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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 28, 2014 Comments (0)

This week’s Newsletter is focused on Northern Florida. We will focus first on The Daytona 500 race and on the upcoming Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Our images this week are from past Amelias.

Chevy, Hendricks, and Junior win Daytona

The Daytona 500 is a fascinating race. After running 38 laps, the race was delayed over six hours and, when it resumed, patient fans got their money’s worth. The culmination of a two week self-love fest, to win the 500 requires a good car, a good team, and an experienced driver. No matter how talented or quick, rookies and strangers don’t win the 500 today. Chevrolet provided a good car and the best team developed it and hired top drivers to win. Hendrick Motorsports had three cars in the top five finishers and they worked together. On the final restart, when push came to shove, Chevy driver Jeff Gordon literally pushed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to his second victory at Daytona. Gordon finished third and teammate Jimmie Johnson finished fifth. Note: A month ago the winner of the 2014 24 Hours of Daytona won just over $100K. Junior picked up $1.43M.

DW Does a Nutty

Darrell Waltrip, former NASCAR Champion and now Fox race commentator, had an opportunity to ride in an Australian V8 Series stock car and his reactions were recorded. Check out our homepage video for more.

Collector’s Corner

Last Sunday’s New York Times featured an interview with Sam Mann, a New Jersey collector whose cars have won at Pebble Beach four times and Amelia six. Mann is a successful design engineer with 81 patents to his name. His collection of forty-six vehicles is eclectic, interesting in its scope and reflective of his life experiences. As a young man growing up in Patterson, he learned to work on cars and in his early collecting days he did his own restoration work. In the article he explains how much he enjoyed seeking out, researching their histories, and purchasing cars directly from owners. Today “all is set before you in an auction book and the only remaining challenge is that of being outbid.” He laments the change. And so do we.

Amelia Cometh

We will be driving the WASRED 308 to Amelia again this year, weather permitting, and we will share some tips for fellow Amelia travelers a little further down this letter.

Please share this with a friend.

Have a great weekend,
Peter Bourassa


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


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 14, 2014 Comments (0)

It is the Worst of Times and the Best of Times

With prices of older cars soaring, the opposite is happening with once unaffordable luxury coupes that have a little age. Are these once high priced cars the auction classics of 2034? This week’s images highlight future classics that are affordable and available NOW! (For more of these images SUBSCRIBE to our weekly newsletter.)

Mercedes

Something Is Wrong with This Picture

Things are happening that don’t add up. First, the market prices being paid for classic cars are at an all time high. Second, the world is being treated to an abundance of auctions, now coming in clusters, like traveling circuses. Third, car shows are now as ubiquitous as church bake sales. These shows are making us aware that there are far more great old cars out there than we ever imagined. So, reviewing these phenomena in reverse; are these new found cars fueling the growth of auction events around the world? And if there is a new found abundance of cars, why are the prices paid continuing to climb? There are only ten Ferrari 275 GTCs. They don’t make a market. They make a club. But there were almost 50K made of the 230/250/280SLs. And people are paying stupid prices for them. People say they are great cars. I think that for $100K to $150K you can easily find far better cars, i.e.; Ferraris 355s & 550 Maranellos and Porsches 996s & 964 Turbos, and have change to keep them running.

Ferrari

Auctions: We Reveal the Winner! And it Ain’t You.

Recently we wrote about a successful car dealer who felt he could drive a fast car well because he was a successful car dealer. This is commonly called an assumed transference of competence. It happens in varying degrees to all men who enjoy a modicum of success or power. Give us credit for one thing and we can figure out almost anything else. I had a successful friend who told me he could perform an appendectomy on himself because he saw a doctor do it on TV. He said it looked easy. Individual auction buyers and sellers fall into three categories. The top level men are both intelligent (Intelligent being defined as showing the ability to easily learn or deal with new or difficult situations) and smart (Smart being defined as knowledgeable and aware of how a given game is played), and generally wealthy. That is generally why. The middle group, who learned the auction game by watching TV is intelligent but not so smart and may also be very wealthy. And the lower level, where most of us fall, are not brilliant but smart enough to know it and fearful enough of being found out that we either sit on our hands or do exactly what the smart guys do; hire pros to help them achieve their buy/sell goals.

Think of it this way: there are three parties involved in an auction: the seller, who never really knows exactly what he is going to get; the buyer who knows exactly what he can afford but generally doesn’t know exactly what he is buying; and, the auction house who have a pretty good idea about what they are selling and are always guaranteed to get something but can never lose. Except when dealers are involved, the auction houses are the only pros in this game.

Unless, of course, you the individual, bring your own. If you are either buying or selling, bring a pro into the equation from the beginning. Pros can help you assess value, insure that your car doesn’t go off at three in the morning if you are selling, and help you understand bidding. See our Goods & Services Directory for the names of companies that can help. (HINT: use the category filters in the left column of the directory; click Auction Advisors under Specialty Services and then click the Search button.)

Denise McCluggage My Word

Denise has a fascinating story this week about Peter Collins and the time in which he drove. We found this interesting comment about him after the YouTube video we are featuring:

Peter Collins was one of the most promising pilots from the ‘50s. I liken it to François Cevert. They even had similar passages in the category. In 1956, Fangio won the world championship, because Collins let him pass. Collins was a big friend of Mike Hawthorn. Hawthorn got out of F1 in ‘58, because of the death of Collins. Like what happened with Jackie Stewart, who left the class, because of the death of Cevert, they were great friends.

Peter Collins

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to pass this on to a friend.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 7, 2014 Comments (0)

This week’s images are from the recent Cavallino Classic Sports Sunday at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach and were shot by our Florida Correspondent Leslie Allen.

MarAlago Overshot

Buano

Aston

Denise McCluggage Sets the Tone for Thinking While Driving.

Thanks to FCA – New England, Aston Martin Owners Club and the Alfa Owners of New England clubs for getting the word out to members about The Centered Driver Workshop. The event was sold out. Read our wrap-up.

Racing…

F1 - Caught with their Parts Down, Red Bull… First to Blush: The teams all had their first run out of the box at Jerez. Mercedes looks good, Ferrari looks indifferent, and Renault appears to have all kinds of problems. Stay tuned, early days yet.

Sebring Logo

Sebring 12 Hours: Tudor Sports Car Series the next Big Bore Race. Very much like Daytona, this is a terrible race to watch on TV. BTW, Kudos to the announce team at Daytona and hopefully at Sebring. They make it hugely better. Bravo!

A Street is not a Road… and Neither is an Oval

Miglia Logo

The first European racing courses were laid out on roads, not always paved or even graveled, generally between towns. As roads got better, the dangers of racing multiplied for both the thrill seeking drivers and the thrill seeking spectators who crowded the roads to get closer to the action. At some point, the roads became loops and the races became laps. Then some form of barriers kept the spectators from crowding the cars, even if little prevented the cars from crowding the spectators. It could be assumed that Europeans wanted to get closer to the action because they got to see so little of it. Events like the Mille Miglia allowed whole towns to see the cars go by once and if you were car mad that could be frustrating. Crowding a car at the apex of a turn became the equivalent of teasing a bull to charge your cape just to see how close you could bring your hip to pointy horn. The disaster at Le Mans in ‘55 heightened awareness among promoters that spectators needed better protection or they might stay away. Little was done about driver safety until the ‘70s because they were more easily replaced.

Damn Few Died In Bed by Andy Dunlop

Early on, American racing history took a different turn. Small ovals, some banked and others banked and made of wood, allowed spectators to see all the cars all the time and although single-seater racing was equally deadly, spectators were generally safe and because it paid well, drivers were more easily replaced. (See our review of Damn Few Died in Bed in the Racemaker Press Book Reviews.)

After WWII, as speeds around the racing world increased and the sport of motor racing became more popular, more purpose-built facilities materialized and some weekend racers became full time racers. Racing on abandoned wartime airfields was a perfect English solution as these locations were paved, had existing infrastructure, and could make for quite safe racing. With a few notable exceptions such as Monza, the French, Germans, and Italians continued to race on closed off roads at Le Mans, The Targa Florio and the Nurburgring. Compare what these guys are doing at the Nurburgring in The Speed Merchants with any three minutes of the 24 hours of Daytona. Buy this video and relive.

The continued popularity of the streets of Monaco, which is not a particularly good race track, has always appealed to promoters happy to disrupt metropoli across America with promises of huge crowds of consumers in exchange for a free track and local TV coverage. In reality Street circuits, (as compared with road courses) such as Baltimore, Toronto, Long Beach and Three Rivers only look Like Monaco from 30,000 feet or higher up. Down on the ground, the bumpy cement barrier bound lanes and twenty foot high catch fences make every corner exit look like a prison break.

Then there are the neither fish nor fowl “road course” tracks like Daytona, Indy, Fontana, and numerous other ovals. These have all paved unimaginative flat turns deep in their bowls and produce, at best, tedium. Bring back road courses like Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, and Laguna Seca.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Peter Bourassa


Jag