austin Healey 3000 MKIII. This was a car that grew out of the spare and sporty 100/4 to become a somewhat plump sports/GT car that created a niche for itself between the relatively inexpensive MG and Triumphs and the expensive and prestigious Jaguars of the day. Big Healeys, as the 3000 series was known, are unquestionably handsome and were quite popular in their day. They were more comfortable than quick and their low slung exhaust systems made drivers aware of steep curbs long before front valences came in fashion. In hindsight, their predecessor the 100/6 was really the Healey to have. Though never as successful a racer as the 100 series, it was a true sports car with minimal creature comforts, clean and simple in design. In our opinion it was a better car. What do you think?

Making Car Images

The Simeone Museum launch their Best of Britain Exhibit this Friday the 21st in Philadelphia and on Sunday, March 2nd, MMR Editor Dom Miliano, joins renown photographer Michael Furman for a one day Automotive Photography Workshop from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, also at the Simeone.  Workshop Info >>

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to take a moment and share this with a friend.

Peter Bourassa