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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 31, 2014 Comments (0)

Nearly Everyone can Read… Many can Type… Fewer can Write

Denise

People who depend on words for a living—writers, editors, teachers, and lawyers, know when something is written well. We, the general reading public, first begin reading for education and sooner or later for entertainment. We only gradually become aware of the differences in style and flow. And then one day you read a book or an article that is written in such a way that makes you notice that you enjoyed the way the story was told as much as the story itself. That is exactly how I felt when I read my first story by Denise McCluggage. My eagerness to read her Autoweek column has never subsided. In this issue of the MMR Newsletter, we are thrilled to announce that, with the gracious help of Hagerty Insurance, Denise will be writing a semi monthly column in our MMR Newsletter entitled My Word.

This week’s column, entitled Auto-Auto, is her vision of the future of transportation. It is certainly a dramatic departure from the past and we look forward to your comments.

A Happy Day in Detroit

There was joy in Mudville on this past Monday morning! Detroit hit a mighty homerun! What a month for Chevrolet! First they are named North American Car and Truck of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show and then they take the top four places in the Daytona 24 Hour race. Quite spectacular really. For those who do not follow sports car racing in America, and they are legion, the winning Corvette was a Daytona Prototype, A Chevy powered full race car, not the enhanced street version of the Stingray which ran in the GTLM class and finished fifth in class . The new C7-R did not fare as well in the GTLM class finishing 13 laps down to the winning Porsche. In its defense, it was its first outing and… it is damned good looking.

Corvette

It is obvious and expected that the rules will require continued tweaking to allow the ALMS prototypes to be more competitive. The fastest of these was three laps behind the winning car. These constant changes will unquestionably incur pushback from competitors who see their hard earned advantages disappear. If the end product is better racing, everybody wins. The road ahead is rocky indeed. The next round is in Sebring in Mid-March. You can read Motorsports Magazine’s Gordon Kirby’s take on the events prior to the race.

GM

Accountants be Damned!

So here’s to the bright bean counters who came in with government money and turned GM around, then had the good sense to turn it over to smart young car people. As for the bean counters who thought GM should die, they cannot be anything but disappointed. Pity.

Have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 24, 2014 Comments (2)

“My Maserati goes 185… I lost my license and now I don’t drive.”
Joe Walsh – Eagles

This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Maserati. To a now aging segment of the general public, the word Maserati means Italian speed and racing sports cars. The word Maserati has stuck in the minds of today’s senior generation, just as Lamborghini is the first Italian car name on the lips of the subsequent generation and Alfa Romeo of the generation that preceded Maserati. Each generation is reasonably ignorant of the one before. To many readers, the Alfa Romeos of the sixties and Dustin Hoffman’s ride in The Graduate are their points of reference for this historic marque. Unfortunately for us, in their day, North America was never exposed to the classic Alfa racers and the beautiful road cars that dominated the European motoring scene before WW2. Alfa came to America long after they had abandoned Grand Prix racing. Their offering was aimed at entry level post-war buyers and competed with the British MGs and Austin Healeys.

Ferrari, heir to the Alfa race team, competed with Maserati on the tracks of Europe and both came to America to sell luxury sports cars at the highest level of an emerging market for European automobiles. Maserati more than held its own against Ferrari and in its day was synonymous with fast and stylish Italian cars. At its introduction in 1967, the straight six Maserati 3500 GT competed for customers against the then three-year-old Ferrari 275 V-12 and was more expensive. Ferrari manufactured 650 of the 275 GTB coupes and 10 convertibles; Maserati produced 245 convertibles and 2000 coupes. The company also produced a series of stunning and very capable road racing and street cars. The A6GCS, the 300S, and Tipo 65 Birdcage sports cars were icons in their day. So it was with good reason that for several decades, after their departure from Grand Prix racing, the name Maserati continued to be synonymous with Italian exotics. Also, the name Maserati, like Gina Lollobrigida, Alfa Romeo, and so many more Italian words, is laden with vowels and actually sounds like a fast car when you say it. And so it must be, because Eagles singer Joe Walsh, who should know, never sang “My Lamborghini goes 185…”

Maserati

Daytona 24 Hours – Tomorrow!

Tudor United

For those of you who, like me, shiver when you hear people describe anything as “very unique”, (since the word means “absolutely without equal”), we promise that the Tudor United Sports Car Championship Series or TUSC for short will be “unique”. The United in the title is the key word. This is the first race in which the former Daytona Prototypes will race against the former LMP2 cars. Both have been “adjusted” for equivalency. This being the biggest race of the season for the new TUSC series, everyone has pressure on them to win. I would say that by the end of 10 laps we will know which of the two types of cars is more “equivalent”. Incidentally, the Ganassi Team is the big dog at this track and they have switched from BMW power to Ford. Chevrolet is also running in the prototype class with their factory team. Chevy vs. Ford. C’mon Ford, build a car. It’s time.

Tommy Kendall

The GT field will be most interesting. These are race cars most similar to street models. Corvette, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and Viper will be competing. Where are McLaren and Audi R8 we ask? Where also is our official MMR Hero Tommy Kendall? Cast aside like an old shoe? This will not go down well with the MMR tifosi. C’mon Mr. Ford, phone TK and have him field a team for you! He’s smart, fast, and speaks English properly. What more could you want? MMR readers, what do you think?

In this issue we preview the February MMR Motorsports calendar which includes this weekend’s races.

The 2014 Scottsdale Auctions are now history. And yes, we did watch a portion of the televised Barrett-Jackson Salon segment. Other than a Ferrari F1 car once driven by Eddie Irvine making $1.7M and bringing a huge sigh of relief to the 50 or so owners of other virtually useless F1 Ferraris, not much was accomplished. We predict that as a result of this, more such garden ornaments will come to auction this year. The bidders appeared uninterested in the other European classic cars offered.

Ferrari

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 17, 2014 Comments (0)

Ah Paris!

Our images this week evoke Paris from two of our past issues. Sandy Cotterman’s images from last year’s Salon Retromobile reminds us all of this year’s show to be held on February 7-8. And in the summer of 2011, Tony Singer took these shots of the L’Art de L’Automobile exhibit which featured a selection of Ralph Lauren automobiles. Enjoy.

Scottsdale, We Miss You!

If I am the prototypical motorhead, then you, like me, aren’t going to Scottsdale and don’t want to talk about auctions anymore. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t want to be in Scottsdale because I would. And the reason I would want to be there is to be around cars and car people, several of whom are friends, live there, and are great company. I want to walk on warm grass, smell the fresh wax, and take pictures of beautiful cars. I want to wear summer clothing and maybe even play a round of golf. And as attractions like Automobilia and the Arizona Concours get bigger and better, and perhaps a track event is thrown in nearby, I will be there. But it is not yet there and neither am I.

Detroit Auto Show, Looking Good

Corvette

For the immediate moment, the Car Show season has begun and the Detroit Auto Show has stolen some attention from auctions. Not too surprisingly, the Corvette Stingray was named North American Car of the Year and it is tough to think of an American car that garnered as much attention since its introduction almost a year ago. The new 625HP Corvette Z06 was introduced and, as you would expect, it has all the muscular boy racer qualities a Z06 should have. The display model was in Corvette Racing yellow which serves to highlight all the track day winglets, vents, and attachments which are black. Oddly enough, the car, in another color, could actually be more attractive than the Stingray. It has a brutish excitement to it that is reminiscent of the first Vipers and the 427 Cobra. Mikey likes it!

Lambo

On another note, mea culpa, I confess I don’t really care much for Lamborghinis. With the exception of the early GTs, the serenely lovely Miura and the groundbreaking Countach, the remainder is simply design dreck with attitude. There is little joy about these beasts. The odd thing is, I suspect, Lamborghini designers would actually be pleased to hear this from all traditionalists. Lambos have always been the anti car. The car that thrives on negative achievement: it doesn’t go racing; it doesn’t come in red; it doesn’t care to be round and smooth; it doesn’t have rearview vision; and, other than its founder and test driver, it doesn’t have a hero or a champion. It simply doesn’t care whether you like it or not. Or… didn’t. And then one day the little Kingdom of Sant’Agata Bolognese, received a short message from a powerful king in a neighboring land. The message was simple. Fix your attitude. Design a pretty car or you will be an R8 assembly line. Have a nice day! And, behold, the Huracan was born. It is more stunning than beautiful but unlike its predecessors, it doesn’t need explaining and is a huge leap forward. What do you think?


This week’s video is a collage of the better racing scenes from Steve McQueen’s Le Mans.


We still have tickets for the Denise McCluggage driver’s workshop, The Centered Driver, to be held on January 28th. Join us for a wonderful evening of motorsports camaraderie and learning.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 10, 2014 Comments (0)

Our images this week are by Sandy Cotterman. And so is the main story!

Cadillac! Oh Cadillac! – Where Art Thou?

Thank you all for your candid remarks about the new Cadillac. One is lead to believe that, by and large, most people WANT Caddy to be competitive with the Euro cars but feel that although they have made excellent progress, they are not yet there.

Going Once!... Going Twice!... Yawn…

Things are about to start happening. The Daytona 24 Hours is on for the end of the month. Check the MMR Motorsports Calendar for details of other events. Friends in Scottsdale are looking forward to a new show next week and, of course, the auctions. The Arizona Concours d’Elegance has limited its field of entrants to 77 for its inaugural event. Good beginning and good luck. The absence of agreeable weather and car events for over two months is what draws people to Arizona now. The world of auctions has split into two camps: Bonhams, Gooding, and RM on the snooty Sports and Classic side; and, Barratt-Jackson, Russo & Steele, Mecom and the remainder on the old American iron team.

Auctions, once held in barns and parking lots are now TV entertainment. To his profit and credit, if that is what you take for this, Craig Jackson has made buying or selling a car in front of thousands of strangers entertaining… to a degree. I freely confess that in the beginning I was as glued to it as everyone else. Initially it was all about looking at real cars and the anticipation of the next car on the ramp that I hadn’t seen in 40 years or more. But when, not many years later, the hammer fell signaling the sale of the 20th “rotisseried” Camaro SS of the weekend, or a similar amount of ‘64 Ford Galaxy 500 convertibles with 390 Automatics and chromed undercarriages, I plain lost interest. To me it is about the cars and when all the cars are all the same and all better than perfect, there is little appeal. The only intriguing cars remaining in that show are the hot rods and even they are beginning to look “assembly line”. The Bonhams, Gooding and RM side will sell vehicles that were interesting from birth. Theirs, not ours, and sadly, they won’t be televised. What’s wrong with this picture?

Sandy on Assignment!

This week we feature a story and pictures we saved for just this issue. Sandy (as in: on Assignment) Cotterman, our intrepid globetrotting reporter attended the 2013 Goodwood Revival last fall and shares her story and pictures with us. Read the story and tell us if you would like to go next September. If there is enough interest, perhaps we can put something together with one of the touring companies listed in the MMR Goods and Services Directory under Specialty Services.

Sandy Cotterman

Screaming Down the Years

Check out this week’s video. We haven’t featured it in a little while. Thank you Shell.

From the If we waited any longer they would be reports not predictions! Department

Some folks take longer to think than others. So, at long last, some thoughts on F1, IndyCar, and the Tudor Sports Car Racing series. Take your time, share your thoughts and have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 3, 2014 Comments (0)

Welcome to the New Year!

Our images this week are some of our favorite leads of MMR Newsletters past. If you are reading this on the MMR blog and want to see more images, simply subscribe to our MMR Newsletter and we will forward this issue. For subscribers, simply click on the images below to be taken to the issue that featured them and learn more about the photographers and what they were shooting.

While this is unquestionably the first MMR Newsletter of 2014, it somehow still feels like the final MMR Newsletter of 2013. In keeping with that, we will follow up on stories recently begun and cast a prescient eye on the horizon of events to come.

Sadly, as we write this, Michael Schumacher is in an induced coma in a hospital in France. The most recent news is more hopeful and we wish him well.

Cleaning up some of the leftovers from 2013, we offer a sampling of your responses from the query about purchasing a Cadillac vs. a Euro sedan.

Looking Forward…

Stay tuned, while this issue has no room for our 2014 predictions. As threatened, we will share them with you next week. Meanwhile check out this week’s video, a Porsche 908 cockpit view of one lap of the Targa Florio. Thanks to Michael Keyser, co-author of Racing Demons.

Going to Scottsdale? Tony Singer, founder of Automobilia Monterey is launching a similar event, Automobilia Scottsdale, with the same excellent vendors. Most are listed as suppliers in the MMR Goods and Services Directory. See poster below for details.

Also in January, Denise McCluggage comes to New England for dinner and The Centered Driver Workshop  at European Motorsports Exhibit Center in Lawrence MA. Tickets are still available, but not many.

Here’s wishing you all good health and a wonderful 2014!

Peter and the MMR Team