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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 12, 2015 Comments (0)

French Farm Yields Fantastic Crop

It is generally accepted that even on the same subject, “truth” and “fact” can differ substantially. MMR leans towards the truth as facts require an investment in staff and are not as entertaining. In the case of the Roger Baillon automobiles sold at Artcurial last week, the simple facts strain credulity and we present them as we know them.

The now-legendary Artcurial French Barn Find

The truth strains credulity but the facts are these. Roger Baillon was a successful trucker, truck manufacturer, and car collector in the 1950s. In the 1970s he suffered a financial reversal and sold 50 of his cars. The remaining 59 were stored on his estate farm where they remained contently rotting away until recently discovered and brought to the Artcurial Auction at Retromobile last week. The obvious questions about who, why, and what boggle the mind.

Artcurial Ferrari, French Barn Find

Alain DelonAnd the crowd went mad. Prices paid were hugely over the estimates and with the exception of the 250 GT California Ferrari formerly owned by French movie star Alain Delon (think France’s Rob Lowe) which was in at least recognizable shape, the remainder were in many cases mere shadows of their former selves, literally. Actually that’s not accurate; several of the units were missing important parts of their former selves and could not have therefore cast any shadow whatsoever.

The whole scrum reminds one of a line in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Mikado, where former executioner Ko-Ko has been informed that he must marry the unappealing Katisha. He quizzes her on the wisdom of the adventure and sings: There’s a fascination frantic with a ruin that’s romantic, do you fancy you are elderly enough? These Baillon neglects were indeed elderly enough and the bidding was both frantic and fascinating.

The message here: leave no rich old relative’s barn unturned. MMR faithful follower Keith Carlson attended the sessions in Paris and his images and report follow.

1957 Porsche 356A Speedster headlight, by Michael Furman

Michael Furman’s image is a 1957 Porsche 356A Speedster headlight from Porsche Unexpected.

Speaking of Design, any comments on last week’s opening images of a 275 GTB Competition Ferrari? Our request for input regarding the Acura NSX produced the following from our community:

Kip Wasenko wrote, “The NSX was shown at the Detroit Auto Show for the past three years as a Concept Car. The production NSX unveiled this year retained the overall design shown in the past two Concepts. While the design is now familiar to those who closely watch the industry, I think the vehicle is conservatively handsome and will sell well to its target market. However, the design doesn’t have the styling impact of the Ford GT or the new Ferrari 488 GT.”

Kevin O’Leary wrote, “What CAD/CAM designer puked all over Nissan’s new Titan truck?”

Jim Earl wrote, “My daughter who is a real auto enthusiast made an interesting comment after seeing these two (Ford GT and NSX) ... ‘Maybe the toys such as the many transformers with their crazy shapes have influenced the current generation of designers’. As you may know, many of these articulated beings turn into transportation vehicles.”

Jane JetsonPaul Kalenian wrote, “I’m sure this new offering from Japan is well built and reliable but it’s as voluptuous as Jane Jetson. Bring back Norman Dewis.”

Tom Larsen wrote, “I had the first NSX and loved it. My vote goes to the Ford GT 40.”

Book Review

Dom Miliano has reviewed another in the series of Stance & Speed books about American built cars and we feature their ad in the recent MMR Goods & Services Directory #2. If you missed it, see our notice below.

Featured Classifieds

1950 Bentley Mk VI Park Ward Foursome Coupe

Our featured car model this week is Bentley. Here’s a marque that made its mark winning Le Mans four times consecutively between 1927 and 1930. The car and the “Bentley Boys” who financed it, built it, and raced it became motorsports legends. But the depression killed its market and saw it sold to Rolls-Royce in 1931. Bentley’s fortunes changed and for a period it became a poor sister in the Rolls Royce family. Then, Wafted by a favoring gale, As one sometimes is in trances, To a height that few can scale (sorry, The Mikado again) Bentley mercifully fell into the Audi camp and the name was rescued from ignominy. Today they have captured the imagination of those who want to be identified with dignified luxury and the hell-bent history of the Barnatos, Birkins, and Kidsons of yesteryear.

Have a great weekend, and please forward this to friends and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletter at this link.

Peter Bourassa
Publisher


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 5, 2015 Comments (0)

Betwixt & Between

Early February is a little like being a teenager between girl friends. Nothing much goin’ on.

And then again ... On Design Courage

Cadillac CTS exterior grill

The Ford GT has prompted much discussion about design and the historical significance of design cues. As part of the Elegance by Design forum at the recent Arizona Concours d’Elegance, former Cadillac Chief Designer Kip Wasenko spoke of the difficulty he encountered trying to get acceptance for a design change involving the Cadillac grille. Despite the fact that his proposed “mesh” design performed significantly better and, even though it had roots in Cadillac’s historic 1931 V-16, he was still met with resistance. Yet like all good designers, he recognizes the value of history if it can be retained without sacrificing efficiency and performance. In a subsequent discussion about the Ford GT, he applauded Ford designers for maintaining the iconic design features of the classic GT40 in the front portion of the new Ford GT.

Acura NSX

Designers need the courage of their convictions and when the word “bold” is attached to a new car design, translate that into “courage” because someone risked to bring it past the expected, or, the status quo. The second big hit of the Detroit auto show was the new Acura NSX. Any thoughts?

And at F1

Honda Formula 1

First tests of the year for F1 cars at Jerez, Spain yielded surprising results. Usually an opportunity to run cars in and determine if everything works as designed these tests are also a clue as to where everyone is in their development program. From that point of view alone, Ferrari appear to have a car that is quick, reliable and satisfying to its drivers. Ferrari powered Sauber was quickest. The general consensus is that everyone must catch the Mercedes engine. Thus far both Honda and Renault have had troubled introductions. Ferrari has not. Early times but a sigh of relief from the tifosi.

Cavallino!

1965 Ferrari P206 SP Dino, Suixtil-USA

Suixtil-USA have been appointed US distributors for Suixtil vintage clothing for modern enthusiasts. Their handsome products were on display at Cavallino and Managing Partner Lisa Smith shot the eye candy we are using this week.

Somewhere in MMR History

Shelby GT350

We have always unabashedly supported those among us who use their toys, be they cars or motorcycles. Beyond that we encourage the use of newer technology and parts to improve the performance and reliability of older cars. Authentic, no. Better, probably. Our story this week is about a Shelby GT350 that has had an interesting life and as a result of it may be a better car than originally delivered. You judge.

BMW M5 Lives

Rahal, Gordon, Hendricks, BMW President

The BMW Car Club of America (CCA) Foundation announced today that the last unsold example of BMW’s most powerful production model ever – the 30th Anniversary Edition 2015 BMW M5 “30 JahreM5” - was auctioned at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 15, 2015 (Lot #3002) for a record setting $700,000. Famed NASCAR team owner and BMW dealer Rick Hendrick was the lucky bidder.

This Week

1958 BMW 507, by Michael Furman

Michael Furman’s image is a 1958 BMW 507, shot for a private collector.

1957 Maserati 3500 GT Frua Spider

Our featured Classifieds are interesting Maserati 3500 GTs. When introduced, this car was more expensive than its Ferrari rival, the 275 GTB. It was considered a luxury touring car and was the first in its class to have power windows. It has a wonderful engine and is a joy to drive.

Have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa
Publisher